This quaint city nestled in the Netherlands has more to do than meets the eye. Flowing canals and the ringing of bicycle bells give this capital a small town feel. However, there is no shortage of things to do, and you’ll find that Amsterdam has a little bit for everyone. If you're planning a trip to Amsterdam in the near future, here are five things you should consider adding to you itinerary.
Visit the Anne Frank House
The line to get into the Anne Frank House can be daunting, but it’s worth it. It moves at a snail’s pace to ensure that not too many people are in the museum at once. While this makes the line awful (almost unbearable if you’re impatient like me), it’s worth it to be able to enjoy the museum without having elbows shoved in your ribs by a swarm of tourists packed like sardines into a small space. After soaking up all the history in the museum, you can make your way up to the annex and see where Anne Frank and her family sought refuge.
Rent a bike
Rent one of the over 800,000 bikes in this city (fun fact: there are actually more bikes in Amsterdam than residents) and ride through the streets, over the canals, and right out of the city. Beware: bikers in Amsterdam don’t stop for tourists, so if you hear the light *cling cling* of a bike bell, it’s best to move out of the way to avoid getting run over. For a more leisurely ride, go out of the city and ride through the meadows and tulip fields.
Visit the Red Light District
Take in a piece of local culture by visiting the Red Light District. While this may not be for everyone, it is certainly a unique experience. There are two ways to do this: a profesionally guided or a self-guided tour. A self-guided tour may be less awkward (for you and the girls) as you can blend in with the locals instead of looking like a gawking tourist. However, you can learn a lot more about the district and laws surrounding it on a guided tour. Whichever way you decide to visit the Red Light District, please do not take pictures of the girls. Most of them are not proud to be doing this as a living and do not appreciate having their pictures taken.
Go to a “Coffee Shop”
Ahh…coffee shops-another unique cultural experience that may not be for everyone. The marijuana laws in Amsterdam can be confusing. However, the majority of people visiting coffee shops are foreigners. Whether you decide to smoke (or try edibles) or not, just walking into a coffee shop is interesting. These cozy, smoke filled hang-out spots have special marijuana menus, and they are worth the visit.
Take a canal cruise
While Venice may be the city most famous for its canals, Amsterdam has 165 canals within its city limits. Various canal cruises are available, and they are a good way to learn the history of Amsterdam. Taking this tour in the beginning of your vacation has the added bonus of possibly filling up gaps in your itinerary. You never know what will peak your interest on these tours and what sites you’ll want to revisit later.
Amsterdam is a unique city with plenty of unique things to do. If you’re not into visiting coffee shops and the red light district, don’t be fooled, there is so much more to this city than these risqué stops. From historical sites, like the Anne Frank House to artsy spots, like the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam has something for everyone.