25 Quintessential Things To Do In Amsterdam

Amsterdam is always a great time, especially if you have the best company!

As many times as I’ve been to the capital of The Netherlands, I still find myself wonderfully surprised by the city’s kind people (simply the sweetest) and their pride in multilingualism, multiculturalism as well as tolerance. With 200 nationalities that exist in Amsterdam alone, the country of windmills does not operate upon hierarchy. As a nation for openness, the Nederlanders kick caste system to the curb, from which travelers should beware: don’t walk on streets with double white lines as they’re reserved for bike lanes.

There’s something to learn about this country’s commitment to equality, from drug culture, prostitution, to homosexuality. When in Amsterdam, enjoy its green coffee shops, entertaining nightlife, breezy markets, delectable sweets and treats. Here are 25 things you must do in Amsterdam!

SEE / DO

Dam Square

Located in the historical center of the city is Dam Square, or city center ,where the National Memorial statue was built in honor of Dutch solders whose lives were lost during World War II. Here, you’ll also discover the Royal Palace where you can visit and understand the prestigious lifestyles of the Dutch monarch. Fun fact: the square acquired its name from the original dam on the Amstel River.

Amsterdam city center
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Rijksmuseum

Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands

Originally founded in The Hague, Rijksmuseum moved to the country’s capital in 1808. It’s not only a national museum, but also the largest in The Netherlands with more than 1 million objects and 8,000 pieces of art that mostly highlight Dutch history, including masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer.

Reijkmuseum
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Anne Frank House

Westermarkt 20, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands

Anne Frank Museum
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Both Anne Frank’s House and a museum, the establishment is located on the canal and recently renovated. Popular among tourists, this house was where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis during World War II. Although she didn’t survive the occupation, her diary was discovered and published in 1947.

De Pijp neighborhood

Sometimes, traveling is all about wandering aimlessly through local neighborhoods. De Pijp is one of them, an area full of Bohemian spirit. Popular among students, expats and creatives; De Pijp oozes an off-the-beaten-path atmosphere, making it a nice break from crowds of tourists near the canals. I highly recommend grabbing a weekend brunch on one of the lovely outdoor terraces, then spend an afternoon browsing through local boutiques.

Pijp neighborhood
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

De Wallen, or Red Light District

Amsterdam’s Red Light District is just as synonymous as its marijuana coffee shops. Brothels, sex shops, museums…these can all be seen in the city’s oldest district now filled with gawking tourists. The Nederlanders boast much pride in their high tolerance and liberty towards acts that may be criminalized in other countries. De Wallen’s name derives from the red neon lights that spotlight the 300 windows where women work.

Amsterdam red light district
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Van Gogh Museum

Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands

Van Gogh Museum
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To see the largest collections of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings, you’ll need to pay a visit to the Van Gogh Museum, which is the most visited museum in Holland. Here, you’ll be able to admire his most remarkable masterpieces, including: Almond Blossoms (1890,) Sunflowers (1889,) and his Self-Portrait (1888.)

Cruise on the canals

Just like in Venice, you simply can’t come to Amsterdam and not cruise on the canals. Each cruise is different but we loved the one that served drinks and narrated fun facts about the city. The tour typically lasts for about an hour, it’s educational and absolutely scenic.

Cruise the canal, Amsterdam.
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

EAT

Foodhallen

Bellamyplein 51, 1053 AT Amsterdam, Netherlands

Foodhallen is a conceptual indoor food market, located in the trendy Oud-West district. Before committing to a vendor, take a walk around the premise filled with high-end street food of various cultures around the world. Artisanal burgers, Vietnamese noodles, mezes, dim sum, wood-fire pizzas…you name it! This is a cool and casual, gastronomic haven.

Foodhallen
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Maris Piper Brasserie

Frans Halsstraat 76 HS, 1072 BV Amsterdam, Netherlands

A delightful French brasserie with a fantastic selection of cocktails! Maris Piper is a mixture of Parisian chic and London cool, so try to reserve seats at the chef’s table for an unforgettable dining experience while watching the staff in action, up close and personal. At this Michelin-starred restaurant, commence your meal with oysters, then devour the Bisque of Dutch shrimps, don’t forget the Dutch lamb as the main dish, and end with a Maris Piper’s éclair. Bon app!

MARIS PIPER
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Devour Fritessaus

Amsterdam fries with sauce
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Eating fritessaus, or fries sauce, is an essential activity that can’t be missed. This Dutch condiment tastes almost like mayonnaise but is considerably leaner since it contains 25% of fat and the taste is a bit sweet. I also loved the ones with gravy, when in Amsterdam…

Indulge in Stroopwafel

We are definitely NOT counting calories whilst in Amsterdam, because I’d cry. Although I’m typically not a fan of sweets, everyone needs to try the traditional syrup waffle – an iconic Dutch cookie. Made from rigid dough, butter, brown sugar, milk, eggs and yeast; combined with caramel filling and cinnamon, this makes the perfect treat during any stroll along the canal.

Stroopwafel
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The Seafood Bar

Van Baerlestraat 5h, 1071 AL Amsterdam, Netherlands

Craving for fantastic and fresh seafood? Head to The Seafood Bar where you can indulge in catches of the day from Holland, like the razor clams and mussels. This award-winning restaurant was started by the De Visscher family who began as fishmongers in a tiny city called Helmond. The restaurant is so successful that it has now expanded to multiple locations, even in London.

