Amsterdam City Guide: What to do with 3 days in Amsterdam

Monday, December 19, 2016

Our first 3/4 of our Netherlands trip was spent exploring Rotterdam, followed by a quick three days in Amsterdam. First off, let me say that Amsterdam was AMAZING and I can absolutely see why it is such a popular tourist destination and a desired place to live. I wish that we could have stayed in Amsterdam for longer than we did, but the price of accommodations made us decide to spend longer in Rotterdam than Amsterdam.

My trips tend to be a bit on the relaxed side with tons of sightseeing and museum visits combined with leisurely strolls and window shopping. I don't like to make specific daily plans, rather I like to create mini city guides or lists of things I hope to do or see on the trip and tick them off depending on how we feel and the weather. For example, on one day we got coffee and breakfast at a cafe near our accommodation, then went to the iAmsterdam sign and walked through the weekend market in Museum Square. After that, we went to the Van Gogh Museum, strolled through Vondelpark, and picked up takeaway from Martinot (Italian food) and cake from Arnold Cornelis Patisserie. It was a relaxed, but very fun day filled with sightseeing and great food! So, find my tips and suggestions for things to do in Amsterdam for a relaxed three day trip.

First, let's look at a few photos of Amsterdam's canals ...

What to Do and See

Vondelpark: Vondelpark is Amsterdam's most popular park and is conveniently centrally located, making it a great place to visit. We strolled through Vondelpark for a couple of hours and found the wonderful children's section, which had several playgrounds, a cafe, and an activity center. Hours of entertainment for free!

Van Gogh Museum: When you visit Amsterdam, you have to go to the Van Gogh Museum. The collection of Gogh's art, letters, and personal items was impressive. I also loved seeing the art that inspired Gogh or artists who were inspired by him. If you are visiting with kids, be sure to stop on the 1st floor (not the ground floor) near the gift shop and bathroom area. There are recreations of Van Gogh's most famous works that you can touch! My toddler absolutely loved this!

Another thing to note about the Van Gogh Museum is that strollers are allowed, so you'll be able to keep your child in their stroller throughout the visit. We purchased our tickets at the external museum shop and ticket booth near the iAmsterdam sign because the line was a bit quicker. 

Foam Museum: If you are interested in modern art, Foam Museum gets some pretty cool rotating exhibits. We visited the Foam Museum to see the

Nine Streets: The Nine Streets is a set of three parallel canal streets. The Nine Streets area was one of my favorite places in Amsterdam to wander around. The streets were filled with little shops and cafes, and the canals were beautiful in this area. 

De Pijp: When in the de Pijp neighborhood, do yourself a favor and pick up the beautifully illustrated free map called Undiscovered Pearls of de Pijp. I picked up my copy in Kolifleur (see below) and used it to check out the shops and eateries. There was a ton of construction in de Pijp, so it made it difficult to find the Albert Cuyp Market stalls.

Anne Frank House: I really wanted to visit the Anne Frank House, but unfortunately I tried to buy tickets too late. Don't make my mistake and buy tickets early online!

Museum Park: If you visit the Van Gogh Museum or the Rijksmuseum, you'll certainly stroll through the wonderful Museum Park. Here you'll find the iAmsterdam sign, a small playground, and a wonderful weekend market with food and antiques.

Where to Eat

Stef's Bakery: Stef's Bakery had AWESOME double chocolate cookies. I'd absolutely recommend a stop here for a delicious baked good to fuel wanders through the canals and winding streets. You can find Stef's Bakery on Nieuwe Spiegel Straat 62 B

Bakers & Roasters: This New Zealand cafe and brunch spot that we stumbled across in de Pijp was packed! J popped in for a coffee and cake, and I must say that both were very tasty. I'd suggest planning ahead and adding Bakers & Roasters to your itinerary for a big brunch before wandering around de Pijp. You can find Bakers & Roasters at Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 54. See their menu on their website.

Martinot: Martinot is an Italian restaurant with reasonably decent prices as far as Amsterdam goes. We ordered a margherita pizza and a plate of sweet potato gnocchi to share and everything was delicious. The total price for our meal was 23 euros. You can find Martinot on Moreelsestraat 3.

Frnzy: This Vietnamese street food restaurant was a cool stop in the De Pijp neighborhood. We ordered bahn mi and bun and both were really delicious. Keep in mind that this restaurant was hopping during our meal, so if you really want to eat here, you may be in for a bit of a wait. You can find Frnzy on Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 27 and follow them on Instagram at @frnzyamsterdam.

Arnold Cornelis Patisserie: This patisserie was located right near our accommodation (City Den; review coming soon) and sold incredible cakes and pastries. We ended up purchasing a hazelnut cake and a caramel cake. Yum! You can find Arnold Cornelis at Van Baerlestraat 93.

Corner Bakery: Corner Bakery was also conveniently located near our accommodation and had simple breakfasts and great coffee. The interior was really cute and the staff were really friendly. You can find Corner Bakery on Johannes Vermeerstraat 40.


Where to Shop

Carre D'artistes: This art store's motto is "Art is for Everyone!" and their prices and huge selection certainly reflect this belief. I strongly believe in supporting local businesses and artists both while traveling and at home, so I make it a priority to visit art stores and small designers while traveling. Though I have a very limited budget, my favorite souvenir from any destination (and from home!) is an original work of art. On this trip to Amsterdam, J and I stumbled upon Carre D'artistes, which is an affordable art studio selling works from artists around the world. They also have an online store with a HUGE selection of original works that I find very tempting indeed. If you'd like to support an artists and purchase works from Carre D'artistes, stop by one of their four stores in The Netherlands or check out their website.

Tinkerbell: This 25 year old toy store located on Spiegelgracht 10, has a huge selection of cool toys for babies through to school aged children. Learn more on their website.

Kolifleur: This cozy store located in De Pijp neighborhood sold women's clothing, shoes, and accessories, but what really caught my eye was their unique pottery. I especially liked the pieces by Studio Ineke van der Werff. Kolifleur is open Tuesdays through Saturdays 11-7 pm and Sundays from 1-5 pm. Check their website for more details.

Blender Kids Concept Store: We kept missing the opening hours of this store and cafe, but it looked awesome! At Blender, you can find cool toys, children's clothes, and play area/cafe for families. You can find Blender at Ruysdaelstraat 11I.

Other Tips

Getting to Amsterdam: Getting to Amsterdam from the airport or train station is simple due to the wonderful public transportation. Just keep in mind that if you have an early flight out of Amsterdam, you'll likely need to call a cab to take you to the airport. Note that cabs in Amsterdam do not have car seats for children.

We stayed at the CityDen apartments near Museum Park and it was wonderful! I'll have a review coming soon, so check back if you want to learn more :)

Have you been to Amsterdam? What did you love doing there? What else would you add?