Do, Eat and See The Best of Amsterdam Like a Local
Amsterdam is just so cool- with world-class museums, quirky festivals, theater, live music, laid-back bars and delightful restaurants, there’s never a shortage of things to do in Amsterdam!
1. Visit De Pijp
De Pijp is a former working class neighborhood which has seen its share of gentrification over the years. Now it’s a hipstery ‘hood with cute cafés, underground bars and a fair amount of street art. Also cool in this area is the Albert Cuypmarkt— a daily food market with cool shops and great street food. There’s no place like the Albert Cuyp street market to discover Amsterdam’s typical sense of humour and laid back atmosphere.
Make sure to visit the Albert Cuypmarkt (open every day except Sunday from 9-6pm) to find quirky clothing, street food and fresh fruit & veggies. And for a bit of fun at night, check out the bar Gollem which sells local brews.
2. Eat, eat, eat and eat some more!
Go for a stroopwafel (the most delicious cookie EVER) at the Albert Cuypmarkt — or you can get them at many cafes in Amsterdam because they go so well with coffee. You’ll also want to try other Dutch food specialties such as poffertjes (small pancakes served with powdered sugar), bitterballen (fried meatballs of ghoulash or other fillings) and cheese (Gouda is the local specialty). Amsterdam’s food scene might not be at the top of your travel itinerary, but it’s something that will surely surprise you.
To sample the best of Dutch cuisine, take a food tour with Eating Amsterdam Tours in the Jordaan neighborhood. Arguably the prettiest part of Amsterdam, it’s also probably the tastiest. The tour includes 12 mouth-watering tastings on a 4-hour walking tour including Indonesian food and other Dutch specialties.
3. Visit Amsterdam’s best museums
With more than 50 museums in the city, Amsterdam is a museum-lover’s dream. Arguably the city’s most important museum, Rijksmuseum features legendary works by Dutch masters such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh. But perhaps the museum most likely to be crowded during your visit is the Anne Frank House. One of the most recognizable figures of the Holocaust, Anne Frank’s diary tells what life was like during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam during WWII.
For photography lovers, the FOAM photo gallery features exhibitions by both well-known and up-and-coming photographers. For art lovers, the Van Gogh Museum and Rembrandt House are both dedicated to their respective namesakes.
Tours to consider: Amsterdam Walking Tour, Canal Cruise & Van Gogh Museum
4. Lounge about in Vondelpark
Just a beautiful, big green space, Vondelpark is one of the best places to be on a sunny day in Amsterdam. That is if you haven’t found a suitable canal tour or made friends with a local who owns a boat. And since 2008, it’s apparently legal to have sex in the park (as long as it’s nighttime and you don’t leave behind any condoms). Not really sure why they needed a law about that, but hey — that’s Amsterdam for you.
In the summertime, Vondelpark also hosts open air theater. Check their official website for the summer schedule.
5. Visit the Red Light District
This area is a hot mess — really. I wasn’t sure what to expect of it before seeing it for myself…and it ended up being one of the more surprising things I saw in Amsterdam. Sure, I guess I always knew sex was easy to come by in Amsterdam but it was still a bit weird to see it all right there.
There are numerous companies that offer tours and pub crawls through the Red Light District which visit places like the legendary Sex Museum. Look for the flyers in your hotel, hostel or guest house.
6. Shop on Haarlemmerstraat
Only a brief 5-minute walk from central Amsterdam, the Haalremmerstraat has a huge variety of cool shops selling everything from fine Dutch cheeses to cool mens clothing. There was even some street art along the way. Plus with bars, cafés and restaurants all open on Sundays, it’s a great place to just wander around and get lost.
Check out Vinnie’s Deli for organic, healthy food.
7 Great Blogs to Help Plan Your Trip to Amsterdam
- Official Tourism Website – iamsterdam.com
- Food & Travel Guide – eatingamsterdamtours.com
- Secrets of Amsterdam – awesomeamsterdam.com
- Dutchified travel videos – on YouTube
- Restaurant Reviews – amsterdamfoodie.nl
- Travel Tips – amsterdamblog.co.uk
- Local News & Events – dutchdailynews.com
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