The last thing you want on your trip to Amsterdam is rain. However, sometimes it just happens and I’m here to tell you what you have to do in Amsterdam when it rains. From some of the best indoor activities of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to top places to visit in Amsterdam that you haven’t heard of before. By the end of this article, you will know that a rainy day in Amsterdam doesn’t keep you away from fun things that you can do.
What to do in Amsterdam when it rains: Stuff to do in Amsterdam and sites to see
The Netherlands isn’t a country that is well-known for its beautiful weather. We have sunny days, don’t get me wrong, but not as much as a country like Spain, for instance. Not even close. People ask me all the time: ‘Does it rain a lot in Amsterdam?’ And it actually doesn’t rain a lot. We do have a lot of grey, cloudy and moody days.
The wettest months in The Netherlands are the following: October, July (YES, I’m not lying), November and September. So obviously autumn is the wettest, and rainy, season of The Netherlands. The number of days that have precipitation in The Netherlands varies between 120 and 155 days. This means that there are at least between 210 or 245 days of precipitation free days in a year in The Netherlands. And when it does rain, the chances are very small that it rains the entire day.
So when people say that you shouldn’t visit The Netherlands or Amsterdam from September until November, or even March, don’t listen to them. Because while it will be chilly from November until March, there are fewer tourists in The Netherlands from September until the end of March.
Sometimes when it rains and you’re on holiday, you might get disappointed. And that’s a normal feeling. That’s why I’m going to help you out for when you’re in Amsterdam and you have no clue what to do in Amsterdam when it rains. You will see cheap things to do in Amsterdam, unique things and plenty more in this insiders guide to a rainy day in Amsterdam.
1. Discover the city archives of Amsterdam
One of the must-see places in Amsterdam is the city archives. Here you will discover a lot about the history of Amsterdam and will get to know interesting facts about this Dutch city.
Besides that visiting, this archive is one of the free things you can do in Amsterdam. The information centre, treasure room, film room and study room can be visited for free.
You can also find exhibitions in this building about Amsterdam and the history of the city. Visiting these exhibitions does cost you money (7,50 for adults, 5 euros for students), but they are very interesting. If you’re looking for stuff to do in Amsterdam, then you cannot go wrong with bringing a visit to the city archives.
2. Visit small and lesser known museums in Amsterdam
One thing I love about Amsterdam is that there are so many small and unknown museums to visit. We have all heard of the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum and the Anne Frank Huis (House). But there’s more to the museum part of Amsterdam than these three museums. When you’re thinking of different things to do in Amsterdam, I would recommend you to research the following museums:
If you’re a fan of visiting museums, then I would choose several of these museums as the things you have to do in Amsterdam in a day. And when it’s raining, you only have to go from one museum to the next. While they’re not located next to each other, public transport is good in Amsterdam and The Netherlands, so you won’t be completely soaked.
3. Explore the indoor markets of Amsterdam
Amsterdam has quite a few indoor markets. From great food to endless stalls of art and design. You can find all of that in Amsterdam.
The first indoor market in Amsterdam I would recommend you to visit is Sunday Market. This market is located in different locations depending on the day and it is Amsterdam’s most creative market. Here you will find everything from design to vintage. And from ceramics to jewellery and plenty more.
Sunday Market is a great platform for creatives, designers and artists. It is the best thing you can do on a Sunday afternoon in Amsterdam. Have a look at the dates and locations of the Sunday Market at their website here.
Every first Saturday of the month there’s a second hand/ vintage clothing market in De Passage of De Hallen called KLOFFIE market. You will find a lot of things here: From designer items to collector’s items and plenty more. If you’re a fan of vintage or second-hand clothing then I’m pretty sure that you will love to bring a visit to the KLOFFIE market.
There are plenty of more markets held during the other weekends in De Passage. Have a look at their calendar here.
4. See the best views of Amsterdam
While the view of Amsterdam isn’t as clear when it rains as it usually is, it’s still something I like to do when it rains in Amsterdam. Whether you’re visiting Amsterdam in June or if you’re looking for things to do in Amsterdam in February, discovering great views is always a good idea. For the best views of Amsterdam on a rainy day I would recommend you to go to the following places:
- OBA: The public library of Amsterdam. While there are endless locations, you have to visit the one near the central train station in Amsterdam. Take an elevator to the 6th floor (when it rains the terrace is usually closed and it’s completely closed during the winter months) and walk around the library and discover the great view from behind the windows. Do remember that it’s a library and people are studying here. So don’t be loud.
