When I traveled to Amsterdam, it was during my time studying abroad as a college student. I came to Amsterdam with good friends I had met abroad and we decided to take a big trip with about ten of us to Amsterdam for an extended weekend. Amsterdam was easily one of my favorite European cities. The atmosphere, the people, the culture- all made Amsterdam seem like its own little world and I loved it.
After tour group met up at the Amsterdam train station, we ate lunch and checked into our hotel. If you’re traveling to Amsterdam, I recommend staying in a hostel or Airbnb close to the city center since there is so much to do, you don’t want to waste time on transportation. One reason why Amsterdam was one of my favorite cities is because of all of the unique museums. The first night we were there we went to the famous Van Gough Museum, which was spectacular. During our trip, we also went to the torture museum and the sex museum (A MUST).
What I really liked about Amsterdam was the quirky atmosphere of the city. On one of our nights out, we went to the first ever coffee shop (weed shop) opened in Amsterdam called The Bulldog. It is famous, so it was a must see in Amsterdam but because of this it was extremely crowded. We decided to head downtown to another shop called the Super Skunk which had a funky vibe and a more relaxed atmosphere. Another coffee shop we went to that I recommend is called the Drink and Sink. When we went into this coffee shop, they offered us free shots but I think the best part was the jukebox, where they played all hit songs from the 90’s. That night, we sang along to the classics as they played and I fondly remember this moment as being one of the most carefree times of my life.
We did a few tourist-y “must do’s” in Amsterdam, such as take a photo in front of the I- Amsterdam sign, eat some cheese from an infamous cheese shop, and visit the red light district. Of course you cannot go to Amsterdam without taking a tour of the famous red light district. This area was filled with a more scandalous scene, made up of legal prostitution and recreational drug use. Needless to say it was definitely a lively and exciting place to be at night. Make sure to travel in a group and be cautious of your surroundings through this area but enjoy the unique people, atmosphere, and sights you’ll see. We toured through the red light district both during the day and at night and saw completely different scenes of the area. It is a great place to people watch and explore the oddities and curiosities of Amsterdam.
During this trip, we did not have any specific agenda which gave us time to walk around and just enjoyed the city. Amsterdam is a place filled with interesting people and lots to sightsee. After enjoying lots of beer and food, we decided that it wouldn’t be a proper trip to Amsterdam without riding through the canals. We bought a ticket for a guided boat ride through the canals and it was a spectacular experience. We took a seat in a clear covered boat and our tour guide gave us all the rich history of the Netherlands. Although we did not end up going through the famous Anne Frank house, we did pass by it and got to hear history of The Netherlands during WWII on our tour. Amsterdam was one of my favorite cities. Filled with rich history, culture, and lots of sights to see, Amsterdam has a lively and unique vibe that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.