* Disclaimer- Amsterdam is like the Las Vegas of Europe. It can be a debauchery of a time. Everything that we had done was 100% legal there.
We decided to spend Christmas in Amsterdam. If you go to Amsterdam in the winter be sure to bring warm clothes. The wind whips through the canals and it cuts right through you. We decided to stay in a hostel to A. meet people and B. save some money. Amsterdam can get expensive.
ClickNOORD (https://www.clinkhostels.com/amsterdam/clinknoord) was the hostel we stayed. It is in north Amsterdam which isn’t super far but not completely in the city center. It is a little bit a of a hike. There is a free ferry to get you from one place to the other that runs consistently. Some positives about this place- very friendly staff, bar in the hostel that has themed nights, a self service kitchen if you don’t want to pay to eat out, the 4 person shared rooms have a private toilet and shower in them.
Places to eat– we ate on the go at little places we found as we walked. I couldn’t tell you one place to go for food.
Getting around– We took a taxi from the airport but there is no need for that though it was a Tesla which is pretty cool, it was REALLY expensive. Take public transportation or rent a bike while getting around the city.
- GVB operates the trams, metros, and buses all over the city. You can buy multi-day passes (https://en.gvb.nl/gvb-dag-meerdagenkaart) which gives you unlimited travel for the duration.
- There are a LOT of bikes all over the city. There are designated lanes for just bikers and they have the right of way. If you are walking, watch out as they don’t stop for you. There are many different options for bike rentals (http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/plan-your-trip/getting-around/rental/bike-hire) to choose from. We did not rent bikes while we were there for a couple of reasons.
- Canal boats (http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/what-to-do/canal-cruising) are another way to see the city from a different perspective.
Things to do- There is plenty to see and do in this city. We were only there for a few short days. Things to know- a Koffee shop is a place where you actually buy marijuana products (you can get coffee there too as they do not sell alcoholic beverages)- a cafe is where you go just for coffee. If something a little heavier is what you desire, a smartshop is where you want to go. There you can buy truffles (sort of the same thing as mushrooms) among many other options. Both Koffee Shops and Smartshops are scattered around the city.
- Heineken Brewery (https://www.heineken.com/Heineken-Experience/Tickets-and-info) is located in Amsterdam and you can take a tour. I would say not the best brewery tour I have ever been on since it is self guided and packed. It was hard to read the plaques they had explaining what you were seeing.
- Anne Frank House (http://www.annefrank.org/en/) is another place to visit. Be aware that you will need to purchase your tickets in advance. They sell out quickly and usually last minute purchases don’t exist.
- Van Gogh Museum (https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/)- if you enjoy fine art then this will be right up your ally. The museum is the home of more than 200 of his paintings, 500 drawings, and 700 of his letters.
- Red Light District- Probably the most heard of place in Amsterdam. There are bars, sex shows, koffee shops, window dancers and of course restaurants. We spent a good portion of time in this district. There is a bar there called the Red Light Bar and you can smoke up stairs but you can’t buy it there and they sell booze. If a sex show is something you fancy just know there are different levels of “raunchy” so make sure to ask questions so you know what you are getting yourself into. We ended up buying tickets that gave us two shows. Interesting experience.
- Markets, boutiques, live music- depending on what time you go to visit, you will had different options. We went in December so the markets weren’t open and we didn’t run into a lot of live music. The little boutiques are always open and I suggest wandering in and out of them. You might just find the perfect Amsterdam gift or memorabilia