Top 10 Things To Do In Amsterdam

Learn about the top 10 sights and attractions Amsterdam has to offer as well as some tips on getting around.

Top 10 Things To Do in Amsterdam

Often lost amongst Amsterdam's reputation as an "anything goes" type of city, is the tremendous culture and history of one of the world's most vibrant and unique cities. Beyond the infamous Red Light District and coffee shops lay some of Europe's finest artistic and historical treasures. The natural beauty of Amsterdam is apparent amongst the hundreds of tree-lined canals and bridges. Europe's greenest capital city is compact enough to see on foot yet there is no shortage of things to see and do. Whatever your reason for visiting is, you won't leave disappointed.

The following is just a short list of the sights and activities Amsterdam has to offer:

10. Heineken Museum - Located inside the original Heineken Brewery opened in 1930, the museum offers a detailed explanation of the brewery process as well as a few tasty samples and a free gift at the end of the tour. In addition there is also a "bottle ride" that lets you assume the role of a beer bottle moving through the production process. At a cost of 10 euros, it is a fun and affordable daytime activity for anyone over the age of 18.

9. Rent A Bicycle - With over 550,000 bicycles amongst the population of 800,000, it is impossible to experience the day-to-day life of a typical Amsterdammer without hopping on a bike. Both guided and self-guided tours are available throughout the city. Routes vary according to length and neighborhood. Try to keep up with the locals, but be sure to watch out for trams!

8. Catch An AJAX Match - Between September and June, Amsterdam's local soccer club plays its home matches at Arena Stadium. It seats 52,000 people and also has a museum and a retractable roof. To really get into the mix of the AJAX spirit, you can buy standing-room seats next to the locals. Or if you would rather watch comfortably as an outsider, seat tickets are also available. The Amsterdam Admirals also play American football here from April to June in the NFL Europe League.

7. Coffee shops - Famous throughout the world, Amsterdam's coffee shops range from typical little shops strictly serving coffee to large establishments offering cannabis and magic mushrooms. Regardless of whether or not you choose to try the cannabis, a visit to one of these coffee shops allows you to experience the laid-back charm this city is so well-known for.

6. Vondelpark - Another great place to relax and do some people watching is Vondelpark, Amsterdam's largest and most famous park. A hippie meeting place in the 60's and 70's, it is now frequented by people of all sorts. Street performers, tourists, soccer players, couples and teenagers all gather here on nice days. In-line skates are available for rental at the top end of the park. This is a great way to see the entire park and get some exercise at the same time.

5. Van Gogh Museum - Containing over 200 of his paintings, 500 drawings and 850 letters written by him, the museum houses the largest collection of Van Gogh's work anywhere in the world. Vincent Van Gogh painted for only nine years of his troubled life, yet he remains widely recognized as one of the most brilliant painters in history. This collection was put together mainly by Vincent's younger brother Theo, an art dealer who received many of the written letters. There are also works housed here by friends and contemporaries of Vincent's, such as Gauguin, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec and Bernard.

4. Red Light District - Not a good place to bring children if you're with your family, but a must-see for adults. Only a quick walk through is necessary to see something like nothing else you've ever seen. Nowhere else is the tolerance of the Dutch better exemplified than along these narrow canals lined with legal prostitutes and sex shops. It is best to come during the day to avoid the crowds.

3. Rijksmuseum - Like the Louvre in Paris, the Rijksmuseum cannot be seen in a single visit. With over 5000 paintings, Asiatic art, sculptures and a print room, you will need to have an idea of what you would most like to see. The most important collection is made up of paintings by Dutch masters from the 15th to 19th centuries such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and Hals. Some areas of the museum are being renovated and paintings have been moved, but the most famous pieces will still be on view in the south wing.

2. Take A Canal Boat Tour - With more canals than Venice, Amsterdam does more than live up to it's nickname "Venice of the North." Boat tours provide a unique perspective of the city that can only be seen from water level. Tours range from short and simple to long and elegant. Some evening tours even have five-star candlelight dinners. It may seem a bit touristy, but it is the best way to see Amsterdam.

1. Anne Frank House - The World War II hiding place made famous in "The Diary of Anne Frank" is now transformed into an exhibition of Anne and her family's confinement. The second floor annex concealed by a revolving bookcase is recreated by Otto Frank's model. Downstairs is a museum dedicated to the persecution of Jews in WWII. It is a moving experience regardless of whether or not you have read the book.

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