Read my Amsterdam post to see exactly what I did!
Where to Stay:
- Shelter City– Right next to the Red Light District, good experience.
- CityHub – A little more pricey, but DEFINITELY worth every penny! Perfect location!
Things to do/Places to see in Amsterdam:
- I amsterdam sign – This is right behind the Rijksmuseum on Museumplein. I did not get a chance to see the Rijksmuseum on my last trip, but it is definitely on my list!
- Canals – Get lost in the city! I loved walking along all of the canals, taking pictures of all the flowers and the bikes.
- Red Light District – My first hostel was right next to the Red Light District. I remember my first night out, I went to find dinner, and before I knew it, I turned the corner and boom…there I was…right in the heart of the Red Light District. Coming from America, it took me a few minutes to adjust to seeing people “window shop” for sex. Honestly though, the Red Light District is just one small piece of Amsterdam’s culture. Walking along the streets, I saw couples, bachelors, and other young people. I even saw a family with their son walking past the street. Some advice for those of you planning a visit: Remember that these are people. Do not stare or try to take pictures (seriously, no cameras allowed). All in all, I had an interesting time walking around, but there were so many other parts of Amsterdam to enjoy.
- Canal Cruise – There are so many different companies to choose from. It really doesn’t matter who you pick, just make sure you do one! I recommend Boat Amsterdam – they offer a 70-minute tour with drinks included! What better way to see Amsterdam than cruising along the canals, enjoying a Heineken or some wine? They also have smaller boats, so there will be less people on each tour.
- Anne Frank House – I was told to buy my tickets at least two months before my trip. You all know I am more of a “go with the flow” kind of girl, and I don’t plan my trips out months in advance. If you are the same, don’t panic! They release 80% of tickets for any date two months in advance, but the remaining 20% are released on the website each day. When I first woke up on the day I wanted to visit the Anne Frank House, the tickets were all sold out, but I checked throughout the day, and after lunch, I was able to buy tickets for the 8:00PM entry. If you plan to go with a larger group, or have a specific date/time you want to visit the museum, I suggest buying your tickets in advance.
I suggest the SANDEMANs NEW Amsterdam Free Walking Tour. I did the tour with Kendra, and I thought she was hilarious. The Tour began in front of the National Monument in Dam Square. It was about 2.5 hours total (with a short break to use the bathroom). The tour included many of the places I already wanted to see and taught me so much about the history of Amsterdam including:
- Anne Frank’s story
- The Dutch East India Company
- The swampy foundations of Amsterdam
- Hidden churches
- The Miracle of Amsterdam
- Widest Bridge and the smallest house in Amsterdam
- The Begijnhof Convent
- Canals and locks
- Rembrandt van Rijn
- Multatuli’s giant head
- Leaning buildings and gable stones
- The Jewish Quarter
- Dutch bike culture
All in all, I had a great time on this tour and learned so much. This was a great way to see the city and get the lay of the land.
You know that one of my favorite things to explore is food! Here are some places that I HIGHLY recommend for your trip:
- De Foodhallen (Amsterdam location) – This was definitely my favorite place from my trip (thanks Craig for the recommendation!). I wish I had gone here sooner, so that I could try some more of the restaurants, but here were my favorites:
- Winkel 43 – Apple Pie. Enough said.
- Van Wonderen Stroopwafels – I wish I could have ordered every flavor. I would say to order a medium or large, so that you get to eat it fresh and warm!
If You Have Time to Leave Amsterdam’s City:
- Visit the Keukenhof! The Netherlands are famous for their tulips. If you plan your trip between the end of March and the beginning of May, this is definitely something you should add to your list!
- Visit Rotterdam. I wish I had time to head to Rotterdam for my recent trip to the Netherlands! The unique Cube Houses are definitely something I want to see one day! If you visit, make sure you grab some food at the Markthal.