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 2023.
As local tour guides, we compiled this list based on our own experiences, but also answering your questions.
We lead thousands of people each month through the streets of Amsterdam and on every tour you ask us about things to do in the city.
We also grabbed ideas from the members of our popular Amsterdam Travel Tips Facebook group.
The group consists of locals, like our tour guides, veteran travelers, as well as newbies to Amsterdam.
You don't need to join in order to read the posts, comments, and recommendations.
Check out the group once you are finished reading this post.
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
This October several notable musicians will be performing in Amsterdam.
- Luke Combs | October 7th
- Blink 182 | October 8th
- Diana Ross | October 12th
- Louis Tomlinson | October 15th
- Fall Out Boy | October 24th
- Ellie Goulding | October 30th
- Amsterdam Dance Event | October 19th-22nd | Paradiso Grote Zaal |
- AMF Amsterdam | October 21st | Johan Cruijff Arena | feat: Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, Purple Disco Machine, and more
Find even more concerts in October in Amsterdam here.
Also, read our post on things to do at night in Amsterdam for more ideas.
2. Attend or Take Part in a Sports Event
This month you can watch an event or be part of one!
The Annual Amsterdam City Walk takes place on October 14th. The route goes past many of the city's most interesting sights.
The TCS Marathon takes place on October 15th.
AFC Ajax, Amsterdam's professional football team, will have some games.
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.
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:
- Amsterdam City Center
- Red Light District
- Alternative Amsterdam
- Amsterdam Food Tours
- Amsterdam Pub Crawls
4. Grachtenrace (Canal Race)
The annual Amsterdam Canal Race boat race on the city's canals brings out crowds.
They line Amsterdam's small bridges to cheer on rowers.
With over 140 teams expected, you can expect huge - and amusing - traffic jams, like the one in the video below.
Grachtenrace will take place on October 7th.
If you want to get out on the canals yourself, you don't have to row! There are many canal tours to take.
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. Explore 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. 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 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 - 6 magic acts and an optional magical after-party.
8. Enjoy Beer in Amsterdam
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.
You may also find some Oktoberfest activities in and around Amsterdam in October.
Take a look at our post on things to do at night in Amsterdam for other activities like these.
9. Get Scared By 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 Wasteland on October 28th.
There's also a Halloween Parade on the streets of Amsterdam where folks go full-on with the costumes.
Another option is to visit the Amsterdam Dungeons, where you can experience Amsterdam’s darkest, goriest moments, recreated by actors.
TIP: The Amsterdam Dungeons is just one of many popular attractions included in some of the Amsterdam tourist passes.
And Westergasterrein has what is dubbed Holland's number 1 Halloween celebration.
The 2023 dates haven't been listed at the time of this post, but as it's in its 14th year we expect to see updates soon.
Read below how a tourist pass can save you money on your trip.
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.
Amsterdam tourist attraction discount passes provide access to dozens of activities, museums, tours, historic locations, and more for one flat price.
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
- Hop on Hop off Bus Tours
- Hop on Hop off Canal Cruises
- The Heineken Experience
- Rembrandt House Museum
- Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
- The Amsterdam Dungeon
- Van Gogh Museum
- Stedelijk Museum
- Madame Tussauds
- Body Worlds
- And more!
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 a Film Festival
There are film festivals taking place in Amsterdam in October.
These festivals attract folks from all over the world and cover many genres and types of film.
- Imagine Fantastic Film Festival | sci-fi, horror, and fantasy | October 25th - November 4th
- Lift Off Film Festival | Independent films | dates TBD
- Cinekid Festival | Children's film, television, and new media festival | October 21st-27th