Skip to Content

15 BEST Things To Do in Amsterdam Noord & Alternative Amsterdam Activities!

This post may contain affiliate links. I will receive a small commission if you use these links.

Looking for the best things to do in Amsterdam Noord, or Amsterdam North as it’s known? Or, just looking for some alternative things to do in Amsterdam? I’ve got you covered from where to stay, where to go on a perfect bike ride, museums to visit and where to eat!

Amsterdam Noord is just across the water from Amsterdam Central Station but once there, it’s leafy suburban, yet cool and redeveloped, streets feel a million miles away and that’s why it’s the perfect place to base yourself in Amsterdam to avoid the city centre crowds and tourists and to see a unique area of Amsterdam, but, just be a short, free, 5 minute ferry ride away from the iconic canals.

I have just visited Amsterdam for the third time staying at Bunk Amsterdam in Amsterdam Noord, checking out the things to do in Amsterdam North and I have to say I fell in love with this area, from the ease of biking around, the local restaurants and the cool NDSM warehouse area, there’s a lot to do here which I’m going to cover in this Amsterdam travel blog.

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord
Keep reading for things to do in Amsterdam Noord!

Whether you’re planning your first trip to Amsterdam and want to stay in a less expensive part of the city but still be within the action, or you’re a seasoned Amsterdam visitor wanting to check out a new neighbourhood and some more unusual things to do in Amsterdam, this list of things to do in Amsterdam Noord has you covered!

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, quiet street in Amsterdam Noord
Quiet, leafy street in Amsterdam Noord!

Where to Stay in Amsterdam Noord

Let’s start with where to stay in Amsterdam North as I really recommend staying in this area too.

Accommodation in Amsterdam City Centre comes with a very high price point and like with all cities, staying slightly out of the centre brings cost down and takes the quality up.

However the best thing about staying in Amsterdam Noord is just how close it is to Amsterdam Central Station (which I cover below), so you’re staying further out.. but really, you’re not at all!

I stayed at Bunk Amsterdam which is a fairly new hotel and has a sister property in Utrecht. I really enjoyed my stay and fully recommend it to you.

Bunk Amsterdam is located within a church so it has lots of cool old features such as church doors and arches around the building, but it’s also very modern and hip with a co-working space, a beautiful restaurant area and a range of different rooms at different price points, including dormitory rooms and family rooms.

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, outside of Bunk hotel Amsterdam
Outside Bunk Hotel Amsterdam showing the original church building!
Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, Bunk hotel Amsterdam co-working space
Co-working space at Bunk Amsterdam

I stayed in an Epic + room which was over 2 floors with the bathroom downstairs and bedroom upstairs and it was very comfy for my husband and I for 2 nights. A highlight for me was the breakfast! When purchased in advance you get 3 cafe-style breakfast dishes to choose from in their restaurant which really set you up for the day!

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, Bunk hotel Amsterdam Epic + bedroom
Epic + bedroom

The staff were great, the space inside and out is cool, you’re bound to meet new people here if you’re solo and want to socialise and it’s in a perfect location within Amsterdam Noord close to bus stops, the metro stop and the ferry port.

Check out availability at Bunk Amsterdam here!

How to Get to Amsterdam Noord

Amsterdam Noord is well connected to the city centre by metro and ferry making it really easy to visit and stay.

Metro Line M52 connects Amsterdam Central Station with Noorderpark Station and Noord station which is what I used to get to Bunk Amsterdam Hotel.

For a quick and free way to get to Amsterdam Noord, especially if you plan to visit the attractions near the water like the A’DAM Lookout, there’s a free ferry from Amsterdam Central Station going to ‘Buiksloterweg’ which takes 5 minutes.

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, passengers getting on free Amsterdam ferry
Passengers getting on one of the free Amsterdam ferries across the river.

If you want to go to the NDSM neighbourhood, there’s also a free ferry from Amsterdam Central Station, just look for the one going to ‘NDSM’.

You can take bikes on the free ferries which is what we did as we hired bikes from Amsterdam Central Station using our I Amsterdam City Cards (more on that below!)

Noord Amsterdam Things To Do

Ok, let’s get into how you can spend your time in Amsterdam Noord which includes some of the best alternative things to do in Amsterdam!

1. Go to the top of A’DAM Lookout

This is the top attraction in Amsterdam Noord and why a lot of tourists come across the water to this neighbourhood, it’s worth a visit but it’s also worth sticking around in the area and not crossing back over the water straight away!

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, view of River from top of A'DAM lookout
View of the river and central station from the top of A’DAM Lookout!

Offering a panoramic view of Amsterdam, A’DAM Lookout is an observation deck in Amsterdam Noord. Once you take the lift 20 floors up there are 2 floors to enjoy, one inside with a bar and restaurant, and one outside with a casual bar and seating areas.

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, Ellie at the top of A'DAM lookout
These views are why its one the of the best things to do in Amsterdam!
Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, seating and views from the top of A'DAM lookout
Definitely head up here on a sunny day in Amsterdam!

