What should I do in Amsterdam?
June 27, 2008 2:24 PM   Subscribe

What should I do in Amsterdam?

I'm going to Amsterdam in a couple of weeks and it will be my first trip there. I'll be there for just short of two weeks and really want to take advantage of the time I have. I'm interested in unique, offbeat and even weird things to do. Money isn't really a limitation, I just don't want to spend my entire trip in the same places every tourist in the city will inevitably gravitate toward. Any lodging suggestions, especially near the University, would greatly be appreciated as well.
posted by CElijah to Travel & Transportation around Amsterdam, The Netherlands (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Go to the Heineken Museum (if you like beer). You go on a fake ride through a beer-making factory! Probably not the most worthwhile attraction in Amsterdam, but it does meet your criteria of "unique" and weird."
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:33 PM on June 27, 2008

You should eat at Maoz, a Netherlands-based falalfel chain. I was in Amsterdam for four days and visited every location. It is exceptionally delicious. (if you live in New York or Philly, they have locations as well. But I would go anyway because their falafel is, as I said, exceptionally delicious.)
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:38 PM on June 27, 2008

Drink in the Wildeman
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:48 PM on June 27, 2008

Fyi, the Heineken Experience is closed. It was supposed to reopen after extensive renos this month, but this seems to be delayed.

Best restaurant I've experienced in Amsterdam was Nomad. (Give a google for the really weird flash site.) Moroccan inspired, chilled eating on pillows, amazing food, belly dancers, tarot card readers and sheesha galore.
posted by meerkatty at 3:11 PM on June 27, 2008

It's not terribly weird, but De Silveren Spiegel restaurant is an upper-end restaurant in a house from 1614, and basically nothing is at right angles (due to extensive settling of the structure over time).
posted by aramaic at 3:43 PM on June 27, 2008

Het Paard is one of the best game (as in, mental sport, not D&D) shops in the world. I bought a wonderful goban there, and if you play any of the games they cover, or are in to puzzles, it's a must visit.

It goes without saying that all manner of soft drugs, including peyote/mushrooms/weed are available.

Ride a bike! It's the best city in the world for it. Bikes are EVERYWHERE.

Rent a kayak and tool around the omnipresent canal system.

Nemo is housed in a very groovy building, and while I haven't been inside, I hear it's pretty cool.
posted by phrontist at 3:59 PM on June 27, 2008

Indonesian food! Haven't been to Amsterdam, but have lived in Indonesia. Yum.
posted by mdonley at 4:17 PM on June 27, 2008

If you don't take the train to Brussels to enjoy some amazing Belgian beer, go to Café Gollem in the Pijp. The place is incredibly cozy and serves literally hundreds of Belgian ales. Also, it's one of the few pubs close to the center that wasn't overrun with tourists.

I know you probably don't need to hear that, but when you visit the Van Gogh Museum (and it's definitely worth it) absolutely buy the audio tour as well--it makes the experience of spending half a day at a museum much more enjoyable for me.
posted by halogen at 5:58 PM on June 27, 2008

Check out Dominator on July 26.
posted by infinityjinx at 6:13 PM on June 27, 2008

Go to De Poezenboot
posted by chbrooks at 6:23 PM on June 27, 2008

I'm interested in unique, offbeat and even weird things to do. Money isn't really a limitation

How about Supperclub, if you can get a reservation?
posted by holgate at 6:42 PM on June 27, 2008

I second Nemo. It is made of AWESOME.
posted by divabat at 6:49 PM on June 27, 2008

Another food recommendation - while you're there, have at least one of the Dutch-style pancakes, or pannekoek; they're very thin and come topped with interesting combinations both savory and sweet. They are delicious and I miss them. I believe this is where I went, but there are many places. http://www.pancake.nl/

The Tuschinski theatre, built in the 1920s, is very cool architecturally.

The Amsterdam Botanical Garden dates from 1682 and is quite lovely.

The old Portuguese Synagogue is quite interesting, if you're into that sort of thing.

Honestly, just walking around the twisty streets and observing the architecture; the tall, thin houses, the churches with their wonderfully macabre skull imagery, could do me for a while.
posted by ilana at 7:43 PM on June 27, 2008

I know you're looking for alternative things to do, but the Anne Frank House made a lasting impression on me. The Van Gogh museum is great too.
posted by lukemeister at 7:55 PM on June 27, 2008

Don't just smoke pot and hash, also get some shrooms and peyote at the various smart shops. Then, proceed to wander around. I stumbled upon a giant chessboard and a coffee shop with a tree growing in it. At least, I think there was a tree growing in it.
posted by bertrandom at 8:54 PM on June 27, 2008

The Jewish and Resistance museums. Rijstaffel is only served to two or more people. Take a train to The Hague and Leiden.
posted by brujita at 11:54 PM on June 27, 2008

Sure, what everyone else said. But my advice is this:  rent a bicycle!!!! That's my best Amsterdam tip. I had the *best* time just biking all over the place. EVERYONE rides bikes there, and you can really get to know the city and discover so many more cool things by just tooling around town on a bicycle with the locals.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:24 AM on June 28, 2008

I'll third NEMO, second Supperclub and recommend the xtracold ice bar.

Also, try Oude Kerk, there's usually something interesting happening.
posted by alby at 12:55 AM on June 28, 2008

Also, take the train out to Hoge Veluwe National Park, just past Arnhem. It's very cool; there are free bikes to ride through the park, an art museum in the middle, a very trippy sculpture garden, and a 19th century hunting lodge.

The first time I went to Amsterdam I took this book with me and found lots of off-the-beaten-path stuff. It has quite a bit of "alternative" things to do, including dinner in squatted buildings, a pretty comprehensive discussion of the coffeeshops, and lots of cheap food & lodging.
posted by chbrooks at 4:54 PM on June 28, 2008

OK, touristy but worth it: the Van Gogh museum. His paintings are a whole order of magnitude awesomer in person, there are a lot of works you've probably never seen before, and the collection is arranged chronologically, so the tour tells his life story.

Rent a bicycle and enjoy just riding around. Explore further out from the center of the city.

Maastricht is a relatively short train ride away and was super-interesting. It has ruins of walls, tunnels and fortifications ringing the old city; you can tour the tunnels. I did Maastricht as an overnight trip from Amsterdam, but it could conceivably be a day trip if you got an early start.
posted by Cranialtorque at 9:59 PM on June 29, 2008

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