Amsterdam is one of those places that completely surprised me and took my breath away. It was the first city we ventured to on our trip to Europe and I really wish we had stayed longer than the 2.5 days we were there! It’s a totally underrated city. I feel like anytime I hear about Amsterdam I mostly hear about weed and the Red Light District, but I’m happy to say it’s SO much more than that. It’s filled with so much beauty, delicious food, and it felt like a place I would totally live in for a year or two, and I’m so excited to share my list of 13 things to do in Amsterdam!
As you’ll notice there aren’t a lot of museums or big attractions on this list. Of course, those things are important but we love living like locals when we travel. Our favourite thing to do is explore and find areas that aren’t so “touristy”! Take a look at our favourite things we did when we were in Amsterdam!
1. Have a Picnic at Vondelpark
We absolutely LOVED Vondelpark. It’s a massive park that reminded me a lot of Central Park in New York City. It has tons of green space, small ponds, bike/walking paths and was such a nice space to hang out in. The first day we walked around the park and knew we had to come for a picnic! So the next day we found a blanket at a local market, picked up some macarons and prosecco and read our books in the park. It was one of my favourite days in Amsterdam and Vondelpark was a huge part of that!
2. Get Lost Among the Canals
One of the most picturesque things to do in Amsterdam is to walk the streets of canals. My opinions is to get out of the city center as it’s FILLED with tourists! Walk farther out and you’ll get unobstructed views of beautiful canals (that are also much easier to snap pictures at!). Another great option is to do a canal boat tour. I get motion sick so I was really nervous to do this, but I think I’ll stock up on Gravol and do it for sure the next time we go back!
3. Eat Macarons
The macarons in Amsterdam are REALLY good. I think we had some every day we were there! We got them from three different places and they were all amazing so I’m just going to guess that Amsterdam does macarons really well! They were light and flavourful with the perfect texture! Pistachio became our ultimate favourite on this trip, we couldn’t get enough!
4. Get Ramen at Fou Fow Ramen
I found Fou Fow Ramen by doing some Instagram searching before our trip and I’m SO glad I did! It was some of the best ramen we’ve ever had, I would go allll the time if I lived there! We did have to wait about 20 minutes for a table, but it’s definitely worth it! And we ended up getting one of the two tables outside, which was ideal since it was a pretty hot day and it’s very cramped inside. We were able to enjoy our ramen while people-watching and it was one of my favourite meals of our whole trip! I wish I had my own photo, but I only took an Instagram Story and then dug in.
5. Eat at Metropolitan
Another great Instagram find, we ate at Metropolitan for our first brunch in Amsterdam and we loved it! There’s tons of seating outside so you can enjoy your meal among the city. I got an avocado and hummus baguette and Stefan got eggs benny, both of which we would highly recommend!
6. The Heineken Experience
This wasn’t something on my list of things-to-do but Stefan really wanted to do it so I was happy to, and it ended up being really great! It’s pretty amazing how big and detailed the tour is, the definitely put a lot of thought and details into it to make it a great experience! My favourite part had to be the distillery itself! Your ticket comes with two glasses of beer and hey have a really cool bar at the end where you can hang out and enjoy them!
7. Take in the Architecture
Amsterdam is definitely a biking city – everyone has bikes there! But we ended up walking around the whole time. Whether you’re walking or biking, make sure you take in the gorgeous intricate architecture of the buildings. I was so in awe of the beauty of every street we walked down.
8. Visit the De Pijp Area
My favourite area that we visited in Amsterdam had to be De Pijp! It has a cool, creative vibe and it’s out of the hustle and bustle of the city center. We had brunch at Cafe De Pijp one day and found a market where we got a blanket for the park, berries and freshly squeezed juice. We loved exploring De PIjp and it’s a definite must if you visit Amsterdam!
9. Get a Coffee at Blond Amsterdam
We stumbled upon Blond Amsterdam while we were in De Pijp and ended up spending quite a bit of time there. It’s such a cute cafe, I absolutely loved the vibe and the decor was right up my alley! I got a cappuccino and Stefan opted for an Aperol Spritz. We sat in these velvet arm chairs right at the front so we could people watch while we enjoyed our drinks!
10. Visit Museumplein
Museumplein is a vast public space in the neighbourhood of Museumkwartier, with three major museums: the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum, as well as the concert hall, Concertgebouw. This is also where you’ll find the famous “Amsterdam” sign! We didn’t go into any of the museums, but it’s a really nice area to walk around!
11. Feast at Japanner
Luckily my sister had visited Amsterdam a few shorts months ago so she had some recommendations for us, and one of those was Japanner. Oh. My. Gosh. You guys! This was my absolute favourite meal of our whole trip (Fou Fow Ramen was a close second). It’s a sharing-style Japanese fusion restaurant and it is AMAZING. Again, I only took an Instagram Story because the plates come out at all different times so it was hard to get a shot of our food, but I’m telling you, it’s a MUST!!!! Oh, and my drink was called “Yu Yuzu Call Me on Your Cell Phone”. Loved it!!
12. Brunch at Coffee and Coconuts
We had brunch at Coffee and Coconuts on our last day and it’s such a cool place! It’s the ultimate brunch spot, with offerings like coconut pancakes, scrambled eggs avo, and granola. They also have options such as bibimbap, tacos and a beet and sheep’s cheese burger! I got a freshly squeezed orange juice and added smoked salmon to my scrambled eggs avo!
13. Have a Glass of Wine looking Over Vondelpark
You already know how much we loved Vondelpark. I should also mention there’s a restaurant/bar in the park called Vondelpark/3 that you can hop over to if you get hungry or feel like having a drink. We had a glass of wine on the upper patio overlooking the park* and it was the perfect way to end a day at the park!
If you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam, try out these 13 things to ensure your best trip! And if you’ve been to Amsterdam, let me know if you have anything else to add to the list!
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