I think that a weekend in Amsterdam should be on everyone’s bucket list. The city is notorious for its coffeeshops, museums, canals, legalized prostitution, and is one of the most unique cities that I have visited. If you get the chance, explore this city in your 20s using my weekend in Amsterdam travel guide… I promise you won’t regret it!
Disclaimer: This blog post was originally uploaded in fall 2017 and has been updated as of spring 2021 for relevancy.
Weekend In Amsterdam: Day One
Dam Square, Jewish Quarter, & Canals
Begin your first day in The Netherlands by taking a walking tour of the city that includes visits to Dam Square, the Jewish Quarter, and the Joordan Neighborhood, which has the prettiest and most famous canals. In the afternoon, we checked out a local coffeeshop. In Amsterdam, cafes are where you buy coffee and coffeeshops are where you can buy weed… confusing I know. Speaking of coffee, there are Dunkin Donuts located throughout the city!
The Red Light District
That night, we took a guided tour of the Red Light District, something that I strongly recommend doing. The tour departs at nighttime, when it is dark and when the district comes alive. The Red Light District is full of bars, clubs, live sex shows (yup you read that right), and some of the best restaurants in the city. All around the area you can find women standing in windows trying to market themselves to potential customers. I learned that most of the windows shine a red light on the women (hence the name of the area), but some have a blue light, meaning that the prostitute is transgender. I also learned that the services begin at 50 euro for 15 minutes and work their way up. This may sound bizarre, but this tour should be a MUST on your weekend in Amsterdam list.
Weekend In Amsterdam: Day Two
Our second day in Amsterdam began by visiting the Iamsterdam sign, located in front of the Rijksmuseum. This attraction gets very crowded so be sure to get there early in order to get a photo with the iconic letters.
Next, I highly recommend touring the Heineken factory. The tour includes visits to the historical brewing room (shown above), stables, interactive activities, and multiple tastings. The beer’s secret recipe makes it taste delicious and the tour is really fun. I liked this almost as much as the Guinness Factory in Dublin that I went to during a weekend in Ireland.
The Van Gogh Museum
Later on that day, we went to the Van Gogh museum. This museum is quite extensive and is full of beautiful paintings. I recommend setting aside two hours to explore the entirety of this museum, and definetly purchase your tickets ahead of time if you plan on doing so.
Amsterdam Music Event
Every October, the Amsterdam Music Event takes place, with hundreds of shows put on all over the city. My friends and I were able to attend one of the main events at the Amsterdam Arena, featuring David Guetta, Armin van Buuren, Yellow Claw, Marshmello, and many more. The arena was filled with people from all around the world dancing and celebrating life; the energy was electric. If you happen to visit Amsterdam during this time, go to this music festival. It was hands down the best night of my life and I can still hear the ringing from the music in my ears.
Here’s the website where you can find more information and purchase tickets!
Weekend In Amsterdam: Day Three
Pancakes & Canals
Our last day of our weekend in Amsterdam began by eating breakfast at the famous Pancake House. I ordered traditional Dutch pancakes and they certainly did not disappoint! I highly recommend coming here for brunch.
Anne Frank House
Afterwards, we toured the Anne Frank House. Tickets for this are extremely difficult to obtain, and always sell out months in advance; however, every night a handful of tickets are released for the following morning, so be sure to check the website! I recommend visiting the Frank home during your weekend in Amsterdam- the museum is really well done and the self-guided walk is a very moving experience.
The last activity that we did in Amsterdam was a canal cruise. You can’t leave the city without having this unique experience. It was very relaxing to sit inside of the boat, listening to the audio guide and viewing the sights. The tours are typically one hour long and tickets cost around 15 euro.
Accommodation: Flying Pig Hostel (Either Uptown or Downtown)
Food: The Bird (delicious Thai food- located within the Red Light District) and be sure to try traditional Dutch apple pie
Transportation: Rent a bicycle and be one with the locals, or buy a pass for the trams
Thanks for reading my weekend in Amsterdam travel guide, I hope that Amsterdam exceeds your high expectations!
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