Amsterdam is one of my favorite places in the world. The city is downright charming, and there are endless things to see and do. If you’re visiting around summertime, you can expect everyone to be outside — sipping coffee overlooking the canals, barbecuing at the Vondelpark, or biking around the city. In the colder months, locals trade outdoor seating for cozy cafes and bars or ice-skating in the square. There’s so much to love about Amsterdam, but my favorite is the people: diverse and friendly, they make this trendy city feel like home. Something tells me after visiting, you’ll fall in love with it too…
needed to take it all in
Where to Stay
- The Hoxton Hotel – set in classic Amsterdam canal houses, The Hoxton hosts weekly events and has a trendy bar that’s worth visiting even if you aren’t staying the night.
- Dikker & Thijs Fenice Hotel – this hotel’s central location overlooking the Prinsengracht canal is perfect for exploring the city.
- Airbnb – there are endless gems to be found on Airbnb. Besides the main canals of Amsterdam, more budget-friendly neighborhoods like the Jordaan and De Pijp are great options.
Where to Eat
- De Carrousel – head here for a traditional Dutch pannenkoek (think open-faced crepe). Pannenkoeken come in sweet and savory flavors. Don’t forget to end your meal with a plate of poffertjes.
- Pluk – perfect for an afternoon cup of coffee or sandwich. Browse their selection of swoon-worthy items for sale while you’re waiting.
- Foodhallen – can’t decide what to eat? The Foodhallen has everything from Vietnamese spring rolls to traditional Dutch bitterballen. Order the Yuzu cake from Petit Gâteau, it’s such a treat!
- Lombardo’s – arguably the best burger in town, Lombardo’s is perfect for a quick and satisfying meal. Try the lamb burger, it’s truly mouth-watering.
- Sweet Cup – easily my favorite laid-back café to grab a latte. The coffee beans are hand-roasted by the owners daily. Don’t forget to say hi to ‘Sjef’, their basset hound!
- Buffet van Odette – situated on the corner overlooking Prinsengracht canal, Buffet van Odette serves rotating seasonal dishes and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tip: reserve a table outside for dinner with a view!
Where to Drink
- Café ZILT – this whiskey café has a wide selection of specialty craft beer and whiskey. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable about their spirits, and the warm interior makes for an excellent spot to spend time with friends.
- Hiding in Plain Sight – a cozy, intimate bar with leather couches and award-winning cocktails. Reservations are recommended if you’re visiting on a weekend.
- Brouwerij ‘t IJ – located next to a windmill, this brewery with lots of outdoor seating is perfect for a sunny day.
- Vyne – this spot is great for a glass of wine pre-dinner. They also have a very reasonable flight if you’re feeling indecisive (like me).
Where to Shop
- Gerard Doustraat – dotted with cute boutiques selling clothes, accessories and gifts, this street in De Pijp is exceptionally quaint. Tip: head down Eerste van der Helststraat afterwards for lunch.
- The 9 Streets – filled with trendy shops and restaurants and the occasional vintage store, this neighborhood is a must-see in Amsterdam.
- Nearby Dam Square – start at the Dam Square and wind south on Kalverstraat. For a pick-me-up, grab a softijs (soft serve ice cream) at HEMA. It won’t disappoint.
Where to Go
- Albert Cuypmarket – open every day except Sunday, this outdoor market has everything from clothes and shoes, to flowers and home goods. Don’t forget to grab a warm stroopwafel (Dutch caramel-filled waffle cookie) for a pick-me-up between stalls!
- Vondelpark – bike, walk, or picnic at this park below Amsterdam’s canal district. It’s full of beautiful bridges, canals, and the occasional restaurant.
- Red Light District – besides being home to the world famous red-curtained brothels, the Red Light District is one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam. My advice: start at the Oude Kerk (Old Church) and just wander.
- Bloemenmarkt – get your flower fill at Amsterdam’s Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market).
What to Do
- Take a canal ride. There’s no better way to see the city and learn about its history than cruising through the picturesque canals.
- Visit the Hortus Botanicus. One of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, the Hortus Botanicus is perfect for an afternoon stroll. Grab lunch nearby at De Plantage afterwards. Don’t forget your camera!
- Tour the Anne Frank Huis. If I had to pick one tourist attraction to see, it would definitely be the newly renovated Anne Frank Huis. It’s a humbling and fascinating visit. Book tickets in advance, it fills up fast.
- Visit the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum – the Rijksmuseum itself is a masterpiece. The Van Gogh Museum hosts the world’s largest collection of his work and is just a stone’s throw away, so make a day of it!
What to Bring
- An Umbrella. The Netherlands is notorious for rain and unpredictable weather.
- A Scarf. But really – see above.
- Floral-print anything. Flower-lined canals call for inspired floral design.
And there you have it! If it wasn’t before, I hope Amsterdam is at the top of your travel bucket list. Now all you need is a bike…
What’s your favorite city to explore? Let us know in the comments below!
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