When people think of Amsterdam, they may think of coffee shops and the Red Light District. I think of canals and flowers.

You may call me a goodie two shoes: I don’t participate in the recreational drugs, except for alcohol. I’ve made it this far in my life, where I don’t care to try. If there is one place to try, it would be Amsterdam… I didn’t want to have a weird reaction to impact my travels, so I passed yet again (it’s legal in the the state of Washington now so the appeal just isn’t there for me). Don’t get me wrong, I’m pro-choice for those who want to participate but it’s just not for me. I digress.

Amsterdam Coffeeshop

Why Amsterdam then? My friend, Emily, is on a work assignment and living in the Netherlands for 9 months, which meant a free place to stay and a local guide. Her assignment was coming to an end, so I jumped on a 1.5-hour plane ride from London for a quick visit.

Below is a visual summary of why you should visit Amsterdam.

Amsterdam building faces

I couldn’t get enough of the building façades.

stroopwafel

My stroopwafel being made fresh. The gooey deliciousness still makes my mouth water.

Rijksmuseum

Entering the Rijksmuseum.

Keukenhof Fields

Missed the peak bloom a few weeks ago, but the Keukenhof Gardens still had plenty of beautiful tulips to see.

Keukenhof Gardens

I could have spent hours in the Keukenhof Gardens.

Narrow Amsterdam buildings

Narrow buildings of Amsterdam. Oh and bikes galore.

Canal tour

Taking a canal tour on a sunny, spring day.

Oedipus Brewing

Oedipus Brewing to try some local microbrews. So many options and unique flavors.

Foodhallen

Dinner at Foodhallen, which felt like a food truck festival indoors.

Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum: Book ahead of time as it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions, where you walk through Van Gogh’s progression as an artist.

Amsterdam Cheese Company

The cheese! Go into any of the cheese shops and sample the delicious flavors. 

Dutch pancakes

Dutch pancakes are a must!

Heineken

When in Amsterdam…drink the local beer, even if it is Heineken.

Vondelpark

Strolling through Vondelpark with Emily and Emily.

Anne Frank Huis

Anne Frank Huis is a must. Reserve your tickets way ahead of time and don’t be late. I was 2 minutes late and almost not permitted to enter.

Centraal Station

A quick train from Centraal Station ended my trip taking me to the airport.

It was a great visit and a few days is just what I needed to explore the sights around Amsterdam that I personally wanted to see. It’s always fun to add friends to travel destinations.

It was a quick trip, and I’d love to hear any more recommendations on what to do for the future. Please comment below.


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Photo Essay: Amsterdam's Sights, Canals, Food, and Flowers