Compared to other international cities, Amsterdam is small—a direct contrast to its role in world history. The first multinational cooperation, stock exchange, enlightenment, liberalism and even the birth of New York City all started in Amsterdam. It’s always been a creative city—since its founding. Amsterdam was built below sea level, on swamp ground, and required creative solutions to stay above water. That creative spirit for innovation and entrepreneurship lives on—making it one of Europe’s most hip cities with a never-ending array of new projects, ideas and businesses.

Know Where to Go

Amsterdam

When the city expanded in the 17th century with the famous canal belt, Amsterdam saw not just the importance of buildings and brownstones along the canals, but they specifically planned the city with plenty of green spaces. Even today you’ll be amazed by the many trees and beautiful parks across the city—one often most associated with its canals and water, but is surprisingly green. Hop on a bike through Amsterdam and the nature is suddenly apparent!

Don’t want to take the risk of cycling through Amsterdam? It’s easy enough to get through the city by foot. Amsterdam Untold Experience offers walking tours to discover Amsterdam’s past and present with a quirky and fun take on Amsterdam’s unique history.

Amsterdam’s city center offers enough excitement but to make your visit complete and to get a sense of how the locals experience the city, make sure you know your way around through some of the more alternative, edgy and interesting neighborhoods beyond the tourist center.

  • City Center — Amsterdam’s city center is where you’ll find the vast majority of Amsterdam’s tourist attractions. From the Dam Square to Amsterdam Centraal train station is just a short walk and it serves as the focal point for the city. From this main stretch, you can reach by walking, by bike or by tram just about every other point in the city. Frequent events, festivals and demonstrations take place in and around Dam Square, not to mention the many historical sites. Most notable is the Royal Palace on the western end of the square which actually served as the Amsterdam City Hall during the Dutch Golden Age. Today you can tour the Royal Palace for a peek inside one of the most important buildings in Amsterdam’s history.
  • JordaanJordaan — Originally founded as a working class area, today the Jordaan offers a walk through time. Seventeenth-century working class houses that are completely renovated, old brown pubs that are now trendy coffee bars (not to be confused with the good old Dutch Coffeeshop where you’ll find drugs) and trendy pubs where you can get a nice glass of champagne. The Jordaan is also the culinary hotspot in Amsterdam with authentic international restaurants and even the odd food tour. From the Jordaan’s early days, it’s always been a place for artists, writers, innovators and bohemians: George Breitner, Rene Descartes, Johnny Jordaan, Gerard Reve, Rob Scholte are just a few examples of people that partly got their inspiration in the Jordaan.
  • Cookie in AmsterdamDe Pijp — Amsterdam’s upcoming hipster neighborhood. The neighborhood has been home to the Albert Cuyp Market (and plenty of kebab shops) for decades, but only in the past decade has it grown to be one of the city’s coolest hotspots—and surprisingly as of yet undiscovered by many tourists. Get a coffee at one of the many Coffee Company cafés (a local chain), visit one of the bio/organic supermarkets or stop in for a healthy snack at SNCKBR. It’s easy enough to reach De Pijp from the city center with a bike rental or tram, but once you’re there make sure to wander around on foot. Go for a walk through the Sarphati park and the Albert Cuyp Market. De Pijp is increasingly a nightlife hotspot, with many craft bars, divey places and even the odd underground hotspot. Cinetol is an inspiring creative space with music performances every weekend from, silent disco and other cool events. Craft beer bar Tolbar serves up local brews each day and late into the night.
