Amsterdam delivers the goods when it comes to memorable experiences. With canals weaving through the city, gabled buildings providing glimpses of a bygone past, and myriad museums portraying the importance of Amsterdam’s role in history, it is a city full of extraordinary things to do. From the world-class Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum to shopping on Nine Little Streets for culture hounds, Amsterdam has a lot to offer.
Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Amsterdam:
Cultural and the economical icon of the country, Heineken offers various attractions and spreads their secrets in the old breweries with Heineken Experience. The top visited attraction in Amsterdam is a must-do for fans of the beer. Among the attractions housed in the century-old factory are a virtual-reality ride, a history of the Heineken family and a free beer tasting as well as opportunity to have your Heineken bottle with personalized label or to merge into the magical Haineken marketing world.
The Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes)
The western part of the Canal Ring is a labyrinthine neighborhood, known as De Negen Straatjes (the Nine Streets), filled with independent shops. The act of shopping becomes a full-on afternoon activity as you wander the brick sidewalks searching for the perfect quirky souvenir or gift. It’s full of designer and vintage boutiques, cutting-edge galleries, quaint cafes, and delightfully cluttered antique shops.
Red Light District
Although not to everyone’s taste, the Red Light District, known locally as De Wallen, is part of what makes Amsterdam famous and a part of the town you should consider visiting just to see what the fuss is about with often bizarre shops and displays. If you are really interested in the history or the sociological aspect of the area as well as its economic magnititude, the right address is the Prostitution Information Center (PIC). They are also the only ones having walking tours telling the story of the notorious neighborhood from the perspective of sex workers.
Just a five-minute walk down the Damrak from Centraal Station takes you into this jam-packed square, jostling with locals and tourists day and night. Whatever the weather, there is always something going on. Home to the Royal Palace of Koninklijk Palace and the National Monument, the Dam Square was created in the 13th century when a dam was built around the river Amstel to prevent the Zuiderzee sea from flooding the city. During the sixties, the square was renowned for its Dam Square hippies. These days it is one of the main tourist sights and expect lots of entertainment.
Vondel Park & Leidseplein
Amsterdam version of Central Park offers a welcome visual alternative to the monochromatic sea of brick that makes up central Amsterdam. Don’t miss The Fish statue by Pablo Picasso, and you can take advantage of numerous music, dance, and cabaret performances at the open-air theater during the summer months and even consider picnicking on your way from Dam square to Museumplein.
May be better enjoyed with a relaxed afternoon beer or in the evening, Leidseplein, just next to the Vondelpark, is the center of Amsterdam’s entertainment scene filled with nightclubs, movie theaters, concert venues, casinos and, of course, some coffee shops.
Home to the three major museums in Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art and the Van Gogh Museum, Museumplein is the neighborhood to be for the art lovers.
The Van Gogh Museum holds the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings, including “Sunflowers”, “The Potato Eaters”, “Wheatfield with Crows” and “Almond Blossom.” The museum itself regularly tops the list as the most-visited museum in not only Amsterdam but in all of the Netherlands.
Facing the square, The Rijksmuseum is home to renowned Rembrandts, including ‘The Night Watch’, plus a grand company of other Old Masters from Frans Hals and Jan Steen to Ferdinand Bol and Jan Vermeer. Among the vast collection there are 8,000 masterworks on display within the galleries of Golden Age paintings. Model ships, rich costumes, and Asian art figure offer well-paced chronological trot from the Middle Ages to Mondrian.
Bonsus – Begijnhof
An oasis of calm just a few meters from the shopping madness of Kalverstraat, this secluded garden and courtyard sits in the middle of houses built for the Beguines, an order of semi-monastic women who lived together in a close community under vows of chastity. Although the Begijnhof dates back to the 14th century, most of the gothic facades were replaced in the 17th and 18th centuries. The wooden house (Houten Huys) at Begijnhof 34 is the oldest house in Amsterdam. The Begijnhof chapel also features a series of panels telling the story of the Miracle of Amsterdam.