Amsterdam: More Than Just Coffee Shops And Red Lights

Canals of Amsterdam

Amsterdam is such a great city! While being known around the world for some of it’s more risqué activities(looking at you red light district and coffee shops), the city is actually SO much more than that! Museums, amazing restaurants, streets that you can wander for hours, there is a reason Amsterdam keeps us coming back time and time again!

Getting To Amsterdam

Schipol Airport(AMS)

Being one of the most popular airports in the world, Amsterdam(AMS) is incredibly easy to get to!

I personally like to buy one-way tickets from JFK airport(JFK) in New York to Schipol Airport(AMS) in Amsterdam as they can usually be found for $500 or less! Sometimes this takes some playing around with the dates on Google Flights, but it’s saved me thousands over the years!

Give it a shot and let me know what you crazy deals you can find! Once you land, it’s a quick 15 minute train ride to Amsterdam Central, the main train station in the middle of town!

Amsterdam: Where To Stay?

I’ve stayed in MANY different lodging options over the years when coming to Amsterdam. My favorite was by far an amazing little houseboat we found that was right on the canal! It was beautiful! They are sometimes harder to find but if you can grab one at a good price, DO IT!

For our last stay, we booked the Hotel Wittenberg, a nice 4 star hotel that was centrally located and not too pricy!

Views From The Houseboat

Otherwise, the city has plenty of hotels, hostels and AirBnB’s available. But, I will say, many AirBnB’s have become so unaffordable these days due to outrageous fees, we usually stick to hotels. Nothing like having some front desk staff on hand to assist you after a long flight!

What To Do In Amsterdam


So we already mentioned the coffee shops and red light areas and while they are a blast to experience once, whether as a viewer or partaker, the real gem of Amsterdam is the museums!

The Rijksmuseum is the most famous, with multiple floors and thousands of pieces of history that can easily take 5-6 hours to fully appreciate. I suggest starting early, taking a lunch break halfway, and then coming back for the second half instead of trying to do it all at once!

Check out the picture below of the Rijkmuseum’s huge multiple story library that looks straight out of an Indiana Jones flick!

Rijksmuseum Library

The Van Gogh Museum is also right down the street, as well as the famous painter Rembrandt’s home, both must-see’s if you are an art lover. Van Gogh Museum requires tickets in advance as it is VERY popular, but Rembrandt usually isn’t too busy and can be done in a half hour or so as it’s not very big.

Rembrandt House Museum

Multiple days are definitely needed if you want to see all the museums in Amsterdam! There are just so many of them and you will be TIRED from walking nonstop! We typically average around 10-15 miles a day in Amsterdam, just walking around town and the museums.

You can of course take a taxi, ride a bike, even take the tram to get around but nothing is better than walking!

Amsterdam Dining

Famous Herring Sandwich

The Amsterdam dining scene is a melting pot of incredible cuisines from around the world! There is a little something for everybody, no matter how picky an eater or how strict a diet!

Our go-to spot to satisfy everyone is an old converted warehouse called FoodHallen. With over 15+ restaurants in a single space all wrapped around a large community bar and eating area, it is the perfect place to relax and grab a bite and drink! Tons of locals eat here too so it’s a great place to meet some people if your out here solo-traveling or just want to do some people watching!

You can literally come here every day for weeks and get a completely different meal each time. A few dishes I recommend trying are the burgers, Iberico ham and cheese plates, and potstickers. All are top notch!


There is plenty of other spots around town to try as well, including Vietnamese and Indonesian food, all some of the best you’ll have in Europe! We recommend a little spot called Kartika for Indonesian! And Pho King if your craving some legit Vietnamese soup after a night out partying.

What’s Not To Love About Amsterdam?


If you like amazing museums and incredible restaurants, Amsterdam stands heads and shoulders above many of the other cities I’ve visited in Europe. Check out the coffeeshops and red light district too, but don’t spend much time there as they are such a small part of what makes this city truly amazing!

Be sure to make time on any European itinerary for at least a few days in Amsterdam!

And as always, thanks for reading and check out some of our other travel posts!

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