  • Oost — If you’re a beer lover, there’s no better place to go to in Amsterdam then Oost where the IJ Brewery is located in a windmill. The view of Amsterdam can’t be more Dutch than at this spot! The IJ Brewery was one of Amsterdam’s first craft breweries and it’s still one of the most popular. Also in Oost, Bar Bukowski (named after Charles Bukowski—the rebellious American writer) is a nice place to visit on the edge of the Ooster park. Also in Oost, the De Hortus botanical garden offers a peaceful escape from other more chaotic areas of Amsterdam. It’s been in operation since 1638 and offers guided tours, special events and exhibitions.
  • Hipster Guide to Amsterdam - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/city-guides/amsterdam/Red Light District — Located in the oldest neighborhood of Amsterdam, around the Old Church, it’s also the area where the oldest profession in the world is practiced: prostitution. It’s also one of the most touristic areas of Amsterdam, nearby many hostels and cheap budget hotels. It’s one of Amsterdam’s biggest tourist draws, so it is worth a peek—but expect rowdy bars, drunk students from abroad and awful food. Try to look further than all the drunk tourists and prostitutes, however, and you’ll spot a lot of beautiful hidden spots. It’s still the oldest neighborhood in the city after all, and many historic buildings have survived all the partying going on in the Red Light District (or RLD for short). For an alternative look at Amsterdam’s Red Light District, Amsterdam Untold offers historical walking tours.
  • Amsterdam Noord - Hipster AmsterdamNoord — Compared to the other Amsterdam neighborhoods, Noord didn’t develop as quickly as some of the others, which is what makes it one of the city’s burgenoning new districts with a sudden influx of cool bars, restaurants, innovative architecture and festivals & events. The Noord is shut off from the rest of the city, accessible by a (free!) ferry from behind the Amsterdam Centraal train station (built at the end of the 19th century). Home for office buildings and factorys in the 20th century, in the 21st century, Amsterdam Noord has become an architect’s dream. Today, it’s the site of a lot of modern architecture including the EYE film museum, the Adam Tower (including Europe’s largest swing) and many other projects. Historically, Amsterdam Noord was where some of the city’s poorest people lived and where the gallows were located–a field of death now rejuvenated with new life and creativity.
  • West — Once the place where the products from East India where stored in the many warehouses, these same warehouses have now been converted into über-cool, modern apartments. At the city center side of Amsterdam West, visit the Westerpark and specifically the Westergasfabriek—a part of the park that shows movies and hosts regular food events and festivals. The Westelijke Eilanden, also in Amsterdam West, is a neighborhood made of three artificial islands—a popular photography spot.
  • Oud Zuid/Zuid — One of the fanciest neighborhoods, built in the 19th century, and home to Amsterdam’s most expensive shopping street: the P.C. Hooftstraat. For the less economically-prosperous, it’s still worth walking around this street. Zuid also is the area where you’ll find most museums in Amsterdam and Amsterdam’s main park: Vondelpark. Amsterdam’s concert hall, the Het Concertgebouw, is one of Zuid’s oldest buildings and is open for concerts or even just architectural tours.

