- Rent a houseboat and stay in it. Instead of paying for expensive hotels in the center, rent a houseboat in the center. This will give you a glimpse at the Dutch city’s unique way of life while assimilating you with the locals. Many websites exist where you can look at these boats. The the prices range from affordable to luxury. I have been to Amsterdam many times but my first time was in a houseboat and it gave me an experience unlike any other. However, make sure you don’t clog the bathroom with toilet paper, it was the only warning we got from the houseboat keeper. Also, look forward to being woken yup by geese.
- Eat at Garlic Queen. One of downtown Amsterdam’s little known attractions is this restaurant. Every dish in this place has garlic in it – even the desserts. It’s small and cozy, yet it has been there forever. Don’t fret if you don’t like garlic, the dishes can be prepared without it.
- Read Anne Frank‘s biography A Diary Of A Young Girl before visiting. That’s exactly what I did prior to visiting the city that Anne Frank lived in. Then, make sure to book ahead of time to visit the Anne Frank House / Musuem because it has the longest queues in the city. It will truly paint the town for you in a different light and will give you an overview on some of its history. The area around the attraction is also very nice to walk around in.
- Buy tulips at the flower market. What’s visiting Amsterdam without indulging in one of the Netherlands’ best exports. Here you will find the freshest of flowers lined up by the canals just waiting for your purchase. But, make sure you take your antihistamines if you have hay fever. Moreover, it’s a good place to buy spores or seeds to take back.
- Visit a head shop. Going to a store to stock up on organic recreational drugs or substitutes for non-organic ones can only be done in Amsterdam. Talk to the hippie drug salesperson about the variety of legal mushrooms in the jars while they hallucinate on you. It’s an experience like no other, but be careful when/if consuming anything – it’s not for everyone. You don’t want to end up talking to a tree.
- Get a bike. This might be a little hassle for those who are visiting the city for only a couple of fast days, however, Amsterdam is definitely the capital of bicycles. These methods of transportation are, hands-down, the best way to get around the small, yet packed downtown. It’s hard to get lost in Amsterdam, just don’t cross the last canal (Prinsengracht) and you will be within cycling distance to anywhere in the city. Some hotels, like the Lloyd and the Dylan, supply their guests with free bicycles. Check with your concierge.
- Drop by the Sex Museum. You know that Amsterdam is as liberal as they come, this is the time to drop some moral fallacies you’ve been brainwashed with and get with the program. The sex museum is not good for a giggle only, it’s actually a comprehensive history of sexuality and pornography. Although it’s tiny, it packs a punch – turning even the staircases into showrooms.
- Have brunch on the Herengracht. Everyone hates to love Hollandaise sauce, but allow yourself one serving with an omelette and a local beer at least one time while you are visiting the Venice of the North. It’s probably the most delicious of its variety considering the factory is not too far away. An organic variety exists in select diners.
- Visit the Red Light District. It might be a little shady, but now its more of a novelty rather than the real thing. Since this world have moved almost entirely online, this is the last modern-day district that caters to its old clientele. However, make sure not to snap a picture of the workers or you will surely get yelled at.
- Do some ganja. Only if you are inclined and you are of age. You’re there, it’s legal and you might as well. The “Bubblegum” variety will work well if its laughter you’re after.
Local Music Recommendations for your trip:
Outside The Box – Sabrina Starke
Together Alone – Anouk
Naked – Amber
We Like To Party – Vengaboys
Greatest Hits – 2 Unlimited