We had a great time in Amsterdam. It’s one of the most charming cities we’ve been to, and we’re already talking about planning a trip back.
Amsterdam tends to be known for its Red Light District and legalized hash, but there’s so much more culture, scenery, and history to this city that makes it an awesome place to visit. And it’s very easy to get to with reward miles and points, which is another huge perk.
Anyway, here are a few things we did in Amsterdam, and this is just scratching the surface. We really feel like we could spend a month there, exploring and enjoying the city.
First of all, if you can, you should definitely ride bikes in Amsterdam. Cycling is ingrained in the culture of the city. It’s nothing like the cyclist situation in Austin or any other city I’ve visited, really. Motorists are actually on alert for cyclists, and the bike paths are extremely wide, covering the whole city.
Riding bikes also allowed us to see more of the city than we could’ve covered on foot. And it was much faster & cheaper than using Uber. We rented our bikes from our hotel, and they cost us 12 euros each for the entire day. They also had reasonable hourly rates.
We love to eat on vacation. Well, we really just love to eat, but it’s always fun trying out restaurants in a new city. We had some great meals in Amsterdam, and the price points were pretty good. We used Yelp (only 4.5 or 5-star reviews) and recommendations from locals and had good experiences with both.
Here are a few places we ate:
The first night we arrived, we were extremely tired, but we pushed through and walked to a restaurant. We chose The Lobby, a hip restaurant & bar on the main floor of a hotel, and we were glad we did.
The main courses were around $25, and we liked everything we had. Jordan’s duck was the best duck we can remember having, and I enjoyed my octopus.
Our first morning (well, afternoon since we overslept), we went to Pancakes! Amsterdam. We both had the dutch pancakes, which were basically crepes. They were extremely good, and they even had gluten free options. Plus, the prices were very good, at under 10 euros.
One of our favorite meals was a little outside the city center and in a more suburban area, at Ron Gastrobar.
We went with the bbq spare ribs, bbq cabbage, and cauliflower braised in butter w/ chicken skin. All plates were 15 euros and were very tasty. The service was also very good. They were more than accommodating with many gluten-free options.
A cool little smoothie bar & cafe was Dr. Blend. We had a very nice light lunch there with a couple of smoothies and really enjoyed wasting time on their front patio.
I’m into beer just a little bit. I prefer Belgian, Trappist, and craft beer. Amsterdam is a great place to find these beers. Belgian and Trappist beers are so cheap in Amsterdam compared to what I will pay at home. I bought a bottle of La Chouffe in a grocery store for $3! That bottle would have cost me easily $12 in Austin.
Amsterdam’s own local beer was also very good. My favorite IPAs that I had were from Two Chefs Brewing and could be found at many local restaurants and bars. I loved their branding, too.
Brouwerij’t IJ is probably the most popular brewery to visit in Amsterdam. It was solid. Not my favorite, but they had a nice selection and we enjoyed sitting outside on their patio and eavesdropping on people’s conversations. It was only a few minute bike ride from the Central Train station area.
My favorite was the Brewery de Prael. I loved the ambiance, and their beers were really tasty. My favorites were the double IPA and the quad. They had their own brew shop right around the corner, where I stocked up and was able to bring some back home.
I respect that they included a glass of water with the flights (and some snacks). Hydration is key.
Areas & Museum
We went to the Van Gogh museum, and it was awesome! Learning the history and seeing his work in person was a real treat. I thought the museum was laid out well and offered a nice education. Highly recommend it.
We planned on going to the Anne Frank House museum, but it was crazy, so we just walked by the house. Sorry. May want to buy your tickets online in advance if this is a must do for you. We’ll have to make it happen next time.
We loved just walking the streets and soaking in the atmosphere. Canals and streets with character were everywhere.
The biggest park in Amsterdam is Vondelpark, and definitely worth a walk, run, or bike through.
The hipster district in Amsterdam is called De Dijp, and is home to the Albert Cuypmarket. It’s ok for what markets are. We actually didn’t stay in this area too long, but it was nice to check it out. It definitely has its own vibe, so it’s worth a visit.
We didn’t do any shopping, but there’s plenty of shopping in the Nines Street district and many other areas.
Wrap Up on Spending Time in Amsterdam
Like I mentioned earlier, there’s so much to see and do in Amsterdam, so this is just scratching the surface. We can’t wait to back and explore the city more!