What to do in Amsterdam

A friend of mine asked me what she should do during a trip to Amsterdam. It saddens me that Amsterdam has so much to offer yet the average tourist doesn’t see much more than the inside of a coffeeshop. So in a (fairly passive) effort to show YOU a little bit more, here is my list of things to do in Amsterdam.

Tourist things

With tourists in mind I had to think of some stereotypical touristy activities that the average local wouldn’t do if their life depended on it:

  • Canal Cruise: I’ve been on a few of these in my lifetime (with almost every friend that visits) but I have to say that a canal cruise on a sunny day opens up a completely different side of Amsterdam. There is something very relaxing about the water and after walking through the city for a few hours its a great way to kick back, take in some info and a beer.
  • Rijksmuseum: Recently reopened after a lengthy (read: 10 year) renovation.

Local tips

  • Sarphatipark: In my mind one of the most beautiful parks in Amsterdam, it doesn’t have that massive, fight to find a spot vibe that the Vondelpark sometimes has. Its cozy, lots of locals catching some rays because of lack of balcony/terrace or just hanging with friends. Go to the Albert Heijn, get yourself some drinks and let the good times roll!
  • De Wasserette: Great little cafe that opened somewhere last year, one of the few coffeeshops (not the type you’re thinking about) that doesn’t have internet, so people actually talk to eachother. I-can-dig-it.
  • 9 Straatjes: Cozy little neighborhood consisting of 9 streets that are packed full of cool little boutiques, restaurants and shops: worth a stroll.
  • Blue: Probably the best (public) view in Amsterdam, this bar features a 360 panorama view of the city. Located in the Kalvertoren it’s a nice place to grab a cup of coffee after a shopping spree in the Kalverstraat.
  • Canvas: Located on the 7th floor across from nightclub Trouw, Canvas is a great place to have a drink on the terrace outside and hang with friends. I hear their food is pretty good too but I haven’t had the luxury of dining there.


  • Acht: I tend to stop by here everytime I bike past it. I would say its a fairly minimalist Hip-Hop inspired urban clothing store with a knack for exclusive sneakers. The place to buy some really cool dutch products as well as some 500euro Jordans.
  • Patta: This store has been the go-to destination for sneaker freakers for a few years now. Lots of limited editions and they have recently been rolling out their own gear.
  • Concrete: Another hotspot for hard-to-find kicks and esoteric urban labels in a trendy setting.
  • DIV: This is probably the only clothing store in the east of Amsterdam worthwhile, so if you go to the zoo (Artis) or you’re in the neighborhood: stop by!


  • Restaurant Red: Luxury surf & turf, delicious wine list, great atmosphere and setting
  • Cafe Loetje: Best steaks in Amsterdam, try to get there early as it’s generally packed.
  • Burgermeester: Best burgers in Amsterdam, they now have various locations so check out the website (try the miniburgers, they’re like sliders)
  • Kaasie Kaasie: Delicious sandwiches with a thick Amsterdam accent (walking distance from Sarphatipark)
  • New King: Infamous Mandarin Chinese restaurant with insane queues. I highly recommend the crispy duck and getting there early.

Check out my foursquare list for other things To Do In Amsterdam