Amsterdam in December

Oh Amsterdam, where do I even begin? Your canal-lined streets, smiling and insanely tall dutch residents, and highly assertive bikers can’t be beat. I’ve never visited a place for the first time while simultaneously feeling right at home.

While there are some touristy things to do in Amsterdam, most things on the list are things that locals enjoy everyday. Here are my top 10 recommendations of things to do in Amsterdam:

1. Anne Frank Huis

Anne Frank Huis - Topaz & Sapphire

Visiting the Anne Frank house was unlike any other experience I’ve ever had. It was humbling, touching, and eye-opening. The Anne Frank house is filled with photographs, snippets of her real diary, and videos of people who knew Anne and her family. To walk in the secret annex among so many other visitors from around the world really put into perspective how powerful and influential Anne Frank really was and still is. It’s a must see while in Amsterdam, you won’t regret it!

2. Albert Cuyp Market

Albert Cuyp Amsterdam Market Albert Cuyp Amsterdam Market Topaz & Sapphire Amsterdam Albert Cuyp Amsterdam Market

Located in the De Pijp District, this outdoor street market is a must see while visiting Amsterdam. The market contains vendors of all sorts. You can purchase souvenirs, clothing, and tons of local food. Make sure to try the poiffurtjes (mini pancakes), stroop waffles, and a freshly squeezed juice. Stay clear of hans! Just thinking of the texture of this raw fish makes me nauseous.

3. Bloemenmarkt

Amsterdam Floating Flower Market

Bloemenmarkt is the only floating flower market in the entire world! This market is usually filled with plentiful tulips. Since it was December, it was filled with some flowers, a lot of tulip bulbs, and seasonal greenery, like wreaths. I was so tempted in buying all the flowers because they’re all so dang cheap – like 2.50 Euros for the whole bunch.

4. Winkel 43

A hidden gem right off of Noordermarkt, Winkel 43 is famous for their apple pie. A great place to take a quick break from bike riding and enjoy a sweet treat. Hands down the best apple pie I’ve ever had (and I’m not even an apple pie type person).

5. Light Festival Water Colors Canal Cruise

Amsterdam Light Festival Cruise

Light Festival Canal Tour Amsterdam

See Amsterdam in a whole new light (pun intended) by touring it on boat through all of the canals! The Light Festival Water Cruise only runs after Thanksgiving through mid January, so make sure to take advantage of the opportunity during this time if you are visiting in December.

6. Vondelpark

Vondelpark Amsterdam - Topaz & Sapphire Vondelpark Amsterdam - Topaz & Sapphire Vondelpark Amsterdam - Topaz & Sapphire

Vondelpark is a public urban park packed with plenty of trees, ponds, and puppies. It’s a great place to bike through, have a picnic, or people watch. My favorite part of the park are the leashless dogs who willingly jump into the ponds whilst playing fetch.

7. Museum District

Van Gogh Museum I am Amsterdam - Topaz & Sapphire I am Amsterdam - Topaz & Sapphire

In the museum district you can find the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh museum, and the famous “I am Amsterdam” sign. While I only made it to the Van Gogh museum, I hear both are incredible. Rijksmuseum is much larger than Van Gogh, so if you have the time go for it, or both – take advantage!

8. Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek Christmas Market

Amsterdam Christmas Market Amsterdam Christmas Market Amsterdam Christmas Market

There are so many festive Christmas markets in the Netherlands. We enjoyed the Westergasfabariek Christmas market, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a great holiday activity for anyone, including families and children.

9. Red Light District

I wasn’t really planning on going through the red light district while visiting Amsterdam. When hanging out with a group of people on Saturday night on our way to an arcade bar, we kind of just stumbled upon it. Of course this is no place for children or families, however it was a very interest experience to say the least. While it was saddening to see women objectify themselves, it made me think about how the world really needs to change their views on sex and legal prostitution.

10. Foodhallen

Amsterdam Foodhallen Amsterdam Foodhallen

Foodhallen is an indoor food market filled with a variety of local food vendors. It feels similar to a mall’s food court, but obviously way nicer. I also loved all of the festive holiday decorations during this time of year.

Have any of you visited Amsterdam? If so, what are your must things to do and see?

Topaz & Sapphire Amsterdam

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  • What FUN!!! I want to go on your next adventure with you! 🙂 I loved all of this and felt like I was there with you!

    • I’m always up for a travel buddy! Thanks for stopping by, Michelle!

  • This looks amazing! I was actually thinking about stopping there on my next trip to Europe! Hopefully in May. I just love everything about Europe. How long did you stay?

    • Oh I would definitely recommend going. I’ve been several places in Europe and this was one of my favorites. Not to mention, everyone commutes via bike so it makes seeing the city really easy! We stayed for 6 days. But 4 out of those days I was working remotely during the day and only had time to explore in the evenings on those days. I would say a solid 3-4 days would be plenty to see and do all the things you want to!

  • This looks like a great trip! Amsterdam (along with everywhere else) is on my list! Definitely saving this for future planning!

  • It’s been about 15 years since I was in Amsterdam. I really want to go back and experience it again. We were there in April and one thing I really remember is how cold it was (so I can only imagine how cold it must have been in December!). Yet, all the local were still riding their bikes everywhere, most with no gloves and just a light jacket (while I wore two of everything trying to stay warm!).

  • I’ve heard amazing things about the Anne Frank Huis, and if Iever have the opportunity, I am definitely definitely definitely going to check that out. I love this comprehensive list. Thank you for sharing!

  • Anamika Ojha

    Amsterdam is in my wishlist and your post entice me to go there. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  • I’ve got wanderlust sooo bad! I’ve been scrounging around for some posts about travel. Have you been anywhere else besides Amsterdam?

  • Ugh, next time, take me with you. All of this sounds amazing! Amsterdam has never even been on my list until I read this!

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