From its world-class art museums to its floating flower markets, the city of Amsterdam is reinventing itself from its hedonistic side to now focusing on its rich artistic heritage. Culturally, it’s one of Europe’s most diverse and eclectic destinations.
I put together this list of Amsterdam points of interest for first-time visitors so that you will not miss a single thing. You can pedal your way through the city on a bicycle (where you will find utterly hundreds of them parked on every bridge) or walk on foot and use the well-equipped tram system. This vibrant city will give you plenty of things to do, to see, and eat the next time you are here. So here are my recommendations for Amsterdam for first-timers.
Amsterdam Points of Interests
Rent a Holiday Apartment
When traveling with family, it is always better to get a house or apartment than to spend the money on multiple rooms in a hotel. Amsterdam has plenty of apartment choices for your family. You should think about renting an apartment in the city as that will be the best base for you guys to have the most fun on your trip. You will be surprised at how much “value” you will get out of staying in a home or apartment instead of a hotel with multiple rooms.
OR Stay on a Houseboat for a View from the Water
An original way to enjoy Amsterdam is to stay on one of the city’s houseboats and here, once again, you can get value for your money spent. Take a look at HouseboatRental.Amsterdam, where you can peruse their website for a large selection of houseboats all over the city.
Make A Reservation and Have a Delightful Dinner
Combining the flavors of French and Dutch at Gouden Reael, you will be grateful I suggested this amazing restaurant. I was lucky enough to hear about this little gem in the city-owned by a husband-wife team. It appears that mostly locals hang out here, as it is a bit off track for tourists, but it is well worth the cab or tram ride.
The food is mouthwatering and the service impeccable, as well as the ambiance that makes this such a special experience while in Amsterdam. And if that is not enough for you, I have a full article on eating Amsterdam right here for you!
Or Visit a Small Island for Dinner: Vuurtoreneiland!
For a unique dining experience, there is nothing like Vuurtoreneiland. It is located on a small island in the IJmeer, where a boat takes you to eat a five-course set menu meal out in nature! It is just off the coast of Durgerdam. On the island is an old lighthouse and an abandoned fort, but you will be eating in a greenhouse! This is a once in a lifetime experience, so just book it! You can thank me later!
More Amsterdam Points of Interests
Visit One of the 50 Museums in Amsterdam
With more than 50 museums in the city, it is a museum lover’s dream. Arguably the city’s most important museum is the Rijksmuseum, which features works by Dutch masters such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh.
But don’t forget the Anne Frank House. She was one of the most recognizable figures of the Holocaust, and her diary tells what life was like during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam during WWII. Get tickets online before you go, so there is no standing in the queue. And the NEMO science center photographed above is great for the kiddos.
Check out the Street Art on Spuistraat Street
This street in central Amsterdam is full of cool street art and graffiti. Bring your camera because some of it is definitely photo-worthy! Find the yellow “snake house”.
Rent a Bicycle and Get to Pedaling
This town is a bicycle town and so when in Rome… do what the locals do and ride a bike. There are several places around town that rent them and it makes for an easy-breezy way to get around town and is much more fun than any cab or tram ride.
Even More Amsterdam Points of Interests
Visit the Flower Market
We all love those gorgeous flowers that originated in the Netherlands, specifically thinking the tulip in all its brilliant colors. The most famous market is the Bloemenmarkt along the Singel and one of my favorite Amsterdam points of interest.
Visit the House of Bols
A unique adventure and interactive experience in the world of cocktails, liquors, bartending and the Dutch spirit Genever. Here you will be introduced to the world’s oldest distilled spirit brand since 1575 made right here in Amsterdam!
Shop the Nine Little Streets!
I love this quaint area of posh, yet affordable shopping that is within walking distance from a hotel that I have stayed at several times, the Hotel Pulitzer. This is also just down the street from the Anne Frank House. Collectively it is known as the nine little streets. It is located in the middle of the canal belt in Jordaan. It is a neighborhood of quaint and quirky streets with cafes, boutique stores, lots of shops, and bars. You can find pretty much anything here.
Make your way to the Red Light District
Last, but certainly not least! If not just for a gander you must go, but a great alternative to the creepy men and scantily clothed women, you could take a guided walking tour of the Red Light District instead. A little bit of knowledge goes a long way compared to peering into the bewitching red lights. Also going during the daytime works too!
So there you have it, Amsterdam Points of Interests For First Time Visitors!
Disclosure: This trip to Amsterdam was sponsored by the official Tourism Board of Amsterdam. The scrumptious food I ate at de Goulden Real, the shots I took at the house of Bols, and the blurry red light district photo I took were all a part of my own doing!