- SkyLounge Amsterdam: This is a great sky lounge in Amsterdam that can be found on top of the Hilton Hotel, which is also nearby the library I just told you about. Grab a few drinks and bites while you’re enjoying the view of the city of Amsterdam and spot all its sites.
- Blue Amsterdam: In the Kalvertoren you can find the restaurant of Blue Amsterdam which also offers a nice view of Amsterdam. And again, get something to eat and drink and you’re settled for the afternoon.
5. Stroll from one gallery to the next in Amsterdam
One of the must-do things you have to do in Amsterdam is visiting galleries. Not only are they often free to visit in Amsterdam (budget tip!), but you will also discover new artists and creatives this way. Maybe you’re learning about the new Vincent van Gogh or Rembrandt. Who knows?!
Get inspired and visit incredible galleries in Amsterdam while you’re blown away by all the talented artists that showcase their art here. As these galleries are all located inside buildings, this is one of the things you have to do in Amsterdam when it rains and some of the best places to see when you’re looking for insider tips.
- Cloud Gallery Amsterdam
- Mini Galerie
- Arti et Amicitiae
6. Enjoy one of the best canal tours of Amsterdam
Although you might prefer to take the best canal tour through the canals of Amsterdam in good weather, I can tell you that this is also one of the fun things you can do in Amsterdam when it rains.
Imagine this: ‘You’re in a comfortable boat that is cruising through the canals of Amsterdam. While the raindrops fall on the windows of the boat and into the water, you’re listening to the soothing voice of your professional guide who tells you everything you need to know about the buildings and canals you’re passing.’
You can enjoy all of this while the people outside are getting wet in Amsterdam. So I would recommend you to take a canal cruise in the rain.
I’m recommending you my favourite canal tour in Amsterdam in this 2 day itinerary article.
7. Play games in an indoor game hall in Amsterdam
Visiting Tonton club is one of the cool things you have to do in Amsterdam. Not only is this indoor game hall as authentic and beautiful looking as you’ve dreamt about, but they also have two locations in Amsterdam. One is located in the centre of Amsterdam and it’s one of the things you have to do here. You can play retro arcade games, play board games, try Dutch craft beers and plenty of more. You do have to pay for the tokens to play the games, but that only makes sense.
The other location is in the Western part of Amsterdam and heavily inspired by Japanese food and game culture. There are Japanese button bashers, a dance dance revolution and plenty of more. The interior is incredible as well and it is located in the Westerpark. While some don’t like these kinds of games, others do and you’ll be happy that you’ve tried out these weird but fun things to do in Amsterdam.
8. Buy the best second hand clothing in the Ij-hallen of Amsterdam
The Ij-Hallen in Amsterdam is an incredibly popular spot for every vintage lover as it houses the biggest flea market of Amsterdam, The Netherlands and even of Europe! If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, then I don’t know what will. It’s a paradise. If you don’t know where and what to visit in Amsterdam, then you know now.
Usually, the flea market inside the Ij-Hallen takes place once or twice a month. Take the free ferry to the North of Amsterdam and you’ll be there in no time. It’s one of the top places to visit when you’re in Amsterdam. Click here for the current dates of the flea market in the Ij-Hallen.
9.Get your ice skates on & discover the Dutch way of life at the Jaap Eden Ijsbaan
When it’s a rainy day in Amsterdam, people often wonder ‘what is there to do now?’ Iceskating is one of the solutions. Although the ice skating rink isn’t open during the end of spring and the entire summer, if you’re visiting beyond those seasons then you’re in for a treat.
Discover one of the most popular and typical Dutch activities to do, gain some muscles and go for some rounds on ice skates. You can rent ice skates at the icerink (bring an ID or passport, without one you cannot rent skates), but don’t forget to bring gloves with you (without them you aren’t allowed to enter the ice) and maybe a hat (as ice generally means it’s cold).
If you have never skated before, then there are almost always chairs or other items that you can use to hold yourself to. You do have to put 50 Eurocents the grab one of them (but you get that back when you return it).
I love to go ice skating and the Jaap Eden Baan in Amsterdam is one of the best places in Amsterdam to spend a day during the rainy season. Or, if you’re looking for a kind of lazy day in Amsterdam, then you can go for one or two rounds on the rinks and settle for a hot chocolate with whipped cream after that.
10. Relax and enjoy a spa in Amsterdam
One of my favourite things to do in Amsterdam when it rains, in the months surrounding January, or winter in general, is bringing a visit to a spa.
