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A cozy town with a busy city feel coupled with a seemingly endless collection of sites to see and things to do… Sounds like something from a storybook, right? Well, good news: Amsterdam has it all. Amsterdam was once seen as the little brother to Paris and London, but is now recognized as a European gem. The winding streets are some of the most enjoyable to get lost in and the crooked houses on every corner make you feel like you’re in a storybook. Because of how slender the houses were built in the 1800s, it is nearly impossible to get furniture up the stairs. The architects improvised: lean the houses forward and add a hook to the top to heist that king sized bed to the top floor. This gives the city a unique feel, one that will make you reminisce on all those fairy tales you imagined as a child.

With such an incredible variety of activities, Amsterdam is great for travelers looking for an exciting getaway. A long weekend is the perfect amount of time to spend in this amazing city, so we’ve rounded up everything you should do to have 3 perfect days in Amsterdam. 

RELATED: Here’s what you need to know about cycling in Amsterdam

 

Day 1: Cycling, de Hallen and the Jordaan District

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De Hallen | Photo by Cities In Transition 

Arrive early and check into your hotel (we recommend the Pulitzer, or if you have a healthy budget, rent a houseboat here). Once the morning fog has burned off, find a nearby bike shop and hop atop two wheels. Biking is a great way to explore this canal city and get the lay of the land. Amsterdam is known for a number of beautiful parks, so be sure to cruise through them. End your morning ride at De Hallen. Once a station where the first electric trams were serviced, this incredible building has been converted into a center for music, fashion and, most importantly, food. 

Enjoy lunch at De Hallen then continue your stroll around town, making your way to the Jordaan District. This is the city center, known for its artsy atmosphere. It’s full of shops, gorgeous houses and amazing restaurants, so you could easily spend the entire afternoon here. Shop around a bit then head over to Balthazar’s Keuken for dinner. The menu changes weekly and is sure to be a crowd favorite! Before heading to bed, go online to reserve tickets for the Anne Frank House Tour tomorrow morning, as the lines can be insanely long if you don’t have a ticket already. 

 

Day 2: Anne Frank House, Museumplein and Merkelbach

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Anne Frank House | Photo by TravelDigg

Today will be egg-cellent! Head over to the famous Red Light District to explore a little before grabbing breakfast at Omelegg. This adorable cafe offers a delicious variety of eggs and omelets sure to fill you up before a day of exploring. Afterwards, walk over for your Anne Frank Tour for a remarkably moving experience. 

The museum district, or Museumplein, is next on the agenda. On your way, stop by one the many patatjes (Dutch fry) shops that are famous in Amsterdam. Salty and perfectly cooked, these fries will be the perfect afternoon snack and an easy one to enjoy on the go. From the square, you can take your pick from the Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum, or Stedelijk museums to explore. 

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Jules’ Strafshotje | Photo by VesperBar

After a day of sightseeing, a drink is in order! Vesper Bar, famous for its award-winning cocktails, is a must for anyone traveling in Amsterdam. Even if you aren’t a James Bond fan (the vesper cocktail was invented in the 1953 version of Casino Royale), Vesper Bar will still impress you with its creative drinks and elegant atmosphere. 

For dinner, venture a bit out of the city to Merkelbach. This restaurant is located in an 18th-century coach house with a remarkable garden out back. Merkelbach prides itself on local ingredients prepared slowly, so order several different plates to share and soak up the atmosphere and company of whomever you are with. 

Day 3: Canal tours, hash bars and more good eats

 

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Canal in Amsterdam | Photo by Logan Jackson

Start your last day with a leisurely breakfast at Drovers Dog. They are famous for their corn fritters, but everything on the menu looks delicious. The service is great and the space is large so bring a crowd!     

You’ve spent the past two days exploring the city on land, now try it on water! There are plenty of canal tours around the city, so hop on a boat and see the city from a different view. 

The permissiveness of this city is no secret—you can’t talk about Amsterdam without talking about marijuana. Since it’s legal here, you’ll find shops all over the city selling weed in many forms, along with magic truffles, salvia and peyote cactus. If you are interested in how some of these shops function, head over to one of the oldest in the city: The Bulldog. They have numerous locations around town, so it won’t be hard to find one. The Bulldog sells more than just soft drugs; it’s also a cafe so stop in for coffee or lunch. We recommend trying the spare ribs! 

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Heineken Brewery | Photo by Heineken

Thirsty? Amsterdam is home to Heineken and if you enjoy beer, the Heineken Brewery tour is awesome. Book your tickets a day in advance, and be sure to come with a thirst to quench. You’ll get a number of tastings while seeing how they make the famous beer and will go home with your own Heineken souvenir. 

Now for your last taste of the Netherlands! If you were to ask any local for a recommendation, they’ll point you to Guts and Glory. Every two months they change the menu around a type of ingredient or culture. Cheers to an incredible journey around Amsterdam; we hope you enjoy!

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