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By the time we visited Amsterdam, we read enough blog posts and talked to other travelers who raved about Amsterdam and figured we just had to go there. Too long don’t read: It just didn’t do it for me. Here’s why:

As a person who enjoys the beauty of architecture, it wasn’t as stunning in comparison to the other places I’ve traveled through in Europe, Brussels and Barcelona. Amsterdam is a place of things to do over a place of things to see. If you really want to enjoy Amsterdam then you should focus on the houses, and museums, as there are few stunning points of interest in the city.

Amsterdam felt like a trip to Brooklyn, N.Y. on steroids, which made sense after I learned Brooklyn and Harlem were designed by the Dutch and New York used to be New Amsterdam.

Being that Amsterdam is a place of things to do, I focused on food, museums and the major attractions.

The major visually pleasing attractions:

  • Vondelpark(mini Central Park)
  • Rijksmuseum
  • Royal Palace / Konikljik Paleis Amsterdam
  • The Canals(the beauty is determined by the houses and boat houses that line the canal)
  • Space Museum rooftop

Must try foods / snacks:

  • Fries at Mannekenpis Fries (the famouus little Belgian pissing guy)
  • Freshly made Stroopwaffles
  • Savory Dutch Pancakes
  • Chocolateat Tony’s Chocoloney (they have free samples)
  • CheeseatAmsterdam Cheese Company (they have free samples)
  • Food Hallenfood market (like Gansevoort / Chelsea market) — try the Bitterballen

Must Do Activities:

  • Museums — pick one, two, three, doesn’t matter you will enjoy them
  • Canal boat tour — I’d recommend ‘Those Damn Boat Guys’, bring wine, cheese, meat and enjoy the ride
  • Red Light District(This isn’t really a must do more like a should, so you know what it looks like. Overall it was extremely underwheleming. I wouldn’t waste time or money on any sex shows as I’ve seen more interesting burlesque shows than the sex shows they put on)
  • Coffeeshop (Marijuana Shop) — They sell a space cakes you can take to go, if it’s your first time start there and don’t finish the whole thing as it can take up to an hour to kick in. If you’re a smoker then I’d recommend smoking in a coffee shop and enjoying the vibe.

Note: Only a select few ‘coffeeshops’ sell alcohol at theses establishments

I think 2–3 days in Amsterdam is more than enough to be able to enjoy what it has to offer. I’d schedule the visit for a weekend so you can enjoy the party scene in Amsterdam as well. I can’t say I’ll be back to visit any time soon, but I will say this is a place I could easily live in because there’s plenty to do.

Pro Tips:

Almost everyone in Amsterdam speaks English

The Dutch are very rude, but just be aware of it and accept it , New Yorkers are rude as well

Bicycles have the right of way, get out of the way or they WILL hit you

Look left and right before crossing and beware that you’re not accidentally in the bike lane

Vania Nettleford

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