Food & Restaurants

Amsterdam Apple Pie

The Dutch kitchen isn’t famous for having great food. However you’ll be surprised by the many great restaurants throughout the city featuring both international and regional cuisine specialities. The most popular Dutch foods tend to have strong tastes, like the salty haring, strong gouda cheeses and licorice. And then there are the sweets—so many Dutch sweets! Stroopwafels (a cookie sandwich with melted caramel in the middle) are popular with a nice cup of coffee or tea, and there are the mini-pancakes (poffertjes) and Dutch apple pie popular for desert.

Many other typical Dutch foods are snacks which you can eat at one of the snack bars in Amsterdam; Frikandel, Kroket, Bitterballen and Kaassoufle are a few examples. Besides Dutch food, though, Amsterdam counts over 177 different nationalities across the city making it one of Europe’s most diverse cities. And with that comes a huge array of international cuisines—from Japanese and French to Indonesian and Surinamese.

Taste Dutch food specialities on an Amsterdam food tour. Eating Amsterdam offers food tours through the Jordaan neighborhood that include a boat ride through the canal, plus many of the Dutch food specialities such as bitterballen, poffertjes, haring and more.

Learn more at eatingamsterdamtours.com

  • The Lobby Nesplein — Just off the Dam Square and located in Amsterdam’s theater district, The Lobby captures the essence of Amsterdam’s free-spirited atmosphere with both traditional and daring menu items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each meal looks like a piece of art, and all at a decent price, too!
  • Loetje — Started as an old fashioned brown café where the locals would go to for a game of billiard, today Loetje is a local phenomenon because of their steaks. While their original location is in the south of Amsterdam, they now have different locations across the city.
  • Zushi — Spelled different but they just sell sushi. Choose to sit at the bar for the moving line of sushi for a more fun experience, though tables are also available.
  • Vinnie’s Deli A small eatery on the shopping street of Haarlemmerstraat (just near the Jordaan neighborhood — though they have two other locations, too), Vinnie’s Deli is a great rest stop for a nice lunch. Their menu focuses on healthy food options from local and sustainable providers.
  • De Brakke Grond — In the Dutch language, brak is used a lot as a mood description for someone who drank too much. De Brakke Grond, however, is named after the swampy ground close to the Amstel river where this part of the city is built on. The restaurant serves traditional Flemish food; a hearty and tasteful meal with a nice Belgian beer will make you feel satisfied for the rest of the day.
  • La Perla — If you’re after a real Italian pizza, La Perla in the Jorddan can be expected to provide! With their great wood-fire, stone furnace, their pizzas taste great for a reasonable price in an ambient setting.
  • De Gouden Reael — If you want to visit the Westelijke Eilanden in Amsterdam West, this café and restaurant is a nice place to take a rest and let your mind wander while enjoying a drink or food.
  • Foodhallen — How hip can a hipster be? The Foodhallen is an indoor market where you can both shop for gourmet groceries or enjoy a quick meal. It’s especially worth visiting on rainy days (which admittedly can happen a lot!).
  • Fa. Pekelharing — Despite having haring in their name, this restaurant serves much more than the famous Dutch fish.  only the famous fish type haring.
  • Rijks — Located inside the Rijksmuseum (and with a great outdoor patio on sunny days), the museum restaurant combines art and cuisine just as you would hope. It’s high quality food in an amazing setting. They also have some coffee bars throughout the Rijksmuseum if you just need a quick pick-me-up.
  • Yamazato — Sushi as you can only get in Japan. Yamazato is the only Japanese restaurant crowned with a Michelin star outside of Japan. The restaurant is open for lunch if you’d like to enjoy the same quality food at a far better price (and often better availability).
  • Ciel Bleu — On the 23rd floor of the Hotel Okura, this two-Michelin starred restaurant is best for a special occasion (and a hefty budget). Beautifully presented dishes and regularly described as one of the top restaurants in the city, there’s one word to describe the food: excellent.
  • Le Garage — This is the restaurant of famous Dutch top chef Joop Braakhekke. One of Amsterdam’s better restaurants with a French cuisine. It’s the most expensive restaurant on this list, however they offer a three course meal for 37.50€ if you want a taste of high cuisine.
  • Dauphine — Located in an old Citroën Garage in Amsterdam Oost, little from the inside will you remind of its former existence except the interior decoration reminiscent of the great Citroën Dauphine design. The café and restaurant offers a super hip environment with typical French Brasserie food.

Bars & Clubs

Milkshake Festival (Amsterdam 2015)

Coffee stores are the places where hipsters meet and work throughout the day and naturally they want a different environment at night. No problem in Amsterdam—the city has a great nightlife scene where many cafés later turn into clubs or bars after dark.

The main nightlife areas are around Het Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein, however you’ll find bars spread across the city.

