Top 10 Things To Do on a Weekend in Amsterdam
As many of you know, I have now been living in Holland for more than seven years. After my recent ‘Top 9 Things To Do With Two Weeks in Vancouver, Canada!” post I realized that after all this time, I’ve never posted any highlights for the exciting and popular travel destination, Amsterdam. If you’re planning a trip to The Netherlands I’m sure you’ll be stopping in Amsterdam, so please consider these tips and recommendations.
A splash of GREEN! Rollerblade, bike or stroll through the largest park in the city decorated with statues and fountains. A great place to wander after tackling the buzz of Amsterdam’s intimidating and often aggressive traffic. Sip a glass of wine in the summer under the shade of lush trees and see how the locals enjoy this everyday hangout.
Museumplein will always have a special place in my heart as I had one of my “once in a lifetime” experiences here. During the final match of the 2010 World Cup, the square was jam packed with orange-clad football fanatics, enthusiastically cheering on their country. Helicopters flew overhead and tossed out FIELDS worth of orange flowers which spiralled down over the crowd. Named Museum Square for good reason, it is surrounded by some of the best museums in the country. The Rijksmuseum (the oldest museum), the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art and the Van Gogh Museum; All worth a visit, though if you’re only in town for a weekend you’ll have to make some hard decisions.
3. Canal Tour
Explore the city by water with one of the many companies offering canal tours. Known as Venice of the North, it would be a shame to miss this perspective of such a famous canal city. Lovers is a company that offers romantic candle lit dinner cruises, and Blue boat, rederij kooij , rederij plas, to name a few.
4. Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein Nightlife
Heart of the city’s nightlife. If you’re here over the weekend and want to go to a movie, dinner, listen to live music, clubbing, grab a beer or even a joint, head down to either of these lively squares.
Bonus: If you love movie theatres, you can’t miss the Pathé Tuschinski Cinema, just a two minute walk from Rembrandtplein. It’s definitely worth popping your head inside to check out what some consider the most beautiful cinema in the entire world, built almost 100 years ago.
I like to call this the “secret garden”. Hidden amidst the bustling chaos of Amsterdam’s buses, trams, bicycles and pedestrians, it’s one of the oldest inner courts left in the city. The Begijnhof Chapel situated within the gardens make it even more peaceful. Also special for having one of two remaining wooden houses in the city, this one being the oldest in the country, dating back to the 1500’s! Amsterdam reminds me that my country, Canada, is so young. It’s amazing to think that people actually live in this historically beautiful garden. With that in mind, don’t visit after 5pm when it’s closed to visitors, I know from experience that the locals don’t appreciate your intrusion.
6. “Onze Lieve Heer op Zolder” AKA “Our Dear Lord in the Attic”
Another hidden gem is the 17th-century Catholic Church turned museum. Built on the top three floors of the canal house during the 1660’s it is now open to the public as a museum, the second oldest in the city after Rembrandt Museum.
7. Anne Frank
For history buffs and those wanting to get the richness of Amsterdam’s dark past. This museum is especially moving if you read the diaries of Anne Frank before visiting. It’s surreal and touching to actually step foot in the home where Anne Frank and her family stayed hidden away during WW2. The line-up is usually very, very long, but I’ve heard it’s best to be the first one there when it opens.
8. Red Light District
The Red Light District or known as De Wallen is especially unique if you’re from North America where this kind of practice is illegal. Walk down the streets and get a glimpse of the girls standing in the red lit windows and doorways. I absolutely love taking visitors down these coffee shop, live sex show, sex shop and prostitute filled streets to watch their varied reactions of shock. Not recommended for children. Do yourself a favour and don’t go as an unaccompanied female, especially if scantily clothed. Save yourself a yelling at and avoid taking out your camera here. The girls won’t hesitate to yell or bang on their windows at you!
9. Coffee Shops
One of the things making people buzz when you mention Amsterdam. The Netherlands is a very liberal country and this is one of the things locals pride themselves on. It is THE ONLY country in the world where you can legally purchase and smoke cannabis, so if you’re ever going to do it, this is the place!
Be careful not to ask for a “coffee shop” if you’re in search of a harmless coffee, instead ask for a cafe or you may end up in a smoke filled shop that is serving a variety of different marijuana strains.
10. Dam Square
If you’re arriving in Amsterdam by train or coming in from Schiphol airport on a stop-over you’ll definitely end up at Dam Square. It’s directly down the main street from the Central Station. Nearby and at Dam Square you will find the sex museum, Madame Tussaudes Wax Museum, Torture Museum, a national monument and the Koninklijk Paleis.
BONUS: If you’re in a group, do me a favour and try the “Beer Bike”. It’s something I’ve seen pedaling by in Amsterdam but haven’t had the chance to experience it for myself. It looks like an absolute riot and I would LOVE to try it. Dam Tours and Limo Bike are examples of companies who offer this city adventure.
So what are you waiting for?!?! Book your flight/train to visit this amazing city today! You can find a hotel in central Amsterdam or come stay with me in North Holland at one of my lovely AirBNB apartments .
See you soon!
Categories: Savannah Grace