10 More AMAZING Things to do in Rotterdam (2023)

If you’re looking for fun or unusual things to do in Rotterdam, Netherlands, then this list of 10 amazing things to do in the Dutch capital of Cool has got you covered.

If you are visiting Rotterdam for the first time, you should check out our original 1 Day Trip to Rotterdam post first. It is the perfect itinerary for first-time travelers and covers the most important and coolest aspects of everything there is to do and to see in Rotterdam. From Markthal to the historic Delfshaven to the famous port. If you are visiting Rotterdam for a second time or are staying for longer and would like to explore more, then this list should have you covered.

Here are some essentials that you will also find in our original post, just to have you covered:

How to get there: You can reach Rotterdam by train using NS. If you fly in, you can land at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport or Brussels Airport, which are both 1 hour of a train ride away.

Where to stay: Stayokay Hostel Rotterdam is housed in one of the famous cube houses. You can also choose to stay at the New Ocean Paradise Hotel. It’s a floating hotel, which is decorated in full classical Chinese style located next to the harbour of Rotterdam.

When to come: The Dutch weather can be very windy and rainy, so we recommend that you visit between May and September.

How long to stay: Rotterdam can be covered in 1 day if you don’t plan on visiting any museums. However, if you do plan to incorporate additional activities such as a visit to a museum or taking a cruise, you might consider staying for an additional night. You might also choose to make this your hub and explore the rest of the Netherlands from here.

1. Enter the famous Hotel New York
Hotel New York in Rotterdam

Between 1900 and 1910, more than 15 million people took the Holland-Amerika Line in order to start a new life in the United States. Although it was not officially a hotel its office building started offering accommodation to the migrants and organized trips to New York. The last ship sailed to New York in 1971 and then closed offices before becoming an official hotel in 1993 and a national heritage site in 2001. Today the hotel offers 72 rooms, two restaurants and a conference center. Every last Sunday of the month they hold a Frank Sinatra lunch, a fine dining experience alongside live music by a Sinatra impersonator for €60 per person.

2. Visit the amazing Kunsthal
Bears in Kunsthal in Rotterdam

Kunsthal is one of the highlights when you are going to visit Rotterdam. Rem-Koolhaas designed the building that today houses the museum of contemporary art and fashion with ever-changing exhibitions (up to 25 per year). It opened in 1992 and the exhibits spam from photography to fashion to forgotten cultures and contemporary design. Tickets are €16,50 per person and you can reserve around 3 hours for your visit. Take a break at the stunning Industrial Kunsthal Café housed in the museum building.

3. Take a walk through Trompenburg Arboretum
Cacti behind a milk glass

Trompenburg Arboretum is a green oasis in the middle of Rotterdam’s city center. It houses more than 4000 unique trees, plants and flowers an the wildlife that comes with it including birds, butterflies, turtles and insects. There is a greenhouse where you will find unique cacti and succulent plants. Make sure to take a break at the teahouse De Uithoek, where you can enjoy an amazing Leon Meringue pie alongside tea or coffee. Tickets are €11 per person and only half that if you’re under the age of 25.

4. Check out the Floating Farm
Close up of a cow's snout

The Floating Farm idea came to founder Peter van Wingerden when he was in New York City during hurricane Katrina. Peter wanted to create a farm that would be close to the people and float on water and now you can find exactly that on Merwehaven Harbour. The farm is a good example of sustainable practice in that rainwater is recycled, half the farm’s energy comes from solar panels, grass clippings from nearby parks and golf courses are on the cow’s menu’s and their manure is used as fertilizer. Apart from that it’s AI which does the milking and feeding of the cows and cleans up after them.

5. Visit the Rotterdam Zoo
Upside down hanging elephant in Kunsthal Rotterdam

The Rotterdam Zoo or Diergaarde Blijdorp as it is called in Dutch is one of the most beautiful zoo’s in Europe. You can watch the feeding of penguins, admire the baby elephant Radijk that was born in the zoo in 2021, meet the young lemur twins or the gelada baby all three of which were born in 2022. The zoo is divided into the sections Europe, Asia, America and Oceania. Tickets are €27,50 per person and it is just a 10 minute walk away from Rotterdam Central Station.

6. Climb the Euromast
Euromast in Rotterdam

The Euromast is a 185m observation tower that offers you the perfect 360 degree panoramic view of the city. It is the highest observation tower of the Netherlands, so thrill seekers wil be excited to learn that you can abseil or cable glide from the top. If you have the cash to spare you can even book one of the two suites and stay for the night. It’s also okay to simply enjoy a coffee in one of the two restaurants in the observation deck hall. Tickets are €12.50 per person and you can expect your visit to take around 2 hours.

7. Take a Pancake Boat Tour
Pannekoeken on Pannekoekenboot in Rotterdam

The Dutch love both their boats and their pannekoeken (the Dutch term for pancakes), so why not combine the two? This is what a Dutch person must have thought at some point because nowadays you can find a pancake boat or a pannekoekenboot in all major cities. We think that since boats are such an integral part to Rotterdam as a city it’s especially nice to do a pancake boat tour in this city. Once you board the boat the pancake buffet is served and you can choose between apple, bacon and regular pancakes and choose between different toppings. Children should love this activity especially.

8. Visit Huis Sonneveld and the Nieuwe Instituut
Huis Sonneveld in Rotterdam

Huis Sonneveld was designed in 1933 and is one of the better preserved Dutch houses in the Nieuwe Bouwen style, in English better known as the Functionalist style. The architecture duo that designed the house tried to coordinate architecture, interior and furnishings in such a way that they would reinforce one another. Tickets are €10 per person. You can get a combined ticket with the Nieuwe Instituut for €16.50. The Nieuwe Instituut is the museum for architecture, design and digital culture.

9. Have dinner at Little V
Cocktail at Little V in Rotterdam

Rotterdam has a large Asian immigrant population, which not only makes the city more culturally rich and interesting but also provides it with a multitude of great Asian restaurants. One of those restaurants is Little V, a Vietnamese place that’s close to the Central station. They offer delicious cocktails at affordable prices and Vietnamese classics such as Vietnamese pancakes and Pho. We recommend you order the Little V Lunchbox, which are four different dishes served in stacked lunchboxes. In that way you get a little sampler of Vietnamese food if you’re not yet too familiar with it.

10. Visit The Giant Figure

Rigardus Rijnhout is the second tallest Dutch man in history and you can visit the 2.2 meter tall figure of his in Park West Kruiskade 26. It’s located close to his old house, which now harbours a Chinese supermarket and still features the extra large door that was originally installed for him. Rijnhout ate five times more food than a regular man and in order to afford all this food he needed to take on extra jobs such as that of a walking billboard. He began growing extensively by the age of three due to a hormonal disorder and weighed 230kg in adulthood. The Giant of Rotterdam Foundation views Rijnhout as a symbol for the city’s growth.

If you want to explore more of the Netherlands, don’t miss our itineraries for Groningen, Amsterdam, Den Bosch, Venlo, Eindhoven and our original Rotterdam post for first timers.