I live in the city center of Amsterdam. About 5 minutes from Dam square and Leidseplein, in an area called the Jordaan. You can find lots of restaurants, small boutiques, canals, bridges and cute houses. Heard of Anne Frank? Her house is also located in the Jordaan next to the famous Westerkerk. You are about to find out the best kept secrets, things to see and do when you visit Amsterdam! Whenever I am at home, you could actually find me in one of these places.
By bike or foot
Let’s start with the beginning. Are you a person who loves to walk or go by bike? Personally, I do almost everything on foot but when you have a limited amount of time to spend in Amsterdam, it is more efficient to go by bike! You can easily rent a bicycle and hostels as well as hotels are known to provide their guests with bicycles during a stay. Keep this in mind though, there are more bicycles than human beings in Amsterdam. People grow up riding bicycles and it’s considered normal to not wear helmets. Practice a bit before actually taking a bicycle for a spin and avoid busy shopping streets.
Coffee & Tea
Interested in the skyline? There are multiple rooftop bars all around the city. My favorite place is located near Amsterdam Central Station. It is the Skylounge of the DoubleTree Hilton hotel. You would expect loads of tourists, considering it’s on top of a hotel and all but it’s actually one of the less busier places. Enjoy a quiet drink while enjoying the amazing views this bar has to offer.
I go there quite often and always order a latte macchiato or green mint tea. It comes with a free “refill” and Dutch people love free things. In case you are hungry: their nachos are the best! Talking about nachos, another great place where you can find me all the time is Van Zuylen, a little cafe on one of the canals. It’s located in the Jordaan near Anne Frank’s house. Some other places I like: Coffee & Coconuts, KoffieSpot, Blue, Bagels & Beans.
Even though I am from Amsterdam, I have never tried a cigarette or visited a coffee shop in my life. Unfortunately, I have no clue which coffee shops are the best for you to visit. I guess the only thing you need to do is to follow the crowd and the smell. It will automatically lead you to the plants. The same counts for women in the area called the red light district or De Wallen. I can’t tell you more about that either but I am sure there are lots of reviews on the internet.
De 9 Straatjes / The 9 Streets
A visit to Amsterdam is incomplete unless you walked though the 9 streets, in Dutch: ‘de 9 Straatjes’. It consists of 9 small streets, separated by canals. There are loads of boutiques, unique coffee places and restaurants. Make sure, make absolutely sure you take a (glutenfree) wrap on the go from The Lebanese Sajeria. The atmosphere is great and you will not find anything like it. Hence, you will see tourists making pictures all the time and I am guilty as well. The view with the boats in the background is always impressive. Nowadays the area is becoming popular but it’s still one of the lesser known secrets of Amsterdam.
It is a crime to stay in Amsterdam and not eat fries with mayonnaise and a Frikandel Speciaal. A Frikandel special is a sort of sausage with curry, mayonnaise and onions. The first thing I do when I arrive back in the Netherlands is to proceed directly to the snack bar and buy that combo. I suggest you do the same and find a place where they sell fries. My favorite places: Snackbar Vleminckx or Mannekepis. Basically, any snack-bar will do. For the hardcore fries lovers, take a bike and cycle to Par Hasard. A place where you can eat some of the best fries in a restaurant environment!
Mannekepis is located on the Damrak and it’s the only reason to visit this street. It’s touristy and it’s full of souvenir and candy shops. Just around the corner you can find the best Ice cream you ever tasted, it’s called Van der Linde. More into pie? Go for a piece of apple pie at Winkel 43, don’t forget to add some whipped cream though! You can find all sorts of food in Amsterdam, some of my favorite restaurants: Castell, Happy happy joy joy, Rakang, Pazzi.
For the shoppers amongst us, make sure you visit the Kalverstraat. This is the main shopping street where you can find all the known brands. Weekends are crowded and Monday morning is the best time to shop. There are a couple of department stores as well, like the Bijenkorf or Hudson Bay. Everything is located within walking distance and since you are around anyway, why not take a healthy Juice from Juice House? I always take the Appleberry Lush with extra ginger. I love ginger!
