10 Things To Do In Amsterdam
Ah, Amsterdam. The capital of the Netherlands. Known for its famous canals, bike paths, narrow houses, and the red light district, to name a few highlights. Originally a fishing village, Amsterdam is now a bustling city of arts, history, commerce, and good food. Whether you're traveling solo or with a pal or two, there's so much for you to see and enjoy throughout the year in Amsterdam. In fact, there's nearly an overwhelming amount of things to do in Amsterdam, so to offer an easy start, here is a top ten list of things to see and do.
10 Things to Do in Amsterdam
1. Visit the Anne Frank House
Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl who went into hiding in an annex in Amsterdam with eight others. After two years they are eventually discovered and sent to concentration camps. Only her father survives the camp and later Anne becomes famous from the diary she kept during her hiding. The house with her original hiding place opened to the public in 1960 and is an extremely popular museum. Make sure you make a reservation in advance online as booking sells out quickly.
2. Stroll along the canals and sit at a cafe
The network of canals throughout Amsterdam is highly impressive and the architecture that adorns the canals is equally striking. Take some time for yourself and just wander and meander along the canal-ways and experience the gorgeous sites and delicious cafes along the way.
3. Check out the red light district (and see a show)
Part of what makes Amsterdam the city it is is also the quirk and this notorious part of town. From sex shops and shows to brothels and museums, you can find it all here in this little secret part of the city. The Red Light District isn't as dangerous as it once used to be, but if you aren't comfortable going to a show or browsing the red-lit windows on your own, you can always opt for a tour.
4. Visit the Venustempel Sex Museum
It's not necessarily a 5 out of 5 stars museum, but sex certainly has a history too! And this boutique museum with the owner's collection of works will walk you through all aspects of it, as it is the first and the oldest. You'll find it located in the center of Amsterdam.
5. Check the calendar of events to see what's going on during your visit (i.e. Banksy Exhibit)
Because Amsterdam is a hotbed for arts, there are a multitude of opportunities to see photography, paintings, sculptures, historical works, markets, music, and modern art. Although not presently on display, the Banksy Exhibit at the Beurs Van Berlage was an excellent example of what not to miss during its run in Amsterdam. If you visit the Amsterdam website you can find monthly highlights for upcoming events.
6. iAm Amsterdam letters and Museumplein park
The city's collective catchphrase (although it began as a marketing campaign) and a totally Instagrammable opportunity, it's an icon of the city worth getting a snap of with you in. And in a beautiful part of the city too. Take a little time to chill in the park (maybe bring yourself a little picnic).
7. Take a canal boat tour (or guided bike tour)
After you've done a ton of walking, you'll want some time to continue to take in the sights, but relax and enjoy the city views from the water. There are several places to hop on the boats throughout the city and tickets can be purchased online and displayed on your smartphone.
8. Visit the Van Gogh Museum
This museum holds the largest collection of Van Gogh art in the world. Although if you aren't a tremendous fan of his post-impressionist art and don't want to spend the time devoted to just his works, you can visit two other popular museums in Amsterdam that will have a few of his works on display as well; the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museums.
9. Bloemenmarkt (floating flowers market)
Tulips, colors for days, and small souvenirs are here for you at the floating flowers market, where the vendors sit on floating barges in the canal.
10. Dam Square for shopping and cafes and the Royal Palace
Dam Square is town square and historical center of the city. And nearby is the ornate Royal Palace. It's also a short walking distance from the Central train station. For some shopping and quick eats this is a noteworthy stop.
Bonus: take a ride out to Edam for some cheese sampling, clogs and windmills!
Have an amazing time during your visit to Amsterdam and be sure to send any notes from your experience over!