Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Amsterdam, NY

  • Published 2022/07/20

Did you know that the city of Amsterdam, New York State, has 14 gorgeous and lush parks?

The city gets its name from the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam.

During the 1660s, Dutch immigrants settled the area, inspiring the name.

Remarkably, the city also shares the same name with the town of Amsterdam in New York, which borders the city itself.

The city of Amsterdam sits on both sides of the beautiful Mohawk River and Erie Canal.

You can reach it by car, train, or air with two major airports.

Amsterdam is the only city in Montgomery County that boasts the beautiful Mohawk Valley.

With its parks, museums, historical sites, and more, this gorgeous city is one for the books.

If you plan to explore Amsterdam City in New York, here are the best activities and attractions in the city.

See the Gorgeous Architecture of St. Stanislaus Church

Exterior of St. Stanislaus Church

Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Your visit to Amsterdam won’t be complete if you don’t see the historic St. Stanislaus Church.

Its Gothic Revival and Georgian Style architecture will leave you in awe with its solemn and sacred environment.

Built in 1897, the St. Stanislaus Church is a T-shaped brick building with a cut limestone foundation.

The veteran architect Edward W. Loth designed the structure.

In 1912, they also added a transept to the church featuring a bell tower with a roof and finials in a pyramid shape.

You can enter the church and see its beautiful and unique interior as long as you do it quietly to avoid any unnecessary noise.

The National Register of Historic Places added the St. Stanislaus Church complex to its record.

Enjoy Kayaking at Southside Boat Launch

Fun is an understatement when Southside Boat Launch is involved.

The boat launch is one of the 14 beautiful parks of Amsterdam City, which gives you access to the Mohawk River.

What’s great about it is that you can rent a kayak at the launch, so you can start the adventure at the river immediately.

You can find Southside Boat Launch right at the end of 15 Erie Terrace in the beautiful city of Amsterdam.

If you also love picnicking with friends and family, this gorgeous spot is great for a barbecue session.

Go Hiking at the Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve

Your family trip doesn’t have to be fancy when you all love hiking, especially with the kids.

At the Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve, you’ll get the chance to show the kids the best trails for hiking, biking, and running.

The Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve is protected land with an area of 118 acres, which opened to the public in 2017.

Nature formed the fields from limestone and dolomite, pooled in the marine deposits from the warm and shallow seawater in the area about 500 million years ago.

The Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve offers a family homestead, a nature preserve, and a working farm.

Located at 240 Cranes Hollow Road, the best spot to hike at the Strawberry Fields is the Strawberry Fields Perimeter Trail.

It’s a 3.7-km loop trail famous for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

The spot also has benches where you can sit and relax between hikes with your friends and family.

You can also bring pet dogs as long as they’re on a leash.

Visit Walter Elwood Museum

Learning about a place’s history is always a must when you visit a new place, and Walter Elwood Museum doesn’t disappoint.

Packed with local history, the museum exhibits different artifacts.

Check out handmade doll clothing, buttons, textile mills, Mohawk-made objects, shells, fossils, political buttons, and glass teaching slides.

In 2011, Hurricane Irene destroyed the museum’s Guy Park Manor location.

They reopened it in 2013 at its current location in the historical building of Sanford & Sons Carpet Mills.

Enjoy the diverse and rich history of Amsterdam at Walter Elwood Museum.

Enjoy Leisure Walks at the Amsterdam Riverfront

If you like some leisurely mornings or afternoons in Amsterdam, the best place to take refuge is the Amsterdam Riverfront.

You can find it along the Mohawk River at Main Street, a five-minute walk from Amsterdam Station.

On the park’s north side, you’ll see historical plaques, statues, and pieces of art.

One work includes some parts of the 911 Towers with a memorial for the victims of the bombing.

Amsterdam Riverfront is also a great spot to check out the Erie Canal.

The riverfront also has a small, fun area for the children to play in.

The gardens are gorgeous and indeed offer a great spot for leisurely walks.

See a Collection of Taxidermied Animals at Wildlife Sports and Educational Museum

Whether or not you’re into taxidermy, the Wildlife Sports and Educational Museum is the best place to visit in Amsterdam.

The museum sits right at the foothills of the gorgeous Adirondack Mountains.

See the impressive full-sized mounts of buffalos, wolves, bears, fish, mountain lions, and birds, among others.

You can also see more than 160 artistically arranged Whitetail deer mounts and over 500 fishing, hunting, trapping, arrows, and arrowhead artifacts dating back to the colonial period.

Wildlife Sports and Educational Museum is also open for groups such as school trips, seniors, and more.

Bring Your Family to High Rollers Skating Center

When visiting Amsterdam, High Rollers Skating Center is a must-visit place, especially when you’re with your family.

The skating center offers a spacious roller rink with video games you can enjoy.

If you have kids ages 16 and below who are skating on Fridays and Saturdays, you should accompany them the entire time.

The skating center also offers different packages such as Skate Party Package, Private Party Package, and Pizza Skate Party Package.

You can even hold your kid’s birthday party at the High Rollers Skating Center.

During spring, summer, and fall, the skating center also offers go-karts and a professional batting cage for your children to enjoy.

Enjoy a Picnic Day at Kirk Douglas Falls

Of course, a picnic day must be a fun and beautiful experience, especially when the location is gorgeous and historic.

