3-day Itinerary in Amsterdam
Explore the best things to do in Amsterdam in 3 days based on recommendations from local experts.
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Inside the Anne Frank House, travelers will see the location where not so long ago the 15-year-old Anne Frank penned a journal that would become a best-seller. Travelers can imagine what it'd be like to stay hidden away for more than two years, only to be betrayed and taken to a concentration camp. Artifacts inside the museum include historical documents, photographs, film images and belongings from those in hiding and those who assisted them. Frank's original diary and other notebooks are also on display, though original objects from the annex are not on display, as it was stripped of its contents during the war. A free audio guide – available in nine languages – is included with admission.
Visitors described the experience as educational but emotional, despite the relatively short time it takes to tour the house (about an hour). Travelers also said that there are most always heavy crowds and long lines, so you'll want to plan ahead.5 minute walk
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De Negen Straatjes, or the Nine Little Streets, are exactly that – nine streets that run between the Prinsengracht and Singel canals and are lined with shops and boutiques. (For your orientation, the Singel is the first main canal that wraps around the city center.) Vintage clothing shops nestle alongside accessories stores and interior design boutiques, and hours vary by store.
Recent travelers called the area a lovely place to stroll and said it was less touristy than other parts of the city. Though you'll likely rub elbows with plenty of other travelers, you'll also encounter your fair share of locals.20 minutes by tram; 30 minute walk
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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.10-15 minute walk
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The Van Gogh Museum holds the world's largest collection of Van Gogh's paintings and drawings, including "Sunflowers" and "Almond Blossom." The museum itself regularly tops the list as the most-visited museum in not only Amsterdam but in all of the Netherlands, as travelers come from near and far to see the artworks created by the tortured artist, who cut off his own ear and committed suicide at the rise of his success.
Because of Van Gogh's popularity, some travelers highly recommend purchasing online tickets ahead of time to avoid lengthy museum lines. Others advise visiting on the museum's late Fridays (when the building stays open until 9 p.m.) for ambient music and drinks. Though some were disappointed that the museum does not house some of the artist's more famous paintings (many of them are featured in other museums across the globe), reviewers did praise the museum's layout and its display of his earliest works.10-15 minute walk
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If you're looking for a tamer alternative to Amsterdam's Red Light District, Leidseplein or Leiden Square, may be for you. The center of Amsterdam's entertainment scene, Leidseplein sits southwest of the city center and is filled with nightclubs, movie theaters, concert venues, casinos and, of course, some coffee shops. For the performing arts, the Melkweg (Milky Way) concert hall and the hotel or hostel here – or maybe head to the nearby Vondelpark instead. Travelers were also pleasantly surprised by the quantity and variety of restaurants huddled in the neighborhood, though they do warn of high prices at the bars.
Leidseplein is accessible via the 1, 2, 5, 7 and 10 tram routes via the Leidseplein stop.
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The Verzetsmuseum (the Dutch Resistance Museum), located by the Artis Royal Zoo, has been called the city's best-kept secret by some. The informative – even inspiring – museum tells the stories of those who lived in the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation and explains how the atrocities of World War II transpired. Through authentic objects, photos and documents, film and sound fragments, visitors will learn how the resistance manifested in the Netherlands.
Recent travelers said the thought-provoking museum leads you to ask yourself what you would've done during the Nazi occupation of your country. They were also pleased with the audio guides that are given with the ticket price, as well as with the exhibits which are translated into both Dutch and English.15 minutes by car; 20-25 minutes by tram
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De Pijp, which is also called the Latin Quarter, is known for its 19th-century architecture and its collision of different cultures. Here, you'll find ethnic restaurants, eclectic shops and the tranquil Sarphatipark. The Heineken Experience sits on the northern edge of the neighborhood. Travelers say that De Pijp feels less touristy and more like authentic Amsterdam. They also call it the heart of the city for young people thanks to its beatnik vibe and trendy eateries.
