The Red Light District
Everyone has heard something about the ever-so-famous red light district in Amsterdam. Regardless on what your thoughts and opinions are, it’s absolutely worth your time to see it with your own eyes. It’s the only place in the world of it’s kind. For all you newbies, the red light district is basically an area where all the prostitutes, sex-shops, brothels, strip clubs and adult theaters are located. Prostitution is 100% legal in the Netherlands. In the daytime, the red light district looks like any other part of Amsterdam, with beautiful buildings and canals. At night is when the red lights turn on, the hookers come out, and all the activity happens. There’s really nothing more to say than to see it with your own eyes. If anything, you will at least get a good laugh out of it. WARNING: Do not take pictures of the girls, rumor has it that they have cups of “water”(definitely not water) that they will throw at you.
The Anne Frank House
Anne Frank was a very famous victim of the Holocaust. She is best known for documenting her experiences in a diary during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in WWII when she was a kid. Almost every American student read her diary in some middle or high school english class. Today, the Anne Frank house is a museum that tells her story. It’s located on the Prinsengracht canal, the exact location where she hid during the Nazi persecution. Even if you’ve read her diary and seen the movie, there’s nothing like actually seeing the original pictures that Anne posted on her walls. I highly advise you to buy your tickets online before so you can skip the line (it can be hours long). For more general information about the museum, check their main website.
Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Heineken Experience
This museum, known as the Heineken Experience, is a must-see place while in Amsterdam. It is actually on location where Heineken beer is brewed! You will not only learn all about the history of Heineken beer, but you also learn the process of beer making and you get to try some fresh samples. There are many fun, interactive activities like including YOU being brewed as a beer. With the purchase of your ticket (€18), you get 2 free drinks to enjoy in the bar at the end! If you work your magic, than you can get many more than 2 beers in that bar because it’s always crowded and the beer doesn’t stop flowing. This museum definitely lives up to the name as the “Heineken Experience” because it will give you beyond a wonderful experience. Find the elevator to see a beautiful view of the city from the top of the building while sipping on your beer!
Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands
Indulge in a Coffee Shop
A visit to Amsterdam is not complete without a visit to a coffee shop (marijuana shops). Marijuana smoking in Amsterdam is perfectly legal as long as you are over 18 years old. Each coffee shop differs in atmosphere and ambiance, so you can absolutely find one that suits your style. When you enter, you will sit down and be handed a menu of all different types of mary-jane they have to offer. When visiting do not be afraid to talk to the “bartender” and ask their recommendation for different choices, they are extremely knowledgeable and enjoy helping out a lost customer. You can also buy pre-rolled joints or buy some papers to roll yourself. Keep in mind that the coffee shops can be a big tourist draw, where travelers from all over the world come to sample the local herbs. That being said, I recommend finding the small, localized ones for a better experience! Enjoy yourself because Amsterdam is the only place in the world of its kind!
Relax in Vondel Park
If there’s one thing to know about the Dutch, it would be that they LOVE their parks. At over 120 acres, Vondel Park is the best urban, public park around Amsterdam. Around 10 million people relax, hang out, have picnics and participate in the outdoor activities in this awesome park every year. It’s centrally located near the Leidseplein, which makes it a great place to stop by to have lunch or take in the beautiful Amsterdam air. If you like to bike, this park has a great bike path that winds throughout all areas. It’s also a great place to people watch!
The Van Gogh Museum
If you are looking for Van Gogh “Starry Night”you have come to the wrong place. Apparently that is in New York. But this museum has the world’s largest collection (paintings, drawings, letters) of Van Gogh’s art and is still spectacular. Over 1.6 million people pass by this museum every year, making it one of the most popular museums in the world. It is located in Museum Square, very close to the Stedelijk Museum, the Rijksmuseum and the Concertgebouw. The atmosphere inside this museum is what makes it so memorable- live music, wine bar, and awesome people! Buy your ticket online for €15 to avoid the lines.
Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Chill on a Canal Cruise
There is no better way to see Amsterdam than from the canals. In case you are unaware, Amsterdam is famous for the dozens of beautiful canals that cut through the city. If you are just arriving into Amsterdam, I recommend taking a canal tour because you’ll get a great perspective of the city from the water. They are very cheap (€10-15) for a 90-minute ride, and you’ll get a headset you can listen to information about the things you are seeing.
The Floating Flower Market
Known as ‘Bloemenmarkt’ in Dutch, this is the only floating flower market in the world! The coolest thing is that all the flower stalls are standing on floating house boats. It is incredibly unique and beautiful, and the flowers are blooming in all seasons. There are also many cheese shops in the area with some of Amsterdam’s best tasting cheese. It is a very touristy area but worth the trip if you want to buy, see or smell some fresh flowers!
Check out the Rijksmuseum
This is the Dutch national museum. It is dedicated to the arts and history in Amsterdam and all around the Netherlands. The Rijksmuseum has an impressive collection of paintings and artifacts from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century. It was recently renovated to make it more modern and beautiful. It is definitely worth checking out and spending a few hours to learn about the history of the Netherlands! It also has pretty sweet architecture both on the inside and outside.
Buy something at the Albert Cuyp Market
The Albert Cuyp Market is a famous street market in Amsterdam. You will find street vendors selling all sorts of things like fruits, vegetables, seafood, meat, flowers, etc. It is named after Albert Cuyp, a famous painter from the 17th Century. This market is the busiest market in the Netherlands and is widely considered as the largest daytime market in Europe. It’s also a great place to buy the famous Dutch stroopwafels because they are freshly prepared by street vendors! The Albert Cuyp Market is a spectacular place to enjoy the day, soak up Dutch culture and people watch for a few hours.