Amsterdam is a truly unique city. While one sometimes thinks of Amsterdam and vice in the same thought, there is so much history and authenticity to the beautiful city. It is a city of contradictions, wherein you can find one of the most pleasant, peaceful atmospheres hand-in-hand with a world famous party scene. The beautiful canals, incredible architecture both old and new, and a surprising local love of pancakes are just some of the treats in store in this gem. Here are some of my do-not-miss sights that may be a little bit “off the beaten path” in Amsterdam:
The Jordaan neighborhood is quiet, classy, and free from the larger crowds of tourists. It is a peaceful neighborhood, perfect for strolling. And don’t forget to stroll through the outdoor market there. Everything from fresh flowers to sausages can be found here, as well as many small local shops. I recommend making more than one stop for ice cream and coffee, as there are so many places to do both in this neighborhood.
While the Anne Frank home and the Van Gogh museum are probably the most famous museums in the city, and incredibly powerful afternoon can be spent at the Resistance Museum, learning more about the involvement of the Dutch in World War II. The museum is creative, informative, and while it is a small and less well-funded museum, you can be prepared to be enraptured by stories the entire length of your visit.
Micropia is the world’s only microbe museum. Good for children and families, but also for adults, this museum will shift your perspective for a time and show you the life of a microbe. Exhibits are interactive and lively, informative and occasionally eye-opening. There is a very fresh and fun feeling to this museum.
Obviously the canals are a must. Cruise down one, stroll down another, but absolutely spend some time in the beautiful streets lining the canals. Full of cafes, restaurants, and bars, each canal has it’s own personality and it’s own schedule.
Feel like going out on the town at night? Visit Leidseplein. It’s the hub of the entertainment and performing arts scene. With theaters, concert halls, casinos, cinemas, and nightclubs, there is a little taste of nightlife for everyone. Steer clear if you don’t like crowds, and if you want to avoid the rowdier crowds make sure to book your hotel in a different part of town, as the noise and revelry can go quite late. I was surprised at the variety of restaurants in the neighborhood!