Royal Palace Amsterdam#21 in Best Things To Do in Amsterdam
Built in the 17th century by architect Jacob van Campen, the Royal Palace Amsterdam once served as Amsterdam's town hall. The grand structure, which measures 259 feet wide and 180 feet tall, held the distinction of being the largest secular building in Europe for two centuries. Throughout the years, it's been used by Dutch royalty for official events, such as visits by foreign leaders. Members of the public are welcome to tour the property when the building isn't in use for state visits.
Although visitors offer mixed feelings about the property's exterior, many say the palace's period furnishings and works of art are well worth checking out. Complimentary English audio guides (which travelers recommend for historical context) are available; however, a few caution that the devices are not very comfortable on their own, so consider bringing a pair of headphones to use with them.
On days when the palace is not closed for official events, the property welcomes visitors between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets cost 10 euros (about $11) for adults and 9 euros (roughly $10) for students; children 17 and younger get in for free. Admission fees cover the use of an audio guide, plus access to first-floor rooms and a gift shop. You'll find the building next to Dam Square in central Amsterdam's Binnenstad neighborhood. It sits within walking distance of other top attractions like the Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Soldier and the Museum Het Rembrandthuis; the No. 2, 11, 12, 13 and 17 tram lines stop nearby. Be sure to check the calendar on the Royal Palace Amsterdam website before planning your visit to make sure it's open.
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Located southwest of the city center, the 116-acre Vondelpark is the favorite leafy retreat of just about everyone. Not only is it the largest city park in Amsterdam, it's also one of the most revered in all of the Netherlands. Most recent travelers said they enjoyed people-watching and picnicking at the park, but other reviewers recommend avoiding a late-night visit as the park can be a little frightening once the sun sets. During the day, though, the park is filled with couples, families and friends, and is definitely worth a visit.
Ponds, fields and playgrounds are connected by winding paths, which also run by an open-air theater, a rollerblade rental, a rose garden, several cafes and a range of statues and sculptures. Open dawn to dusk, you can take trams 1, 2 or 5 to the Leidseplein, and you'll have just a quick two-minute walk to reach the park's entrance. The park is free to visit.
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