Famous for its winding canals and liberal policy, Amsterdam is a must-see for those seeking an intoxicating and surprising city trip.

Street Food: Kapsalon

Directly translating to “hairdresser,” this kebab shop classic originates from Rotterdam and is now beloved all over the Netherlands. The Kapsalon is a glorious mountain of chips, shawarma meat, salad and Gouda cheese, and you can get one from any of Amsterdam’s snack bars. The Vegan Junk Food Bar does a cruelty-free version, too.

Live Venue: Cinetol

Welcome to the best venue in the city for punk, indie rock and garage shows. Born out of Amsterdam’s famous squatting culture, Cinetol has a bar next door, the Tolbar, which boasts one of the best terraces in the otherwise bourgeois De Pijp neighborhood. 

Hotel: Volkshotel

Volkshotel Amsterdam

Volkshotel boasts a laid-back and (not too much, but just enough) hipster atmosphere. Part of this character comes from the various nightclub events in the basement and Volkshotel being one of the few free-to-enter rooftop bars in the city. During the day, there’s also room for freelancers and busybodies to work remotely. 

Coffee Roastery: Back to Black

The market for coffee spots in Amsterdam is competitive, but Back to Black has two of the coziest in the city, and they’re serious about roasting excellent coffee. PSA: In Amsterdam, a cafe is a place to drink coffee, and a coffee shop is a place (visited almost exclusively by tourists) to drink coffee and get high. 

Museum: Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum might be an obvious pick – mainly because it contains some of the country’s most famous works, including Rembrandt’s The Night Watch – but this list would be lacking without it. It’s also worth going to experience Pierre Cuypers’ architectural style up close and personal, which has come to define much of the city visually. 

Snacks: De Laatste Kruimel

De Laatste Kruimel is always busy and for good reason. You’ll find the best pastries in the city here. It’s the perfect “gezellig” (the Dutch word for “cozy”) spot to hide out in the city center during the long winter months.

Market: Boekenmarkt Oudemanhuispoort

Boekenmarkt Oudemanhuispoort is one of the more inconspicuous markets in the city and is a haven for book lovers. The market was originally a passage of a former retirement home, now a part of the University of Amsterdam, which dates back to 1602. Take cash and be ready to find some great books in various languages at bargain prices.

Gallery: Foam (Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam)

Foam is consistently great, often hosting up to three individual exhibitions at once, ranging from retrospectives of modernist masters to postmodern and photo/video installations from some of the industry’s most exciting new talent.

Bar: Café De Dokter

The “brown café” is a staple of many Amsterdam streets. The Dutch equivalent of a pub is named after the dark brown wood their interiors are usually made of. Head to Café De Dokter for a shot of Dutch gin, jenever, with a local beer as a chaser.

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