Must see & do when in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a city bursting with history, world-class attractions, a rich cultural scene and plenty of ways for visitors of any age to experience all the city has to offer.
Here are the things you must see & do in Amsterdam, in other words the hotspots of Amsterdam, to ensure a travel experience you will remember.
1. See: The beautiful canal district of Amsterdam - Do: Take a canal cruise
The canals of Amsterdam are the cities signature and arguably its most charming feature. A canal cruise through the city’s waterways gives you a unique view of many spectacular Amsterdam sights in a short period of time. The different canal cruises take you along 17th century mansions, humpbacked bridges, quirky houseboats and stunning architectural design ranging from medieval to modern. The sunset and night cruises are recommended.
2. See: The beautiful art & design museum exhibitions - Do: Visit Amsterdam's Best Museums
Amsterdam’s museums belong to the main tourist attractions of the city. The city has over fourty museums and galleries, which attract millions of visitors every year. Alongside the wealth of magestic Golden Age paintings, you'll find exciting modern art, press, film, theatre and photography museums and some unique typically Dutch museums such as the Heineken Experience, the Ajax Museum and the Houseboat museum.
The Rijksmuseum,the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House are among the most popular museums of the city. These museums should be among the first you see when you visit Amsterdam. They are respectively home to fine historical artifacts, the works of treasured Dutch artists and tell the somber story of a little jewish girl’s life in World War II, whose impact on the world is nothing less than extraordinary.
For more information on many the museums Amsterdam has to offer see Design & Culture.
3. See: The diverse and cosmopolitan culture of Amsterdam - Do: Experience the Café Culture
Amsterdam has many cafés and bars. A popular local passtime is to sit in a café for lunch, coffee, happy-hour drinks or dinner and watch people go by and enjoy the time to relax with friends, family or colleagues. The spectrum of cafés begins with the traditional and relaxed typical Dutch ‘brown’ cafés and ranges to the lively and crowded bars. In the summer, the terraces of the different cafés are ideal and usually packed with people, simply watching life pass by on the busy streets of the bustling city.
Very popular local areas to experience the café- and barculture are ‘Leidseplein’ and ‘Rembrandtplein’.
4. See: The beautiful architecture and art on the streets of Amsterdam - Do: Take a walk around the City
Simply walking through Amsterdam is one of the best ways to get to know the city. With the many picturesque bridges to cross, the enchanting canal district, beautiful architecture and art pieces to photograph and countless cozy cafés for breaks along the way, exploring Amsterdam by foot offers hours of sightseeing. All key attractions in Amsterdam city center can be easily reached by foot, allowing you to walk from sight to sight, setting your own pace. You can venture out on your own with a map or a guide book and discover Amsterdam’s unknown corners by yourself. Or learn all about the stories behind Amsterdam’s elaborate gable stones, the history of the city’s Jewish population, the latest developments in modern architecture and much more by taking a guided tour through the city. Or you can book a private multilingual guide for a private tour of all of Amsterdam’s treasures.
The guide books can be purchased at the local VVV Tourist information offices. The hotel reception can book the multilingual guide for you.
5. See: The city as locals do - Do: Rent a bike and go
Cycling is a way of life in the Netherlands and is also extremely popular in Amsterdam. In no other city in Europe do people cycle as much. Cycling is by far the fastest and easiest way to get around Amsterdam. So explore the city as the locals, explore the city by bike.
You can rent a bike at the hotel for only € 15,00 a day. A bike can be booked at the reception of the hotel or book it now as an add on to your room reservation.
The VVV tourist offices sell cycling guides and maps of Amsterdam and its surroundings, which will take you past Amsterdam’s popular parks and city sights. Or you can determine and print out your own bike route via www.routecraft.com or www.routeyou.com.
6. See: The small boutiques and open-air markets of Amsterdam Do: (Window) shop in Amsterdam's best shopping areas
With everything from multi-level department stores to one-of-a-kind boutiques, antiques to contemporary Dutch design, Amsterdam offers something for everyone. Amsterdam's best shopping areas and colorful open-air markets are as diverse as the goods they sell, inspiring even the most cultivated shopper.
The most popular and distinguishing shopping areas in Amsterdam are the nine streets and the museum district.
The Nine streets (‘De 9 Straatjes’)
Between Leidsestraat and Raadhuisstraat there is an area known as De 9 Straatjes (The 9 Streets), named after the nine side streets connecting the main canals. Together these picturesque streets offer a scope of unique shops, great restaurants, cafés, art galleries, jewellers, boutiques and vintage stores. With an exceptional array of styles, trends and prices, the area is truly a shopper’s paradise.
The Museum District
The Museum District shopping area consist of three streets, the PC Hooftstraat, the Van Baerlestraat and the Willems Parkweg. The district is home to many of Amsterdam’s luxury boutiques and designer stores. Of the three the P.C. Hooftstraat is the most well known. It is Amsterdam’s most upscale and exclusive shopping street, offering you the beautiful designs of various well known labels and designers, such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, DKNY, Mulberry, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.
For more information on Amsterdam’s shopping areas, see Shopping in Amsterdam.