Things to Do in Amsterdam in November

This post covers the top 10 things to do in Amsterdam in November, including evening, free, as well as family-friendly activities, updated for 2020.

If you’re looking for even more fun things to do in Amsterdam, make sure to check our posts: 

 


TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO

This section highlights our top ten things to do in Amsterdam in November, including free events, concerts, professional sports games, and family-friendly entertainment. 

 


1. Visit the Red Light District

The district gets its name from the lit windows where legal sex workers wait for customers. But the district has plenty more to offer.

Find out what to do in the district from our detailed post on Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

 

Red Light District

 

One of the best ways to understand this unusual part of Amsterdam is to take a free guided walking tour

There are several to choose from, including a self-guided and audio tour. 


2. Amsterdam Light Festival

Perhaps one of the best festivals of the whole year, the free Amsterdam Light Festival begins on November 26, 2020, and runs through January 17, 2021.

It costs nothing to enjoy the many beautiful and interesting illuminated artwork placed on Amsterdam’s streets and canals.

 

Amsterdam Light Festival

 

Each of the pieces is created by different artists, which means there will be a lot of diverse, light-based art around the city.

Since the sun goes down pretty early this time of year, there are also walking tours you can take while it’s dark out to admire the bright installations. 

For other ways to spend an evening in the city, take a look at our full post on nighttime activities in Amsterdam




3) Explore the City Centre

Amsterdam’s City Centre district (‘Centrum’) is where you will find most of the city’s iconic sites, including renowned museums, high-end shopping, and plenty of entertainment.

If you’d like some guidance to find the significant locations, you can take a free 3-hour walking tour for the city centre tour

Your guide will take you to the most iconic points in the area while discussing the interesting and sometimes surprising details about the Dutch capital.

 

Dam Square

 

If you prefer to move at your own pace, consider using our GPS-Led Audio Tour

We’ve recorded one of our tour guides as he gives his Intro to Amsterdam tour and has put it on a GPS-led audio tour app.

Listen to a sample.

Here is how it works:

  1. Download our free Amsterdam walking tour app on (iTunes) or (Android).
  2. Download any audio tour.
  3. Enjoy the tour.

Note that if you are considering either the Amsterdam Pass or the Holland Pass, you already have a completely free tour included in both passes.


4) Go to a World-Class Museum

November is off-season which means fewer tourists. What better time to see one or more of Amsterdam’s diverse museums.

You can find classic art, historical exhibits, and family-friendly institutions.  Among the most popular museums is the Van Gogh Museum.

 

 

 

Other top museums are:

If you’re planning on visiting several museums and other attractions in Amsterdam, you may want to consider getting a tourist discount pass to save money on general admission prices.

For more details, please read our post covering Amsterdam tourist passes.




5) Browse the Free Amsterdam Markets

Whether you are looking for bric-a-brac, art, antiques, books, flowers, or food, there is a market for you!

Amsterdam’s markets are open on various days or the week, and most are open year-round! 

One popular market is the Albert Cuyp Market. Here you can find just about anything!

 

Albert Cuypmarkt

 

Some other markets we recommend are:

TIP: When at the farmer’s market, take advantage of trying some of the cheeses of the Netherlands.

If you want to learn more about the regional cuisine, look into taking a free food tour. Even samples are free!


6) Take a Free Food Tour

On a free food tour, you’ll visit some of the tastiest spots in the city and you can even try free samples!

Keep in mind, however, that if you want to purchase a full-size portion of foods you like, be sure to bring cash.Free Food Tours in Amsterdam

Discover why the average Dutch person consumes 17 kilos of cheese per year and what is a typical Dutch dinner.

Find out about bitterballen or kroketten, and where can you get the best chocolate from Amsterdam!


7) Get an Alternative Perspective of Amsterdam

Looking for something a bit more unique and different?

Alternative Amsterdam tours take you off the beaten tourist track away from the obvious attractions.

The Free Alternative Tour of Amsterdam is 2.5-3 hours and features street art and graffiti, community projects, and Red and Green Light districts.

 

Art Mural

 

Your guide will tell you about the city’s modern history and culture and take you to hidden spots that even some locals don’t know about.

Find out more about taking a free Alternative Tour of Amsterdam from our post on Free Walking Tours in Amsterdam.




8) Travel Like a Local by Bike

Did you know there are more bicycles than people in Amsterdam? Amsterdam and the surrounding towns are full of bike lanes and bikes.

Whether you just want the experience or are looking for a convenient form of transportation, we suggest renting a bike for at least a day. 

 

 

If you have small children, get a bakfiets so they can also come along for the ride. Find out more about renting a bike in Amsterdam.

If bikes aren’t your thing, hop-on hop-off bus tours are also popular ways to get around while learning about Amsterdam. 

TIP: If you’re exploring and need a place to store your luggage, check out this post with details on convenient and safe bag storage locations.


9) Go to a “Coffee Shop”

You won’t be served a cup of coffee or espresso in the kinds of coffee shops we refer to here. Coffee Shops are where one can legally buy cannabis in Amsterdam.

If you are looking if you’re looking for actual coffee, head to a koffiehuis instead.

If you’re new to cannabis culture, you might want to consider taking a coffee shop tour where you will learn about how these businesses became legal and how they operate.

 

Coffeeshop Amsterdam

 

There are several tours available, and most of them include the opportunity to try this popular product for yourself, but it is certainly not required.

Some tours also include information about the Red Light District, which is where you’ll find a lot of the best coffee shops in Amsterdam.

Read our post on Amsterdam’s coffee shops to see what tours you can take as well as a self-guided option.


10) Enjoy the Heineken Experience

The Heineken Experience Heineken Experience is an immersive experience that gives you an opportunity to learn about the Heineken heritage, its brewing process, and the company’s innovations.

The least expensive way to have the Heinekin Experience is to take a self-guided tour which includes two nice cold Heinekens.

 

Heineken Experience, Amsterdam

 

There are other tours as well, including a VIP tour and combo tours that include the experience as well as another attraction. These combos can save you money.

Read our detailed post on the Heineken Experience to find out much more.




HONORABLE MENTION:

Save Money with an Attraction Discount Pass

Tourist passes work by allowing you to bundle admission tickets to popular attractions for heavy discounts. You could get up to 50% off retail prices or get in for free, depending on the pass you purchase. 

 

 
 

Attractions included with some passes are:  

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

 


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About the author

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.