October in Amsterdam: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Gold autumn leaves on canal in Amsterdam

Lindrik / Getty Images

In October, it’s no longer the high season for tourists and the weather is still pleasant enough for an enjoyable visit to Amsterdam. Off-season hotel rates, mild temperatures, and fewer lines at tourist attractions make autumn an ideal time for travelers hoping to enjoy all that the Netherlands' capital city has to offer while also saving a little money.

Amsterdam is a city full of rich and varied culture. In addition to historic Dam Square, Amsterdam has plenty of grand architecture and its charming canals that snake through the city. Visitors can even tour the Heineken Brewery to see where the famous beer is made on days where the temperatures drop.

By October, most of Amsterdam's sidewalk cafes have packed up their patio furniture and the outdoor festival season has ended. Although conventional wisdom holds that the best time of year to see Amsterdam is in the spring when the tulips are in bloom, autumn visitors won't be disappointed—brilliant fall leaves fill the trees and coat the cobblestone streets.

Amsterdam in October

Amsterdam Weather in October

You’re likely to see rain at some point during your October visit—Amsterdam is cool and occasionally chilly, similar to the weather in the northeastern United States. Day time is usually comfortably warm, especially in the first part of October, although temperatures dip in the evenings and nights can be brisk. If you're visiting in the second half of the month, be prepared for days that start to feel more like winter.

  • Average high: 58 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius)
  • Average low: 44 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius)
  • Average days of rain: 11 days

Days are still relatively long at the beginning of the month, but Central European Summer Time ends on the last Sunday of October when clocks are set back one hour and sunset happens much earlier. If you're visiting at the end of the month, keep the time change in mind when making your evening plans.

What to Pack

In Amsterdam, a stylish, full-length raincoat will do triple duty. You'll be kept dry, warm, and you'll look appropriate going out in the evening. Under the raincoat, layers will serve you well to be comfortable in a variety of temperatures. If you are too warm, remove a sweater and open your raincoat. If you are chilly, button up a bulkier sweater and put a wool scarf around your neck. Carry an umbrella on days when rain is predicted.

Comfortable walking shoes or boots will ensure your feet don't hurt after all that sightseeing and museum-going. If you have shoes in a water-resistant material, they'll serve you well in case of a sudden rainstorm.

October Events in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is known for its progressive and alternative shows and festivals. You can dance to electronic music, marvel at the multi-media Festival of the Dead, and savor a glass of bock at a huge beer fest.

Many events are scaled back or canceled in October 2020, so be sure to check official event webpages for the most current updates.

  • Festival of the Dead: This UK-based touring show has been a hit in Amsterdam. This multi-media show is a take-off on the traditional Day of the Dead customs. It's full of fanciful skeletons, crazy characters, and huge puppets all set to a rousing soundtrack. This combination carnival/circus/night club event takes place at the end of October.
  • Tour De Wallen Neighborhood: October actually may be the perfect time of year to visit the city's infamous De Wallen, also known as the Red Light District. In summer, De Wallen is typically swarming with tourists who want to see the risqué offerings that include sex workers advertising themselves in street windows (prostitution is legal in Amsterdam) and sex shops selling all manner of adult entertainment. In addition to the more adult-themed aspects of De Wallen, it's also the location of several of the city's finest restaurants and its oldest church, Oude Kirk.
  • Amsterdam Dance Event: This is perhaps the most anticipated event on the club scene calendar. Part conference, part electronic music festival, ADE, as this festival is known, draws both industry professionals and fans into its orbit, with both insider events and performances by internationally acclaimed artists. The event is canceled in 2020 but returns October 13–17, 2021.
  • Techno Music Festival: The Awakenings techno music festival, held annually in June, has a weekend mini-edition in October. Autumn visitors to Amsterdam get the chance to hear and dance to some of the most in-demand acts in techno. The October event is canceled in 2020.
  • Amsterdam Denim Days: Each year Amsterdam turns blue to celebrate all that is denim. Denim lovers join together in a series of events, including a festival, within the city to share their dedication to denim, learn what's new, and network with vendors and designers. The 2020 event takes place on October 30–31 and will be held virtually. Participants can tune in for free and hear from up and coming brands and take part in denim giveaways.

October Travel Tips

  • Amsterdam is home to some notable museums, including the Anne Frank House. The Amsterdam house, where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis during World War II before being sent to concentration camps, is also where Anne wrote the famous diary published after her death. Tickets can be purchased online two months in advance, and although October isn't as busy as other months, the Anne Frank museum is a popular attraction and lines can be long, so plan ahead.
  • While you can find some deals on hotel prices in October, you can't count on sunny skies and rain-free days, so plan on wearing layers and taking an umbrella. It's a transitional month and you have to prepare for almost anything.
  • Many cafes have heated terraces so your chances of having a cup of coffee outside are still good in October (unless it's a rainy day).
  • Halloween is celebrated in Amsterdam with some terror-themed shows and a few costume parties here and there, but children do not trick-or-treat.
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