  • Café de Jaren  Located in one of the oldest areas of Amsterdam with a beautiful terrace and view over the Amstel river, it’s a great hangout in the early evening.
  • Gollem A craft beer bar in De Pijp, Gollem looks and feels like a typical dive bar—but with far better beer selections (most of them local).
  • Cinetol - Hipster Guide to Amsterdam - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/city-guides/amsterdam/Cinetol — Cinetol is an inspiring creative space with music performances every weekend, silent disco parties and other cool events. Inside is the craft beer bar Tolbar which has a cosy living room vibe with great coffee, affordable food, a terrace in the sun and even the occasional movie nights.
  • Blue Amsterdam — Hidden in one of the most crowded parts of the city center, Blue is located in a glass building with beautiful 360º views over Amsterdam. The lounge-like atmosphere comes alive at night.
  • Hannekes Boom — Along the water, this bar and café has been around since 1662 (that’s a long time!). People pull up to Hannekes Boom along the canal on their boats (seriously!) and end up just chilling out among the picnic tables. There’s music, outdoor seating, fun people, cheap beer and good food. Really: you can’t go wrong here!
  • Jimmy Woo — One of the only clubs in Amsterdam with international fame. Just a matter of getting through the door, sometimes a challenge.
  • Paradiso  Squatted in the 1960s by a few hippies, today Paradiso is the stage for some of the best live music gigs passing through Amsterdam. Check there website for their full program of events.
  • De Melkweg  De Melkweg once started as a milk factory (the name means the milk is gone—which literally happened after the factory was closed). Today it’s a cultural place with music, film, art and theatre.
  • Hipster Guide to Amsterdam - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/city-guides/amsterdam/Bar Lempicka — This bar is named after Polish art-deco artist Tamara de Lempicka. Entering the bar, you immediately get a sense of the art-deco 1920s with an impressive interior design equally matched by their cocktail list.
  • Tunes Bar — Located in the Het Conservatorium hotel, Tunes Bar is a great luxury modern bar perfect to start a relaxed night out. Expect a smokey atmosphere as they have a smoking room for cigars and plush furniture.
  • De Ysbreeker — Once the bar for upper-class gentlemen from Amsterdam, today it’s a bar with a wonderful terrace next to the Amstel river.
  • Door 74 Visit this hidden speakeasy for some decadent cocktails, a sophisticated atmosphere, an extensive range of liquor and highly trained (handsome) bartenders.

Art, Museums & Galleries

Royal Palace Amsterdam

In a city that’s been creative for centuries, it’s no surprise to find that Amsterdam has more than its fair share of great museums. From impressive old masterpieces to great modern art expos, Amsterdam has it all. If you’re a true art lover try to see more than the main museums by visiting the many small and independent art galleries at Spiegelkwartier (“mirror district”).

Amsterdam is also home to contemporary famous designers; Marcel Wanders (famous for the knotted chair) is an example of one of them who still has his studio in the Jordaan. You’ll find other designers with galleries and shops throughout the Jordaan, such as Moooi, Studio Job and Bertjan Pot.

  • Moooi — The store of Marcel Wanders and other great Dutch designers. Even if you’re not planning to buy furniture it’s great to visit this store which is actually more like a museum.
  • Droog — The store with furniture designed by Tejo Remy and many others, with a small café and the option to get a guided tour. The top floor even includes a room to rent for the night!
  • Hipster Guide to Amsterdam - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/city-guides/amsterdam/Rijksmuseum  The world-class museum with the greatest collection of masterworks in the Netherlands. The Rijksmuseum reopened in 2013 after a 10-year renovation. One of the many highlights is Night Watch by Rembrandt.
  • Amsterdam Museum  Walk through the history of Amsterdam to see how the city expanded, grew and developed over the centuries. From the 14th century until the revolutionary 1960s, you’ll learn about every aspect of Amsterdam.
  • Stedelijk Museum  Compared to the Rijksmuseum’s massive collection, Stedelijk is a small museum. However, they have one of the city’s best exhibition spaces for contemporary art.
  • Van Gogh Museum  Hold your ears and be thrilled by one of the biggest collections of van Gogh’s artwork in one single museum.
  • Foam — Amsterdam’s photography museum with a great permanent exhibition and regular temporary exhibitions.
  • Hipster Guide to Amsterdam - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/city-guides/amsterdam/EYE  The strange looking modern white piece of architecture behind the Centraal station (its inspired by an eye). EYE is the film museum of Amsterdam with an impressive setting and a huge collection of both Dutch & foreign film archives, film posters and regular events.

