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Best Things to Do in Amsterdam in May (2020)

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This post provides a list of several fun activities you can enjoy in Amsterdam throughout the month of May, including ideas that are family-friendly, free and fun after dark, all updated for 2020. 

 

 

Disclosure: While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.

If you want to get a head start, don’t forget to check the following posts for some of the best Amsterdam activities for any time of the year:

For even more ideas, check our post covering the best things to do in Amsterdam.


TOP THINGS TO DO IN AMSTERDAM THIS MAY

The following list has been crafted to include activities and attractions you might want to visit during the month of May 2020.

You can expect a variety of concerts, sporting events and more.


1) Go to a Concert

Some of the best musical artists in the world are drawn to Amsterdam, and May is an excellent time to catch great performances.

Here are just a handful of the best concerts taking place this month:

 

 

For even more great musical performances, check this list of concerts in Amsterdam on StubHub to see what’s coming up in May.


2) Attend a Sporting Event

This May will bring multiple games and matches to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam's popular football team, AFC Ajax, has a home game on May 3, 2020, at Johan Cruijff Arena.

Even if you can’t make it to this match, you can always take an ArenA stadium tour. Note that this tour is for free in some tourist passes!

 

 

You can also see the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, which is just outside of the city.

The Grand Prix is 3 days, and you can purchase tickets for each day separately. Buy them soon as the event is selling out fast.

For even more great games to attend, check this list of sporting events in Amsterdam.


3) See Trevor Noah’s Stand-Up Special

The famed host of the hit television series The Daily Show will be heading to Amsterdam on May 27, 2020, for a stand-up special at the Ziggo Dome.

 

 

This is an excellent opportunity to see one of the most popular comedians of our time performing live on stage, and it’s also a great chance to enjoy a few laughs.

Tickets are selling out fast, so you might want to pick them up now before it’s too late!

Purchase Trevor Noah tickets or learn more.


4) Take an Amsterdam Food Tour

There are a lot of great places to eat in this city, but you might have some trouble finding the best restaurants without a guide to show you around.

Thankfully, Secret Food Tours offers an outing which includes several different samples of great local dishes you can find in Amsterdam, including cod and herring, winter stew and French-influenced pastries.

 

 

This outing lasts for 3 - 3 ½ hours and it covers at least 5-6 stops, giving you several opportunities to get a taste for the best meals in this city.

Purchase Amsterdam Secret Food Tour tickets or learn more.


5) Visit the Keukenhof Gardens

May will be your last chance to see this attraction, and if you’re a fan of floral displays, this is one location you definitely must-see during the spring!

The Keukenhof Gardens house 32 hectares of flowers, all of them carefully placed in beautiful patterns throughout the park. 

 

 

Aside from wandering around the gardens at your own pace, you can also take what is called a whisper boat.

These vessels transport visitors around the gardens quietly, allowing them to enjoy a peaceful experience.

Admission to Keukenhof Gardens is included for free with some tourist passes, allowing you to save money on tickets.


6) Save Money With a Tourist Pass

No matter what you’re planning to do during your trip to Amsterdam, chances are you’ll be able to save a few euros by using a tourist pass.

These services provide discounts of up to 50% or more on a variety of popular attractions, tours, and activities throughout the city, including some on this list!

 

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There are multiple passes to choose from which include several fun things to do including the following examples:

For additional information on how to use these services and which one will save you the most money, please read our post covering Amsterdam tourist passes.


7) Go on a Canal Cruise

The many historic canals of Amsterdam make it an excellent place for a cruise. There’s no better way to see the city than by hopping on a boat and traveling around the waterways.

 

 

Better yet, since so many people use boats to get around the city, there are several different types of cruises you can choose from, including the following options:

Some cruises are included either with discount passes or combo packages, allowing you to save some money on tickets.


8) Visit the Anne Frank House

Although the story of Anne Frank is a sad one, her indomitable spirit continues to inspire millions all around the world. 

If you’ve ever wanted to see the house where she once lived, there are tours you can take which feature several interesting artifacts including some of her other written work.

 

 

Admission to the Anne Frank House is included with some discount passes, so you don’t even have to pay full price to get in!

For more details, please read our post about the Anne Frank House.


9) Celebrate Liberation Day

May 5th is the day that the Netherlands was liberated from the capitulation of Nazi Germany, and the entire country commemorates this event every year with a variety of activities.

A unique event takes place called Open Jewish Homes which allows visitors to see the homes of former Jewish residents and resistance fighters.

 

Open Jewish Houses Amsterdam

 

There is also a free concert which includes musical performances, theater and poetry.

Note that Liberation Day is a national holiday, so you can expect banks, post offices and many businesses to be closed.


10) See the Opera Carmen

The Dutch National Opera & Ballet will be performing the beloved tale of Carmen from May 12-29, 2020.

Believe it or not, the fourth act alone will bring over 400 extras on stage to witness a bullfight, ensuring a truly impressive display for audiences.

 

 

There will be performances both at night (7 pm) and during the day (2 pm), giving visitors multiple opportunities to see the opera.

Tickets are already beginning to sell out, so you may want to pick yours up before too long!

Purchase Carmen tickets or learn more.


11) See a Free Concert

The Dutch National Opera & Ballet has weekly free lunchtime concerts on Tuesdays from 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm. 

The Opera & Ballet theater is right next to the water, and in May, it is a nice spot to sit and have a picnic lunch. 

 

Dutch National Opera House

 

In May 2020, there will be concerts on May 12, 19th, and 26th, so if you’re going to be in town on those days, this could easily be considered one of the best free activities to enjoy.

For more details or to see the full program, please check this list of free Lunch Concerts from the Dutch National Opera & Ballet.


12) Discover the Best Beers in Amsterdam

Heineken beer is brewed in the Netherlands and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam is the tour known as the Heineken Experience which is included with some tourist passes.

Alternatively, you can also take a Secret Beer Tour which covers multiple different samples at several locations over the course of 3 - 3 ½ hours.

 

 

If you’re also interested in having some food, there is an upgraded food package you can purchase which includes Butterballen and a cheese plate.

Whether you want to learn about your favorite beer or just discover the best craft brews in the city, there’s plenty to do – and drink – in Amsterdam!

 


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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, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: October 12th, 2021
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