Which Amsterdam festivals should you visit and how to get there

Read about the best Amsterdam festivals, including which food, cultural and music festivals to visit during the year, how to get there and possible parking in the area.
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Which Amsterdam festivals should you visit and how to get there

05-07-2019

Amsterdam is one of the most exciting cities in the world, it has amazing architecture and a rich history. Aside from that, plenty of festivals and holidays that fill up the calendar. These celebrations bring visitors from all over the world to experience the best that Amsterdam has to offer.


If you were wondering what to do, which Amsterdam holidays are a must, which festivals to go to and how to get there, look no further. Continue reading for some of the best seasonal Amsterdam festivals!


Spring:


In spring, people start to get outside more and more and some of the most interesting Amsterdam festivals and holidays can be found around this time of the year.


Kingsday


On the 27th of April people in the Netherlands celebrate one of the biggest national celebrations, namely King’s Day, an experience truly like no other. On this day the Dutch celebrate the King’s birthday. You can expect parties all around the city and live music on almost every corner, along with festivals galore. You see kids on the streets selling their old toys and home-made snacks, and everyone wears the national bright color of orange.


Travel is limited to foot and boat as music surrounds the city center, with cars and buses only allowed in the outskirts. The easiest way to get around is to arrive one day in advance and park near the city centre. From here on out you could rent a bike or just go by foot, like most locals do on this day.

If you are looking to park around the area, Mobypark offers plenty of great options for this special holiday. If you want to learn more about King’s Day, check out our how to celebrate Kings Day post!



Kingsday parking

Source: Dutch Review


Amsterdam Food Festivals


For you foodies out there, late May is the best time to visit this beautiful city. Rollende Keukens (Rolling Kitchens) hosts dozens of food trucks (and musical performances!) in the Westergas area in Westerpark. The sights, sounds and smells accommodate all tastes and entrance is completely free. Food trucks offer anything from Koream Bibimbap to the local Dutch tiny pancakes named ‘poffertjes’.

To reach the Westergas terrain, it is easiest to go by public transport from Amsterdam Central Station; there are multiple buslines heading in that direction. You can always check 9292 for the most up to date travel times. Another option is to ride a bike or walk down the lovely Haarlemmerstraat. This street is filled with local and unique boutiques, which you can check out while walking towards the Rollende Keukens Food Festival. If you plan on arriving by car, make sure to book your parking in advance as this area will be quite crowded!

If you are looking for a taste of local cuisine, Taste of Amsterdam hosts 24 restaurants serving scaled down portions of their signature dishes. This event takes place at Amstelpark, which is easy to reach by metro or by car.

If you are thinking about going to this great vibrant event, you could get here easily by public transport, as it is right next to the metro stop Amsterdam RAI. Arriving by car? Park at the RAI parking and be assured of a parking spot, especially during this busier period.



amsterdam festival taste

Source: Vance


Spring Music Festivals


The end of May and beginning of June is also the start of the outdoor music festivals. In the beginning of June, if you’re in town, you should check out Diynamic Festival in the Amsterdam Forest. Diynamic is a large one-day electronic festival and it is a definite must if you like this kind of music.


Getting here is quite easy; you either grab a bike or you make your way to Amsterdam RAI station, where you can grab a shuttlebus. This metro stop is on the North-South line, which runs from Amsterdam North to Amsterdam Central Station and then on to RAI. Another option is to park at the parking of the RAI itself, or to park at the Steigenberger Airport Hotel which is only a 10 minute walk away from the festival. (Also a good tip: sleep at the Steigenberger hotel, as it is close to the festival)


parking diynamic festival dynamic festival

Source: Diynamic Festival

For house, electronic, disco and techno performers with a tropical atmosphere that is enthralling, visit De Zon Festival at the NDSM Werf. This festival is a bit smaller and quite laid-back. It will take place on the north side of the Ij-river, which means you will have to make use of the ferry. The ferry to NDSM is a free service and can be entered at Amsterdam Central Station or on the Pontsteiger. The Pontsteiger will be a lot less crowded, so it might be nice to consider this ferry instead of the one at Amsterdam Central Station. You can enter this ferry by bike or while walking. If you want to drive here, then it is recommended to park near the Pontsteiger; here you will find more places to park your car in comparison to the station area and it has a direct connection to the highway.


Summer:


In summer, the Amsterdam locals have three favorite activities: hanging out in the park and finishing their day with a cold beer and a BBQ, heading to the nearby beaches or going to the fun Amsterdam music festivals. Here are the two hottest Amsterdam events that you should visit.


