Famous for its winding canals and liberal policy (towards almost everything), Amsterdam is a must-visit for those seeking an intoxicating and surprising city trip.

Street Food: Kapsalon

Literally meaning “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

This is 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 neighbourhood. 

Hotel: Volkshotel

Volkshotel Amsterdam

Volkshotel boasts a laid back and (not too, but just enough) hipster atmosphere, various club night events in the basement and 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 cosiest in the city and they’re serious about roasting excellent coffee. PSA: In Amsterdam, a cafe is a place to drink coffee and a coffeeshop is a place (visited almost exclusively by tourists) to drink coffee and get high. 

Museum: Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum might be an obvious pick – not least 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, which has come to visually define much of the city, up close and personal.

Snacks: De Laatste Kruimel

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

Market: Boekenmarkt Oudemanhuispoort

Boekenmarkt Oudemanhuispoort is one of the more inconspicuous markets in the city, and a haven for book lovers. It’s based in the 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. These Dutch equivalent to pubs are named after the dark brown wood their interiors are usually made out of. Head to Café De Dokter for a shot of Dutch gin, jenever, with a local beer as a chaser.

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