I avoided Amsterdam for years because all I really knew about it was pot-smoking and the red-light district. When we went, I was blown away. This town is so special!
With stunning architecture sitting alongside unassuming canals, this place is something out of a dream.
ANNE FRANK HOUSE: Visit the house where Anne Frank hide with her family during the war. To walk through the hiding spaces that they made into their home is both bone-chilling and inspiring. For both young and old, this is a visit not to miss when in Amsterdam. Admission is €9.50, and purchasing tickets in advance is recommended.
Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam | +31 20 556 7105
VAN GOGH MUSEUM: Even if you aren't "into art," you'll probably love seeing Van Gogh's famous art in person. Who can resist his iconic impressionistic work? Not me. Tickets are €15 and can be bought in advance here.
Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam | +31 20 570 5200
KEUKENHOF: If you time your trip right, you may be able to see the world's largest tulip festival. (What better way to see Holland?) This spectacle is open from March 20 - May 18. The best news is: you can ship tulip bulbs home as a great souvenir for an affordable price. Route your journey to Keukenhof on the site for easy planning. Read my full post about it here.
Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse | +31 252 465 555
PANCAKES! AMSTERDAM: When you're in Amsterdam, it only makes sense that you eat a Dutch Pancake... or several. This tiny restaurant makes amazing pancakes- from savory to sweet. We did a traditional stack of American pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, but the winner was a savory Dutch pancake with onion, bacon and cheese. So good, we ordered a second after we polished off the first.
Prins Hendrikkade 48, 1012 AC Amsterdam | +31 20 820 4240
CASA DI DAVID: I know, Italian in Amsterdam? Well, if it's chilly and you've been out all day- you'll welcome their amazing pasta and pizza with open arms. It's in a great location, the service we had was great, and the food... well, it's really delicious, too. Not overly expensive, and definitely won't leave you hungry.
Singel 426, 1017 AV Amsterdam | +31 20 624 5093
MAMA KELLY AMSTERDAM: Pop in for a bite (and an Instagram pic) at Mama Kelly Amsterdam amongst posh pink booths and golden trimmed fixtures? Hurry, this place may be trendy now, but it won’t stay relevant forever.
Olympisch Stadion 35, 1076 DE Amsterdam | +31 20 225 2684
EDEN HOTEL AMSTERDAM: Centrally located with good, modern rooms and a good staff. We found a room for under $100. While not a romantic boutique hotel, this checks a lot of necessary boxes and is a solid place to stay for a few nights in Amsterdam.
Amstel 144, 1017 AE Amsterdam | +31 20 530 7878
W AMSTERDAM | If you’re looking for a really cool hotel with a great atrium and the chance to cash in on Starwood Points, the W Amsterdam is a really hip and great option.
Spuistraat 175, 1012 VN Amsterdam | +31 20 811 2500
AIRBNB IN JORDAAN: We stayed in this lovely house in the cool Jordaan area. Not only are the owners really sweet, but the house is a great place to stay. It has three bedrooms, so is especially perfect for traveling with groups. (If you've never used it, sign up via this link to get $25 off your first booking).
GENERATOR HOSTEL: This is a famous chain of hostels around Europe- but their Amsterdam location looks incredible. Their sky suite starts at €180 and has two bedrooms, great interiors and a small kitchenette… which makes is the perfect spot for small families.
Mauritskade 57, 1092 AD Amsterdam | +31 20 708 5600
A LOCAL RECOMMENDS...
Liz Denfeld is the blogger behind explore. dream. discover. Her and her husband Cory spent three years living on one of Amsterdam's most photographed canals. Discover some of their favorite things in Amsterdam.
BY BOAT AND BY BIKE: Amsterdam is not a particularly walking-friendly city. The streets and sidewalks are very narrow and bustling with cars, trams, bikes, pedestrians…you name it. The best way to see the city is by hopping on a bike (preferably not one of the bright yellow or red ones that scream tourist!) or by taking a boat tour.
HET ZWARTE FIETSENPLAN: To rent a local-style bike, try Het Zwarte Fietsenplan in the city center on Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal.
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 146, 1012 SJ Amsterdam | +31 85 273 5994
THE NINE STREETS: If you were to spend your time in only one area in Amsterdam, this would be it. This three-block by three-block section of streets is home to trendy boutiques, cozy cafes, romantic cobblestone streets and of course, some of the most picturesque and famous canals in the world. Have your camera ready for all the photo ops!
Wolvenstraat 9, 1016 EM Amsterdam
DE STRUISVOGEL: For a truly European dining experience we always took visitors for a meal at De Struisvogel. An intimate 34-seat restaurant situated along one of Amsterdam’s most well-known canals (the Keizersgracht)– the menu changes frequently, but it never disappoints. The perfect place for a romantic meal over a bottle of delicious wine!
Keizersgracht 312, 1016 EX Amsterdam | +31 20 423 3817