Amsterdam
Photo Courtesy of Rene Mesman
Winter is cold (with January and February the coldest months), but tourists are gone and locals have reclaimed the town. In Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein, two of the city’s open squares, skating rinks and oliebollen stands appear. Holiday lights decorate bridges; seasonal decorations transform streets. The season culminates with fireworks at Museumplein. Amsterdam Fashion Week struts through in January, drawing international style to city streets. In the spring, tulips bloom, flowers overflow balconies, tourists jam museums, and locals celebrate long days. Millions arrive in Lisse to visit Keukenhof, a stunning outdoor garden. The summer is time to head outdoors for a picnic in Vondelpark, Museumplein, Amsterdam Bos, or any of the city’s green spaces. During Open Garden Days in June, many canal houses open private courtyards for viewing. Outdoor concerts and festivals abound, patios spill over with diners, and locals flee to urban beaches for sun, sand, and surf. In the fall, as the leaves change color, Amsterdam ushers in the cultural season. New shows debut. Visitors come for opera, museums, and year-round attractions such as nightlife and canal cruises.