The Haarlemmerstraat and Utrechtsestraat are lesser known shopping streets but also interesting when you have plenty of time in Amsterdam. Into Markets? Check out the daily Albert Cuyp Market as well as the surrounding neighborhood “De Pijp”.
There are plenty of solid options when it comes to lodging! The hotels downtown are of course a tad more expensive but they are worth it. Staying downtown means you get to truly experience Amsterdam. Everything is within walking distance and you get to see all the best spots. More into budget opportunities? Look for a nice Airbnb or a hotel a bit further from the center.
Visiting Amsterdam in April? Don’t be surprised if you find yourself amongst loads of people dressed in orange clothing. On the 27th of April we celebrate Kingsday, it’s basically a huge party (nationwide) and great fun! In August another well known event takes place: Pride and the famous canal parade, you don’t see this everyday. In October it’s time to dance during the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE). If you happen to be in Amsterdam during one of these events, you are expected to take part!
Nature & Relax
People who love to relax should visit one of the many green parks. I live nearby Vondelpark which is one of the biggest parks in Amsterdam. It is quite busy though, so don’t expect to be the only one! In case you go, visit Albert Heijn to buy some drinks and snacks and take a blanket with you to sit on. You will have a great day! At some parks you can still take a barbecue 🙂
Rent a boat!
Still possible nowadays but that might change at some point. It’s one of the best ways to experience Amsterdam! It’s not that expensive and you don’t need a sailor license/certificate, happy days. Weather forecast looks promising? Make a reservation as soon as possible because loads of other people have the same idea;) There are plenty of nice spots along the channels to go for a bite to eat or just a refreshing drink. Some examples: Hannekes Boom, Waterkant, Loetje aan t ij, Strand Zuid and many more.
You probably didn’t fly to Amsterdam to watch a movie. But if you did, there are multiple cinemas in the city. Pathe and the Filmhallen are the most popular ones. We are a small country, so instead of creating voice overs we just add subtitles. Meaning: the movies are displayed in the original language. We also have Escape rooms, Theater, Cabaret, Casinos and a vivid night life scene but I guess you already knew that 😉
Whenever you have a limited amount of time, skip the museums. Many tourists visit Madame Tussauds, Anne Frank House or Heineken Experience which is great when you have a couple of days. However, these museums come with big queues, starting in the early morning.
How to get there
The easiest way to get to Amsterdam is by airplane. Schiphol is one of the biggest airports in the world and I am sure you will find it easy going, it’s truly well designed and I am not just saying that because I am Dutch 😉 From Schiphol you can take a taxi, bus or train to the center of the city. Renting a car is also an option of course.
- Taxi: A taxi ride costs between €35,- and €60,- depending on your exact destination.
- Bus: A bus ride costs around €6,- and it takes you to Museumplein, Rijksmuseum or Leidseplein. From there you can take trams anywhere. When you exit Schiphol Plaza, go for bus 397. Click here for more information about this connection.
- Train: The fastest way to get to Amsterdam Central Station is by train, it takes 14 to 17 minutes. Tickets can be purchased at Schiphol Plaza. More information here.
The public transport in Amsterdam is great. It makes sense, works most of the time and it’s cheap. Get yourself a OV Chipkaart add some credit and you are good to go. It’s used to pay all public transport options in Amsterdam (trams, busses, subway and trains). Buying one at Schiphol Plaza is probably your best option.
Not that interested in city trips? Check out the Philippines or perhaps Thailand! In case you need to figure out how to get through your ATPL exams before you have time to travel again, check out this article about the ATPL exams. Either way, you should definitely come over at some point. In case you have tips of your own or want to share your experience, please leave a comment below.
38 thoughts on “Amsterdam – The Best Things To See & Do In My City”
Hello geourges how are you haven’t heard from you in awhile hope you are doing well?? Miss your vids !! ?
Which period of year should be better to visit Amsterdam?
Your website is so professional and clean. I really enjoy reading it Michelle. I really hope to get to Amsterdam one day before I get to old. Keep up the great work gorgeous.
You’re such an inspiration to me!
I can’t wait to visit your city and do everything that you recomend us. thanks for your advices. From cordoba Argentina.
