Stepping off the train at the Amsterdam Central for the first time is overwhelming. You emerge from this historic building doubling as a train station and step right in to a beautiful array of chaos. Tourists everywhere, business people rushing, stag parties commencing and Heineken tours being planned. Its hard to figure out which way to run. But you should definitely run because there is so much to do.
And that’s part of the problem with Amsterdam: there is almost too much to do. There is the cliché and the not-so-cliché and you must do both. There is the Red Light District and “coffee shops” everywhere. But unless you’re still a little immature, know that there is way more to do and see if you have 48 hours in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam! It’s exciting to say out loud and comes with so much romance and expectation behind it. So don’t screw this up.
To begin, as usual: We must eat and drink our way through town.
I suggest starting in the more local parts of town and riding your ascending buzz back toward where the shit gets weird. Sound good?
Go to Café de Toog to get a nice pull of the freshest Heineken you’ve ever tasted and your day is off and running. In the summer and fall all the restaurants have tables and chairs strewn out on the sidewalk and it is easy to get sucked in for hours watching everyone ride bikes. The Toog has big communal picnic benches so you don’t feel like such a tourist.
Walk through the Vondelpark stopping for a beer whereever you fancy (or just having one in the grass) and make your way to Museumplein. This is where you will see a bunch of idiots with selfie sticks taking pictures of themselves with the “I Amsterdam” sign. But it’s also where you can find a concentration of amazing museums and art shows, including the Van Gogh museum which you must see.
In the winter, Museumplein has all sorts of food trucks and such where you can literally eat just about anything you want. But I would suggest Poffertjes which are like little baby pancakes, only fluffier, made right in front of you. They’re a classic Dutch treat.
There aren’t many venues in the world that host a better live show than Amsterdam’s Paradiso and Melkweg. Both give you everything you want in a great venue, and never disappoint with a myriad of options. You can easily get your face melted while shooting Jameson and rocking to Berlin’s Kadavar one night and then smoke a vape pen while pulsing with the crowd watching Rae Sremmurd bring out Drake unannounced the next.
Ok, I know we aren’t 17, but of course you will do an obligatory tour through the Red Light District. Just make sure not to shoot any photos unless you want to be beaten down and stuffed in the trunk of a Russian mob car. Seriously, no photos.
Since you probably have a solid buzz going now you can always reset with some more classic Dutch fare. Bitterballen are like little fried breaded gravy balls, and yes, they are as good as they sound. The Dutch are also famous for their fries, but instead of ketchup they use mayonnaise (don’t be scared). Or, you can find a great kebab shop on just about every corner (watch for a recipe coming soon to WY).—Adam Warren
More places to see:
Lab 111 / Strangelove: Great restaurant built in an old morgue.
Toasty Kaas: Think Dutch Panini, the only way to start your hungover morning.
Centruum: The city centre, very touristy and crowded, but fun to walk through.
Heineken Experience: Their original brewery, tours, tastings, etc.
Graceland BBQ: Southern-inspired BBQ, does not suck.
Café Soundgarden: It’s classic, dark pub with good music. For those in between moments.