The 5 Best Things to do in Amsterdam
1. Visit the Museums
Amsterdam is an incredible museum city. In Amsterdam you can find iconic museums such as the Anne Frank and Van Gogh Museums as well as small specialized museums like the Moco. Any museum you can think of probably exists somewhere in Amsterdam. Here are the museums you can’t miss:
Anne Frank Museum
If you are in Amsterdam, a visit to the Anne Frank Museum is a must. The museum is intimate, due to the space of the secret annex itself being small. Inside you can see the unfurnished space that the Frank’s hid in for 2 years before they were found. You can also see Anne’s original diary and listen to a recorded guide for no additional cost. Make sure you reserve your tickets well in advance. The Anne Frank museum ONLY accepts tickets bought online and in advance. Generally, tickets should be bought about a three weeks in advance, although it is possible to get tickets sooner. Basically, as soon as you buy your plane ticket to Amsterdam buy your Anne Frank Museum ticket. If you forgot or couldn’t reserve a ticket in advance do not get too discouraged. The Museum adds ticket slots daily so if it is all booked one day, try again the next. Get your tickets here.
Van Gogh Museum
Much like the Anne Frank Museum, the Van Gogh Museum only offers online tickets. However, you should have no problem getting your ticket the day of your visit. Inside you will be walked through Van Gogh’s life and death, seeing many of his famous works along the way. Get your tickets now, click here.
The Rijksmuseum is Amsterdam’s biggest museum. Inside you will see works by Rembrandt and Vermeer but before you get in admire the building, which itself is a work of art. Be sure to get a photo in from of the Amsterdam letters that sit in front of the museum too. You can choose to buy your tickets online or at the door. For online tickets, click here. You can also purchase a multimedia tour for an additional €5.
Cost: €13.50 for adults €11 with a student ID
The Moco Museum, my personal favorite museum in Amsterdam, is a modern art museum. Currently the Moco is displaying works from the acclaimed street artist, Banksy. The museum rotates their exhibitions but you are sure to find an interesting show at The Moco. Get your tickets at the door or be sure to skip any line and order them online here.
2. Take a tour
One of the best ways to learn about the city is by taking a tour.You can join a tour at Dam Square (10 minute walk from Central Station, just follow signs to Dam Square) every 30 minutes. You will see the tour guides holding big red umbrellas. Simply get a ticket from the guide and start the tour. Note that the tour is free but the guides are working for tips. You should be prepared to tip around 10 euros (maybe more if your guide is really great). On the guide you can learn all about Amsterdam’s interesting history, from the Dutch East Indie Company (United East Indie Company as the locals say) to the Europe-wide art project displaying brass bricks in front of homes where Jewish people were taken during WWII (as pictured below).
3. Rent a bike
Bike rental shops crowd the streets of Amsterdam. This should come as no surprise considering in Amsterdam, bikes outnumber people. You can usually rent a bike for a day for under 10 euros, just be ready to give a safety deposit and ID to your renter for insurance. Once you get your bike, cruise around the city like a local or break from the city to explore some of the country. I highly recommend biking to Muiderslot, where you can find the Muiden Castle. It is about a 12 and a half mile ride from Amsterdam through scenic countryside to get to the castle. To tour the castle you can buy a ticket at the door for about 15 euros. It is well worth the money and a great way to see more of Holland while you are in Amsterdam.
4. Go to Vondel Park
In the center of Amsterdam lies Vondel Park, the cities largest park and main walking hub. Enjoy a picnic, ride your bike, or simply sit on the bench and people watch. Vondel Park is an incredibly beautiful park stocked with flowers, statues, ponds, streams, gondolas, and wildlife. Vondel Park truly has it all. Not to mention, the huge park is one of the few places in all of Amsterdam where you can find a public restroom. Whether you spend the whole day soaking up the park or just walk through it, a visit to Vondel Park is a must on any Amsterdam itinerary.
5. See the Red Light District
Wether you condone or partake in Amsterdam’s famous night life is your own choice. However, even if you do not wish to partake, visiting the city’s infamous red light district is an interesting cultural experience. Go alone or with friends and watch a stranger try to barter a deal or just walk through the red light alleyways. If you do not feel bold enough to venture out unguided, take a tour of the red light district. Just like the city’s day time tours, meet at Dam square to find a tour guide. Red light district tours start at 8:00 P.M. Just remember NEVER take pictures of the girls. A bouncer will confiscate your phone and you will not get it back. However, there is a bright side to this. Due to all the security for the girls, Amsterdam’s red light district is very safe no matter the time of night.
Now you are ready to enjoy all the beauty and fun that Amsterdam has to offer. For more about Amsterdam, click here.