3 Days in Amsterdam Trip Report – What Did We Pack in On Our Short Trip?
I have to admit I love Amsterdam. The city is gorgeous with their tree lined canals, sprawling parks, historic buildings, museums and the city is one of the cleanest I have seen. All of that makes me want to return and to do it soon. We were able to pack in quite a bit during our 3 days in Amsterdam and I wanted to share the highlights with you. I also wanted to give you a few things I look forward to checking out next time I am in town.
3 Days in Amsterdam – The Highlights
Here is a list of the things that we hit while we were in town that I would recommend:
I went over our canal tour in more detail in my review. I can’t emphasize enough making this the first thing you do. You will get to see the city from a different perspective and the tour guide will most likely give you some spots to check out you would have never known about. The Those Damn Boat Guys were pretty great and I give them a full recommendation.
Red Light District
The Red Light District wasn’t quite what I expected. I was thinking it would be something like Bourbon Street in New Orleans with windows lined up and down the street. But if you know anything about the way Amsterdam was built you would know that isn’t possible. The city is tons of tiny islands connected by bridges.
I still think it is worth walking through because there are not many places in the world like it. It is pretty unique. I wouldn’t stay in the area long though since it is packed with crappy bars that have overpriced drinks and tons of drunk tourists. They do have some of the weirdest public toilets in the world though!
Amsterdam has the museum thing figured out. They put the best ones in the same area called the museum quarter. You can easily check them all out in one day. The three main museums are:
We decided to hit up the Rijksmuseum since it was the year of Rembrandt and the exhibit had more Rembrandt art of display than usual. I have heard that the Van Gogh Museum is the better one overall though.
There are also a few famous houses worth checking out:
Be sure to purchase your tickets in advance because if you just show up it is unlikely that you will get in.
After hitting up the museum area we took the short walk over to Vondelpark which is the largest park in Amsterdam. Kind of like their Central Park. It was a beautiful park that had a little eatery set up on a pond. And it also served beer and wine which was a plus…the view was great and the rest was needed after walking the museum.
At the eatery in Vondelpark we were told by locals to check out Foodhallen. I don’t think many tourists end up here but it is worth the trek. It is kind of like having 10-15 food trucks in one place but they are little store fronts instead. It is a very popular place and it was PACKED.
There was a main restaurant out front as well the had an “indoor pool” to hang out in.
There are many small store front casinos throughout Europe. They mostly consist of slot machines and automated roulette. The Europeans love their roulette it seems! We checked out the main casino though, Holland Casino. It is located across the canal from the museums and Vondelpark area. It is a pretty nice casino inside and it has all of the major table games.
The Heineken is served frosty cold and is some of the cheaper beers we had, which is the opposite of how it works in the US. Unless you are in Vegas where it is free!
Visit a Coffee Shop
Coffee shops are actually places that sell marijuana. They are named coffee shops because that is what the hippies opened up in the 60’s. They sold coffee out the front and weed out of the back. I guess the name kind of stuck. Fun fact it is actually not legal to sell marijuana in Amsterdam, they just overlook it. Even if you don’t partake it is worth poking your head in to see it for yourself.
Many people told us the best coffee shop in the city was the one located next to our Airbnb. It is right next door to Preacher’s Son Tattoo parlor which we stayed above for a few nights if you remember.
Hang with the Locals
We checked out many bars and restaurants throughout our trip but when we wanted to hang with the locals I suggest too things. First go to the most American bar there, which is where the locals hangout, and Bourbon Street was the most fun we had on the trip. I highly recommend checking it out for a late night option, doors open at 11 pm.
Secondly go to one of the squares that are away from the Red Light District. Our Airbnb was right near Rembrandt Square which was a pretty good one. There are a few throughout the city though. It is actually there where many people gathered to watch the semi final soccer match which AFC Ajax lost 😥.
Places I Look Forward to Checking Out Next Visit
Amsterdam is an amazing city and there was still much we had not seen or done after 3 days. Some of the things I want to check out on my next visit are:
- The Heineken Experience – and the area behind it is supposed to be pretty cool.
- A’DAM Lookout – it is pretty touristy but the views look pretty awesome. I would like to get to the other side of the city.
- Museum Our Lord in the Attic, Amsterdam – This was a tip from Leroy on our canal tour and I want to check it out next trip.
- Grand Hotel Amrath Amsterdam – another tip from Leroy
I think we did a good job of hitting some spots that everyone hits as well as checking out some off the beaten path locations. We pretty much walked the entire time since Uber is pretty much useless in the city and I didn’t have desire to die on a bike.
Amsterdam is an amazing city and probably in my top 3 places I have visited. I love that it has a direct flight from Detroit and that I can snag a lie flat bed for 50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles. I even flew home in Comfort+ and it was a very enjoyable flight.
Have you been to most or all of these places? Which was your favorite? What from the list would you most like to check out if you haven’t already?