You'll also find the famous street market, Albert Cuyp Market, here Mondays through Saturdays. To start wandering, you might want to find Gerard Douplein square on your Amsterdam map, hitting a cafe and starting your meanderings from there. You can also take either the 3, 4, 12, 16 or 24 tram to reach this happenin' neighborhood, or just walk about a mile south of the city center.15 minutes by tram; 15 minute walk
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Considered one of Amsterdam's top museums (along with the Van Gogh and Anne Frank museums), the Rijksmuseum (or State Museum) features an impressive collection of artists, including Rembrandt and Vermeer. As befits a state museum, the ornate building contains mostly Dutch works from the 15th to 17th centuries – though its entire collection stretches across 800 years.
Visitors recommend getting to the Rijksmuseum as early as possible in the day to avoid standing in a line to enjoy both the breathtaking building, grounds and art. According to the museum, the busiest times are Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. And once you've finished touring the interior, step outside and enjoy the gardens – a recommendation from past visitors. Though some reviewers griped about the museum's confusing layout, they still said it was among their top to-dos in Amsterdam.10 minute walk
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The Heineken Experience, which takes place in the old Heineken Brouwerij (Heineken Brewery), is a must-do for fans of the fermented beverage. And according to its website, the Heineken Experience will dip visitors "chin deep" into the popular beer. Among the attractions housed in the century-old factory are a virtual-reality ride, a history of the Heineken family and a free beer tasting. A downloadable app takes visitors on a historical journey through the factory (available for iPhones and Androids). You should note that only those 18 and older are able to partake in the tasting.
Although some recent travelers highly recommend taking the tour at the Heineken experience, others described it as a marketing ploy rather than a tutorial in the beer-brewing process (the real brewery used for production sits on the outskirts of Amsterdam; this location is simply a museum).
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Anyone that says Amsterdam isn't for kids hasn't visited the NEMO Science Museum, housed inside the ship-like green building on the harbor. Filled with hands-on activities, kids can spend hours concocting chemistry experiences and constructing buildings while also learning how science has evolved throughout time.
Recent visitors say this is do-not-miss attraction, for kids but also for those young at heart, since there are interactive exhibits for all curious minds. Even if you don't have time to take a spin through the museum, past visitors said you should still go to access the free rooftop terrace, which offers panoramic views of the city and a cafe and does not charge an entrance fee.5 minutes by car; 15 minute walk
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Rembrandt van Rijn (yep, Rembrandt is his first, not last name) once lived and worked in this restored home. So not only will you see the most complete collection of his etchings here, you'll also view his own interesting accumulation of objets d'art, from musical instruments to Roman busts. An audio guide is included in the admission, and many travelers recommend using it. Several travelers also highly recommend watching one of the etching demonstrations, which they say gives a more comprehensive understanding of the art and takes place three times a day. However, if you're traveling with kids, you may want to skip this attraction as past visitors said there is little to interest youngsters.
Keep in mind that there are no Rembrandt paintings – only etchings – much to the chagrin of some recent travelers, though there are paintings by Rembrandt's contemporaries, such as Pieter Lastman. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and charges 13 euros (about $16) for adult admission and 4 euros (about $5) for children ages 6 to 17 (visitors 5 and younger are admitted for free). If you purchased an I amsterdam card, your entry fee is waived. Visitors can take the 9 or 14 tram to the Waterlooplein stop. For more information, visit the museum's website.10-15 minute walk
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Visitors traveling with children in tow might want to make some space in their itinerary for the Artis Royal Zoo. Lions, monkeys and penguins are housed here, along with about another 750 species, and there's also an aquarium, an insectarium, a butterfly garden and a planetarium.
Although most recent visitors described the zoo as lovely, well maintained and a great family day, some of them concede that enclosures for the animals seemed a bit small.20 minutes by car
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Constructed in 1888, the Concertgebouw (literally Concert Building) hosts 900-plus shows and about 700,000 visitors per year, which makes it one of the world's busiest concert venues. Check the Concertgebouw's website for a list of orchestral and other performances, as well as for ticket prices, which vary by show. From time to time, the venue also offers free lunchtime performances.
Recent visitors called this one of the world's best concert halls, which offers fairly reasonable ticket prices. If you're hoping to attend one of the venue's free concerts, plan to arrive early – past visitors said the staff at Concertgebouw hands out tickets on a first-come, first-served basis.
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