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Things to Do in Amsterdam in January (2020)

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This post covers things to do in Amsterdam during January, including family-friendly, nighttime, and free or cheap activities, all updated for 2020. Be sure to check out our post on average weather in January, too.




This section will feature our top 10 activities to enjoy in Amsterdam throughout January.

For tips on the most popular activities in Amsterdam, check out these popular posts:

Several of the items below are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass

1)  Go to a Concert 

In January, there are a number of excellent performers in Amsterdam. We list the top shows below the video.

The city has a vibrant music scene all year-round, so there is no shortage of bands to see. See who's playing in January here



You can find all the Amsterdam concerts in January here.

2) See the City Sights on a Tour

On days when January's temperatures are a bit too cold to explore the city on foot, you can take a hop-on hop-off bus tour. Stay warm while seeing a lot of the city in a short time. 

On a budget? Take a free walking tour of Amsterdam



For foodies, check out a food tour.  For beer lovers, there are bus or boat combo-packages that include The Heineken Experience.

3) Be Dazzled by the Amsterdam Light Festival 

The annual Amsterdam Light Festival showcases amazing works of art in light of both international and Dutch artists.

You can see the stunning displays along canals, buildings, and city squares. 

While the festival starts in late November, it continues through January 19, 2020, so you will have the chance to enjoy the festival. 



The best way to see the light displays is by a bus tour or canal tour

There are also walking tours you can take while it’s dark out to admire the bright installations. 

4) See a Football Match 

If you've never seen a European football match, now is a great opportunity as Amsterdam's Ajax team is one of the best football teams in the Netherlands. 

You can see AFC Ajax vs. Sparta Rotterdam on January 19, 2020. 



Sports fans may enjoy the behind-the-scenes tour of the official Ajax arena for just € 15.50 for adults and € 10.50 for children. (The tour is free for Amsterdam Pass holders.)

See what other Amsterdam sporting events are happening in January.

5) Go Ice-Skating 

If you like ice skating and are visiting Amsterdam in January, you are in luck. You have two great options to get out on the ice in beautiful surroundings.

As part of Ice*Amsterdam, the rink at Museumplein is festively decorated and is easy to reach right in the heart of Amsterdam. 

The Museumplein rink is open starting November 16, 2019, and stays open until February 2, 2020. See their website for hours and prices.



You can also go to the Ice Rink at Rembrandtplein, which is open through January 5, 2020.

It's just €2.50 for a whole day on the ice! You can rent skates for €5. Learn more about Ice*Amsterdam here.

Ice-skating is a great family-friendly activity! For more suggestions, see our post on things to do with children in Amsterdam.

6) Attend the Paradiso Choir Days 

On January 18 and 19, 2020, you can attend this annual popular event featuring dozens of choirs from around the world. 

Tickets for an entire day session are just a few euros per person!

With so many choirs, each group is scheduled for a 15-minute time slot, giving you the chance to hear new and different music all day long. 



Groups range from all ages and genres, amateur singing groups of all ages and all genres. 

It takes place at the legendary Paradiso theater. The schedule will be published closer to the event on the venue's website.

7) See Amsterdam's Red Light District

The Red Light District is famous for its red-lit windows where legal prostitutes wait for customers.

Since it has been legal since 1811, visitors have been fascinated by the openness of the practice. 



There are some things you should be aware of before heading over to this unique neighborhood. We suggest you consider touring the ara with a professional guide.

Read our post on How to Visit the Red Light District to find out what tours are available and what else there is to do in the district. 

8) See Improvisational Theater

The International Improvisational Theater Festival (informally Impro Amsterdam) runs from January 25 - February 1, 2020.

This annual event is a perfect way to spend the evening. For night owls, there will be late-night performances too!

For other nightlife suggestions, see our post on things to do in Amsterdam at night.



The improv casts come from around the world. There are also workshops if you want to learn to be funny in the spot!

9) Save with a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

The easiest way to see more attractions in Amsterdam is by purchasing a discount pass. These tourist passes work by allowing you to bundle admission tickets for heavy discounts.

You could get up to 50% off retail prices on several passes – or get in for free with an all-inclusive pass.

If you're planning on visiting as many paid attractions as you can over multiple days, an all-inclusive pass might be your best option to save the most.

If you're looking at just a few select museums and experiences, take a look at the build-your-own passes.



Attractions on Various Passes Include:

See which pass can save you the most money on your trip with our in-depth comparison post.

10) Attend the Jumping Amsterdam Equestrian Show

This annual event brings the world’s best riders -- even Olympic champions -- to Amsterdam. 

There will be jumping and dressage contests, as well as an exhibition area, bars, and restaurants.

There will also be a special children’s program with interactive shows and for the grown-ups, various entertainment events.




These Christmas-themed activities are still up and running in early January. These are great family-fun, so if you are traveling with children, check then out.

You can find even more family-friendly fun from our post on things to do with children in Amsterdam.

World Christmas Circus 

Celebrating the 251st anniversary of the classic circus in a spectacular way, the 35th edition of the World Christmas Circus brings clowns and acrobats from all over the world to the Royal Theater Carré.



Het Amsterdamse Winterparadijs

In this winter paradise, there will be real snow brought inside where you can cross-country ski, go toboggan riding, or see nostalgic Christmas movies at the cinema.


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About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.
Updated: October 12th, 2021
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