Sightseeing & Things to Do

Amsterdam

A city hiding so many beautiful spots, of course, can also be a challenge to discover on your own. Especially for short weekend visits (Amsterdam is a great city break destination!), guided tours can help you discover the local insider secrets to the city. It’s possible to explore Amsterdam a number of different ways—whether by boat along the UNESCO World Heritage canals, on a bike, Segway, tram, or by foot!

  • Amsterdam Untold  Guided walking tours through the oldest part of Amsterdam (starting in the Red Light District). This 2-hour walking tour tells you about the life of people in Amsterdam (especially during the 17th century’s Dutch Golden Age) with fun facts and exciting insight into the Amsterdam’s most important era.
  • Yellow Bike  The very first company in Amsterdam that started with guided city bike tours—their bikes are instantly recognizable. Yellow Bike offers city tours of two to three hours or independent rentals. And if you’d rather get outside of the city rather than risking your way through Amsterdam’s crowded streets, Yellow Bike also offers a tour out to the countryside.
  • Hipster Guide to Amsterdam - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/city-guides/amsterdam/Eating Amsterdam Food Tours Dutch food might not be immediately obvious as an object to explore, but the Eating Amsterdam tours through the Jordaan neighborhood (including a foodie canal tour), offer a taste of something truly surprising.
  • Those Dam Boat Guys  Forget about the old fashioned boat tours on the canals of Amsterdam and get on board with this fun (and cheap—just €25!) tour through Amsterdam’s canals. You can bring your own food and drink to really make the tour your own.
  • A’dam Lookout  Get on the swings (yes, seriously!) on top of this tower and take a dinner afterwards in the rotating lounge restaurant. It’s a really unusual and interesting experience—plus offers some great views over Amsterdam.

Explore Amsterdam’s history on a walking tour through the city’s oldest historical neighborhood. Amsterdam Untold offers a 2-hour tour where you learn about Dutch daily life during the city’s most exciting and important historical period: the Dutch Golden Age.

Learn more at amsterdam-untold.com

Shopping & Souvenirs

Amsterdam

There are a wide range of shopping streets in Amsterdam—a famously commercial city. One of the most famous shopping streets is the Kalverstraat—it offers an H&M every 250 feet and is mostly very crowded. Instead, visit the De 9 Straatjes—nine picturesque streets with many independent shops, cafés and boutiques. De 9 straatjes are a perfect way to experience hip Amsterdam but for Haute Couture, visit P.C.Hooftstraat.

  • Shoebaloo (P.C. Hooftstraat) — Even if you don’t need shoes, it’s absolutely worth visiting Shoebaloo because of the unique décor of the store.
  • Amsterdam Cheese Company (De 9 Straatjes) — Amsterdam is filled with busy souvenir shops with a wide range of trumpery rubbish, the useless kind of products that you never look at when your back home. Amsterdam Cheese Company offers a useful tasty souvenir of Amsterdam, though: cheese! (Get the gouda, obviously!)
  • Marqt (De 9 Straatjes) — Planning to make your own dinner in a rented Airbnb apartment? Go to the organic food store Marqt to start collecting the ingredients needed. From lobster to beef and a wide range of beers and wines, it’s a favorite of locals and good for a browse too. Don’t visit hungry unless you want to buy, buy, buy!
  • It’s a present (De 9 Straatjes) — A quirky store where you go to if you need a fun present for someone. It’s in the name!
  • Bij ons vintage (De 9 Straatjes) — For the ones that love the 1970s flower power style, the ’80s or the ’90s, Bij ons vintage is where you need to be. It’s a really nice alternative shop.
  • American Book Center Founded by two Americans, this bookstore brand was recently refurbished with a far more professional outlook. Today, their flagship store houses an impressive collection of English-language books, with many offbeat genres and indie deals (including an impressive collection of LGBT literature). They’re open late and host a variety of events year-round.
  • Concerto  Probably the biggest music collection that you’ll find in the Netherlands. Besides music, they have a big collection of movies, too.
  • HEMA This Dutch convenience shop is all over the city and its your one-stop shop for just about any essentials. It’s funny how the locals adore the chain, but for the visiting tourist it’s also a huge help.

