- Do as the Dutch do and bike around the city.
- Go on a canal cruise! This is one of the best ways to tour the city. Most boats depart around Amsterdam Centraal.
- Have a picnic/relax in Vondelpark.
- Eat all the stroopwafels you can.
- Take advantage of all the grab and go food. The options are endless.
- Spend a few hours at the Van Gogh Museum and while you're on that side of town, check out the Heineken Experience.
- Check out the Rijksmuseum (this is where the original IAmsterdam sign is)
- Wander the Red Light District.
- Figure out the difference between a cafe and a coffee shop.
- Shop or grab some lunch/coffee in the posh neighbourhood of Jordaan
- Walk the 9 Straatjes for some of the most picturesque parts of the city.
- If you're in Holland during late March-April, take a bus to the countryside and see the tulip fields. Go just outside of Keukenhof to see some of the local fields.
- Like cheese? Go sample every cheese under the sun at one of the many cheese shops in the city center.
- Assume you have the right of way on your bike. People come from every direction in Amsterdam (cars, bikes, people, things) and taxis will hit you if you're not cautious. Not to mention you'll get a few evil eyes from people if your head is in the clouds while biking.
- Go crazy chatting about the 'coffee shops.' This is a tourist thing and you'll find many Dutch locals are not really into it.
- Forget your rain jacket! Expect rain throughout your day.
Amsterdam is definitely one of the best cities in Europe. It truly has a personality of it's own, and the size of the city allows you to walk everywhere. I've been quite a few times, but visiting the Dam never gets old.
For a weekend in Amsterdam:
Rent a bike! This is the best way to get around and see the city. Start at the 9 Straatjes. This area will provide you with some of the best photo ops with a mixture of beautiful canals, cobble stone roads and the typical Amsterdam houses.
After a few photos around the canals, head to Jordaan for some food. This is one of the more chic neighborhoods, and it's not hard to see why. There are heaps of cute shops and cafes to explore.
After a gander at the shops, head over to the Rijksmuseum Museum, where you'll find the original Iamsterdam sign. The Van Gogh Museum and the Heineken Experience are also in this area. You can spend a whole day here between all three sights.
The trend of food markets in Europe is definitely becoming more and more popular. For a less touristic/great food experience go to Hallen Market at the Food Hallen Amsterdam. There's a wide variety of cuisines to choose from. Plus, there's a bar in the middle of the hall and a quaint movie theater just next-door. It's the perfect place for a rainy day!
My personal recommendation: Friska's - they take sushi to the next level. While the service may not be the friendliest (or maybe I caught the chick running it on a bad day) the combos are amazing! The sweet potato, quinoa, chicken cashew roll is perfect.
For the exact location and more information on the food market click HERE
For more 'fast food' options, check out the grab and go stores where there is a large selection of pre-made foods and drinks, and loads of healthy (or not so healthy) options. It's overwhelming. For some warm food, try FEBO or Wok to Walk (these are also the typical late night places, perfect after a long night out).
If you prefer the finer things in life, head to Bord'eau. Not only is the food amazing, but you can dine right on the canal. I would recommend going for lunch and make sure to snag a table outside!
If you happen to be in Amsterdam from late March to the end of April, definitely make a trip to the Tulip fields just outside of the city! To get to the nearest tulip fields, go to Amsterdam Central, where you'll find a ticket office for Keukenhof. It's easiest to take a bus to Keukenhof (a tulip garden), and wander around the outside fields on your own. Not sure if that's necessarily allowed, but no one stopped us. While Keukenhof is definitely beautiful and I would recommend visiting the park, set aside some time to see the surrounding fields as this is where you'll find your postcard photos. The bursts of colour are stunning and seemingly endless.
HERE are more details on dates and tickets for Keukenhof.
AMSTERDAM BY NIGHT
Whether you're looking to have a crazy night out or relax at a coffee shop, there are several options for experiencing nightlife in Amsterdam.
Chicago Social: A great place if you want a big night out. Plus it's in a main square where loads of bars and restaurants are. Cover charge: 15€
Waterkant: If you want to go where all the local Dutchies go then head here! It gets pretty crowded, especially if it's raining, so you may want to have a few drinks prior to arrival. But still a fun place nonetheless!
Bar Lux: For a hip and trendy bar experience in Amsterdam.
If you want to have a really chilled night, go to a coffee shop! For a list of recommended coffee shops in the Dam click HERE
While there's lots to do in Amsterdam, I really think no itinerary is the best itinerary since you're bound to run into something cool in every direction. So grab a bike and get lost! Oh and definitely get yourself some fresh stroopwafels along the way. You won't regret it.