This is a really great place to see Amsterdam from and on a sunny day, it’s a lovely place to relax in the sun on the top floor with a drink and great vibe.

A’DAM Lookout is included in the I Amsterdam City Card which is great value if you intend to see lots of museums and attractions in your Amsterdam itinerary!

2. Dare to try Europe’s highest swing

One of the main attractions to A’DAM Lookout is the swing that hangs off the building and is Europe’s highest swing called Over The Edge!

If you want one of the best unusual things to do in Amsterdam, dangle your legs 100m high over the edge of the building whilst being rocked back and forth!

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, Europe's highest swing at the top of A'DAM lookout
Would you have a go on this? One of the top Amsterdam Noord attractions!

3. Take a VR Roller Coaster Ride Through Amsterdam

If Europe’s Highest Swing is not enough adrenaline or a unique enough way to see the city, at the top of A’DAM Lookout you can also go on the Amsterdam VR ride which is a VR roller coaster through the highlights of the city!

4. Explore the NDSM neighbourhood

Part of the Amsterdam Noord borough is the NDSM neighbourhood which has a really interesting history as it used to be where ships docked with a lot of warehouses in the shipyard. Now, it still has a lot of warehouses, and ships, but they have been redeveloped and transformed into museums, markets and places to eat.

If you want street art and a very cool, hip vibe where more locals hang out than tourists, NDSM is the place to visit!

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, NDSM sign and crane tower hotel
Look out for the famous crane hotel in NDSM!

Admire the unique crane hotel, look out for when Europe’s biggest flea market is happening IJ-Hallen, enjoy the art and water views and the many many places to eat and drink.

Getting here: I walked here from Bunk Amsterdam which is close to A’DAM Lookout in about 30 minutes and it was a great walk through a very different area of the city to what the tourist centre is. However, you can also get here by bus and by the free ferry going to NDSM from Amsterdam Central Station.

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, street art in NDSM
There’s lots of cool things to see in NSDM!

5. Go to STRAAT Museum in NDSM

One of the top places to visit in NDSM is STRAAT Museum. A museum of huge street art and graffiti pieces by over 150 international artists located in an old shipyard warehouse.

As well as all of the pieces to see they have a cafe and a table to sit at and do your own art, perfect for visiting Amsterdam with kids to get them involved in art too!

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, outside Straat Museum in NDSM
Visit some museums in NDSM like STRAAT!
Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, inside Straat Museum in NDSM
STRAAT Museum is a cool street art and graffiti museum!

6. Have a drink or food at Pllek in NDSM

There are many places to eat and drink in NDSM but the one I kept seeing recommended and decided to go to is Pllek, right on the waters edge and I can see why its highly recommended!

There’s inside and outside seating and on a sunny weekday morning it was lovely to relax with a view of the water in the sunshine, although I imagine it gets a lot busier later on and on weekends.

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, inside Pllek
Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, inside Pllek

The water front is made up of small stones with lots of deck chair seating, some people where there with kids with buckets and spades and I love the beach vibe it has.

Pllek is not just about it’s location though, they have a focus on sustainability offering many vegetarian and vegan dishes as well we meat dishes, all locally sourced and fresh.

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, outside Pllek restaurant on river with seats
Outside Pllek with seating by the River!

7. Hire a Bike and enjoy a chilled ride to Nieuwendam

A highlight of my 2 days in Amsterdam was hiring a bike and exploring the former village of Nieuwendam.

Because I had the I Amsterdam City Card which includes bike hire from Amsterdam Central Station, I took the ferry over to collect my bike and went back again with my bike on the ferry… yes, I felt very much like a local!

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, MacBike Bike rental in Amsterdam Central Station
MacBike bike rental in Amsterdam Central Station

I would never bike in Amsterdam City Centre as it’s too busy but Amsterdam Noord is much quieter to bike with plenty of bike lanes and much less traffic in my experience.

I was short on time so only headed to the former village of Nieuwendam but it was lovely to see the old houses and cobbled streets here by the marina. Head to Nieuwendammerdijk Street to find these!

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, Ellie on bike in Amsterdam Noord
Biking the quiet streets is one of the best things to do in Amsterdam Noord!
Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, Nieuwendammerdijk Street in Amsterdam Noord
The pretty Nieuwendammerdijk Street in Amsterdam Noord

For more places to bike in Amsterdam Noord head to Durgerdam right on the edge of the borough which is a small village made up of pretty buildings and bike lanes along the water.

8. Eat fresh seafood at Royalvis & Traiteur

I saw Royalvis & Traiteur recommended in an Amsterdam magazine and seen as it’s only a few minutes from Bunk Amsterdam we decided to go and I have never been more glad of a decision!

Royalvis & Traiteur is a seafood restaurant which is Moroccan owned. It’s very casual but very popular with the locals too.