LGBTQ – Gay Amsterdam

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam ranks among the world’s most gay-friendly cities, and even while many LGBT bars may be shutting around the world, Amsterdam is able to remain pretty gay year-round. Most of Amsterdam’s gay nightlife is pretty well focused on a single street in the city center: Reguliersdwarsstraat. Sex shops and some other gay bars are located in and around the Red Light District, mostly on Warmoesstraat—just look for the rainbow flags.

But far and away, the best aspects of gay Amsterdam take place during the summer when Amsterdam Pride takes place at the end of July. The event ends with the famous Canal Parade—over 80 boats float down the Amstel river and through the canals, each decked out in rainbows and with their own party. It’s a colorful and festive event—one of the city’s best and most popular festivals.

Amsterdam Gay Bars

  • Cafe t’Mandje Amsterdam’s oldest gay bar, Cafe t’Mandje has been serving the city’s LGBT community for almost a century!
  • Club Church It’s a men-only cruise club with regular sex parties, but Thursday nights it’s when it’s most crowded for the Blue club night (and open for all genders).
  • Club NYX On the always-popular Reguliersdwarsstraat, is one of Amsterdam’s biggest gay nightclubs with three separate dance floors.

Amsterdam LGBT Things To Do & See

  • Homomonument A “living monument” to all homosexuals oppressed or persecuted, the famous Homomonument is worth visiting whether you’re gay or not. It’s just around the corner from the Anne Frank House.
  • Pink Point Information Kiosk Amsterdam’s official gay and lesbian information kiosk, just next to the Homomonument. You’ll find helpful tips for exploring gay and lesbian Amsterdam, plus additional information about the Homomonument.
  • GayTIC The Gay Tourist Information Center (located at Spuistraat 44) offers a free LGBT welcome kit for tourists. The kit includes the Amsterdam gay magazine Gay News (bi-lingual in English and Dutch), a gay map of Amsterdam, flyers and brochures for all Amsterdam parties and venues, a coupon-book with discount coupons adding up to more than 250€ and even a surprise gadget as a gift. Simply sign up for the welcome kit before your stay and you can pick it up at their shop!
  • Hipster Guide to Amsterdam - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/city-guides/amsterdam/Milkshake Festival Perhaps one of the world’s most queer festivals, the Milkshake Festival has been taking place on a summer weekend for the past several years. Queer artists and performers take over the Vondelpark for a weekend with the most crazy costumes, colorful and diverse people and an atmosphere that’s truly out-of-this-world.
  • Gay Pride in Amsterdam - Canal Parade 2014Amsterdam Pride One of the most fun events in Amsterdam, don’t miss the annual Canal Boat Parade. See photos from my previous visits to Amsterdam Pride here.
  • Gays and Gadgets A small shop with a lot of LGBT products such as rainbow pride flags, books and more.

Where to Stay

Amsterdam

Most of Amsterdam’s best hotels sell out quickly during the high tourist season (summer), so if you want to enjoy a nice place to stay, make sure to book early. That being said, there are a wide range of beautiful hotels across Amsterdam—not just in the city center! Also: consider staying at the Hilton Hotel where John Lennon and Yoko Ono had their famous bed-in protest in 1969 (in Room 702).

I recommend searching sites like HotelsCombined.com which automatically find the best deals across numerous hotel booking sites.

