When you say you’re going to Amsterdam, a lot of people raise their eyebrows, smile knowingly, and say “oh Amsterdam huh?”

It’s a city known for its legal prostitution, “coffee shops” selling more popular plants than just coffee beans (marijuana, for those who need it spelled out), and its wild nightlife. With an annual tourist population larger than its actual population, Amsterdam can be subject to misrepresentation by the weekend-trip frat bros, the nearly adulterous bachelorette parties, and the “I’ve never done it, but it’s Amsterdam!” crowd. Amongst the madness, though, is a city with much more real character than first meets the eye. In terms of culture, practicality and efficiency meet relaxed social attitudes and an unmatched ability for leisure and fun. Scenic canals flanked by narrow buildings and a constant stream of bikes make up the cityscape. Cafés, tons of electronic music festivals, and a surprising number of all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants join the ranks of the “coffee shops” as gathering places. World-renowned art museums are tucked next to shops selling Dutch snacks out of cubbies in the wall, like frikandel and kroketten (find these at the Febo chain). Amsterdam is perhaps best described by the non-translatable Dutch word which describes something cozy and easy to relax into, a warm feeling, a nice day with friends or a date gone well: It’s gezellig.


SIGHTS

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Anne Frank House

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Eye Film Institude

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Geitenborderij Ridammerhoeve

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Nemo Science Museum Rooftop

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Moco Museum

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Van Gogh Museum

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Vondelpark

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Bloemenmarkt


NIGHTLIFE

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Kleine Cooldown

 

Volkshotel
 
Waterkant
 
Pianobar Maxim

A local favorite perfect for a night you won't remember

 

A rooftop bar and hot tub with spectacular views and free entry

 

A cool waterside bar, complete with plenty of beer and friendly Dutch locals

 

A bar with a piano man who rivals Billy Joel

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FOOD

Restaurant THT
 
Thai Bird Snackbar

 

Bulls and Dogs

 

Sir Hummus

A trendy restaurant and bar right across from the city center

 

A tiny restaurant with low prices, big portions, and endless curry, soup, and pad thai

 

Amsterdam's most famous coffee shop, serving elaborate hot dogs

 

An incredible vegetarian option specializing in, you guessed it, hummus


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