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The Beer Bars, Parks, and Museums of Amsterdam

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Plus canals, film history, and a smattering of canals, flowers, and windmills. This Wanderlist is a mix of my Highlights and other great Amsterdam offerings from AFAR travelers, all of which helped immensely on our trip!
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Elandsgracht 108, 1016 VA Amsterdam, Netherlands
On a rainy summer night (thunder! lightening!), we had very low expectations of getting a table at Balthazar's Keuken—mostly because something I read said that it was hard to get in. But there was a table, right in the back by the open...
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Jodenbreestraat 1, 1011 NG Amsterdam, Netherlands
You can find cozy Café de Sluyswacht on a bustling street in the heart of Amsterdam, steps away from the Rembrandt House. Originally constructed in 1692 as a home for the sluyswacht, the man who controlled the neighboring lock, the charming...
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Prinsengracht 587, 1016 HT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam-based designer Marcel Wanders transformed the city’s old public library into a hotel with a delft-pottery color scheme. Perks include Wanders-designed bikes.
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Nieuwe Leliestraat 4, 1015 SP Amsterdam, Netherlands
When I think of Amsterdam, I immediately think of the national liquor of the Netherlands, Genever. Genever or Jenever (for Juniper) is a grain product invented in the 1600's in the Netherlands, and it is from this product that gin evolved. You can...
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Albert Cuypstraat 53, 1072 CM Amsterdam, Netherlands
On our way to the Concertgebouw, we couldn't resist entering this tempting bakery. Inside? The moistest lemon cake I've ever tasted, along with unique muffins, cakes, and other sweet delights. Savory breads and sandwiches are available as well,...
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Noordhollandschkanaaldijk 21, 1034 ZL Amsterdam, Netherlands
What could easily be considered an icon of Holland is becoming harder to find: The traditional windmill. While windmills can be hard to come by in Amsterdam, rent a bicycle and ride through Noord-Holland, where you'll find this traditional...
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Overtoom 160-162, 1054 HP Amsterdam, Netherlands
We had been to Gollem for a drink and a snack (note: the meat platter is hearty) the evening before, but when we found ourselves on Overtoom after visiting Vondelpark, with Gollem just opening for lunch, we went for it again. After all, it was our...
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Gabriël Metsustraat 8, 1071 EA Amsterdam, Netherlands
It's not going to blow anyone's mind to say that the Van Gogh Museum is a must-see in Amsterdam. When we were there they were in the midst of moving to the Hermitage, so the full collection was not on display. Still, the fraction of the collection...
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Herengracht 90, 1015 BS Amsterdam, Netherlands
Many of bars in Amsterdam serve the standard mass market beers, and those that serve craft beer predominantly sell Belgian beers. 't Arendsnest was recommended by our bed and breakfast hosts as a local bar that focuses on Dutch craft beers. How...
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IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Going to Amsterdam's film institute and museum, called the Eye, is fun for the journey alone: from the Central Station, you take an extremely short ferry ride (it's free) to Amsterdam-Noord. The museum is the swooping white building just to the...
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Kinkerstraat 1, 1053 DB Amsterdam, Netherlands
You know what's annoying? Biking around Amsterdam on a bike that screams I'M A TOURIST. Here at Bike4U, you can get classic black Gazelles. Prices are good, child seats are available, and the Bulgarian guys who run the place are super nice. Note...
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Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 1018 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is a city with so much to offer that it can be overwhelming when planning your visit. With the museums, restaurants, canals, and nightlife to explore it can be even harder to plan your trip on a budget. If you are going for at least a...
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Legmeerdijk 313, 1431 GB Aalsmeer, Netherlands
Just outside of Amsterdam near the airport quietly sits the largest flower market in the world. Aalsmeer Flower Auction (otherwise known as FloraHolland) is the Wall Street of Flowers where everyday 20 million flowers and plants follow a carefully...
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Oosterdokskade 143, 1011 DL Amsterdam, Netherlands
This is not a secret to locals, but off-the-beaten path (but still not too out of the way) is a place with a surprisingly tasty dinner for under ten euros. It's the library cafeteria. But seriously: That bowl of Thai noodle soup with...
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Singel, 1012 XG Amsterdam, Netherlands
After biking all around Amsterdam, you will work up an appetite. While perusing all the millions of flowers and bulbs, it was a nice surprise to find something to nibble on. After we sampled all the cheeses, we were full and it cost nothing! Great...
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Papentorenvest 1A, 2011 AV Haarlem, Netherlands
Just a 15 minute train ride from Amsterdam is the picturesque town of Haarlem, complete with canals and De Adriaan windmill. You can go in (for a fee) but the best viewpoint is across the canal (and free!). As a bonus, Haarlem is a fairly compact...
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Burgemeester Reigerstraat 25, 3581 KK Utrecht, Netherlands
If you're a bread person you shouldn't miss the tasty bread they have at Hooi. It's also nice to work there on the well known Dutch rainy days or outside when the weather is nice.
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Alblasserdam, Netherlands

