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Amsterdam’s Top 5 Attractions

structures near body of water

This Netherlands’ hot spot, a city known for Van Gogh and Rembrandt, its drug tolerance and canals, is such an interesting city that narrowing down the top five sights is difficult. Amsterdam is a city like no other. Depending on your interests, visitors can choose to sleep all day and party all night, spend all day in the museums or tour the bustling areas of the city via bicycle, boat or foot.

But if you’re interested in getting an overall feeling for this diverse city, I’d suggest the following:

1. The Café Scene.

amsterdam Café Scene

Anyone who’s ever been to Amsterdam has been asked about smoking pot at the numerous coffee shops. It is illegal to import, export, sell, produce or process recreational drugs in Holland. However, the authorities in Amsterdam have a liberal policy on marijuana and hashish. Certain shops may sell small amounts of the soft drugs and patrons are allowed to smoke inside. Whether or not you choose to partake, experiencing the café scene in Amsterdam is something that shouldn’t be missed.

2. The Van Gogh Museum.

Van Gogh Museum

Although visitors can be easily overwhelmed by all the museums jockeying for attention, the Van Gogh Museum is one of the best. Beyond housing the largest collection of Van Gogh’s work, this recently refurbished museum is tops on my list for a simple reason: You can get the self-guided tour in English.

3. The Anne Frank House.

Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

For anyone the least bit interested in history, the Anne Frank House is an obvious attraction. Read her diary and then experience exactly how cramped the space was that she and her family lived in for a couple years.

4. The Red Light District.

amsterdam red Light District

Go ahead. Check out the red light district in Amsterdam. Although prostitution is legal here, and the area draws millions of visitors each year, the prostitutes – even those on display in windows lining the canals – do not like their photos taken. The area also includes a number of sex shops, live sex shows and more.

5. A Canal Cruise.

amsterdam Canal Cruise

Similar to the bus tours in London or a bike tour in Berlin, the canal cruises take visitors around this magnificent city and offer interesting tid bits and insights. For example, the city has 2,500 houseboats, nearly 1,300 bridges and thousands upon thousands of bicycles.

After that, there’s the Heineken Experience, the Royal Palace, the Rijksmuseum and much more.