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City Guide: Amsterdam

Canal at dusk

The Best Things To Do In Amsterdam

Amsterdam is by far one of the world’s most all-encompassing cities. The I AMsterdam slogan is so spot on because we are all Amsterdam indeed. Some of the best things to do in Amsterdam are not specifically the most popular things to do.

Here at The Complete City Guide, we thought our readers deserve a chance to know more about this amazing city. We could talk about the Red Light District or Dam Square.  And there are of course hundreds of coffee shops to visit while you’re here, but you already know that.

So instead, we have chosen to give you a unique perspective on some of the most off-beat, sometimes underground, local things to do while in Amsterdam.  Let’s take a walk together and view this multi-cultural city through the eyes if a local tourist. So without further adieu, here are the ten best things to do in Amsterdam!

Music

Music is the language of the heart. There is nothing quite like experiencing the local music scene of a new place you visit. And Amsterdam has some of the best music halls in the world!

1. Melkweg

The Melkweg Concert Hall In Amsterdam

The Melkweg is a pop-culture icon on its own. Every year more than 400,000 visitors walk through the doors of this old brick factory building. If you want to listen to music, see art, or immerse yourself in a live theater performance, the Melkweg is THE place in Amsterdam to go.

In its history, the building has known life as a sugar factory, but also later as a milk factory.  Nowadays it is home to two concert halls, a theater, a cinema, and an expo hall. What started out in the 1970’s as a cultural youth project has grown into this amazing venue. It is a MUST SEE in Amsterdam,

2. Paradiso

Paradiso, Amsterdam

Anyplace that opens its doors in the 1960’s with the name “Cosmic Relaxation Center Paradiso” must have something up their sleeves. Originally a church, the idea behind it was creating an open place for creatives from around the globe to showcase their talents. Today, this world-renowned pop podium has a main hall that accommodates 1500 guests. Even a crowd of 1500 is an intimate concert for stars like Adele.

If you’re looking for something a little more local, and low-key, the small hall is the place to be. Giving young up and coming artists the chance to perform for groups of 250 or less. Imagine having seen the Kings of Leon in the Small Hall at the Paradiso in Amsterdam.

Art

If music is the language of the heart, then art must be the language of the soul. Amsterdam is rich in artistic history from Rembrandt to Van Gogh; you will find them all here. Make sure you visit the RijksMuseum, but while you’re checking out the best things to do in Amsterdam, check out some local galleries as well.

3.W139

W139 Art Gallery Amsterdam

I don’t know about you, but I love pretentious art I just don’t understand. W139 in Amsterdam is certain to give you some of that! There is a certain kind of freedom in being able to express oneself unabashedly through art. That is what W139 is all about, the search for independent intellectual recognition.

This extraordinary art gallery located in the heart of the city center opened its doors for the first time in 1979. It is an art hall that is run both for and by artists. Rest assured, should you be adventurous enough to pass through the doors of W139, you will be left speechless. W139 guarantees a one of a kind experience you’ll find nowhere else in the world. By far one of the best things to do in Amsterdam, but be wary of hipsters!

4. Mediamatic

Mediamatic Amsterdam

Art, culture, and society go hand in hand. Expression of the emotional development of society can is available on new developments in the arts. The institution that is Mediamatic strives to put a focus on these new developments by offering all manner of lectures, art, and workshops. The primary focus is nature, BIOART, and biotechnology. 

In the early years, Mediamatic focused on media technology and interactive art installations. As with life, throughout the years the center has grown and developed bring itself and its community closer to the roots of life, nature, and the natural world. Currently, Mediamatic houses a restaurant serving in-house grown foods and fish. Mediamatic is a hipsters paradise.

Oddities

What would a trip around the world be without seeing something unusual, odd or just downright confusing? Isn’t that what seeing new cultures is about, broadening our horizons?

5. Body Worlds

Body Worlds Amsterdam

Gunther von Hagens was a German anatomist. He is the inventor of plastination, a technique for preserving biological tissue samples. Von Hagens plastified the corpses of humans and animals all around the world from 1977 until his death in 2011. For the first 20 years, the technique was used solely for preserving small specimens for medical studies.

It wasn’t until the 90’s that this extraordinary technology became seen as an art form that allowed us to learn and understand the incredible biological machine that is the human body. The first exhibition of whole bodies took place in 1995 in  Japan. Since then the exhibits have been viewed by more than 26 million people all over the world. With more than 11 permanent museums worldwide, Body Worlds Amsterdam is one of the best things to do while you’re here!

6. Madam Tussauds

Wax Museum Amsterdam

A bit less morbid, yet somehow significantly creepier is Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. Though these are not the plastified molded corpses of long-dead humans, they are indeed oddly lifelike, full-size versions of historical figures. Have you always wanted your picture taken with Marylin Monroe or Elvis? Madame Tussaud’s makes that possible. This chain of wax figure museums can be found around the world from London to New York to Amsterdam. Museums in Amsterdam often have long lines, so buy your tickets in advance!

Food

One of the most exciting challenges of visiting somewhere new is finding great places to eat. Amsterdam has more restaurants than coffee shops, so we have picked out two that you just have to put on your things to do list!

7. Cafe Reuring

Cafe Reuling

Located in the world famous neighborhood “De Pijp” is this cozy little bistro cafe. It is difficult in the Netherlands to find a restaurant where the food quality surpasses the price. Cafe Reuring does exactly that. The food is outstanding; the service is just brilliant, and the people are so friendly but keep in mind; you will need to make a reservation if you intend to have dinner in the cafe.

8. Moeders Restaurant

Moeders Restaurant

In the 90’s Restaurant Moeders opened its doors. Located on the Rozengracht, this fantastic little place has a million stories to tell. During the grand opening of Moeders, the owner asked all his guests to bring one plate, glass, bowl, and set of silverware each.

The unique approach to decorating a dinner table is one of the key elements to Moeders. To this day, it remains a mix matched hodgepodge of eclecticism. Serving home made, traditional Dutch cuisine on plates out of Moeder’s kitchen. Don’t forget to bring a picture of your mom to hang on the cafe wall!

Outdoors

Sometimes getting outside is the best way to see a new place. Amsterdam has some of the most stunning visual landscapes to feast your eyes upon. So let’s get outdoors!

9. Walk The Jordan

The Jordan Amsterdam

This 17th-century working-class industrial neighborhood is one of the most famous of all the Netherlands. Take a walk along the canals or visit the Noordermarket for the Monday morning flea market and the Saturday morning organic farmers market. Full of trendy cafes and art galleries, even just an afternoon window shopping through the Jordan is enough to inspire a lifetime of memories.

10. Sail the Canals

Amsterdam Canals

When all else fails, and you have tired feet from walking. Your belly is full of Moeders delicious boerenkool, and you’re just too tired to walk anymore, rent a boat. Or even take a guided tour of Amsterdam’s beautiful canal system. The views are breathtaking; just don’t go in the water. You will find that these are some of the best things to do in Amsterdam.

 

 

 

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