A Quick Guide to Amsterdam: 9 Great To-Do’s!
One of the most photographed and loved cities in Europe, Amsterdam has it all. Architecture, culture, food, you could spend weeks exploring the city. For those that don’t have that kind of vacation time, here are 9 quick and easy items for your Amsterdam to-do list:
1 | Explore the Jordaan District.
Noted for its architecture and beautiful canals, spend at least a few hours wandering the area (like I did), picturing life as a resident in one of the gorgeous row houses. In fact, go ahead and book your accommodations here. The convenient location and charm will make a delightful base during your visit.
2 | Saddle up.
Biking is the notorious mode of transit in Amsterdam with 600k+ bikes in the city limits. The team at Mike’s Bike Tours provide a super fun and informative tour on wheels. We chose the ‘Countryside’ tour and loved getting out of the hustle and bustle to the lovely polder land along the Amstel River. Our tour included a stop at a cheese farm that also made traditional Dutch clogs, bingo!
3 | You know her, you love her, so you’ve just got to go to the Anne Frank House & Museum.
Her story is beyond moving so you can only imagine that walking in her footsteps is an experience all its own. Note: This is Amsterdam’s #1 tourist attraction so if you’d like to go, buy tickets online in advance or arrive an hour before opening.
4 | Taste your way through Amsterdam on a Hungry Birds Food Tour.
Oh boy, you’re in for SUCH a treat. One of the most savory AND sweet tours I’ve ever participated in. Explore the city with the friendly Hungry Birds guides and see it through the eyes of a local. Arrive HUNGRY and prepare yourself for everything from stroopwaffels (my favorite) to raw herring! Check out my experience here.
5 | Amsterdam has perhaps the best collection of art museums in the world.
I adored my visit to the Van Gogh Museum while the neighboring Rijksmuseum is considered to have one of the best art galleries in the world. If you’re an art enthusiast, do both, for me it’s Van Gogh that has my heart. Be sure to dedicate a few hours for lounging on Museumplein too!
6 | See what the fuss is all about.
Strolling the Red Light District after dark is certainly an experience. Some things to think about as you walk: the STD rate within the profession is the same as any other, also be aware that these woman ‘rent’ the rooms themselves, paying more for prime locations, less for undesirable locations – just like any business. My advice: don’t get too wrapped up in this scene. For the most part the Red Light District is incredibly touristy, filled with gawking male teenagers.
7 | Join Boaty Rentals for a self-guided cruise on the canals!
We savored the freedom, the breeze, and the bottles of wine we brought with us.
8 | Amsterdam knows cheese.
Join the folks at Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room for a fantastic cheese tasting complete with incredibly generous wine pairings. The experience is a fun classroom-style setup with lots to learn and taste. We absolutely loved it!
9 | Head to the Amsterdam Main Library for stunning views of the cityscape.
Take the elevator up to the 10th floor to access the rooftop terrace and cafe for a spectacular sweeping sight of Amsterdam!
P.S. If you thought this city guide was helpful then check out my guides for Prague, Venice, Berlin & Paris!