The Seafood Bar
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Dappertutto

Mauritskade 110, 1093 RT Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dappertutto
Dappertutto. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

In my opinion, this is one of the best restaurants in Amsterdam. Cozy and intimate, Dappertutto is an unassuming jewel serving fantastic Italian dishes. Situated close to the Brouwerij ‘t IJ (see DRINK section,) we highly recommend any fish-based selection on the menu, the lasagna was wildly enjoyable. Savory, sizzling, cheesy, and gooey. This charming eatery is ideal for a slower-paced meal, good conversations when not in a rush. For me, traveling is all about discovering hidden gems. Dappertutto definitely fits the bill.

Van ‘t Spit

Frans Halsstraat 42, 1072 BT Amsterdam, Netherlands

Hungry for delicious roasted chicken? Check out Van ‘t Spit which now has several locations throughout the city, including in Oud West and Oude Pjip. Van ‘t Spit oozes an animated pub-style ambiance where you should indulge in a whole chicken in addition to a few sides. Each of Van ‘t Spit’s chicken is marinated in a magical sauce for hours, with crispy and fragrant skin after roasting.

Van 't Spit
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DRINK

door 74

Reguliersdwarsstraat 74, 1017 BN Amsterdam, Netherlands

Door 74
FACEBOOK Door 74

After we asked around for the city’s must-visit cocktail bars, door 74 was at the top of everyone’s list. This Prohibition-themed speakeasy requires a password and reservation to enter. Since the bar’s entrance is somewhat hidden without a sign, be on the look out for a door with black wood and glass panels. Then, ring the door bell and you’ll be greeted at the door. Inside, the refined Art Deco bar welcomes guests with smooth leather and dark mahogany that simultaneously whisper mysterious sexiness from the past.

The Butcher

Albert Cuypstraat 129 De Pijp,Zuid 1072 CS Amsterdam

Also another covert bar requiring a password and a reservation (email them,) The Butcher can be found behind a hamburger joint in the middle of the famous Albert Cuypstraat market. Once you approach the entrance, hit the bell and someone will let you in. The dim but cosmopolitan hotspot features eleven signature cocktails in addition to the classics. Besides the yummy drinks though, make sure to also stop by and grab a bite of the burgers. You won’t regret it!

W Lounge

W Hotel, Spuistraat 175, 1012 VN Amsterdam, Netherlands

W Amsterdam
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Coined as “where Amsterdam’s nightlife never ends,” W Lounge sits on the rooftop deck of the globally happening W Hotel and an epic view of the Royal Palace. Stylish crowd, sparkling skyline, open air and tasty cocktails define this trendy location. Beyond its über cool events; W Lounge also hosts rooftop yoga sessions, Social Sundays, swanky pool parties…and much more.

Brouwerij Troost

Cornelis Troostplein 21, 1072 JJ Amsterdam, Netherlands

With multiple addresses throughout Amsterdam, Troost’s original location was in a former convent in the artistic De Pijp neighborhood. Reconstructed, the interior is designed to emulate a school cafeteria for a sense of minimalistic fashion. Expect three beers that are served all-year-round: Weizen (floral and aromatic,) a Blonde and an I.P.A. Troost’s beers are not too fussy, not overly alcoholic but carry unique fragrance and tastes. The bar is also a restaurant, highlighted by its burgers, fries and steaks.

Amstel

If you didn’t know, Amstel was born in Amsterdam! So what better way to celebrate your trip than to drink some local beer. Founded in 1870, the Dutch brewery was named after the Amstel River. The pale Pilsner lager-style beer is perfect for summertime or as you cruise on the canal!

Amstel Beer
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Brouwerij ‘t IJ

Funenkade 7, 1018 AL Amsterdam, Netherlands

Brouwerij 't IJ
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When the Dutch were complaining about the mass production of breweries, the owner of Brouwerij ‘t IJ started this small taproom in 1985. It features 12 standard beers and 3 seasonals. What makes the location so special is that it’s right next to the 26.6 meters high De Gooyer windmill, making it the tallest windmill in the Netherlands.

Heineken

Heineken
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Again, we’re not counting calories, or I’d hit a wall. Of course, one would down a pint of Heineken beer in Amsterdam, the motherland of this pale lager. There’s also a Heineken museum in the city for hardcore fans. For me, a cold pint at a local pub is just as satisfying.

SHOP

P.C. Hooftstraat (Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat)

If you’re looking to do some high-end shopping, head to the P.C. Hooftstraat where most of the major luxury brands can be discovered. Named after the 17th-century historian and playwright, Pieter Cornelisz, this area is very much like the Champs-Elysées of the Netherlands, as it has risen to be one of the most expensive streets in the country.

9 Streets in Jordaan

9th street shopping in Amsterdam
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Or, as locals call it: De Negen Straatjes, is actually also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 9th streets in Jordaan neighborhood used to be home to the working class. Today, it is one of the cutest shopping areas in Amsterdam. These nine little streets are filled with charming antique boutiques, eateries, and coffee shops.

Albert Cuypstraat

Who loves a fantastic street market like I do? Then head over to Albert Cuyp Market, next to the former Heineken Brewery, between Ferdinand Bolstraat and Van Woustraat in the De Pijp neighborhood. Named after a 17th century painter, the market stalls sell items ranging from fruits and vegetables to clothing and accessories. Originated in 1905, this is the biggest daily market in Amsterdam.

 

Floating Flower Market

Singel, 1012 DH Amsterdam, Netherlands

As the world’s only floating flower market, the Bloemenmarkt is a must-see when in Amsterdam. Situated in the city’s southern canal belt, the market has been in existence since 1862, although most of the stands today sell mostly souvenir items but there are still a few that focus on fresh flowers. This might’ve been one of my favorite stops!

Floating Flower Market
PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Wendy Hung

CEO, FOUNDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and St. Bart's because they were all so different!

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