***Queue my jam*** My heart warms when I think about Amsterdam. I have never been to the city before, nonetheless, the Netherlands, so I was extremely eager to travel here. The city is so beautiful and unique — it even made me wish I was able to study abroad there (not that I don’t love London, but Amsterdam was that incredible). I ended up going with my roommate, Camille, and two of our friends, Jackson and Daniel. We went more during the week rather than the weekend just cost wise, but I easily could have stayed there a little longer.
The Dutch are extremely friendly and helpful, the canals were spectacular, the food was immensely better than expected, and there was a zillion times more Wifi than in Berlin! What was there not to love?? If you are studying abroad, or thinking about it, I would highly recommend coming here. I wish it were a little warmer, also, because I really wanted to rent bikes and go out to see the windmills, but I guess that I will just have to make another trip here!
Camille found this place online before we left for Amsterdam. Amsterdam has a huge LGBT community, and the Dutch seem to be pretty accepting of everything. So, naturally, we end up at a burger jaunt in the Red Light District whose whole menu is burgers and sandwiches named after various drag queens. The staff was super sweet and we loved the environment — not to mention, they were playing XMen: First Class on the TV.
I got a chicken burger named the Windy Mills (which was super delicious). It came with a side of fries, but Daniel and I also split the bitterballen (AMAZING beef balls — NOT MEATBALLS). Bitterballen are literally everywhere in Amsterdam, so order them!!!! I got the Kamikaze cocktail which was strong but still great. Everything I got was about 20€.
Everyone I asked for Amsterdam recommendations from told me that the Pancake Bakery was a must (one friend even added “IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE”). We went here on a Friday morning before the Anne Frank House (which is like a block or so away, so probably do these things together). I have been longing for a stack of flapjacks, but I knew that we would be getting more crepe pancakes, so I was a little intimidated by the choice. The sweet ones sounded too sweet for me and I have not really jumped at savory crepes.
I took a chance and got a savory crepe called the “Norwegian.” This was a crepe stuffed with a salmon, sour cream and creme cheese mix with a little side salad. Daniel got the French pancake, which was topped with goat cheese slices, sun-dried tomatoes and drizzle honey (a Sticky Goat!!!!). Camille got the Greenlandic, which was topped with Brie cheese, cashews, spinach and drizzled honey. We all did a little switcheroo, and I think the consensus was that the French/Stick Goat was the best. Total came out to 23€.
This is a little burger place in the Red Light District. We stumbled in on an afternoon for a late lunch. The burgers were pretty massive, and you could either make your own or choose from various different ones on the menu.
I got the smaller size of the Blonde beef with avocado and a fried egg and a side of fries. The food was fine, nothing spectacular. We also had some issues with milkshakes, so probably don’t order one from here. Total came out to be 15,30€.
In search for Wifi to call an Uber back to our hotel, we ended up in Rene’s. While the Wifi was not really working in our favor, we got a plain waffle and split it. I saw waffles literally everywhere, so I was glad to get one. They also had a ton of other different desserts that looked super cute and yummy, I just wish I was able to put that in my stomach after Getto Burger.
This was another recommendation from a friend. We passed a couple as we walked around, so we decided to finally give it a go. The staff wasn’t the greatest (not very friendly, only letting us sample one gelato).
They have Wifi that works pretty well. I got the Oreo gelato, which was super tasty and not too thick or too creamy. They also have a ton of other desserts and sandwiches.
We ended up just walking into this restaurant that I think said Argentinian, but they had tapas and a bunch of other things. The vibe was fine and it was super low-key. We sat on the second floor. They have great Wifi and our waiter was super funny.
I got tapas and decided on patatas bravas, meatballs and bacon-wrapped dates. The patatas and dates were incredibly delicious, but I was not too crazy about the meatballs. I would also recommend getting a side of fries and ask for a side of the aioli, it was amazing.
Also: We passed this Village Bagels spot of a few times, so if anyone goes to Amsterdam and tries it, I would be very eager to hear how it is. From the menu, I saw that they had a sticky goat item!
This is an obvious must in Amsterdam. The house was so surreal to visit, and they have so many great things included so that visitors can really get a full experience. You get to enter in the front house and go through the bookcase, which hid the back annex of the house where Anne and her family and four others hid for two years. Obviously, I knew who Anne was and the general basis of her story, but I really did learn so much while being at the house. They do not let you take photos, which was kind of annoying. I think my favorite thing was seeing the photos of movie stars that Anne would hang in her bedroom. It was just crazy to be there and reflect. I could not imagine having to live in constant fear and hiding — it was just terrifying. I have actually never even read the Diary, so I bought a copy on the way out.
I would recommend buying tickets ahead of time so you don’t have to wait in line. We probably got in line around 11:30 and waited only about 30 minutes to get in, but the cold and wind was brutal so we almost left. As we got closer to the door, also, the line kept growing. Entry was 9€, and there are no student discounts.
At the top of the PPB list of things to do in Amsterdam, the IAmsterdam sign was #1. It is right outside the Rijksmuseum and close to the Van Gogh Museum, so it is good to try to do all of these things together. There is also a cafe there and an ice skating rink that has it’s own little restaurant attached (never forget @Daniel).
Definitely wear pants when you do this. As dumb as it sounds, I tried to be cute and wear a skirt, which prevented me from being able to climb up on the letters. It’s super great for pictures when it is sunny outside.
The Bulldog has like a zillion locations throughout Amsterdam, but there are three (I think ones a cafe and the other two are different) each like two doors down from each other on the water in the Red Light District. This is your general coffeeshop, and it seems to be pretty famous. Definitely worth checking out!
Walking Canals & Red Light District
So this is not an exact location BUT walking the canals during the day and then doing the Red Light District one night helps to give that full package in Amsterdam. The city is so beautifully planned around these canals and each of them seems to be more beautiful than the last. Daniel and I literally spent two hours seamlessly wandering and taking photos just because it was that spectacular.
The Red Light District gets its name from the red lights that glow in the doorways where the *ladies* are. I had heard about these ladies, so we walked through the canal area where the were. It’s like kind of weird to think about, but definitely worth seeing to understand if you are up to it.
We wanted to go clubbing on our last evening in Amsterdam, so we pulled up to Escape. The line was not bad but the cover was 16€. Literally two doors down was Studio 80, which we were also going to try out. The line was a lot longer but the cover was only 10€, so we decided to just stay here.
We got in and quickly realized, of course, that it was a gay club, only making it that much better. We hadn’t really been able to mark much off from the Gay Amsterdam guides the boys picked up at Getto Burger, so this was meant to be. The music was reallyyyyyyyyy good and the club had these really cool lights. The energy was great and I probably could have stayed there until the sun came up.
Chupito’s is a little jaunt near the Rijksmuseum that serves over 100+ different specialty shots. With names like Harry Potter, Princess Peach, Blow Job, etc. there are so many different combos. We were grilling the bartender about what was in each since there is no physical menu, just the lists in a powerpoint projected on TVs.
I ended up getting a Kamikaze, YOLO and another which I cannot remember the name of but I know it had apple and peppermint in it. It was about 10€/person.
This was described as the “Dutch 90.” We got there like around 10:30ish and literally no one else was there so we left. Enter at your own risk. The bouncer was really hot.