Keep in mind, visiting a spa in The Netherlands means that you should be completely naked. In most spas, there is a swimwear day once or twice a week, but the rest of the week you can only visit these places if you’re naked. While not everyone is a fan of this, I can assure you that there’s nothing weird or sexual about this experience. We all have bodies, it’s not a big deal.
I’m a huge fan of these places as it completely relaxes my mind, body and soul. As well as that my skin feels like a baby’s bottom at the end of the day, which is a huge plus. So if you’re visiting Amsterdam and are looking to relax, then listen to my voice in this travel blog. You won’t be disappointed.
I would recommend you to visit Spa Zuiver in Amsterdam.
11. Go shopping in Magna Plaza
Amsterdam is a city where there are plenty of things to do, even on a rainy day. One of the best things to do in Amsterdam, if you’re a fan of buying stuff, is shopping. And the best indoor shopping centre in Amsterdam is Magna Plaza.
Here you will find shops that you mostly cannot find in most cities in The Netherlands. Think of The Cool Collective and Hutspot. There is also a great food department, so when you’re hungry after shopping you have to grab a bite there. Whether you’re visiting Amsterdam in January, July or December, visiting Magna Plaza is one of the things you have to do.
12. Go for a cheese tasting in Amsterdam
While the best cheese doesn’t come from the city of Amsterdam, there are plenty of cheese shops that offer a cheese tasting in Amsterdam. And as a Dutch blogger, I cannot let you miss out on this experience. Stuffing my face when I’m travelling is one of my favourite things to do and who wouldn’t want to try one of the many different Dutch pieces of cheese?
At Fromagerie Kef you can go for a great cheese tasting in the Northern part of Amsterdam. Here you will try a unique range of seasonal cheeses from small-scale producers from The Netherlands, and also from France. So with this tasting, you will get to taste some of the best cheeses of both The Netherlands and France: which is the best of both worlds. At Fromagerie Kef you will learn about the origin and background of the cheeses while eating too much cheese (does that even exist?). You can reserve a tasting at Fromagerie Kef here and even request to have a tasting with only Dutch cheeses.
Reypenaer is the other cheese tasting store that I would recommend you to go to if you’re looking for what to do in Amsterdam when it rains. Although this one is a lot more touristy and has more visitors, thus is more crowded, on a day to day basis. At the Reypenaer proeflokaal, they will explain the process and the background of the cheeses while you munch on the pieces of cheese. Click here to buy a cheese tasting at Reypenaer as a cheese tasting is one of the things you have to see and do in Amsterdam.
13. Watch movies at the Filmhallen
The Filmhallen are in the same location as the Foodhallen and as De Passage (for one of the markets). What I love about the Filmhallen is that there are both blockbusters shown, and other typical cinema movies, as well as documentaries, short films and films that cannot be seen in regular cinemas.
When you’re looking for things to do in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, or sites to see: De Hallen and it’s complex is the perfect area to spend some time. Watch a great movie, or two, eat some food and enjoy the cosy atmosphere.
14. Drink the best craft beers in Amsterdam at a tasting
Dutch people + beer= A perfect combination. And if you’re also a fan then you have just figured out what to do in Amsterdam when it rains. In The Netherlands, we have been brewing beer for hundreds and hundreds of years. From big breweries to microbreweries. We have them all in The Netherlands. Nowadays the microbreweries are everywhere and Dutch craft beer is incredibly varied in taste. That’s why one of the things you have to do, even if you only have one day in Amsterdam, is to go for a tasting of Dutch craft beer.
With so many microbreweries in Amsterdam, it’s hard to give you a complete list of the best breweries of Amsterdam, for a beer tasting, but I will give you a shortlist below that has some of my favourite places in Amsterdam on it.
15. Get active and go for a swim in an indoor swimming pool in Amsterdam
I cannot get any more Dutch: I can and like to ice skate, cycling is second nature as well as swimming. Besides that, swimming is very good for everyone’s body and soul. So whether you’re looking for a quick exercise or a calming and relaxing swim, the Dutch swimming pools will be your place to be.
And what’s a better way than to start or finish your day by looking out of the window to the rainy weather, while you’re enjoying a comfortable temperature? Some of the nice swimming pools that you can find in Amsterdam are listed below. Remember, if you cannot swim or aren’t comfortable with water, please don’t try it here for the first time. Also, there are a lot of lessons and training times during the days in every swimming pool in The Netherlands. Have a look at the websites and search for the words banenzwemmen (swimming in lanes) & recreatiefzwemmen (recreational swimming) on the schedules. Behind these words, you will see the times that you can swim in the pool.
