Amsterdam Recommendations

August 18, 2020

Amsterdam Recommendations

When a few family members were headed to Amsterdam, I asked someone I went to college with for her recommendations. She studied abroad in Amsterdam and loved every second of it (Katie M -hi if you're reading this!)

Here's her guide with a few additions from my recent trip to Amsterdam in February (added in italics).

BRUNCH & BREAKFAST

  • Vinnie’s
  • The Breakfast Club - one of the best places i have eaten at (both in center city and Oost)
  • Pluk - health food cafe a few blocks from Anne Frank, pretty good and cute atmosphere
  • Bakers & Roasters
  • The Brunchroom – if this is near you it has delicious waffles but if it’s not near then don’t go since its not a useful area
  • De bakkerswinkel (Westerpark)
  • CT Coffee and Coconuts
  • Cafe de Jaren - really great cafe/restaurant with outdoor/indoor seating on the water, right around Oudemanhuispoort in center
  • Betty Blue Cafe - probably the best cheesecake I've ever had

RESTAURANTS

  • Cannibale Royale – Really good place, some of the best bitterballen I’ve had here. It’s just a cool vibe and one of the only kitchens open until 3AM. Make a reservation if you want to go for dinner
  • The Pantry - really good traditional Dutch food
  • Casa Di David - INCREDIBLE Italian restaurant with the most welcoming staff, not the cheapest option but still relatively affordable
  • La Perla Pizzeria – Personal delicious pizzas, reservation would be smart (go here!!!!!)
  • Foodhallen – Really cool indoor food hall in West, they have all different types of foods. Super cool atmosphere and good food, always pretty crowded.
  • Jottum - really delicious and cheap Tapas restaurant
  • The Avocado Show – FB is obsessed, a little pricey and the portions are pretty small (Albert Cuypmarkt/Heineken area)  
  • The Burrito Maker - Finally found good burritos, great to take to a park or bench if you’re not feeling a sit down dinner
  • Generally just don’t eat in the very center unless you want overpriced grossness. Jordaan area has lot of good restaurants
  • Pubs on random corners are good so don’t be opposed

SEE

  • Winkel 43 – Known to be the best apple pie in Amsterdam. It’s amazing. Maybe avoid Saturday’s because there is a market in front of it then, but there will always be a line regardless
  • Right on Prinsengracht so 5 min walk from Anne Frank House, Amsterdam Cheese Museum, Café P96
  • Albert Cuypmarkt – Classic street market with weird shit but also fresh stroopwafels (go to the stand in the middle) and Belgian waffles (Wally’s Waffles are the best)
  • Birkenstock outlet in the middle of this where I got 60 euro birks so that is a steal and a half
  • Begijnhof – Hidden little courtyard in the middle of Amsterdam
  • If you can/want to pay money, go out to the flower fields at Keukenhof Gardens – supposed to be some of the best in the world. End of March – late April I think
  • The Heineken Experience - A typical brewery tour... I went in 2017 with my sister and it was fun to do it because I wasn't yet old enough to go to breweries in the US at the time. Wouldn't do this unless you're a big Heineken girl.
Outside the Anne Frank Museum

MUSEUMS

Museums – Amsterdam doesn’t have sights really but instead millions of museums. There are options for museum passes if you look into it/want to do a lot.You can buy a muesumkaart for 60 euro and it’s worth it, given that one Rijksmuseum visit will cost you 20. These are just a few I liked and depends what you’re into

  • Rijksmuseum – Biggest, classic museum in Amsterdam. You can cover lots of artists and things here.
  • Van Gogh Museum – Honestly unless you really are into it, it’s kinda expensive.
  • I ADORED this museum. I thought the art was wonderful and the descriptions of each painting were easy to read and didn't leave you with a headache at the end. I can still picture the Sunflowers wall if I close my eyes.
  • Moco museum – Dali and Banksy. Pretty cool again if that’s what you like
  • Lots of Banksy which was cool to see/have the significance of his work explained. I think the museum itself is a gorgeous building too.
  • Foam museum – Really awesome photography/mixed medium museum
  • Anne Frank House – If you don’t have tickets, go 30 minutes before the line up time OR go in the evening when there are wayyy less people. I woke up early on the day I went and waiting in the "online queue" for tickets and was able to book one for that afternoon. If you do ONE thing in Amsterdam, this is it.
I love these little blue house ornaments that are sold in little shops around town!
the van Gogh museum is one of my favorites I've ever been to
team Meghan and Harry

SNACKS

  • Stroopwafels – only thing I eat. They are my newfound religion and I will never see another day where I don’t eat 20. Get a fresh one at the Albert Cuypmarket but get them at Albert Heijn in packages because we all like them better that way
  • Bitterballen – fried beef balls, best ones I had were at Cannibale Royale
  • French fries all day every day – I prefer them at a bar but it’s a thing to eat them from cones. Get the tiny forks unless you wanna be like me and licking sauce off your hands/wrist/body in public. The Dutch eat them with mayo.
  • Pofferjets are little mini pancakes with powdered sugar and syrup and they are delicious
  • Normal waffles - even though Amsterdam isn’t really known for waffles they’re pretty good here from street vendors  
  • Those cookies that are famous from a Facebook video are at Van Staple Koekmakerij (Heisteeg 4, 1012 WC Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • STACH Cafe (I've been to the one at Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 56, 1017 DH Amsterdam, Netherlands) has samples of all its items and it a great place to nibble and work for a few hours
  • Bakkerij Noma - Super cute small cafe owned by the nicest couple - try the savory pastries
  • Amsterdam Cheese is delicious - I never went to the cheese museum in the city center but would consider going next time I'm in town

Tips

  • The A-dam Lookout isn’t worth the money, go to a rooftop instead and get a view of the city that way
  • Don’t walk in bike lanes without looking because getting hit by a bike really hurts and the people who hit you will also yell at you. My friend Lara got ran over by a bike in 2017 and I still feel bad for her.
  • If you’re going to do a canal tour do one where you can get food included, and if it's warm I would suggest an open boat rather than the huge cheesy ones you see everywhere. I didn't do one with food included, but loved seeing the city from the water. It makes you appreciate the famous architecture of the city.  
  • Don’t be the person who goes to Amsterdam and spends all their time in Coffee Shops, it’s really not that cool, especially to the locals - they never go in them
  • Anything around the red light district/dam square/center is going to be more expensive
  • There is no “danger” in Amsterdam. The biggest crime is bike theft…
  • The only “sleazy” part of Amsterdam is obviously Red Light District, but it’s only three blocks and there’s essentially zero spillover outside of that area. I saw someone get robbed on the street in literally the blink of an eye so keep your wits with you if you decide to walk through.

My friend Rachel was on an expat assignment in Amsterdam for a few months at the beginning of the year. Here are some of her recommendations:

When I went this year in February for a conference, it was mostly sunny and not too cold. I spent the weekend at museums, hopping in and out of shops near the museum district, and talking to friendly strangers. Rachel, Lexi (her coworker), and I had dinner together one night and we watched someone get robbed in the Red Light District afterwards. The next night we decided to have dinner at her apartment instead. I had lunch one day at Blue Amsterdam which is at the top of one of the shopping malls. It has a 360 degree view of the whole city and a great lunch menu so I'd definitely recommend checking it out. I love Amsterdam and could definitely see myself living there if I was better at bike riding. It's one of Europe's more expensive cities but the people living minimally and are pretty happy.

Some throwbacks from 2017 for your entertainment:

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