15 Budget Things to Do in Amsterdam for a Fun Vacation

Famous for its world class museums and literary corners, Amsterdam might cost heavy on your pocket if you want to explore this city in the best way possible. However, there are some budget things to do in Amsterdam  that can equally well introduce you to the essence of the place and won’t become the reason for that hole in your pocket. The Dutch capital is known to captivate the tourists with its effervescent street culture, the ever flowing canal and yes, the notorious "coffee shops”. And if you are thinking that you will have to spend your fortunes in order to experience all this, you are wrong! The city can be beautifully explored and known at a very little price with these things to do that you must take up during your next vacay to Amsterdam. Save money and travel more!

1. Take up the Free Walking Tours

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The best way to know and understand Amsterdam without spending a penny is by taking up a free walking tour that will introduce you to all the nooks and corners of the city. These tours are either taken up on foot or on bikes and offer as a guide to the city and its array of attractions. The focus is also on the neighborhoods such as the Jordaan, Pijp and Plantage, places that are extremely beautiful as well as arty. This is so being so true to the proverb "Having a cake and eating it as well”.

2. Spend an Afternoon in Vondelpark

One of the absolutely free things to do in Amsterdam is to visit the famous Vondelpark for a lazy and sunny afternoon. Walk down its well carved paths or appreciate its verdant beauty-choice is yours. Vondelpark is also known to put up performances in its free open-air theatre that cost no money but guarantee absolute fun.

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3. Explore the shimmering waters of Amsterdam with Boat Ride

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A boat ride through the shimmering waters of canals is one of the inexpensive things to do in Amsterdam. After all, Amsterdam’s canals offer a stunning backdrop to the city’s historic city centre and a ride in them is one way to etch out the city’s beauty in your mind forever.

4. Check out for Free Concerts

For those who have decided to explore Amsterdam on a budget, attending the city’s free concerts is one of the ways to satiate that wanderlust. Check out for the National Opera & Ballet that puts on free concerts every Tuesday at 12:30pm while the Royal Concertgebouw which holds their free lunch concerts at the same time on Wednesdays. Known for its vibrant music scene, a concert in Amsterdam is what you can look forward to during your stay here.

5. Explore the Civic Guards Gallery

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Located outside the world famous Amsterdam museum, the Civic Guards Gallery is a public art gallery that currently exhibits 17th-century portraits of the city’s heroic musketeers, the Civic Guards. These militia men had once played an important role in guarding the city and today they find a nice commemoration here for their hard work and valour. With its no fee policy, this gallery comes under budget friendly attractions in Amsterdam.

6. Shop at Street Markets

Amsterdam’s markets have a unique character of their own. These weekly markets are budget places of Amsterdam and offer everything on sale such as local produce, books, flowers and other stuff. There are 12 daily outdoor markets, 15 markets which are open one or two days of the week and several markets which are open on a certain day of the season.

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7. Take up a Gassan Diamond Factory Tour

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Take up a tour of Gassan Diamond Factory Tour as one of the budget things to do in Amsterdam. The Gassan Factory is a historic building suffused with rooms of rotating cabinets home to hundreds of jewels. Although the diamonds might cost you a fortune, but this tour would be definitely an inexpensive thing to do in Amsterdam.

8. Study Amsterdam’s Archives

A visit to most of the museums in Amsterdam can be a costly affair. However, if you are a history buff, you must visit Stadsarchief (The City Archives) to know the past of the city better. Entrance to the basement is free while other exhibitions cost money.

9. Explore the Red Light District

Want to stick to budget yet want to see what Amsterdam is famous for? I bet you can gave both! One of the best budget things to do in Amsterdam is to explore the Red Light District for which the city has become world famous for. There are many tours that take you on a roundabout trip of Amsterdam’s RLD and introduce you to its shadiest corners. It might sound bit whacky and weird but you will be spoilt with choices with its famous attractions such as World’s First Condom Shop, Prostitutes & Window Brothels, Magic Mushroom Shop, Street Art, Peep Show, Chinatown, Cannabis Shop and much more. 

10. Visit the Rijksmuseum Garden

If you could not get the chance to visit the famous Rijksmuseum in the city, you don’t need to worry! Some of the original artworks from the Rijksmuseum collection can be seen at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport which is open daily from 7 am until 8 pm and is free of charge by showing a valid boarding pass.

11. Look out for the Narrowest House in the World in Amsterdam

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Amsterdam is known for its narrow houses. This was done because people were taxed on the amount of space their house took up on the street. But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention, Dutch people came up with ideas to build their homes beautifully even though with a limitation of space.The narrowest house in the world is to be found in Amsterdam, on the Singel, no.7. with a width of only one meter (about 3 ft., 3 in.), the house is barely wider than its own front door. 

12. Make a visit to EYE Filmmuseum

You might have to shell out a lot of money to watch the art house movies and main exhibitions, however, if you visit the interactive Dutch displays available in the basement of the film museum, it would cost you absolutely nothing. This is one of the affordable things in Amsterdam that will offer you great travel experience yet would cost you so less!

13. Know your drinks at the Cannabis College 

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Cannabis has always seduced people! Isn’t it? The Cannabis college is one of its own kind and is a non-profit centre that informs you about Amsterdam's favorite Herb-Cannabis. A tour to this college will let you have a tete a tete with staff about coffee shop etiquette, or browse bong displays and scroll through hemp-made products. You can also try out a vaporizer if you wish so.

14. Secular Amsterdam-Visit the Chinatown Buddist Temple

One of the facts that very few people know about Amsterdam is that it is the most secular city in Europe with 178 different nationalities recorded as living there in 2011 and it is estimated that up to 45% of the city have non-Dutch parents. Amsterdam’s Chinatown is emblematic of the same spiritand one of the tourist attractions here is the famous Zeedijk Buddhist temple also known as FoGuang Shan He Hua Temple. A visit to this temple is what can introduce you to the spirit of the city but is an absolutely one of the free things to in Amsterdam.

15. Attend a quintessentially Amsterdam’s Festival

Amsterdam is known for its lively festivals. Throughout the year, the city puts on a huge variety of free festivals and events. Starting from mid-April, these festivals continue through to January leaving you with a plethora of choices. A few of the best free festivals in Amsterdam are: King’s Day, Gay Pride, the Uitmarkt, Amsterdam Heritage Days, National Windmill Day, National Museum Weekend, Canal Festival, Amsterdam Light Festival and the famous National Tulip Day.

Hope we have given you enough ideas to explore Amsterdam on a shoestring budget!