Queue up and place your order of fresh fish, it might be worth looking around to see what everyone else has ordered as you wait. Take your number, take a seat and pay before you leave.

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, outside Royalvis & Traiteur
Outside Royalvis & Traiteur Restaurant in Amsterdam Noord
Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, seafood meal at Royalvis & Traiteur
This was all cooked freshly for us!

For more places to eat in Amsterdam Noord wander up and down Van der Pekstraat street and you’ll find something to fit your fancy!

9. Relax in Noorderpark

Sometimes you need to relax in a park when you’re away and Noorderpark is a great place to go right in the heart of Amsterdam Noord and one of the alternative things to do in Amsterdam.

This expansive green space is not just a park but a community hub, offering a plethora of activities ranging from cultural festivals to outdoor sports, art installations, and peaceful spots for picnics beside its serene waterways so look out for what’s on offer, especially during the weekend!

10. Experience a Multi-Sensory Exhibition at NXT Museum

Further enhancing Amsterdam Noord’s appeal is the NXT Museum, a groundbreaking space dedicated to showcasing digital art.

With exhibits that blend lights, sounds, and interactive installations, the NXT Museum not only represents the cutting edge in contemporary art but also invites its audience to explore the profound ways in which technology shapes our culture and perception with multi-sensory exhibitions and experiences.

This is one of the great places to visit with kids in Amsterdam to get them fully immersed.

11. Film Fans, Eye Filmmuseum is For You

Next to A’DAM Lookout on the bank of the IJ River is Eye Filmmuseum, a marvel not just of film but of architecture too.

The museum serves as a sanctuary for film enthusiasts, offering a deep dive into the world of cinema with its extensive collection of films, from historical cinematic pieces to avant-garde visual storytelling.

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, view of the eye filmmuseum and A'DAM lookout tower from the River
The Eye Filmmuseum and A’DAM lookout tower across the River from Amsterdam Central Station

Beyond its exhibitions, the Eye Filmmuseum enriches the cultural landscape of Amsterdam Noord with its film screenings, educational programs, and festivals, making it a pivotal institution in the Netherlands’ cinematic exploration so be sure to look out for what’s on for a a unique thing to do in Amsterdam!

Eye Filmmuseum is included in the I Amsterdam City Card which is great value if you intend to see lots of museums and attractions in your Amsterdam itinerary!

12. Play in an Indoor Playground at Wondr Experience

Immerse yourself in a visually creative indoor playground for adults and children alike in the heart of Amsterdam Noord designed for the Instagram era.

Wondr Experience is a dazzling space merges the playful indulgence of art installations with the immersive joy of digital exploration, offering a kaleidoscope of rooms filled with glitter, neon, and tactile experiences.

Visitors are encouraged to lose themselves in a wonderland of colour and creativity, making it an unforgettable adventure that captivates the imagination of all ages and one of the great indoor activities in Amsterdam incase you’re there on a rainy day!

13. Be Sustainable Café de Ceuvel

Another one of the highly recommended places to go in Amsterdam Noord I saw is Café de Ceuvel. A plant based café & restaurant on the water serving lunch and dinner in a cool environment which encapsulates what Amsterdam Noord is all about.

People don’t just come here for the food but also for creativity as they say they ‘always have something going on and everyone is welcome’!

14. Get Ice Cream at Pont Neuf

Just up the road from A’DAM Lookout is a semi circle of restaurants and if you’re looking for some great ice cream in Amsterdam Noord, I recommend Pont Neuf Ice Cream on Van der Pekplein at the end of the popular road to eat Van der Pekstraat.

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, Ellie with ice cream from pont neuf ice cream in Amsterdam Noord
Pont Neuf ice cream in Amsterdam Noord!

15. Get Pizza at Euro Pizza

It’s always good to get a locals food recommendation and Bunk Amsterdam Hotel recommends going to eat at Euro Pizza Restaurant!

They have a small pizza menu, which is a big sign of a really good spot, made from local produce.

This place is another one of the cool and unique spots in Amsterdam Noord popular with locals so be sure to book a table in advance!

I Amsterdam City Card

If you want to make the most of your stay in Amsterdam seeing the tourist sites, and saving some money, I recommend the I Amsterdam City Card!

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, I Amsterdam City Card by bike hire

You pay one set fee for the time you’ll need the card for, for example, 24 hours or 48 hours and within this time you get free entry into many museums, discounts on many more, free canal cruises, bike hire and public transport use.

The 24 hour card costs €60 and if you visit 3 attractions and use the tram or bus, you’re already saving money on everything else you do in Amsterdam until the 24 hours finish!

Check out the I Amsterdam City Card here!

Things to do in Amsterdam Noord, prices for I Amsterdam City Card in 2024
Prices for I Amsterdam City Card in 2024

I hope this post helps you with things to do in Amsterdam Noord!

For more of my posts see:

Disclaimer: I stayed at Bunk Amsterdam on a press stay and visited Amsterdam with I Amsterdam but all thoughts and opinions are my own.