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Raining in Amsterdam? Don’t let that dampen your spirits! Here are the best things to do in Amsterdam in the rain!

amsterdam in the rain

There aren’t many cities that sparkle when the heavens open but Amsterdam in the rain is definitely one of them.

Not too long ago I went to Amsterdam on a shoot with KLM and I’m not going to lie, it was a complete washout.

I had an amazing day planned out seeing the best sites and attractions in the city, but as is often the way when you’re filming outside in late November, it rained. A lot.

To give you an idea, check out my video of Amsterdam in the rain!

Things to do in Amsterdam when it rains

What I love about Amsterdam is it’s so quick and easy to get to – just a 45-minute flight to Schiphol Airport, a 20-minute train journey and bang, you’re in the centre of the city. Before you know it you’ve got a Heineken in your hand and the good times are rolling.

I’ve been to Amsterdam a few times before, so it’s a city I know fairly well which is always handy when it comes to filming. I had so many plans – SO MANY PLANS – and when left my hotel at 7:30am on Saturday morning I had such high hopes for the day. However, as soon as I whipped out my camera I felt one or two drops of rain.

I checked the weather forecast the day before and I knew it couldn’t be rain and yet there it was, steadily getting heavier and heavier.

I had plans to go to A’DAM Lookout, an observation deck with the best panoramic views of the city. They’ve even got Europe’s highest swing on the sky deck which sounded awesome, but this was the view that greeted me when I got there.

Amsterdam in the rain
Amsterdam in the rain: what should you do if it rains?

Looking up at the sky, I knew it was going to be a complete washout of a day and I knew all my filming plans had gone out the window.

That’s when I reverted to plan B. Whenever it rains and you’re filming or taking photos, you’ve just got to head straight indoors. So, with that in mind, here’s what to do in Amsterdam in the rain. Hopefully you won’t worry about the weather outside with these activities!

Head to Museumplein

One of the first things you should do in Amsterdam when it’s raining is check out one of the many museums (there are over 100 different museums to choose from in the city so you’re bound to find one that you like!)

If you head to Museumplein, Amsterdam’s Museum Square, you will find three of the Amsterdam’s most famous museums which will provide you with hours of entertainment on a rainy day. First up there’s the Rijksmuseum which is home to a vast assortment of Dutch fine art including Rembrandt’s iconic The Night Watch painting. Then there’s the Van Gogh museum which has the world’s largest collection of works by Vincent Van Gogh (including that piece). And finally, there’s Stedelijk, the design and contemporary art museum (which is the one I went too!)

Obviously these museums can get a little on the busy side when it’s raining. However, an upside is you’ll be able to get a photo of the I AMSTERDAM sign with hardly anyone in it!

And if none of those museums are your thing then there’s always the sex museum…

Find a good quality boozer and have a pint of Heineken

Obviously if it’s raining outside one of the things that you’ll want do is hide inside with a beer or two. Amsterdam is famous for its old cafes (no, not those ones). These are known as “Brown cafes” due to wood and leather being everywhere (they also have nicotine stained walls which adds another layer of brown), and they are as traditional as they come in the city. As you’re in Amsterdam it’d be rude not to have a Heineken, so have a few of these and wait for the weather to pass.

A few places you might want to check out are Café Chris, Café Heffer, Papeneiland, t’Smalle, and Tabac.

Pint of Heineken in Amsterdam
Pint of Heineken in Amsterdam

And if you want to learn about beer, then go on the Heineken Experience

Another fantastic option for a rainy day is the Heineken Experience, the tour of the Heineken brewery. Tickets cost 18 euros and include two drinks, and once inside you get to learn all about how this beer is made. Open in 1867, the Heineken brewery is a huge landmark in the city, and come rain or shine it’s definitely one of the things to do on any visit. When it comes to things to do in Amsterdam when it rains, this one has to be right up there.

Heineken Experience, Amsterdam
Heineken Experience, Amsterdam

Or if beer isn’t your thing, have a COFFEE instead

Like any other major European city, the coffee revolution has hit Amsterdam hard, and there are so many different independent cafes to choose from. If you’re looking for a place to catch up on a good book or to chat with a friend while it’s raining outside, then a cute little café might just be for you!

A few places you might want to check out are Coffee Bru, Espressofabriek, Screaming Beans, and the Scandinavian Embassy. Any of these are fantastic places are just fantastic on a rainy day.

Coffee in Amsterdam
Coffee in Amsterdam

Try different foods from around the world at the Foodhallen

If you’re looking to get a good fill and you want to sample different foods from around the world, then the Foodhallen is the place for you! This refurbished tram depot is home to over 20 different food-truck style stands selling different cuisines from around the world all under one very dry roof.

A few things to try are traditional bittenballen, Vietnamese summer rolls, a Greek meze, a home-cooked pie, and the artisanal burgers are simply delicious too!

Foodhallen at Amsterdam
Foodhallen at Amsterdam

Photo by Franklin Heijnen

Take a canal cruise

Even though it’s raining, you can’t come to Amsterdam without taking a canal cruise. After all, it’s always one of the things to do in the city.

Created in the 17th century, the canals of Amsterdam are a UENSCO protected site, and seeing all the sites and attractions from the cosy confines of a glass-ceilinged boat is the best way to tick everything off in the wet weather.

There are loads of different canal cruise companies to choose from. To find out more information, head to Amsterdam Canal Cruises.

There are loads of different canal cruises all over Holland. Make sure you check out some of the best family friendly places in Holland to see where to go with the little ones. You’ll be surprised at how much there is to do with the family in Holland!

Canal cruise, Amsterdam
Canal cruise, Amsterdam

Go to the theatre and grab yourself a bargain

If you’re into the theatre then you can grab some amazing last minute deals on the day, especially when it’s raining. After 10am, the Last Minute Ticket Shop sells selected shows (for that day only) at a hugely discounted price, usually 50% to 65% off.

However, beware! Some shows are only suitable for Dutch speakers, so any marked with an NL symbol are the ones to avoid (unless you speak Dutch of course!) Who said Amsterdam in the rain had to be boring!?

Carre Theatre, Amsterdam
Carre Theatre, Amsterdam

Photo by Erik Zachte

Buy some cheese!

If there’s one thing the Dutch are famous for its their cheese (okay, they’re famous for lots of things, but cheese is one of them). If you’re looking to pick up a memento of your time in Amsterdam why not some cheese!? Their Gouda and other hard cheese is to die for, and with loads of little cheese shops dotted around the city you’re never far away from the good stuff.

Cheese shops, Amsterdam
Cheese shops, Amsterdam

Tours in Amsterdam


So there you have it, the top things to do in Amsterdam in the rain! Don’t let the rain get you down and instead all the amazing things you can do indoors in the city!

What are some of your favourite things to do in Amsterdam in the rain? I’d love to know what you think so please post in the comment box below!

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Raining in Amsterdam? Don’t let that dampen your spirits and get you down! Here are the best things to do in Amsterdam when it rains!