Oh, Amsterdam. You are so lovely with your canals and slanty buildings and frequently overcast days. We all know your debaucherous soul offers many delights for the ribald and mischievous. But what about us purer folk? Surely there are many ways we too can amuse ourselves? Here is my list of top 13 things to do in Amsterdam when you are not feeling naughty. In no particular order.
Always a perennial favorite wherever I go: FOOD!!! Some Amsterdam favorites include club sandwiches, all you can eat ribs, deep fried gravy balls, and grilled cheese sandwiches. This club sandwich can be enjoyed on a patio right on the canal at In de Buurt.
2. Street Performances
Enjoy one of the city’s many awesome street shows and performers. Saxophones, bagpipes, break dancing, you name it. Amsterdam is full of artists just dying for your Euro coins. Don’t forget to tip if you enjoy the show!
3. An afternoon walk in Jordaan (pronounced Your-Dan)
So many lovely shops and cafes in this beautiful neighborhood. Bring your window shopping goggles, but don’t miss the beautiful foliage and scenic houseboats!
4. Ride a Bike
‘Nuf said. Bikes rule the road in Holland.
They are everywhere in Europe. Appreciate Holland’s unique take on the house of the lord. Visit mid-day for best stained-glass photo results.
6. Check out the Apple store
Meh. I am not an Apple fan myself, but you’ve just got to admire the marriage of design and functionality in this breathtaking two-story masterpiece of architecture meets consumer cult. Free and very clean toilets upstairs.
7. Tchotchkes, Kitsch, GewGaws, Oh My!!!!!
Does anyone do baubles and bric-a-brac better than the Dutch?
8. Mint Tea
A Dutch classic. Enjoy it in the afternoon on a sun-drenched or cloud-covered patio. It warms you up and cools you down at the same time.
9. The Flower Market
Marvel at the variety of bulbs and seeds available at this single-file lineup of flower vendors. Take home your favorites to test out your green thumb. Be sure to understand your country’s laws regarding the importation of biological material before you buy, though!
10. This whole mess
They turned part of downtown into a Carnival. Huzzah. Don’t miss the Ollie Balls, Holland’s answer to friend dough. Get them with raisins and coated in powdered sugar!!
11. Selfies with the statues.
So many hilarious options. Buy a celebrity mask to make yours extra silly.
12. Madame Tussaud’s
You could also call this Selfies with the Statues Part II. Can you find Johnny Depp in this picture?
13. Actual. Good. Coffee.
If you are a coffee snob like me, you won’t want to touch the stuff they serve in the city’s famous, ahem, “coffee shops.” Instead, try an artisanal cafe like Screaming Beans. Mmmm-mmmm good. And not at all naughty. Happy travels!!!