Amsterdam is one of those cities where you can truly experience it all! No matter what your scene is, you are sure to have a great time there. Into nature and biking? Into the night life or coffee shops? Are you a lover of good food? History buff? This city is jam packed with entertainment and activities that will have you wishing you could stay forever! V and I, along with our two friends, went here after London on our European backpacking trip and had a blast. In this blog I am going to walk you through the TOP 10 things you have to do on your visit to Amsterdam. 🙂
As I mentioned in the top, there is a lot of good food to be eaten here in Amsterdam. Something I really liked about the food, was that there were plenty of on the go options. Most of what we purchased, we were able to continue walking around and exploring as we ate. They have a lot of take away restaurants. My favorite was the Fries from MANNEKENPIS. These fries are voted number one in all of Holland, and there’s reason for it. We had heard about this place before we went and I was so eager to go. There will be a bit of a line, but it moves really fast. Go up, order a cone of fries to go, and choose a dipping sauce. I chose the garlic sauce which was delicious and V got a peanut sauce. V is really into seafood, and so he was anxious to try the Haring. If you like fish, I say go for it! There are carts selling it around Amsterdam. You get a haring fish, with or without bread, and it comes with onions and pickles as well. Then you just eat up!! V and I also had stroopwafels, an eel sandwich, and an infamous slice of dutch apple pie. It is safe to say we did not eat healthy in Amsterdam, but hey, you only live once right?!
9: Red Light District
Amsterdam is known world wide for it’s infamous Red Light District, so you have to check it out when there. Yes, you will see women dancing in their clear box rooms as you walk down, but obviously it’s not something I suggest you partake in. Obviously there is much more to it than that. This is where you go if you are into the night life scene. There are plenty of bars, coffee shops, and spots to hang out or find some fun. We went and took over the stage at a local bar to show off our old college dance team kicks and sing karaoke off key and we had a blast. This was a night we will always remember, so please don’t let any crazy stories keep you away. Don’t miss out on at least seeing this area, whether it is your style or not.
8: Stroll along the Canals
The canals in Amsterdam keep you close to all of the main attractions. When figuring out where to go, just follow the canal and you will bump into something new. We also suggest that if you have the time, you take a boat tour down the canals. That is where you are going to see the best of Amsterdam and learn more about it’s history. They also do dinner cruises or have bars on some of these boats, so you could make an evening of it. Fellas, if you are trying to impress your date, a river dinner cruise in Amsterdam is super romantic. 😉 For more information on these tours, or to book one, click here.
7: The Dam Square
If your sense of humor is anything like mine, you also appreciate the play on words here. I love that this is what they named the town square. You have got to visit the Dam Square when in Amsterdam, as that is where you will find lots of shops, great food – such as the dutch apple pie, historical monuments and buildings, picture opportunities, street performers, and so much more. We found lots of cute photo opps here as you’ll see below. It is also home to the Royal Palace and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Musuem, so be sure to map out plenty of time to spend here.
6: Watch the Street Performers
Just like every major city in Europe, you are going to find amazing street performers in Amsterdam. There are plenty of different types from musicians, to dancers, magicians and so much more. Something we saw a lot of on our trip was break dancers. They really stood out to us because there would be groups of them and they were all dressed alike in matching Adidas sweat suits and well choreographed, which as a dance teacher I truly appreciated. They seemed more professional than the break dancers I have seen anywhere else. You will see them everywhere, so don’t worry you won’t have to go out and look for them, they will find you. These below were actually right by the Rijks Museum.
You have to go and get a picture with the IAMSTERDAM sign when in Amsterdam. Again, bravo Amsterdam for the play on words! I see what you did there 😉 This sign is right around the corner from the famous Rijks Museum. I must warn you that it is going to be packed, so be sure to go early in hopes of getting a picture without a bunch of people in the background. We tried to get a picture in front of it, but there were just way too many people. Luckily they had benches nearby that also said IAMSTERDAM, so we got a picture with that instead. Still, it’s part of the experience so you have to go.
4: Visit the local Markets
As you stroll through Amsterdam, you are sure to bump into small local markets along the way. Stop in! This is where we tried delicious local street food such as the stroopwafel and the eel sandwich. I also bought me some clothes for much cheaper than the department stores, and supported small local business owners instead. There was lots to do and see at the Albert Cuyp Market, which is the Market we bumped into, and it is one of our favorite memories. I even played a little hopscotch as you will see if you watch our vlog. Visiting the local market is a good way to get the true Amsterdam experience.
3: Bike Amsterdam
YALL, this was my absolute favorite part of our trip! Amsterdam is the Bicycle Capital of the World, so you can rest assured that is bike friendly and easily doable. This is the best means of transportation around the city, and you will actually notice way more bikes than cars when you are here. There are plenty of places to rent bikes around the city, so I am sure that wherever you stay, a bike shop is near by. V and I decided to rent bikes and do our own bike tour through the city and had a blast. The reason I love biking and walking so much more than cars or trains when visiting a city is because of what all you can explore along the way. You bump into so many more chances to have fun and see something new than you would if you were stuck in a car. This is how we bumped into the market we visited as well as a couple parks and eateries. Because Amsterdam is so bike friendly, this is a great thing to do with the entire family. There are plenty of bike tours as well, if you want to ride around and learn the history of Amsterdam. You could always do this first, and then go off and explore on your own.
2: The Rijks Museum
This museum is simply GORGEOUS! Both inside and out are full of beauty and wander. You could easily spend an entire afternoon exploring the masterpieces inside. Currently it is closed due to Coronavirus, but you can actually get a view of it from your couch by clicking here. Something we loved is the outside of the Rijks Museum actually. It is just an amazing place to spend an hour or two relaxing. They have a huge park outside of it where people were playing Frisbee, cards, and other activities. You could enjoy a nice picnic here as well. This is somewhere I truly enjoyed soaking up the Amsterdam sun and just enjoying a little peace before we picked back up on our bike tour. Be sure to put going to the Rijks Museum at the top of your list for things to do on your visit to Amsterdam, you will not be disappointed.
1: Visit the Anne Frank House
I am sure that this at the top of everyone’s list for things to do when in Amsterdam. I mean we all grew up learning the tragic history and reading the Diary of Anne Frank, and it’s just so surreal to see it in real life. It definitely puts things into perspective for you. There was a huge line to get in to the Anne Frank House when we went, so I do suggest buying tickets ahead of time. You can buy your tickets by clicking here. Line or not though, it was 100% worth it. Reading about it and seeing it for yourself are just two completely different things. You will walk in and actually go behind the book case and get a glimpse of how crowded their family must have been and how lucky we truly are.
That is our TOP 10 – Best of Amsterdam. Hope you enjoyed this blog and are inspired for your upcoming trip to Amsterdam. You are sure to have an (amster)DAM good time when visiting! 😉 Comment below if there is anything you think we missed and should be included in a top 10 post.
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Until next time…. XOXO ❤