Amsterdam is an incredible city. Walkable, beautiful, educated, hip, and edgy. While it has a reputation for sex and smoking weed, there are a number of beautiful parks and canals that are a joy to wander through or simply to relax. There are boats all over, some of which people actually live in as opposed to a flat. The food is pretty good, namely the pancakes (crepes really). The beer is fantastic and if you want some excitement the Red Light district has some interesting museums, nightlife, and of course window shopping for ladies of the night. There are literally red lights all over. Such a fascinating spectacle that is most definitely worth roaming around. There are also plenty of shops to partake in various substances if that’s your thing. There are only a handful of places I’ve traveled that are both great to visit and to live. Amsterdam is one of them.
See & Do
- Jordaan. Neighborhood, offbeat, vintage, nightlife, diversity. Where we stayed. My favorite neighborhood in Amsterdam.
- Vondelpark. Incredible park with ponds, sculptures, grass, and interesting people.
- Albert Cuypmarkt. Outdoor market.
- Waterlooplein. Flea market.
- Central Canal Ring. Winds through the city.
- Begjinhof. Secret courtyard and gardens.
- Rijksmuseum Gardens. Free gardens.
- Leidseplein. Hyperactive, neon lit. Southern Canal Ring. See at night.
- EYE Film Institute Netherlands. Film center. Really cool information and displays, beautiful building. Interactive booths. Cost 10 euro.
- Heineken Experience. Tour through the brewery. Couple beers included with admission. The brewery and how the beer gets made is super cool then it dumps into what feels like a frat house where you get your free beers. Cost 16-18 euro.
- Erotic Museum. Mix of odd kinky sex stuff, but also history and erotic artwork. Plays (at least at the time) an animated porn rendition of The Odyssey. One of the funniest, enthralling things I’ve seen on TV. Definitely a neat place to visit.
- Hash and Marijuana Museum. Education center, not really a museum.
- Condomerie Het Gulden Vlies. Condom shop with a vast, funny selection.
- Ann Frank Huis (House). One of the most popular tourist attractions. Didn’t actually get here because the line was insane. Get there super early if you want to visit! Cost 10 euro.
- Van Gogh Museum. Didn’t get here either, but popular attraction. Cost 15 euro.
Food & Drink
- Brown (Bruin) Cafes. Dutch pubs.
- Coffee Shops (Dampkring). Not your typical coffee shop.
- Stroopwafels. Type of syrup waffles.
- Winkel. Cafe. Known for apple pie.
- Pancakes!. Amazing pancakes (basically crepes). One of the most popular in Amsterdam. Must go.
- The Pancake Bakery. Pancakes obviously.
- Cafe de Oude Wester. Cafe, sandwiches and other food.
- Cora. Leidseplein. Sandwiches.
- Bird. Red Light District. Thai.
- Jordaan. Quintessential local, brown cafes.
- Cafe Belgique. In Jordaan. Amazing if you like Belgium beer. Being so close to Belgium, they are fresh and a variety you can’t find outside of that area of Europe. I really like Leffe, La Chouffe, La Trappe.
- Red Light District (aka Adam). Sex, drugs, and rock & roll.
- Leidseplein. Night clubs, cool lounge bars.
- Getting Around<. You can walk to most everything or taxi. It’s also very fun to ride a bike through the city which is very popular and easy to rent. Watch out for other bicyclists, they are everywhere and ride fast!
- City Pass. The I Amsterdam Card gets you admission to a bunch of different attractions, transit, canal cruise, and discounts to restaurants/shops. No fast track. Might be worth it if you are planning to visit many things. There is also a Holland Pass which is fast track.
- Red Light District. While generally pretty safe, with any area like this things can get a bit dodgy. Keep your wits about you and watch your drink to make sure no one spikes it. This is good practice pretty much anywhere. I did not partake in the sex or drugs, but be weary of buying any substances from sketchy people especially when you can just get things in an establishment like a “coffee shop.” Apparently if you do want to try out the window shopping, you just go to the door of a lady you fancy and negotiate a price. It’s funny to watch people go in and come out. Seems like a get in and get out kind of thing. We did see some guy trying to steal a cell phone from a young girl, but her friends fended him off. I hear there is quite a bit of pickpocketing (like many major European cities), especially in this area. Have fun and be safe!