What better city to start off my City Alphabet than Amsterdam, my place of birth?! I know the first thing you want to do now is visit the hospital I was born in (which is obviously indicated with a commemorative plaque on the wall). Before you do so, let me share with you my favourite 11 Tips for Amsterdam. Because we all know that all good things go to 11 of course (and if not, you really need to watch the film Spinal Tap!).
11 Tips for Amsterdam
For your tummy
Let’s start with the essential travel tip: where to find good food? This can be a tricky quest when you’re in a big city you’re unfamiliar with. But you won’t be disappointed with the following foodie tips!
- Shiki Japanese restaurant – I discovered this little gem just by chance many years ago, but it’s still my favourite restaurant in Amsterdam. This cozy restaurant is hidden in a side street just off the crowded Damrak, the street that leads from the central station to the city centre. They serve fantastic sushi here, but also noodles and rice dishes and other delicious Japanese meals. All for a very good price.
- B&B Lunch room – This is a brilliant lunch spot where you can sink your teeth in freshly made rolls, juices, cakes and bakes. It’s also located near the famous Leidseplein.
- Lite/Dark – If you go to Amsterdam to party, then you could probably use a healthy vitamin boost and energy kick. At Lite/Dark you can try out one of their many surprising fruit/veggie juices and smoothies. If you feel adventurous, then you should try a shot of wheatgrass. Or play it safe and have a healthy sweet treat.
The ultimate Dutch food experience!
- FEBO – This is not healthy nor sophisticated cuisine, but a famous fast food chain in the Netherlands. You will find a few of these around Amsterdam. Be like a local and ‘pull something from the wall’: grab a fried snack or hamburger from one of the small glassed boxes in the wall. Try the kroket, a fried breadcrumbed roll filled with beef ragout. It might sound and look awful, but it sure does taste amazing! Make sure to get some mustard with it.
Want more foodie tips for your trip to the Netherlands? Then check out:
Furniture Shopping While You Eat: EethuisTwintig in Tilburg
Dark/Lite in Amsterdam. Note the hesitant look before my first wheatgrass shot!
For the brains and senses
Filled up your tummy and feeling energised again? Now let’s get you see some culture then!
- Street Art Museum Amsterdam – By booking a tour with SAMA you will not only discover a lesser-known area of Amsterdam, but also see urban artworks by some of the world’s best street artists. I took the tour almost two years ago. I was impressed then, but even more great artworks have been added to the collection since then. See my photos of this unique open-air museum here.
- EYE film museum – Just the building alone is worth a visit! Take the free and short ferry ride over the water (from the embankment at the back of the Central Station). In the near distance you see the futuristic looking building right by the water. The film programme lists both new releases and classics. There are special events and also impressive retrospectives, usually on film directors. Have a coffee and appeltaart (apple cake) with whipped cream in the beautiful café from where you have a great view over the water.
For your wardrobe and home
- De Bijenkorf (The Beehive) – The flagship store of high-end department store chain where you can spend several hours shopping for fashion, beauty products, stationery (they sell beautiful cards) and electronics. The ladies might want to get a manicure at the nail studio or get a new haircut and facial treatment at Rob Peetoom’s studio, one of the most famous Dutch hair stylists. There are also a café, restaurant, tailor service and tax free service in the store where non-European visitors can claim back their tax free refund.
- The Nine Streets – The city of Amsterdam is a shopper’s paradise! Instead of going to the famous chain stores, consider exploring the famous picturesque Nine streets with its independent boutiques, jewellery and shoe shops, cafés and hotels. And the best thing is that this area is right in the heart of the city!
- Concerto record shop – Fantastic record shop that has been a concept in Amsterdam since its opening in 1955! In this day and age it’s incredible to see the success of an independent record shop. Concerto’s building now spans five shop fronts and you’ll find anything here from (secondhand) vinyl, CDs, books and DVDs. There are also in-store live gigs. This shop is a must for every music lover!
For the night
- Melkweg & Paradiso pop venues – A shared space in my list for two different music venues. They’re located on opposite sides of the famous Leidseplein, so they’re in the heart of the city centre. Paradiso is located in an old church and you can still see the stunning glass-stained window right behind the main stage. The Melkweg (Milky Way) has a moot around the building and you enter it via a suspension bridge. You can see anything here from big names to small indie bands, from all different music genres. Come here on a club night and dance till early morning.
- Café De Kroon – Great bar and restaurant from where you have a wonderful view over Rembrandtplein. On Friday and Saturday nights the tables make place for the dance floor so make sure to put on your dance shoes!
Hope you found my 11 tips for Amsterdam useful.
Please feel free to leave me some tips of your own in a comment below!