The capital city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam has never stopped flourishing for 12 centuries. It is one of the most important and populous cities in Europe with moderate weather. More than 4.63 million international tourists visit here annually. Most of them are European and American. This huge figure of tourists prominently shows you the popularity of the city. Amsterdam offers its tourists something special that no other cities can. John Green in his novel “The Fault in Our Stars” said,
“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.”
This remarkable remark expresses the true color of this city. So the term “the best things to do in Amsterdam” might raise some confusion. If you want to know what visitors really do in Amsterdam, then you might be surprised to know that a great portion of them visit the Cannabis coffee shop and Red-light district.
So sometimes it is better to put the term, ”the crazy thing to in Amsterdam”. But those do not define Amsterdam entirely. It has some world-famous museums, two UNESCO enlisted World Heritage sites, and numerous other splendid sites that make the city of other citizens jealous.
Best Things to do in Amsterdam
It is not an easy one to make a list of Amsterdam beautiful sites. However, at least we are not going to be the ethical judgments about visiting Amsterdam as John Green says, “It is a city of freedom”.
A visit to Amsterdam would not be completed without visiting De Pijp. It is located directly south of Amsterdam’s city Center. De Pijp is full of fantastic cafés, restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. And it would be unwise not to visit the Albert Cuyp Market, which is flanked by over 100 shops. It is the most famous and busiest street market in the Netherlands.
To make your day really happy, explore the alleys around the Albert Cuyp Market, where new specialist food shops and eateries appear to be opening all the time. The place attracts millions of visitors and also should attract you. De Pijp is also famous for its bars.
There are some bars and restaurants you might want to keep on your checklist. Bar Restaurant Simpel which is a few blocks away from Heineken Brewery. Bar-ca (bar-restaurant) which named after Spanish city Barcelona. This name suggests its attempts to grasp a Spanish atmosphere.
Eufraat, this restaurant will provide you a hearty meal with a Middle Eastern twist. Other notable restaurants are De Ondeugd, Mas Tapas, Mamouche, and Albina. For bar, you may check Chocolate Bar, Wildschut, and The Heineken Experience. If you are a man of taste, you may not like to forget the last name.
Visiting the famous flower market
Who does not love flowers? And what else could be better than visiting the flower market when the whole country is famous for flowers? It is probably one of the most popular free things in Amsterdam. The flower market will just dazzle your mind. After visiting the flower market, if you want to remember Amsterdam, the first thing will glimpse in your mind the picture of all the wonderful flowers of the market. Those markets are officially called Bloemenmarkt.
There are 15 stalls and each of them seems so identical that it will be hard for you to distinguish unless you are a flower connoisseur. But expert or not, these markets are a silent contributor to Amsterdam tourism. The Netherlands is always famous for its tulips. But be careful about buying tulip bulbs. Because those could be rotten.
The prices are reasonable. However, buying or not, it is an awesome place for taking pictures. We can’t guarantee you after leaving this place where else you could find so many flowers in your background to take a picture or nowadays what we call selfie!
De Jordaan is a place for the working class, It has become one of the most expensive neighborhood. Jordan is mostly known for Art and Culture. For an art aficionado, the entire place was a ghetto. Here buried the great Dutch painter Rembrandt. For its low rents, it was a place for novice artists in the 70th. Beautiful country yards, picturesque canals were also helpful. The legacy is not completely washed away.
In this place, you’ll find about 40 specialist galleries occupying former homes or shops. Here, Edouard Planting Art Photographs is the oldest photography festival in the Netherlands.
Amsterdam is quite infamous for its Red-light district. It appears that Amsterdam’s Red Light District to be your Genie to fulfill your all imaginations. At daylight, the area becomes ordinary like other cities. It is the night that gives the area its true color.
Amsterdam has a 500 years old tradition and regarded as one of the paradise cities for prostitution. Window prostitution is very popular in the Netherlands. Behind the windows, the prostitutes wear sexually provocative dresses, lit a red neon light, lean on the windows and try to seduce the passersby. It’s worth watching for newcomers.
Besides prostitution, there are plenty of sex shops, bars, drugs in every corner of the red light cities. But this place is not safe for inexperienced ones. They often could get into trouble. It is a wise decision to come in a group. De Wallen is the largest and best known red-light district in Amsterdam. There is a number of sex shops, sex theaters, peep shows, and a sex museum in De Wallen.
If the red-light district is the sin of the city, the Condomerie should be its guardian. You might feel weird if I tell you this is one of the best things to see in Amsterdam. Amsterdam tourism and tourists both should be grateful to the Condomerie. It is the world’s first special condom shop, a treasure store of latex artistry. It displays an eye-popping collection of rubber.
The shop is not limited to creating standard condoms. It also takes the liberty to create some art out of rubber. It’s not got quite an applause when this started its journey in 1987 and you will be surprised if I tell you it was the idea of three friends discussion in a restaurant.
The shop also bears the slogan of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases – particularly HIV. You will not find this kind of maverick shop in every city.
