I wanted to get out of Amsterdam chaos and chose the 20 minute train ride from Centraal to Haarlem.
(I deviate here as hopefully our trial/error will help you...) The tram system is great in Amsterdam. It is separate from the train system. If you want to ride the tram in Amsterdam, walk outside Centraal station, in front there's a GVB office and get your tram daily tix there. Figure out your line #, they run every few minutes. Your legs will thank me later.
For Haarlem we bought train tix (8 euro pp?) inside Centraal using the information office (the kiosk would not accept our credit card).
In Haarlem, walk 10 minutes South towards the church, everything is around there. A local told us about the Jopen brewery inside the converted church (5 minutes walk West) and we're glad we stopped by there also. Check it out!