I have been to Amsterdam twice and both experiences were completely different from each other. The first time was a day trip from Paris with friends in the dead of winter. It was very cold in Amsterdam and I came back to Paris higher than a kite. The second visit was a solo trip, I stayed for several days in May and the only thing I smoked were American Spirit cigarettes. BTW I do not smoke anymore!
Depending on your travel agenda and style, I would say to get the most out of Amsterdam in a short period of time will take you 3-5 days. Two days if you just want to walk around, take a canal cruise and see a museum or two. There is a lot to see and do in Amsterdam and one visit might not be enough! 🧭
You can take this blog post as a list of “What I recommend to do in Amsterdam” OR as a journal of “What I did in Amsterdam”. Either way, I hope it gives you ideas and information for your future trip to Amsterdam.
Taking a Canal Cruise – A UNESCO World Heritage Site
I know, I know- Hopping on a Canal Cruise is a very touristy thing to do but for us non locals, it is something that we want to do! It would be like taking a Bateaux Mouches down La Seine in Paris, a gondola in Venice or a riding a camel around the Pyramids of Giza. We love it and it is all good.
The Canal Ring in Amsterdam is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so exploring them is a travel duty. There are various ways to explore the canals of Amsterdam. You can hire your own private boat with a guide, go on a group tour or take one that is a Hop on – Hop off. On my first visit, we opted for the Hop on – Hop off boat which was great. Since we only had a day it became our transportation around Amsterdam. On my second visit, I stayed longer, walked the city and took the tram.
Walking or cycling through the city of Amsterdam allows you to see what the city is truly made of. I did not trust myself on a bicycle riding through Amsterdam, so walking it was. Plus I can walk for hours on end and I love it. I suggest to download a map app such as Maps.me that offers offline maps. Bookmark the places you want to visit and just WALK!
I loved walking through the streets of Amsterdam especially in the Springtime. The winter not so much. If I were to go back again, I would definitely visit in May or possibly during Autumn. There was a lot to see and do in Amsterdam, from checking out the cute shops to eating in the restaurants. The vibe of the city is super cool and you just feel cooler walking the streets and crossing the bridges!
The Cannabis Culture has been a part of the Dutch lifestyle since the 1950s and gained popularity during the 60s Hippie Culture. While we were showing black and white films like Reefer Madness, the Dutch had implemented marijuana into their culture and started opening Coffee Houses during the 70s. If you do not smoke, then just keep walking- no worries! If you do, there are plenty of Coffee Houses that you can sit and smoke in a safe, comfortable environment.
When I first smoked in Amsterdam it was back in 2015 and it was the only time I smoked MJ in Amsterdam. We found a Coffee Shop close to the train station which worked out well because we had to catch a train back to Paris. Out of the four of us, 2.5 of us smoked and the 1.5 people got us onto the train and back to Paris. They do not mess around with the quality of their pot here in Amsterdam, so make sure you can get back to your accomodations in one piece!
Noshing in Amsterdam
On my second visit to Amsterdam, I had a list of places that I wanted to try and I hit all of them. Thank goodness for all the walking I did to burn off everything I ate. I may not have made it out of Amsterdam, which does not sound like a bad thing.
I had several first food try’s in Amsterdam like the Dutch Apple Pie and Syrian Food. I also dined at several classic restaurants and cafes, plus I ate AYCE pancakes on the Pancake Boat. Everything was delicious and I have no regrets on how much I ate!
For my Netherlands Food Blogs, restaurant reviews and locations:
Anne Frank House Museum
If you are not familiar with the story of Anne Frank, it might be about time to start reading! Anne Frank was a thirteen year old Jewish girl who hid with others from the Nazis during WWII. The eight of them hid in an annex behind a secret bookcase in the “Anne Frank House” in Amsterdam. Sadly after two years, all of them were discovered, separated and died in concentration camps. The only survivor was Otto Frank, her father. He eventually published her diary that she wrote during hiding, created the Anne Frank Foundation and opened the House Museum in May 1960.
It is essential that you purchase your tickets prior to arrival. This is one of Amsterdam’s most visited sights and the lines are around the building. When we visited, I had pre-purchased our tickets online so we walked right in although we were 15 minutes late. Always buy your tickets to anything on line, if possible.
For museum information, ticketing and location, please visit their website – Anne Frank House
This is Amsterdam’s oldest building and it was founded in approximately 1213. The Old Church has gone through several construction phases over the centuries and has attained some interesting interior attributes. There are the four pipe organs inside, there a several remarkable stained glass windows and the ceiling is the largest medieval wooden vault in Europe.
The Oude Kerk (Old Church) was also a favorite of Rembrandt and his family, as all of his children were baptized here. His wife’s tomb is located inside the church along with many other notables that are buried under the church floors.
I find it quite interesting that the Red Light District is next to the Oude Kerk. In fact, some of the Prostitute Windows face the church. It seems like both lifestyles accepted each other and now live together as neighbors.
In the church’s current day incarnation, it is a Contemporary Arts and Heritage Center- very nice! For church information and location- Oude Kerk, Amsterdam
Red Light District
I have walked through the Red Light District during both my trips to Amsterdam and it was always a “Well HELLO!” moment for me. I am not a prude by any means. I grew up in Los Angeles and live in Las Vegas, nothing phases me really. I think I was taken back because I came across the windows, looked up and there was a woman literally making love to the glass. To me it was like watching a window lingerie mannequin come to life, which would shock anybody!
If this is not your cup of tea, you do not have to look or even walk through the Red Light District in Amsterdam. If you plan on going to the Oude Kerk (Old Church), just remember that it lies within the heart of the District, which in my opinion is fascinating.
Amsterdam’s Museum Scene
There are three major museums in Amsterdam that are a “Must See” while visiting the city. First is the Anne Frank House Museum, which I had just mentioned – see above. Then there is the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. All three are important factors to the art, culture and the history of The Netherlands.
For more museum information and my full Yelp Reviews, please visit:
In the Spring of 2019, I visited Keukenhof Gardens outside of Amsterdam and it was as beautiful as I thought it would be. If you are in Holland during the Springtime make sure you catch those spectacular tulip bulbs! The gardens are in Lisse and it is a short drive from Amsterdam. If you do not have a vehicle, you can take public transportation like I did. There was a direct bus to and from Amsterdam which made it very convenient.
For my full Blog with photos and information: 👩🏻💻 ➡ Keukenhof Gardens – Tiptoeing Through the Tulips
For gardens location and information, please visit – Keukenhof National Gardens
All Aboard De Pannenkoekenboot!
Aka ‘The Pancake Boat’. Yes there is a pancake cruise in Amsterdam and by now you should not be surprised that I took that cruise! What happens is that you find yourself on a river cruise with a guide telling you all about the sights. All the while you are munching on AYCE (all you can eat) pancakes.
You can make both sweet and savory pancakes, it is your choice. All the pancakes are freshly cooked while sailing and you just add your toppings to create your perfect AYCE pancakes.
For cruise information and tickets, please visit – Amsterdam Pannenkoekenboot!
It’s always a good time with you, Dear Amsterdam! Until we meet again…
XOXO – Trix
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