Gay pride in Amsterdam


If you are visiting the Netherlands at the end of July, you are in luck! Amsterdam’s Gay Pride celebration is one of the biggest in the world and one of the most celebrated Amsterdam festivals. The Pride festivities typically begin on the last weekend of July and end within the first week of August. With street parties happening all weekend, and the world-famous Pride Canal Parade (which is the second biggest event in Amsterdam after King’s Day) this is truly an unforgettable experience. The Pride Canal Parade takes place on a Saturday, usually on the first weekend of August. The best way to arrive here is definitely by boat. If you however want to arrive by car, you can park at one of the private owners which are close to the festivities if you reserve ahead of time or at a hotel parking which is instantly bookable.


Be sure to check out the Gay Pride celebration’s Milkshake Festival as well! Milkshake is a 2-day outdoor festival boasting music, dancing and fun performances in Westerpark. At this festival, anything is possible. The event is all about bright pink and extravagant clothing. Park at Houthaven Parking just a kilometer away to guarantee that you won’t miss any of the festivities!



gay pride amsterdam parking



Summer Music Festival


For those who are around in mid-late August one of the biggest annual Amsterdam music festivals, Mysteryland, is sure to excite! Always hosting big-name headliners, Mysteryland is a 3-day music festival/camping experience in Haarlemmermeer. Whether you’re camping or just looking for a one-day ticket, this more secluded event is most convenient to get to via Schiphol Airport. This event is a large Amsterdam point of interest and parking at Schiphol or getting out of the train at Schiphol makes the trip a breeze, as shuttle buses run directly to the festival grounds! Please be aware that you have to reserve these shuttle buses in advance via the Mysteryland website.



mysteryland parking amsterdam festival

Source: Mysteryland


Fall:


Fall is the season when Amsterdam starts to get a bit wetter and festivals start to move back indoors again. Do not worry, because the music will stay just as good and for one large weekend it will even be the best.


ADE


Amsterdam hosts some of the most exciting music festivals in the world, but only one holds the title of the “world’s biggest festival for electronic music”. This October event is ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event), which hosts over 2,500 performers playing in venues all throughout the city. Utilizing the day to form a business platform for the electronic music industry and the night for performance, Amsterdam comes to life during these 4 days and becomes a city like no other. If you are headed to Amsterdam by car, it is best to park your car a bit on the edge of the city centre and use a different means to get around as parking will be very hectic. Your favorite artists will be playing all over Amsterdam, which means the best way to get around is either by bike or by ordering a ViaVan or Uber.



ADE amsterdam dance event parking


Dam tot Damloop


If you are looking to show off your fitness this Fall, the Dam tot Damloop is the largest sports event in the Netherlands. On a September weekend prepare yourself for the 10 English miles option and run the traditional route, or choose the 5 English miles option on a night run filled with music and light shows. There are also walking and cycling routes which build the total participation for the weekend up to 87,000 runners alongside 250,000 spectators. We recommend parking at bit out of the centre, as some Central Station for easy access to and from Dam tot Dam.



Winter:


The coldest season of the year is a time to snuggle up and enjoy the company of your friends and family. But even then Amsterdam has some great events going on all over the town.


Museumnacht


On the first Saturday of November, the city of Amsterdam opens its Museum doors for an exciting evening dubbed “Museumnacht”, meaning Museum Night. This event runs from 7 pm until 2 am and includes access to over 50 museums with a single pass. Additionally, many of these museums will be featuring live music, special performances, and food & drink options that can’t be experienced any other time of year. If you have bought a Museumnacht ticket you can get around the city for free by public transport. You could of course also grab a bike to visit the museums scattered around the city. Arriving by car? Be sure to get your parking at the Marriott in the Museumplein area so that you can visit as many museums as possible!


Amsterdam Light Festival


What better way to end (or start) the year than to experience the beautiful light-inspired artwork at Amsterdam Light Festival. This annual event runs from the end of November until mid-January, showering the city with colour and light. The Amsterdam Light Festival highlights the beautiful canals in a way like no other, stunning locals and visitors alike. You can take a canal boat from Amsterdam Central station or do a walking tour featuring all the highlights. If you walk, be sure to take a look at the interiors of the canal houses to see a little peek into the everyday life of the Amsterdam locals. The joyous atmosphere makes the city seem much warmer, even in the depths of winter. Find great parking in the city centre to enjoy the remarkable art of this unique Amsterdam festival. Or make your way to Amsterdam Central by public transport to start your tour.



Amsterdam Light festival parking amsterdam festival

Source: Amsterdam Light Festival


Last tip on how to reach these festivals: Life is better when it is shared, go with a smile and bring along some friends. Be happy!


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Kaya