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Things to Do in Amsterdam in January

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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 2023.

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 few excellent performers in Amsterdam.

The city has a vibrant music scene all year-round, so there's always someone to see.

A few of the folks performing in January are:

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

In addition to introductory tours, there are also outings that cover subjects and locations such as the Red Light District and the Jewish Quarter.

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 early December and runs until January 21st, 2023. 

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. 

If you'd like to continue the light show indoors, you could try AMAZE, an immersive audtiovisual experience.

Tickets for AMAZE are also included on the All Inclusive GoCity and the Explorer GoCity discount cards.

TIP: The Amsterdam Winter Card includes admission to a Light Festival canal cruise, the attraction Het Amsterdamse Winterparadijs, an audio guide, and more for just €54!

4. See a Limited Museum Exhibit

There are several temporary museum exhibits that you might enjoy if you're in Amsterdam in January.

Love Stories - Art, Passion, and Tragedy, and ode to love using paintings and contemporary photography is at the Hermitage until January 8th, 2023.

Here are a few other exhibits you might want to see:

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 12th, 2022 and stays open until February 5th, 2023. See their website for hours and prices.

You can also go to the Ice Rink at Rembrandtplein, which is open through January 8th, 2023. It's just €2.50 for a whole day on the ice! You can rent skates for €5. Learn more here.

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

6. World Christmas Circus

At the Carre, the 250 year old Wereldkerstcircus (World Christmas Circus) finishes it's annual run on January 8th, 2023.

The popular event has become a traditional outing for many families, and up to 60,000 people attend over each season.

The event pulls together some of the world's best circus acts, and is truly a sight to behold.

Think impressive movement, beautiful costumes, and a an updated interpretation of a circus.

It's a popular event so tickets sell out fast. You can find them here.

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 Improv Theatre & Comedy

Boom Chicago is an American improv group that performs in one of three theaters at the recently renovated 117 Rozengracht.

This is a training ground for folks who often go on to be some of the best known names in American comedy, people you might see on SNL, for example.

Famous alum are folks such as Seth Meyers, Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt (both of Ted Lasso), Jordan Peele and Ike Barinholtz.

For the line-up and to buy tickets, visit their website.

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

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.

If you've already decided which discount card best suits your visit, you can purchase them here: All Inclusive GoCity | Explorer Go City | I Am Amsterdam City Card

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.

Honorable Mention

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

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


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: December 13th, 2022
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