If you have a day to spend in Amsterdam, spend a few hours at Kirk Douglas Falls.

Sit and relax while watching the two beautiful waterfalls.

You can find the Kirk Douglas Falls inside Kirk Douglas Park in downtown Amsterdam.

The city is the hometown of the famous actor Kirk Douglas, who starred in several classic films such as Spartacus, Lust For Life, and more.

Authorities named the park after him for his contribution to the film industry as an actor, philanthropist, and filmmaker.

While you can’t see both waterfalls in one setting, they’re still close to each other, with the lower falls located just downstream of the upper falls.

You’ll get a good view of the upper waterfall from the main concrete sidewalk of the park, while the bridge on Guy Park Avenue gives you a good sight of the lower falls.

Play Bowling at Kelly’s Imperial Bowling Center

Founded in 2014, Kelly’s Imperial Bowling Center is a must-visit bowling alley.

It offers impressive 80 bowling lanes and 40 bumper bowlers, which is ideal for a large group.

Except for the winter sports season, the bowling center is open seven days a week.

It also has different leagues for all ages almost every week.

Bring your family and friends to Kelly’s Imperial Bowling Center for a fun bowling game.

Spend a Sunny Day at Shuttleworth Park

Home to the Amsterdam Mohawks, Shuttleworth Park is a beautiful ballpark.

It opened on Memorial Day in 1914 as an amusement emporium.

The park regularly hosts local sports leagues with a gorgeous outdoor space perfect for the whole family.

There are also picnic tables along the Chuctununda Creek.

During winter, many locals and tourists also go ice skating at Shuttleworth Park.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Conquer the Treetop Challenge Course at Mountain Ridge Adventure

Mountain Ridge Adventure is your place if you’re into outdoor activities.

Don’t miss this aerial adventure park’s high ropes course, known as Treetop Challenge, which also includes ziplining and climbing.

Mountain Ridge Adventure is located at 300 Weatherwax Road in the beautiful city of Schenectady, New York, 15 minutes away from Amsterdam.

The adventure park offers unique and challenging obstacles, including a human-sized Slinky, a teeter-tottering grand piano 50 feet in the air, and the famous swinging dining room set up in the trees.

Mountain Ridge Adventure opened to guests in 2016 with a separate Zip Line Park, which gives a selection to enjoy and have fun.

The park enjoys high ratings on Google as one of the best adventure parks in the United States.

Hike up the Plotter Kill Preserve

Dry waterfall in Plotter Kill Preserve

James Casil /

When visiting a place, outdoor activities are the top priorities.

When you’ve enjoyed most of Amsterdam’s gorgeous sceneries and exciting outdoor activities, you still have the chance to hike up the trails at the Almy D. Coggeshall Plotter Kill Preserve.

Sitting on a 632-acre property in Rotterdam, New York, Plotter Kill Preserve is only 18 minutes away from Amsterdam.

In 1990, the nature reserve changed its name after Almy D. Coggeshall.

He led the trail’s creation during part of the Schenectady County Environmental Advisory Council.

Upper falls of Plotter Kill Preserve

bobistraveling, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The preserve combines conifers and hardwood with its main feature, the Plotter Kill gorge, which glacial meltwaters carved about 10,000 years ago.

The lush grounds with flowing creek waters will give you comfort while hiking up the trails to get a great view of the Lower Falls, Upper Falls, and the Rynex Creek Falls.

If you’re up for another outdoor excursion while in Amsterdam, the Plotter Kill Preserve will likely give you an unforgettable trip.

Dry waterfall cliff in Plotter Kill Preserve

James Casil /

Experience the Wild at Adirondack Animal Land

Another great attraction for you and your family to visit is the Adirondack Animal Land in Gloversville, New York.

The place is only 15 minutes away from Amsterdam.

This 80-acre zoo allows you to experience the wild when you try out the drive-thru African Safari.

You’ll also see the different animals such as albino deer, buffalos, alpacas, giraffes, and many more.

However, you will need to pay an affordable admission fee to enter Adirondack Animal Land.

Check Out the Museum of Innovation and Science

If you’re into science and technology, the Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci) is only 24 minutes from Amsterdam.

Located in Schenectady, miSci is a museum and planetarium established in 2014.

miSCi educational programming focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM).

In the museum, you’ll find the Suits-Bueche Planetarium, which has a GOTO Chronos Star Machine that can show 24 constellation outlines and 8,500 stars.

Round out your trip by visiting a science museum.

Put the Museum of Innovation and Science on your list!

Take a Tour of Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine

In the hamlet of Auriesville in Fultonville, New York, you’ll find Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine.

This place is 17 minutes away from Amsterdam.

The shrine was once known as the Mohawk Village of Ossernenon.

It’s now dedicated to the three martyred Jesuit missionaries and to St. Kateri Tekakwitha, who was born at the shrine.

In 1884, Father Loyzance bought a ten-acre piece of land where he built a small shrine.

To complete your Amsterdam trip, the Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine is worth checking out.

Final Thoughts

In Amsterdam, you don’t just get to experience the fun and challenging outdoor excursions.

You also get to see and take beautiful pictures of one of the top tourist destinations in the U.S.

Likewise, you must mention the rich, diverse culture and history are a feat while talking about the best things to do in Amsterdam.

Book your trip today!

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