The city of Amsterdam has a dubious reputation as a place that tolerates what in some locations are deemed to be illegal activities. Marijuana use is permitted, as well as prostitution, in the city’s famous “Red-Light District.” The city, however, possesses several major attractions, putting it significantly on the European tourist scene. Here are my suggestions for fun things to do.
1. Stroll Around Dam Square — This busy square is not the most pleasant place to stroll, because of the traffic and the huge crowds, but it is a must-see because of the presence here of the Royal Palace and the National Monument.
2. Get Cultured at the Rijksmuseum — Although known for its specialization in Rembrandt and other Dutch masters, this wonderful Art museum is one of the best in all of Europe and an important stop for any visitor to Amsterdam.
3. Be Moved at Anne Frank House — The most popular attraction in the city is this former residence of Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl whose diary has captured the hearts and minds of readers all over the world.
4. Walk Through the Red-Light District — Although not the best place to be at night, the area is a Mecca for tourists, fascinated by the display of girls, showing off their wares, in their windows along the street.
5. Discover Holland’s Bulbs at Keukenhof Gardens — Perhaps the most colorful and elaborate display of flower bulbs takes place here, just a few miles southwest of the city. Spring is the best time to visit.
6. Make an Excursion to Nearby Haarlem — This adorable city lies just west of Amsterdam and provides an interesting getaway from the hustle and bustle. It is a great place to wander.
7. Check Out the Begijnhof — This area of the city was inhabited by religious orders who supported the poor of Amsterdam. Their almshouses have been marvelously preserved.
8. Have a Coffee and a Smoke at a Brown Cafe — These are the places, mentioned above, where visitors can “toke some weed” and not get arrested. You don’t have to partake when you enter.
9. Take a Canal Cruise — The city of Amsterdam is known for its many canals, and a canal cruise is an important activity on the agenda for all tourists to the city. Canal boats are also a convenient way to get to areas of the city without walking.
10. Check Out the Oude Kerk — The oldest stone building in Amsterdam is this impressive church, the final resting place for many of the city’s residents over the years.
11. Visit St Nicholas Church — This beautiful church sits prominently in the center of the oldest part of the city. The interior is particularly stunning and certainly worth a visit.
12. Make a Side Trip to Delft — The charming village of Delft, known for its distinctive blue and white ceramics, provides a marvelous excursion from Amsterdam. Stroll around the beautiful Market Square and wander down narrow alleys, alongside tranquil canals.