Museumplein: Where the Grass is Always Greener
What's not to like about Museumplein? In summer, it's as chill as Vondelpark, with picnickers playing instruments and getting high on the lawn. Add more grass and the field becomes stoners' heaven as well as a magnet for art aficionados. The latter come for Amsterdam's trio of world-class museums, all re-opened in 2013 after lengthy renovations—the stately Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, and the Van Gogh Museum. Tucked south of Leidseplein amidst upscale hotels and cafés, Museumplein is both a culture vulture's paradise and an open space for those who want to escape the city buzz. In addition to repositories of priceless paintings, it's home to the Concertgebouw at its southern end. Opened in 1888, the regal music venue is renowned for acoustics showcased in some 650 annual concerts, many starring The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. If an evening program is beyond your means, opt for a free lunch concert, at noon on Wednesdays. It's first come, first served, so arrive early to insure getting in. As the cultural hub of the city, Museumplein offers a plethora of attractions for art, music and theater lovers. For young visitors, there's a skateboard park and wading pool that becomes an ice rink in winter. Fashionistas will want to stroll down nearby P.C. Hooftstraat, Pieter Cornelisz or Van Baerlestraat, where some of the world’s most chic couture houses proffer everything from diamonds to Valentino frocks and Gucci handbags. Don't forget your plastic!
By Melissa Adams, AFAR Local Expert