Hello Michelle, for boating people I can recommend the Sixhaven for your stay in Amsterdam, With the IJveer you make it in a few minutes to centraal station. MIchelle hele leuke stijl jouw blog. Veel Plezierin de lucht. Parsifal
Bedankt voor je bijdrage Pasifal!
My wife and I are visiting Amsterdam in just a few days for our anniversary. Very excited to visit this fascinating city! Thank you for the article.
Hope you had a good time! And congrats on your anniversary!
Such a professional lady thank you for what you do how old are you ??
You are very welcome 🙂 27
An excellent article. I’m planning to visit Europe later in the year for a long break and this has given me the inspiration I need to include Amsterdam in the list of countries I visit. Thanks Michelle!
One question: How does the cost of eating in restaurants change between lunch time and dinner in the evening?
Thanks Ben! It really depends on the restaurant, some serve the same dishes during lunch and dinner (same price). You can easily find options for any budget 🙂
Hello Michelle How do You do ?
First of all ; I congratulate You for the first blog of 2019. I wish You valuable time and happy new year. Also Thank You very much for your presentation of Amsterdam in your blog. Ofcourse ; This blog will be useful and will be a key for the ones Who will visit Amsterdam. Just like to give clues of a movie before You watch it.
Secondly ; I would like to ask You ; Why some of your street names and your main Avenue names are the names of Middle East Countries For instance ; Jordaan and Lebanese street Which You mentioned in the blog ?
Finally ; What were You doing in Amsterdam When You were high school student I mean your life style and living ? For instance ; Do You Cafe and Restraunts , Cinemas, Shopping or Were You going to your home from School Or WereYour Life passing only between School and home ? Also What do You think about the Education life in Amsterdam ? Were You happy at your school years ? And How are family relations in Amsterdam ?
Hi Gültekin, thank you! I also wish you a happy new year. The Jordaan is actually a neighborhood in the center of Amsterdam, not a street 🙂 Don’t know why it bears that name though.
I grew up in a different area of the Netherlands and never studied here either. Nor do I have family living in Amsterdam so I can’t help you there.
All the best! Michelle
Thank you for your article! I am looking forward to making another visit to your city in March.
Hope you will have fun Kevin! 🙂
It’s been very windy and wet today! I wonder which way the wind is blowing out at Schiphol. Arrived yesterday so am trying to work off jet lag. I was wondering if you have any suggestions on a nighttime canal cruise? I haven’t done it during my visits here.
Never been on a nighttime canal cruise but I guess it’s best during the Amsterdam light festival (end of the year).
My grandma use to put mayonnaise on almost everything. I mean, at least once a day she would put mayonnaise on something she was eating. I can’t say for sure that she was always like that, but when she lived with us she sure was. I never understood it, until I realized mayonnaise is awesome. Her grandparents moved to the United Stated from Holland, which is something I never connected with mayonnaise until I read your article. Thank you.
I like mine with ranch, personally.
Thanks for sharing your story! Thats indeed kind of typical behavior for a Dutch person haha!
Leuk artikel om te lezen Michelle. Alleen ‘Amsterdam beach’ en ‘Amsterdam lake district’ ontbreken nog 🙂
Thanks Luc, nog nooit van gehoord, zal het eens bekijken!
Thanks for the tips, in July I will spend a whole month there in your city and I will make the most of your suggestions
If you are there for a month you should definitely check out the beaches nearby, especially in July 🙂
I love Amsterdam, been there many time’s. Great writting. I love what you do, The Queen of the Sky 🙂
Hi Michelle how are you…nice your job … very grateful job Michelle…..
Hi Solmon, I am doing well thanks! How are you?
Great article. The museums are fantastic, but so sadly are the queues. Oudekirk is a fascinating building and district but also slap in the middle of the Red Light District.
As a visitor, can I just agree with Schiphol airport. It really is the best that I have ever been in and the trains are just moments from the concourse, run bang on time and very frequent.
Thanks Andy 🙂
De snacks dan wel van de Febo natuurlijk ??
Eerlijk gezegd nog nooit geprobeerd hahah
Dear Dutchpilotgirl. Great and good information about your city. Regards
Awesome article, I will be back in Amsterdam sometime this summer!
Thanks Joey, hope you will have a good time!