Although it might be famous for its smoke-filled coffeeshops, Amsterdam has so much more to offer. There is something here for everyone; foodies, history buffs, nature lovers, and art critics unite in this magical city. To truly understand Amsterdam, start with these ten great things to do outside of the coffeeshop.
Cycle Around The City
If you want a real Dutch experience, you’d better set your wheels in motion by renting a bicycle. By far the most popular way to get around, there are more bicycles in Amsterdam than there are people! Take a guided cycling tour of the city center with Get Your Guide (from € 22.50 / $26.80) or rent your own bike from one of the many shops like Yellow Bike and go your own way. If you want to see the sites without a tour group in tow, try GPSMyCity to download your own customizable self-guided tour.
Tour The Anne Frank House
While you’re exploring the city center, don’t miss out on the historical Anne Frank House. The building at Prinsengracht 263 is the same spot where Anne and her family once hid from the Nazis, preserved in time as a museum. Come to see the secret annex and the original diary where she wrote about her time spent in hiding.
Feast At The Foodhallen
If all that cycling has you working up a sweat, there is no better place to grab a bite than the Amsterdam Foodhallen. This enormous food hall is host to twenty-one food stalls, each with its own unique spin on authentic Dutch and international cuisine. Be sure to try the bitterballen at Den Ballenbar for a traditional Dutch treat.
Admire The Art In Museumplein
For art and history lovers, visiting the Museumplein (museum square) is a must-see site. Learn about Dutch history at the Rijksmuseum or take in the surreal beauty of the world-famous paintings in the Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum of modern art. While you’re there, take the opportunity to pose for a pic with the giant “I amsterdam” sign in front of the castle-like Rijksmuseum.
Relax In Vondelpark
When you’re worn out from your museum tour, make your way over to the nearby Vondelpark. This is the largest park in Amsterdam, and the tranquil scenery makes it a perfect place for picnicking and people-watching. Keep your eyes and ears open for impromptu theater and music performances happening in the park all summer long.
Shop ‘Til You Drop At Albert Cuyp Markt
With more than 250 stalls, the Albert Cuyp Markt is the largest market in all of Europe. Get your fill of souvenirs from the vendors with their clothing, accessories, flowers, and fabrics. Browse through the local produce and pick up some traditional Dutch treats like stroopwafel and poffertjes!
Play And Pose At These Psychedelic Spots
For a magical photo opportunity head over to the Wondr Experience and unleash your inner child. Or, for an unmissable psychedelic experience check out Electric Ladyland, named after the famous Jimmy Hendrix album. An equal mix of “fluorescent art gallery”, and adult playground; the museum thrives on “participatory art” where you are both the artist and the art itself!
Enjoy the Nightlife
In the evening check out the infamous Paradiso music hall for live music performances in their “corona-proof” venue. For something a little more alternative, try OT301. The cinema/bar is a not-for-profit site that hosts environmental workshops, art exhibitions, film screenings, and live music performances. What more could you want?
(18+) Satisfy Your Curiosity in The Red Light District
Though some might have reservations about exploring the Red Light District, the Dutch have a very liberal stance on the topic and encourage tourists to take a look. The risque can experience an exciting show at the very popular Moulin Rouge or Casa Rosso. If you would rather have a laugh, try the Condomerie where you will find a hilarious array of condoms in all shapes and sizes.
*This experience is for adults only
Cruise The Canals
If you are looking for something a little more romantic, try a candle-lit canal cruise. The cruises often serve dinner and drinks, along with a melodic soundtrack and breathtaking scenery of the city by night. Take the time to appreciate the beauty of the canals, and discuss all of the amazing experiences you have had on your trip thus far.
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