Traveling is something I invest a lot in, because as an artist, I have come to realize exploring keeps me inspired. One of the places I went to in 2017 was Amsterdam! I went in September, and I think it was the perfect time to be there. The weather was a bit chilly, but exploring by foot was no problem at all.
WHERE TO STAY IN AMSTERDAM:
I decided to splurge a little bit and stay at a 5 star hotel in Amsterdam. The NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky was perfectly located within walking distance to all the places I wanted to go to. It is in teh center of Amsterdam, by the Dam Square. The breakfast is one of the best I’ve ever had, including being greeted at the door with a fruit smoothie! I loved having freshly squeezed orange juice, made to order omelets, pastries, cold cuts, and even MACARONS! Breakfast is one of my favorite meals, and this one was perfect, and worth the additional price.
5 things I highly recommend doing while in Amsterdam:
1. Visit the Museums! I only went to the Rijksmuseum, but if I had time I would have also wanted to go to the Van Gogh Museum, and the Heineken Museum.
2. Go on a Canal Tour. And not just any tour! I would highly recommend Those Dam Boat Guys. A lot of of what I learned about Amsterdam I learned during this tour, and the free walking tour. Not only that, they were prepared with umbrellas and ponchos (because it did rain!), and allowed us to bring wine and food on the boat. It was a great tour and experience.
3. Go on a free walking Tour. There are many tours available, but Sandemans FREE walking tour was amazing! You must schedule it ahead of time, and tipping is expected, but you’ll learn so much about the history of Amsterdam that even if this was a paid tour, I would still recommend it.
4. Tour the Anne Frank House. This one will take preparation, as you MUST buy tickets ahead of time. The lines to tour the Anne Frank House are very long, and if you don’t buy tickets before going you might stay in line and not even get to see it. It was one of my favorite parts of visiting Amsterdam, and I have to admit I cried as I learned more about the Anne’s story, and saw first hand where she lived.
5. Tour the Red Light District! It might be a little shocking to some, but it’s such an important part of Amsterdam that I think it’s worth checking out. The Red Light District area is a part of an urban area full of sex shops, strip clubs, little streets where the store fronts are actually used by women to show and sell themselves. Prostitution in Amsterdam is legal and regulated, and very evident in this area. There are night tours that talk about the history of the red light district, but unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to book it. One thing to note is that photography is prohibited, and you can get into a lot of trouble if you take pictures there.
WHAT TO WEAR IN AMSTERDAM:
I opted for a lot of black for my time in Amsterdam. You can see two of my outfits on this post. One was a black leather skirt to wear with a black top and cardigan, and the second was a black fitted dress to wear with a jean jacket. The New Balance tennis shoes from JCrew were perfect for pairing with both, and very comfortable for walking all day.
A CITY FOR BIKERS
I honestly couldn’t believe the amount of bikes everywhere! I also learned that the older the bike, the better, and more desirable. With streets being narrow, and parking being extremely difficult to find, this city caters to bikers.
IF YOU WANT COFFEE, DON’T GO TO THE COFFEE SHOP!
If you’re anything like me, you are probably thinking a coffee shop in Amsterdam is the perfect spot to grab, say, a coffee (or hot chocolate for me), but no, Coffee Shops in Amsterdam are shops where anyone over 18 can buy marihuana (weed), and smoke it right there! Tourism is a huge part of the economy of Amsterdam, so legalizing pot has always been advantageous for the city. Same as with the legalization of prostitution, they put it behind windows, and make it discrete, but still legal so the city can make money off of it.
During this trip to Amsterdam, Milan, Bellagio, Varenna and Venice, I forced myself to approach complete strangers and ask to take their photo! It was such a great experience, and I love the candid photos I was able to get, like the ones right on top of the guy in the blue shirt, and the girl in the sweater, meeting and exchanging numbers!