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Things to Do in Amsterdam in November

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This post covers the top 15 things to do in Amsterdam in November.

We include evening, free, as well as family-friendly activities, updated for 2023


1. Attend to a Concert

This November several notable musicians will be performing in Amsterdam.

Concerts

Find even more concerts in November in Amsterdam here.

Also, read our post on things to do at night in Amsterdam for more ideas. 


2. Take a Sightseeing Tour

October means fewer tourists in Amsterdam so this is a good time to take a walking tour, as your group size will likely be smaller

You might also be interested in taking a bike tour. Find out about bike tours here.

If a bike tour is not your speed, try a bus tour. A hop-on, hop-off bus tour is a comfortable way to see a lot of Amsterdam in a short amount of time.

Just hop off at the sites you want to spend more time seeing. You can also take the tour without hopping off -- whatever works for you!

Here are a few other tours you might find interesting:


3. Welcome St. Nick

Signaling the start of the holiday season, Sinterklass (St. Nicholas/Santa Claus) arrives in Amsterdam by boat.

Each year on the second Saturday in November, Sinterklass arrives in the Netherlands.

It's said he comes from Spain on a steamboat loaded with treats and gifts for children.

Many families look forward to meeting his boat on one of the canals.

They watch as he and his helpers, Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes), lead a fun and festival parade through the streets of Amsterdam.

In the weeks following, you may also find him at various spots around the city.

Sinterklaas arrives this year on November 18th at 10:00 AM, with many activities following.


4. Enjoy Museum Night Amsterdam

This annual cultural event sees many art galleries, museums, and cultural institutions open for free to the public.

Participating venues stay open late into the night and offer guided tours, performances, and special exhibitions.

Tickets often give access to all venues. This year Museumnacht takes place on November 4th, with tickets going online at the end of September.

There are over 40 museums that usually take part, including:

If you’re planning on visiting several museums and other attractions in Amsterdam on other days, 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. Enjoy Ice*Amsterdam

This annual winter event features a huge ice-skating rink on Museumplain (Museum Square), just in front of a massive lit-up Christmas tree.

To the sides of the rink, you'll find stalls with food, hot chocolate, traditional Dutch treats, and more.

There are also restaurants and a Christmas Market.

Locals and tourists, beginners and advanced skaters, all fill this outdoor rink, enjoying the celebratory atmosphere that comes with the holiday season.

They offer two-hour passes with a skate rental or an all-day pass. The rink is expected to open on November 11th and runs 7 days a week.

Visit the Ice*Amsterdam website for updates and information.


6. Go on a Food Tour

There’s a lot of great food to eat in this city, but if you’re looking for the best dishes, you may want to consider taking an Amsterdam Secret Food Tour.

As you wander around the city and discover some of the best places and meals to eat, your guide will provide information about the history of Dutch food and its place in Amsterdam’s culture.

This tour covers 6 different stops and provides at least 6-7 different samples including Stroopwafels, Dutch cheeses, fresh Herring, and several other Amsterdam staples such as Poffertjes and kibbeling.

In addition to the food, you’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy at least one glass of local beer or Jenever (Dutch Gin).

You can also purchase an upgraded drinks package for even more drink options.

Read more here or purchase tickets for the Amsterdam Secret Food Tour.


7. Enjoy the Amsterdam Light Festival

Perhaps one of the best festivals of the whole year, the free Amsterdam Light Festival begins on November 30th.

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

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.


8. Attend a Film Festival

There are a couple of film festivals taking place in the city in November

The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) takes place each year in Amsterdam.

It showcases documentary films from around the world and includes workshops, panel discussions, and an awards ceremony.

The IDFA festival runs from November 8th to November 19th.

The Imagine Fantastic Film Festival focuses on sci-fi, horror, the surreal, and fantasy.

It shows feature films, short films, masterclasses, Q&A sessions, and other special events.

This festival takes place October 25th-November 4th.


9. Enjoy Beer 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.

If you’re looking to learn even more about the various brews in this part of the world, consider taking a 3-Hour Beer Tasting tour instead.

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.


10. Save Money With a Tourist Pass

If you’re planning to visit at least 4-5 popular attractions per day while in the city, you could save 50% or more off general admission prices simply by using an Amsterdam discount pass.

You'll get skip-the-line privileges at several attractions!

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.


11. Attend an Art Fair

UnFair23 is an art festival where over 60 artists together to present their contemporary artworks.

Art lovers can not just see and enjoy the works but can speak to the artists and purchase their works.

The art fair takes place from November 16th to 19th in Gashouder.

Pan Amsterdam is an annual art fair, one of the largest in the Netherlands and one called "affordable".

The fair includes paintings, antiques, photography, sculptures, and more. Both collectors and the general public are free to enjoy the art and purchase pieces.

The event takes place November 19th-26th at the Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Center.


12. Take a Self-Guided Tour of the Red Light District

Our self-guided walking tour will introduce you to the historic sites and the modern attractions of De Wallen (also known as the Red Light District), Amsterdam’s oldest neighborhood.

This audio tour was researched, written, and recorded by one of our own tour guides.

Here’s a sample.

  1. Purchase an audio tour – $2.99
  2. Get a confirmation email with .mp3, .pdf, and embeddable Google Map
  3. Enjoy the tour(s).

We also have a post listing FAQs about the Red Light District that you might find helpful.

If you'd rather have a guide, you can take one of our pay-what-you-wish guided walking tours of the Red Light District


13. Browse Through 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 of the week, and most are open year-round!

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

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!


14. Enjoy Stand-up Comedy

If you like improvisational comedy, you might enjoy the Boom Chicago Comedy Show.

This English-language show has been performed by such past in-residence comedians as Seth Meyers, Jordan Peele, and Jason Sudeikis.

Alternatively, you can also enjoy some magic at Amsterdam Magic Show: Things That Make You Go Huh.

This outing includes 5 to 6 magic acts and an optional magical after-party.


15. 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.

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.


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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: September 22nd, 2023
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