Most people think of the red light district when they think of Amsterdam and that’s why its number one on our list of things to see and do in the city. There are lots of guided walking tours through the district if that’s what you prefer but most people choose to walk freely down the streets. An old and beautiful area of the city with winding cobblestone streets and 14th century architecture the district is best seen during the day and at night. Appreciate the beauty and serenity during the day and come back at night to witness the liveliness of the streets with their window girls. Appreciate the cleanliness, the freedom of expression and the uniqueness of the Red Light District in Amsterdam.
With over 200 coffee shops (not to be confused with cafes) in Amsterdam; finding one to visit isn’t hard. Laws in Amsterdam allow coffee shops with green and white licenses in their windows to sell cannabis to anyone over the age of 18 with ID. Whether you decide to visit the original coffee shop; Mellow Yellow which takes you back to the 1970’s or choose to visit a hip non touristy location such as De Graal which includes a recording studio in the back, this is a tradition for any visitor to the city. Sit back, relax and join in on the slow paced lifestyle that the locals live by. A good tip to remember is to ask the person at the counter for a menu and suggestions; they often know best.
Amsterdam is home to the largest collection of Van Gogh’s drawings and painting with over 700 pieces of work housed in the Van Gogh Museum. Organized in chronological order and over several floors this museum starts with the first pieces from Van Gogh and advances all the way until his death. Along with the paintings and drawings, there is a collection of tools that Van Gogh used. We recommend either pre-purchasing tickets or going first thing in the morning as the line up tends to get quite long later in the day. If Van Gogh isn’t your thing, then head over to The Rijksmuseum where a large collection of Dutch art and history is on display. Pick up a free map at the front and weave your way through this beautiful recently renovated impressive collection of paintings, sculptures and culture.
Stroll over to Singel next, a canal that is famous for its floating flower market. All the vendors set up their merchandise on floating barges, making this experience unlike any other. Discover the multitude of tulips bursting in different colors, cacti and many other indoor plants. Bulbs are perhaps the most popular item to snag here at a great price. Souvenir shops also line the canal and it’s a good spot to pick up any little gifts before heading home. Spend an hour or two strolling through the fragment market that has become an Amsterdam attraction and chat with the locals, grab a coffee and enjoy the atmosphere.
If there is one food you cannot miss out on in Amsterdam it is the infamous stroopwafle. They can be described as a waffle made with two thin layers of dough with a sticky sweet caramel or molasses like syrup in the middle. There is much debate on who offers the best stroopwafle in Amsterdam so here are a couple places to get you started. We suggest visiting them all. Lanksroon is a canal side bakery that creates fresh stroopwafles throughout the day. This historic bakery makes the waffles a bit thicker and larger than the traditional method but taste just as good, if not better. The other most popular place to get a stroopwafle is from the man at Albert Cupymarkt. The single vendor that sells stroopwafles at this market, he offers up a traditional thin wafer with extra sweet syrup inside.
While you’re eating your delicious stroopwaffle from the vendor, why not take some time to explore this local street market. One of the oldest markets and definitely the largest daytime street markets in Europe you can find anything from fresh fish for sale to unique items you can’t find anywhere else. Open six days a week with over 260 stalls you will find hours of entertainment in shopping and browsing everything from luggage to fresh fruit and veggies. The perfect place to enjoy Amsterdam’s laid back attitude and sense of humor, and a great place to pick up anything you might have forgotten to bring with you. When you are all bargained out head to the Heineken Experience for a much needed beverage.
Find the ferry behind Central Station and hop on the free ferry to NDSM Wharf and enter into a different world. What looks to be an abandoned shipyard is actually a cultural hotspot brimming with hundreds of studios and theaters. A city sponsored art community has taken over the shipyard and transformed it into an extraordinary artistic workplace. Shipping containers turned into beachside bars, warehouses turned into art studios, revamped buildings turned into headquarters for companies such as MTV and street art now make up this site. Come to wander around and explore a different side of Amsterdam, view the street junk turned art and grab a beer and a bite to eat at one of the unique restaurants that line the water
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