Earlier this year, we spent a short time in Amsterdam and fell in love. Visiting this historic city for the first time meant we arrived wide-eyed and eager to experience as much of the city as possible. If you’re like us and only have a limited time for adventure, you’re likely in the midst of narrowing down the plethora of possibilities for 2 days in Amsterdam. We can help.
Knowing we would write an Amsterdam itinerary, we packed in more sites, shops, and museums than you can probably imagine. We’ve trimmed the fat to bring you a list of our favorite spots, based on what we loved and would love to see again.

2 Days in Amsterdam: I Amsterdam City Card

Before we get into the itinerary, you should make note of the I Amsterdam City Card and consider picking up the 48hr card at the airport. After landing, you’ll find the Holland Tourist Information Centre in Arrivals 2, or you can buy the I Amsterdam City Card online.
Buying the card gives you unlimited travel on Amsterdam city public transit (not including rural buses or the airport tram) and free access to a ton of museums, tours, and sites. The card comes with a city map along with a detailed list of everything you can see for free, as well as locations you can visit with a discount. If you read through our itinerary and feel like substituting one of the activities, there are countless alternate options for you to choose from for your 2 days in Amsterdam.

Day 1 of 2 Days in Amsterdam

Museum Het Grachtenhuis

Start your 2 days in Amsterdam with this interactive, multimedia story of the Amsterdam canals. Walking into this historic home, the tour starts with a guide leading you into the first of five rooms, where a mixed media history of the canals begins to unfold in front of your eyes. Progressing through the rooms, you learn more and more about the reasoning, process, and stages of the canal development, combining illustration, 3D models, animation, projections and audiovisual storytelling. This is one of our top picks and not to be missed. You’ll understand this when you see it, but when you get to the room with the 3D house, find the woman hanging her laundry and try not to burst out laughing.
Open Tuesday -> Sunday 10:00am -> 5:00pm
FREE with the I Amsterdam City Card.
Bloemenmarkt Flower Market

At a roughly 500 meter walk from the canal, the museum is Amsterdam’s famous floating market of flowers. Positioned along a stretch of Amsterdam’s central canal belt, this market operates year-round and is a great stroll full of colorful, fragrant tulips.
Open Monday -> Saturday 9:00am -> 5:30pm, Sundays 11:00am -> 5:30pm
After lunch, explore the city’s canals by foot or by bike. 
Plan for some exploration time in the earlier part of your 2 days in Amsterdam. Before you know it, you may have spent all of your trip running in and out of museums without giving yourself a chance to experience the city streets. It is very easy to rent bikes in Amsterdam and some companies even offer discounts with the I Amsterdam Card. Alternatively, you can choose to explore by foot by way of a free Amsterdam City walking tour.
Verzetsmuseum – Dutch Resistance Museum
After a few hours of exploring the streets and before you sit down for dinner, you’ll be ready to visit the Dutch Resistance Museum. The Netherlands was occupied by Nazi Germany for five years, and this museum does a fantastic job at telling the stories of those who resisted and those who complied with the occupying power. With your free audioguide in hand, you’ll walk through this museum at your own pace, reliving some historic scenes and understanding the various perspectives through thoughtful, tone-setting dramatizations.
Open Tuesday to Friday 10:00am -> 5:00pm,  Saturday and Sunday  11:00am – 5:00pm
FREE with the I Amsterdam City Card.
Have a Stroopwafel
Diets and palates vary greatly, so we won’t even attempt to suggest dinner spots. But regardless where you decide to eat, leave some space for a fresh and hot, traditional Stroopwafel. Step outside and throw a stone in any direction to find the nearest shop selling these gooey goodies. The waffle is baked to order, sliced thinly in half and filled with a caramel-like goodness. You can always pick some up at the airport if you forget, but nothing – NOTHING! – beats them fresh.
Anne Frank House
The famous Anne Frank House is a good option for visiting later in the day because it is one of the few sites that are open late. You must buy tickets online for a specific time slot between 9:00 am and 3:30 pm, but the house is also open from 3:30 pm to 10:00 pm without an online ticket, for those buying a ticket at the entrance. Unfortunately, the I Amsterdam City Card does not cover the cost of the Anne Frank House.
Adults €9, Age 10-17 €4,50, Age 0-9 free

Day 2 of 2 Days in Amsterdam

Zaanse Schans

Start your second day early with a visit to the small town of Zaanse Schans on the outskirts of Amsterdam. In addition to the fresh air and beautiful scenery, this cute and quaint historic Dutch village includes six windmills, a wooden shoe workshop, and a cheese farm. Visiting in the morning is the best idea because the afternoon – especially during high season – can get busy.
The Connexion bus #391 from Centraal Station bus platform will take you there within 30 minutes, and you’ll likely want an hour or two to explore the area. The I Amsterdam City Card gives you access to one of the windmills free of charge. Important to note is that the City Card does not include the rural bus fare from Centraal Station. With the City Card, however, you can purchase a rural transit day pass at a discount. For €10, (instead of €13,50) you get unlimited rides on all of the rural buses for the day.
Hermitage Museum
With portraits, paintings, and featured exhibitions, Amsterdam’s Hermitage Museum is a must for those who enjoy the art and ambiance of a traditional museum. Free audio guides are included with your visit, allowing you to point at signed postings on the walls for language-specific descriptions. Look for the Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age for a unique presentation of some immense group portrait paintings.
Open daily 10:00am -> 5:00pm
FREE with the I Amsterdam City Card.
Fields of Tulips
If your 2 days in Amsterdam happen to be during the months of April or May, make sure to go and see the vast and boldly colorful fields of tulips in the Southwest outskirts of the city. Having already purchased the rural transit day pass to visit Zaanse Schans, you can head over to either Leidesplein or Rijksmuseum and hop on bus 197 to the airport. From the airport, take bus 858 directly to Keukenhof. After you’ve arrived, you can buy tickets to access the Keukenhof gardens, or you can rent bikes for a self-guided tour of the farms and fields in the area.
Canal Cruise
The I Amsterdam City Card includes 1 free canal cruise with the operator of your choice. Because the Amsterdam canals look magical at night (and it fits better in our itinerary, let’s be honest), you should use your free tour during the evening with one of the operators that schedule night cruises (either Holland International 100 Highlights Cruiser Lovers Canal Cruises).  Both of these companies offer tours until 10:00 pm during the Summer and until 9:00 pm during the Winter.
FREE with the I Amsterdam City Card.

Traveling with Kids

If you’re traveling with kids and are looking to substitute any of our highlighted attractions, be sure to look into the Nemo Science Museum as well as the National Maritime Museum (specifically, the incredible replica of the 18th-century ship Amsterdam).