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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
Once Amsterdam’s main public library, the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht looks like a 1970s block on the outside. But inside, renowned Dutch designer Marcel Wanders has transformed the space into a whimsical and grown-up homage to Alice in...
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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 has been a decade since the major museums on the Museumplein—a grassy square connecting Amsterdam’s main art centers—have all been open at the same time. Here’s what to check out at the Van Gogh Museum. Sunflowers, The...
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Herengracht 90, 1015 BS Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Arendsnest is a pub specializing in Dutch beer. There are many, as it turns out—the Belgians get all the glory, but the Dutch are also fine brewers. They also serve a really great variety of cheese, a reminder that nothing goes with cheese as...
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IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Step inside the Eye Film Institute to discover an homage to international cinema replete with interactive displays and perched like an ivory spaceship ready for launch on the northern bank of the IJ River. The striking facility, accessible via a...
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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 DH Amsterdam, Netherlands
Since 1862, fresh flowers and plants have arrived by barge from the Dutch countryside to Amsterdam. While this assemblage of flora still shows up daily, it comes by van, not boat, to the Bloemenmarkt, the world's only floating flower market. Here,...
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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
Beloved by locals and popular with tourists, the Vondelpark is a 120-acre oasis of green in buzzing Amsterdam, southeast of the Leidseplein. Opened in 1865 as the Nieuwe Park, it was later renamed after 17th-century Dutch playwright Joost van den...
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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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Eastern Docklands, Amsterdam, Netherlands
“This DIY atelier and shop is new and the kind of place that I am happy is popping up in the neighborhood. It sells a mix of handmade furniture and knitted hats and sweaters. They offer crafting workshops here, too." —Maartje Van Den...
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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
Unexpected surprises abound in Amsterdam. On the city's east side, you'll find one denoted by a tall windmill: Brouwerij 't IJ (the IJ Brewery), a small brewery and pub situated in the former Funen bathhouse, next to the De Gooyer windmill. Opened...
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Wolvenstraat 9, 1016 EM Amsterdam, Netherlands
"9 Streets" (De 9 Straatjes) is a charming, picturesque shopping area in the heart of Amsterdam's canal district. Located between Leidsestraat and Raadhuisstraat, this area is named after the nine side streets connecting the main 17th-century...
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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
Exploring Amsterdam aboard a canal boat is an iconic way to see the sights, with myriad tours and cruises plying the 65 miles of waterways that lattice the city. From many spots you can join simple, hour-long cruises with narrators describing...
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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...