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Things to Do in Amsterdam in October

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This post covers things to do during October in Amsterdam, including family-friendly, nighttime, and free or cheap activities. We have updated this post for 2021.

 

 


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN OCTOBER

This top 10 list contains big concerts, sports, theatre, tours, free activities, and other events to attend in Amsterdam during October. 

Take a look at our other popular Amsterdam posts: 


(1) See a Concert

Amsterdam draws quite a lot of popular international bands. You can also find gigs at smaller venues. 

Below we list the top concerts in Amsterdam this month. See who else is playing in town here.

 

 

Find out about other concerts here

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


(2) Attend a Sports Event

This month you can watch an event or be part of one!  Be part of the Annual Amsterdam City Walk on October 16th. The route goes past many of the city's most interesting sights. 

Then, on October 17th, the city hosts the TCS Marathon. Find out more here.

 

 

AFC Ajax is also scheduled to play two games at home this month on October 3rd and 24th. Get tickets here.

The match scheduled for October 24th is in the evening and makes for a wonderful night out in Amsterdam.  

Did you know that you can take a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the iconic Johan Cruijff ArenA, the home arena of AFC Ajax? If you have an Amsterdam Pass, the tour is included for free!

Find other events in Amsterdam this month here.


(3) 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.

This is quite useful when taking a bike tour as your guide may be able to give you more personal attention. 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!


(4) Grachtenrace (Canal Race)

The annual Amsterdam Canal Race boat race on the city's canals brings out crowds lining Amsterdam's small bridges to cheer on the rowers.

In 2021, Grachtenrace will take place on October 9th. With over 140 teams expected, you can expect huge - and amusing - traffic jams, like the one in the video below.

 

 

If you want to get out on the canals yourself, you don't have to row! There are many canal tours to take. See your options here.

This is a fun activity to do with the family and will not take up much of your day.

If you are traveling with children, see our post on family-friendly things to do in Amsterdam.


(5) See the Red Light District

This is one of Amsterdam's most famous neighborhoods. Despite its name, the Red Light District is more than just a legal sex-worker district.

It also has art museums, a great food scene, and lovely architecture.

 

 

Though not for everyone, the Red Light District can be an eye-opening experience. Learn more about what you can do in the district from our detailed post on Amsterdam's Red Light District.


(6) Attend the Amsterdam Music Festival

If you're interested in going to a concert, but you can't pick just one performer to see, consider attending the Amsterdam Music Festival instead.

 

 

This festival will take place on October 16th, 2021 at Johan Cruijff ArenA, and there will be quite a few notable musicians performing, including the following:

  • Armin Van Buuren
  • Brennan Heart
  • David Guetta
  • Tiesto
  • Topic
  • And more!

Purchase tickets or learn more here.


(7) Cinekid

This one is just for the kids. The Cinekid international film, television, and new media festival will be in Amsterdam from October 13th - 31st, 2021. 

At the festival, children can explore the 1,200 square meters (ft) media lab and play with interactive art installations. 

 

 

There will also be workshops and games, as well as screenings of innovative film and TV productions geared towards kids.

Cinekid is perfect for kids between 3 and 14 years old.  Find out more here.

For more ways to keep your kids entertained, see our post on family-friendly activities in Amsterdam.


(8) Celebrate Oktoberfest 

Although most official Oktoberfest activities have been cancelled for 2021, there are a variety of events you can still enjoy to celebrate this holiday.

For beer lovers, be sure to check out the popular Heineken Experience. This attraction is also included with some Amsterdam tourist passes.

 

 

The famous Heineken brewery was established in Amsterdam in 1864. You can visit one of their no-longer-used factories to learn about this world-famous beer.

Looking for more of a bar crawl atmosphere, check out this 4-hour pub crawl or 3-hour craft beer tour.

Take a look at our post on things to do at night in Amsterdam for other activities like these.


(9) Halloween

While not a Dutch holiday, Halloween in Amsterdam can be a lot of fun.

If you enjoy clubbing, check out the costume party at Westerunie. Another option is to visit the Amsterdam Dungeons, where you can experience Amsterdam’s darkest, goriest moments, recreated by actors. 

 

 

Among the 12 exhibits are a torture show and their new gallows exhibit. You can buy tickets here.

TIP: The Amsterdam Dungeons is just one of many popular attractions included in some of the Amsterdam tourist passes.

Read below how a tourist pass can save you money on your trip.


(10) Consider Getting an All-Inclusive Tourist Pass

An all-inclusive pass allows you to enjoy as many attractions, tours, and experiences as you can within a set number of days for one set price.

Although these passes are not free, you can save enough money that some of your activities won’t cost you a dime.

Below this video, we’ll show you how buying a pass actually gets you free admission to many attractions. 

 

 

Using the 3-Day All-Inclusive Amsterdam Pass, which costs €104, we show you how after the second day, you get an entire day’s worth of free activities. 

Here is a sample 3-day itinerary with some of the most popular Amsterdam attractions. Next to each activity is the regular admission price for an adult.

Day 1

Day 2

  • Hop-on-Hop-off Boat Tour | €26
  • A’DAM Lookout | €13.50
  • This is Holland | €16.50
  • National Maritime Museum | €16
  • Total Cost for Day 2 – €72.00

Day 3

  • Everything is free!

When you do the math, you see that by the time you get halfway through Day 2, you’ve already spent more than the cost of the pass, which is €104. 

After that point, everything else you use the pass for will cost you nothing! It’s like getting dozens of activities for free! 

If you want to learn more, check our very detailed post that compares all the Amsterdam tourist passes

 


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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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