Cannabis coffee shop
Amsterdam is famous for its cannabis. As it is tolerated by local authorities. It is a surprising fact, that many people know Amsterdam only for cannabis and comes to visit the city. There are almost 200 coffee shops in Amsterdam. To get weed, you will need some ID and become 18 years old. The recreational drug could be fun.
The drug tolerance of the city may be controversial but acceptance of all forms of entertainment is praiseworthy.
Canal Boat Tours
Amsterdam has earned fame as the “Venice of the North” for its large number of canals. The beauty and magnificence of the canals are understandable as they are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage List. Take a relaxed day and make a boat tour. About 165 canals with 1,500 bridges, encircles the whole city, and keep the sea at bay. Most of the canals of Amsterdam were dug in during the Dutch Golden Age and a successful outcome of the city planning.
Notable canals are Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht, Zwanenburgwal, and so on. It’s a worthy decision to take one of the free ferries across the IJ bay and explore Amsterdam-Noord. The waterways provide you an excellent view of the city. The most scenic of all canals are Prinsengracht. You can see shady trees that will give you comfort from the busy life of the city. There are different kinds of boat trips you can take.
There are 2500 houseboats in Amsterdam that you can buy or rent. You can also go on an organized boat trip. Some agencies could offer you a river cruise with a comparatively cheap cost. It has a 4-course meal with drinks included.
You can feel lucky if you step in Amsterdam on a rainy day. The boat trip in the canals of Amsterdam on a rainy day is really thrilling and refreshing.
How about a picnic in Vondelpark? For nature lovers, the beauty of Vondelpark can’t be fathomed without seeing it with naked eyes. It is the most famous park in the Netherlands, which attracts 10 million people annually. It is named after poet Joost van den Vondel. Opened in 1865, this spreads over around 120 acres of area. There are an open-air theater, a playground, and several HORECA facilities in the park.
People use to come here for dog-walking, jogging, roller-skating, and enjoying a sunny day, listening to music. It is one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam if you have a plan in your mind to arrange a picnic with your family.
The park is also a cultural hub. Free concerts take place in an open-air theater. Music, dance, and kids’ activities take place at the Vondelpark. The abundance of ponds, lawns, gardens, and winding footpaths make this park remarkable.
There are many rare old trees like horse chestnut, plane trees, Dutch red chestnut, plane trees, and catalpas trees in the park. Vondelpark is also a welcoming ground to many birds – blue herons, wild ducks, and many smaller birds. If you want to explore the park more, then riding on a bicycle should be more appropriate. Floating on a bicycle in the fresh air of the park. Oh God! What could be more refreshing and relaxing? The park’s beauty expresses in the song and written in the hand of the novelist.
There is a series of world-renowned galleries and museums you may like to put first in the list. The museums are so rich in their art collections that would be a total disappointment if you are not able to visit them. The best museums of Amsterdam are Amsterdam Museum, Van Gogh Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Let’s have a brief overview of these amazing museums.
Rijksmuseum, the national museum of the Netherlands is the most visited museum in the Netherlands. There are about one million objects of a collection in this museum. It possesses some of the masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age. Most remarkable paintings are Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, Frans Hals’s Portrait of a Young Couple, Frans Hals and Pieter Codde’s The Meagre Company.
Although a very crowded and expensive destination in Amsterdam, you might not want to miss the Van Gogh Museum. It is the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings. Most notable paintings of this great impressionist artist in this museum are The Potato Eaters, Sunflowers, Self-portrait, and the Yellow House and so on. It’s a matter of great regret that these priceless masterpieces were not evaluated in the artist’s lifetime.
Close to the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is a museum for modern art, contemporary art, and design. This museum has a collection of some of the greatest 20th and 21st-century artists. The museum has been collected 90,000 objects since 1874. Built by the tsar Peter the Great, Hermitage Amsterdam is a branch museum of the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg. It is one of the richest museums in the world and famous for its unique collection.
Amsterdam Museum represents the history of Amsterdam. It has a rare collection of 70,000 objects. The objects are related to the history of Amsterdam, from the Middle Ages to the present time. Well, that’s not all.
Anne Frank House
Visiting Anne Frank House can put your heart into melancholy but I can’t help it but put in the list. Anne Frank House is a biographical museum dedicated to wartime diarist Anne Frank. The museum will remind you of the horror and brutality of 2nd World War. Anna Frank did not survive but her dairy did. And it kept raising a big question where humanity lies? It’s a shame that the world is even now not prepared to answer that question.
Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the canal house, known as the Secret Annex, a dark and airless space before being mysteriously betrayed and sent to their deaths.
Developers wanted to demolish the houses but Anne Frank Foundation, established in 1957, protected the property. A recent time study suggests that about 1.2 million people come to visit this museum. This museum will help you to perceive the untold sufferings of Jewish people during the Second World War. The museum preserves the hiding place, has a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank.
After the Rijks museum and Van Gogh Museum, this small museum attracts the most visitors in the Netherlands. You may not get fun out of this museum that is always expected in a typical tour. But you will take something from this tour so moving that it will need time to shake it.