- Sportfondsenbad Amsterdam Oost
16. Explore the typical Dutch brown cafes in Amsterdam
If you’re still looking for what, or things, to do on a rainy day in Amsterdam, then maybe this one is for you. Another typical Dutch thing is brown cafes. They smell old, have a rustic atmosphere and make you feel like you’re stepping back a few hundred years in time. There are authentic Dutch brown cafes in every city or town in The Netherlands, as well as in Amsterdam. Discover tasty Dutch snacks, locally brewed beers and an experience of a lifetime.
There are so many brown cafes to be found in Amsterdam alone that it’s impossible to list them all. You can find some of my favourite cafes in Amsterdam below.
- Café Chris
- ‘t Smalle
- Café de Wetering
- Café De Dokter – “Het Doktertje”
17. Play Dutch games at the Spelletjes, or Games, cafe in Amsterdam
One of the things you have to do in Amsterdam in the rain is to play board games. From Backgammon to Mens Erger Je Niet. And from monopoly to Risk. You can find these games and more in the Spelletjes Cafe – 2 Klaveren.
This cafe is very well-known within Amsterdam for having the perfect combination of good food, a ‘gezellige’ atmosphere and many traditional Dutch, and other popular, board games. When it’s raining cats and dogs in Amsterdam, there’s no better way than to spend an entire day or afternoon playing board games in a cosy cafe.
18. Watch a movie in one of the most beautiful cinemas in The Netherlands
One of the best places to go to in Amsterdam is the beautiful cinema Tuschinski. This cinema is seen as one of the most beautiful cinemas in the world and I’m sure that you will understand why that is when you enter the cinema.
It’s a combination of incredible details, perfect colours and the smell of freshly baked popcorn that will make watching a movie in the Tuschinski cinema in Amsterdam one of your best cinema experiences ever. This cinema in The Netherlands has six halls and offers plenty of great movies. You can watch blockbusters, but also less popular movies.
19. Eat, drink and pet cats in one of the cat cafes that you can find in Amsterdam
Cats are one of my favourite animals. They are cuddly (when they want), speak their minds (just like I do) and they are unpredictable which adds to the fun. Cat cafes are huge in many countries across the world and you can also find them here, in The Netherlands.
Visit Kattencafe Kopjes to discover what the first cat cafe of The Netherlands looks like. You do have to pay an entry fee of 3 euros (2019) and you have to reserve a spot which allows you to stay at this cafe for 2 hours. Click here for more information about Kattencafe Kopjes (Dutch).
20. Feel the warmth in one of the oldest botanical gardens of The Netherlands
I love bringing a visit to the oldest botanical garden in The Netherlands. The Hortus Botanicus botanical garden next to the zoo of Artis in Amsterdam is a breath of fresh and warm air when you’re done with the rainy Dutch weather for the day.
Instead of walking around in thick coats and rain jackets, you’re able to warm your body and launch yourself into a completely different world. Discover rare plants, flowers and trees while you’re wandering through the cosy botanical garden. This is a must-do activity when you’re looking for what to do in Amsterdam when it rains.
21. Get sweaty and strong while you climb to the top
By now you should know what there is to do in Amsterdam when it rains, but we’re not finished yet and we are going out with a bang. Climb your way to the top with one of the adventurous things you can do in Amsterdam: bouldering. You can find more than 500 square meters of climbing walls At Monk Bouldergym in the North of Amsterdam, as well as a great cafe where you can enjoy something nice to drink and eat after your bouldering session.
At Monk Amsterdam, you can rent special shoes for your session as well, so that’s one less thing to worry about. Climb your way to the top and discover one of the things you must do in Amsterdam, especially when the weather is moody outside.
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I hope this article was useful for you and that you will enjoy your time in Amsterdam and The Netherlands, even when there’s a rainy day. By now you know what the best rainy day activities in Amsterdam are, as well many fun places of interest where you can go to in Amsterdam, even when the Dutch weather is letting you down.
Whether you’re looking for things to do in Amsterdam in October, November or March, these are the best activities you can do in Amsterdam when you want to be as little outside as possible. I hope this article has made, or will make, your stay in The Netherlands more enjoyable, especially since you now know what to do in Amsterdam when it rains. Don’t forget to share this post!!