Hotels

  • Conservatorium Hotel  Let’s start with the most expensive hotel in Amsterdam. A beautiful designful place next to Museumplein. Once the Conservatory of Amsterdam now it shows how magnificent the use of a building can change as if it has been built as a hotel all along. Room prices from 450€ per night.
  • Art’otel — Art’otel is the chain of hotels you can find almost in every city in Europe. The concept of this hotel chain is to combine a nice stay with art. For the Art’otel Amsterdam they decided to choice for famous Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout. Room prices from 244€ per night.
  • W Amsterdam — Enjoying the beautiful Royal Palace on Dam Square is something every tourist do when visiting Amsterdam. A very few can say that they have looked to the Royal Palace when they were swimming. The roof of W Amsterdam has a swimming pool on top. Room prices from 360€ per night.
  • The Student Hotel — Design hotel rooms not as cheap as a hostel but clean decent designee rooms. Room prices from 123€ per night.
  • DoubleTree By Hilton — Drop your bags in your hotel room and go straight to the lounge bar for a relaxing drink. Enjoy a view over the city of Amsterdam from the point where the ships entered Amsterdam in the past. Room prices from 260€ per night.

Hostels

Travel Tips

Amsterdam Photo Essay

As a city as popular as Amsterdam, expect the occasional hassles typical of tourism. Every popular destination attracts people whose only goal is money. But use these Amsterdam travel tips to have a safe and easy holiday.

  • Most places have free wifi. Sometimes you just need to ask for the password or log in through Facebook (a popular wifi-tool used throughout the city).
  • Almost everything in Amsterdam is easy to walk. The distances in the city center are small and the trick with all the canals is to cut across them crosswise to save time and distance. Or, opt for more leisurely routes walking alongside the canals (especially in the picturesque Jordaan neighborhood).
  • Hipster Guide to Amsterdam - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/city-guides/amsterdam/Consider exploring outside of the city center in more off the beaten path neighborhoods. Rent a bike to get further afield—it’s how most locals travel in and around the city and there are cycle paths just about everywhere. Be mindful of the traffic, canals and use precaution—because the locals will likely be far more skilled at navigating the city and they sometimes get angry at tourists on bikes.
  • Trams and other public transport options run throughout the city and are useful to get around. You can buy one-hour (available to buy on the bus, tram or metro) or one-day tickets (available to buy on the tram or metro) to use across the system. An I Amsterdam City Card can be useful if you plan to travel on the public transport system a lot as it also offers free admission to Amsterdam’s top tourist attractions. I Amsterdam City Cards are available for 24, 48 or 72 hours and can be ordered online before your trip (from 57€).
  • If you’re planning to visit the Van Gogh Museum or Anne Frank House, it’s smart to book your tickets online before you go. If you don’t book in advance, watch out for pickpockets in the queue!

Local Blogs & Resources

Milkshake Festival (Amsterdam 2015)

For a relatively small city, there’s a lot to see and do in Amsterdam. Make sure to check out these websites and blogs which offer additional travel tips and guides useful for tourists looking for more alternative and fun things to do.

  • I Amsterdam — The official tourism website of Amsterdam with countless maps and guides available for free on their website and information stands across the city.
  • Amsterdam Foodie My friend Vicky runs this popular Amsterdam food blog full of restaurant recommendations and tips. There’s even a useful Amsterdam restaurant tool to search restaurants by price, location or cuisine type.
  • Awesome AmsterdamShoshanna’s Amsterdam blog offers insight into the coolest and most awesome (she doesn’t use that word lightly, I promise!) things to do. Useful top 10 guides on the website help pinpoint some of the best of the best.
  • Your Little Black Book — A travel blog with beautiful photography and an ever-growing list of recommendations on things to see and do across the city (and sometimes further afield).
  • GayLINC — An online information portal with tips and guides for LGBT Amsterdam, plus maps of current LGBT spaces and an even more interesting map of historic gay places in Amsterdam with interesting historical information.
  • Gay.nl A popular news and media site for The Netherlands, Gay.nl posts news and features relevant for locals, but also includes a helpful section on nightlife. The website is in Dutch, but if you’re in a pinch and looking to connect with gay locals, it can be a helpful resource.

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