I love my new adopted city but boy is the weather changeable. If you are coming to Amsterdam and wondered what are the best things to do in Amsterdam in the rain fear not as our guide to best things to do on a rainy day in Amsterdam has you covered.
Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you!
Things to know about Visiting Amsterdam in the rain
Amsterdam being in Northern Europe is a pretty rainy city. I recommend whatever time of year you are visiting Amsterdam, being that April or August is to download the Buienalarm app on your phone. All locals use this app as it shows the radar picture of when you can expect rain and I’ll be honest it is pretty accurate and will also show you how heavy the rain is as well as how long it will last.
Wondering about Amsterdam weather by month and what to wear? The check out these posts;
- What to wear in Amsterdam in April
- What to wear in Amsterdam in July
- What to wear in Amsterdam in December
Best Things to do on a Rainy Day in Amsterdam
Visit a Museum
Amsterdam is one of the best cities in the world for museums and in my opinion these are some of the best things to do in Amsterdam in the rain. Depending on your interests and whether you are traveling solo, as a family etc will dictate the best museum for you to visit.
Perhaps one of the most famous museums in Amsterdam is the Rijksmuseum. The Rijksmuseum is one of the city’s premier art museums where you can view the famous Nightwatchsmen painting. The museum is packed full of Rembrandt’s and is an art lovers dream but if you are traveling with young children then there is not much on offer for them. For more tips and tricks on visiting the Rijksmuseum and its’ highlights click here!
If you are visiting Amsterdam with toddlers or kids then I think the best thing you can do on a rainy day in Amsterdam with kids is to head to the NEMO Science Museum. There are loads of great hands on learning experiences here including a fanastatic science show. But be warned you may get wet here even when trying to escape a rainy day in Amsterdam as there is a large water play section so be sure to take your little ones a change of clothes.
There is also a great viewing platform terrace on the roof of Nemo which is also one of my favourite free things to do in the Amsterdam.
Other museums that are worth a mention include the
- TropenMuseum – the anthropological museum in Amsterdam which has a great range of temporary exhibitions. The last time we went there was a Japanese pop culture exhibition which saw the museum filled with Japanese arcade games.
- MOCO Museum of Contemporary art
- The Maritime Museum which my daughter really enjoys as there is a ship which you can board and wander round and a children exhibition on the whale.
- or for something a bit different head to the Museum of Bags and Purses.
Top Tip: If you are planning on visiting several museums during your Amsterdam vacation it may be a cost saver to purchase an I Amsterdam Card!
Take a Canal Tour
A Canal tour is a must for any Amsterdam Bucket List. And while it is lovely to sit on an open top canal boat, it can be equally lovely to tour the city by boat in the rain.
Visit the Royal Palace in Amsterdam
The Royal Palace in Amsterdam is still a working royal building and as such can occasionally be closed to the public. However most of the year the palace is open for visitors. There is a free audio guide for the palace and even an audio guide for children in both English and Dutch.
Have a Beer at the Heineken Experience
Heineken is one of Amsterdam’s most famous exports so why not head to the original brewery and have a true Heinenken Experience. Here you will learn about the brewing process and companies history as well as some interactive elements and of course enjoy some samples in the tasting room.
Visit a Windmill
If you are looking for a different beer experience then consider heading to the De Gooyer Windmill. Ok, so the brewery is actually next door to the windmill but it is still pretty cool and the beer brewed there is good too!
Sample food from around the world at Foodhallen
One of my favourite places to go for lunch or dinner in the city is the Foodhallen. This is a covered food hall with a variety of stalls representing a variety of world cuisines. I love eating here especially in large group as everyone can eat from a different region. It can be a little hard to get a table at peak times but there are lots of lovely artisan shops outside you can wander if it takes time to find a spot. It is very easy to wile away a few hours away here sampling lots of tapas style food and grabbing a beer.
Grab a Pancake
After cheese, perhaps Amsterdam’s most famous cuisine is the pancake. There are plenty of pancake houses around the city and some are more touristy than others but you can’t really go wrong with a pancake. I would pick the pancake house in the most convenient location to you. We have so far tried De Vier Pilaren (near Vondel Park and Rijksmuseum) and The Pancake Bakery (near the Anne Frank house) and have had good experiences at both.
Westergasfabriek is a cultural centre to the north of the city at the end of the tram 5 route that is also home to great indoor markets. There are also options to stop for a bite to eat. My favourite time of year to head to Westergasfabriek is in the run up to Christmas for their quirky Christmas markets but check their website to find out what is going on at the time of your visit.
While their be sure to head into another Amsterdam institution the Tony’s Chocolonely Shop where you can fill your face on free chocolate samples, also create your own chocolate bar or pick up a great Amsterdam souvenir. This is without doubt my favourite shop in the whole of Amsterdam.
Do a Diamond Tour
Amsterdam has a long history in the diamond industry. One place to learn all about it is at GAssan Diamonds. As an added bonus this is also one of the free things to do in the city.
Do a Lunchtime Concert at Muziektheater Opera
If it is raining over a lunch time a great place to escape the rain in Amsterdam is at the Muziektheater Opera. Throughout the year the theatre puts on free lunchtime concerts which is a great way to see some world class musicians for free. To check the current schedule of free concerts click here!
Poezenboot Cat Sanctuary
The Pozenboot is basically a cat Sanctuary on a canal boat. If you love cats then this is definitely the place for you. As we have cat allergies in our house we have never done this but have heard great reviews.
Best things to do on a rainy day in Amsterdam with kids
As we have already mentioned the Nemo Science Museum is a great place to visit in Amsterdam with kids. If you looking for some other great things to do on a rainy day in Amsterdam with kids we recommend
Kindercafes are a main stay of any Amsterdam mom’s rainy day arsenal. Kinder cafes are basically cafes that usually have some soft play elements. Some of the most famous in Amsterdam include De Kleine Parade, Blender to name just a few.
When we first moved to Amsterdam we went through a period of very heavy rain. One of the places that we went to frequently was the Tun Fun Soft play close to Rembrandt’s house is located in a disused underground tunnel and is a great place if you are travelling with Amsterdam with kids and need them to blow off some steam on a rainy day.
What not to Do when it rains in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is full of some amazing museums but if you are visiting on a rainy day in Amsterdam there are a few museums that I would recommend skipping. The museums I would recommend avoiding (if you haven’t rebooked that is) when it rains in Amsterdam are:
The Anne Frank House is a must visit for any Amsterdam bucket list however advance booking of your tickets is essential if you don’t want to be queuing outside. Therefore if you are in Amsterdam on a rainy day don’t try and do the Anne Frank House, I would recommend planning this is advance and not worry about scheduling this around the weather.
The other two museums in Amsterdam that I recommend booking in advance and not waiting for a rainy day to just turn up to are Van Gogh Museum and the Stedlijk museum as the queues for these museums can get quite long because of restricted numbers of visitors.
For more information about what to wear in the rain in Amsterdam in December check out this post.
What are your favourite things to do on a rainy day in Amsterdam?