Amsterdam. It’s synonymous with canals, biking, and art, not to mention cannabis. The capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is one of the most popular destinations in the world.
This spellbinding city is packed with great destinations that will meet any interest. We’ve selected the best places to visit in Amsterdam to soak up the culture, food, and everything that makes the city great.
Established in 1638, Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in Europe. The garden began as a herb garden for local medical professionals. It’s home to more than 6,000 trees and plants among the lush green surroundings. Many of the plants at the Hortus Botanicus are endangered, offering a rare glimpse at some jewels of nature. In addition to the gardens, there’s a hothouse that recreates three tropical environments. While at the gardens, order a coffee or light meal at the spectacular Grand Cafe.
You never know what you’ll see or do at NDSM Wharf, and that’s a reason it’s a must-visit destination. This former shipyard has been transformed into a creative haven and is one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam. Hop on a free ferry at Central Station to access the wharf and see what you can see. NDSM plays host to a variety of festivals and events, including their famous monthly flea market. The property features several cafes, and even a chance to embark on a spine-tingling 50-metre bungee jump off the Faralda Crane Hotel. If you want a bit of relaxation, just stretch on the beach and people watch.
Anne Frank House
Located on the Prinsengracht canal, the Anne Frank House honors the life and memory of Anne Frank. During World War II, Anne, her family, and four others hid in secret rooms of a canal house. Today that canal house is an immersive museum, and a property consistently listed as one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam. Visitors will have a poignant trip through history by viewing artifacts, pictures, videos and items related to Anne. Among the items on display are Anne’s original diary, her father’s map of Normandy, and other relics of her legacy.
The largest art museum in the Netherlands, the Rijksmuseum has a rich collection of Dutch objects of art and history. There are over 1 million items in the museum, including 2,000 paintings from Golden Age artists like Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer. Be sure you give yourself some time to explore the garden to view its sculptures, topiaries, and fountains.
De Wallen, The Red Light District
We’d be remiss in not mentioning the Red Light District, the famous pleasure spot where prostitutes freely offer their services to visitors from behind a window or glass door. The areas receive their nickname thanks to the women’s rooms illuminated by a red or black light. De Wallen is the largest and oldest of the red light districts in Amsterdam and features plenty of shops, a sex museum, cannabis shops, and a church. The Oude Kerk, or Old Church, dates back to the year 1213. The gothic building is beautiful and features elaborate architecture. While still a church, it now hosts art and music exhibits.
Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo
You’ll love the Artis Zoo at any age. Not only is it a home for 900 species, but it also contains a museum, an aquarium, a planetarium, and an arboretum. The zoo regularly offers special programming and tours, with concerts, picnics, and other events for visitors. It’s a lovely way to experience nature while in the heart of Amsterdam. Prepared to spend several hours, if not the day, here.
No visit to Amsterdam would be complete without seeing the canals, and some of the prettiest views can be found in Jordaan. Jordaan is located between the Prinsengracht, Lijnbaansgracht, Passeerdersgracht and Brouwersgracht canals. Formerly a working-class neighborhood, it’s been transformed into a chic yet quaint area. The Lindengracht Market is held on Saturdays and provides a great place to shop and people watch. Delightful little shops and cafes are clustered among the 17th-century canal houses, and if you want to truly experience Jordaan, embark on one of the local tours; you’ll get a taste of the unique flavors that are part of Jordaan’s charm. Unlike the rest of the city, Jordaan is a little more laid back, making it one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam if you want a relaxed experience.
Albert Cuyp Market, De Pijp
If there was one place that encapsulates the vibe and flavors of Amsterdam, it’s Albert Cuyp Market. The market has been part of Amsterdam since the 1900s and is one of the biggest attractions. Your Amsterdam experience isn’t complete without browsing the hundreds of stalls for fresh produce, flowers, or souvenirs, and trying the world-famous Stroopwafels. Nearly 300 vendors are here six days a week. Surrounding the market are trendy shops and cozy cafes to visit as well.