This is the last place in the Netherlands where you can see windmills in their original locations. We were there in February, which meant they didn't have any up and running, but that also meant it wasn't crowded. Just joggers and walkers out on...

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Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse, Netherlands
A dutch garden/disneyland for tulip lovers. See every variety of bulb flower in the world. Worth a day trip from Amsterdam in April or May.
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Voorstraat 46, 3512 AP Utrecht, Netherlands
If you're looking for the best coffee in town as well as the best music then you should visit the Village. It's also the place where most of the hipsters hang around. Enjoy!
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Westerpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam might be the perfect urban destination for a toddler. A new park every day. This was taken at Westerpark, but by far the best locals-only park was Flevopark. It's a long ride from the center, but totally tranquil on a Sunday afternoon....
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1071 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam does playgrounds right. Witness: the triple swing. Unlike the anodyne, paranoia-driven parks of the United States, these playgrounds are meant to make kids dirty and proud. Water flows into sand and dirt freely. Rickety wooden play...
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The Flevopark is not a typical city park, because it’s on the outskirts of Amsterdam and feels a bit wilder. I love to walk and picnic and jog here. —Maartje Van Den Noort 
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Eastern Docklands, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The fact that there is a special-occasion restaurant like the Wilde Zwijnen (which means Wild Boar) is a sign of wealth in the neighborhood. I like the interiors: stylish but natural. The boar dishes are good, but they also do nice ravioli filled...
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Javastraat 145, 1094 HE Amsterdam, Netherlands
“I buy my books for my book club here. You can sit and order a coffee and page through books. They also have a good children’s section and a little corner for children to play.” —Maartje van den Noort
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Timorplein 62, 1094 CC Amsterdam, Netherlands
“If I want to know what’s going on, I go to Studio/K, a cool cinema and café. It’s run by students from universities around the city who are really on top of what’s happening in terms of concerts and events. In the...
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Funenkade 7, 1018 AL Amsterdam, Netherlands
“Brouwerij ’t IJ is the only place in the city that brews its own organic beer. We like to come on summer evenings and sit on the terrace. Ruben, my husband, really enjoys the Zatte and Columbus beers.”  —Maartje Van...
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Wolvenstraat 9, 1016 EM Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tourists may throng through Amsterdam's busy city center on Kalverstraat, but travelers in the know saunter down "De Negen Straatjes" or "The Nine Streets." Trendy boutiques, designer fashions, and snug cafes line the cobblestone street grid to...
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Linnaeusstraat 2, 1092 CK Amsterdam, Netherlands
The interiors of this museum and its library are really beautiful—a mosaic of polished wood and marble surfaces. And its contents are very timely, about the history of immigration and former Dutch colonies and slavery. The library is a bit...
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Herengracht 427, 1017 BR Amsterdam, Netherlands
I love the lighting and dignity of this cat, just standing near the Rijksmuseum.
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Spui 12, 1012 XA Amsterdam, Netherlands
We woke up on day two, intending to wander around, grab lunch and then spend the rest of the day in the park. However, our host suggested a book market only open on Fridays. Within minutes of the suggestion, we were out the door, armed with...
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Helmersbuurt, 1054 Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Dutch all appear tall and slim to the visitor, but it has to be the biking that's the secret to their physiques, not the lunches. The kroket is a Dutch staple and is carbs, upon carbs and served with a side of carbs. I sampled one at the...