The other day I was sitting in class and I suddenly felt the need to travel.
Having been in London for over a month now, I thought it was finally time for me to go and explore somewhere new.
Within the hour I had booked a spontaneous two day trip to Amsterdam, and I could not be happier with this decision.
So, if you are looking to spend a quick weekend in Amsterdam, here’s my advice.
When exploring a new place, food is great place to start. Though we didn’t really have anything specific in mind, we ended up finding some great places to eat.
After traveling all morning, we were all super hungry (and a little hangry). So as soon as we got into the city, we ate at a place called Burger Meister, which I highly recommend. It was a delicious burger, and it has a great selection of specialty fries, something Amsterdam is known for.
LUNCH AT REE7:
This was a bucket list item for my friend Macey, who had heard of this quaint little cafe.
It is tucked into an alley, in between lines of shops, but is always packed full of people. The food is fantastic, but the donut topped shakes are what tend to draw in a large crowd. I recommend going in the late afternoon or early in the morning to beat the line, because it is definitely worth visiting.
Our next stop was food… again. Over by the Anne Frank House we found a place along the water called Pancake House. It is a great place to visit if you are looking for authentic Dutch Pancakes and it has great views of the canal.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS BENCH:
Our first stop was the famous The Fault In Our Stars bench. After the movie came out in the summer of 2014, this bench became a very popular tourist attraction.
If you are a John Greene fan, this is a must see for you. If not, it still makes for a great seat right next to the water.
THE I AMSTERDAM SIGN:
Then we took a trip over towards the I AMSTERDAM sign for a quick photoshoot. If you are visiting this city, you have to take a picture here-- It’s a must.
LOVERS CANAL CRUISES:
I highly recommend doing one of these tours. Not only do you get to see the beautiful views of the city form the comfort of a boat, but you also have an audio guide pointing out the major historical landmarks along the way. The lights reflect off of the dark canal waters and illuminate the city, making for a magical sight that you won’t want to miss.
THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT:
Probably the most infamous area of Amsterdam, the Red Light District is complete with sex shops, peep shows, strip clubs, and prostitutes on display in window fronts.
This area has been in use since 15th century, as women migrated towards the docks in search of work. The red lights were used to signal that a prostitute was for sale in the building, back when it was illegal for them to be so openly on display.
This is definitely an area worth seeing, especially at night when you can truly get the full effect of the infamous, neon red lights.
THE VAN GOGH MUSEUM:
This was one of our major bucket list items, and we were lucky enough to snag a few tickets the night before. The museum is beautiful and packed full of some of Van Gogh's most famous works. You can’t take pictures of his paintings, but believe me, they are incredible.
I also highly recommend walking through the exhibit on the bottom floor that recreates Van Gogh’s mind in the last few years of his life. It is fascinating and also works great for a photoshoot.
THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE:
This house is located right along the water in the central part of the city. Though it has been renovated, the house was once used as a secret annex to hide the the Frank and Van Pel families from the Nazis in World War II.
The families were housed here for two years before the secret annex was discovered, and walking through, you get a glimpse of what life must have been like for this young girl and her family.
It can be difficult to buy tickets if your trip was spontaneous, because they sell out months in advance. But, everyday on the hour they release a handful of tickets. This starts at 10 am and if you are diligent it is highly possible to get in for a visit.
Amsterdam is a beautiful city, that has so much to offer. From its historic sights to its quaint shops and breathtaking views, it really has everything you’re looking for. Whether you are going for a week, or a spontaneous two day trip, it is definitely worth visiting!