Hey there! Our current home base, Bonn, Germany, is pretty much the center of all of Europe. Being in the center gives us the opportunity to travel and see so many amazing places! So here is our Guide for your Weekend in Amsterdam City Breaks Trip!
Weekend in Amsterdam City Breaks Trip
Itinerary for A weekend in Amsterdam
- Check in – get a Map of Amsterdam
- Dinner and a boat ride
- Tour the Red Light District, coffee shops, and cheese shops
- Late night stroll through old town
- Day 2
- Tour Anne Frank’s House & Walking Tour
- Cheese and Wine Tour
- Lunch –
- Walking tour of Amsterdam
- Dinner and a comedy show (in English)
- Vodka shots at XtraCold the ice bar
- Day 3
- The Heineken Experience
- What to take home
- See ya later, Amsterdam
Where to Stay in Amsterdam
First, finding a place to stay! I am a huge advocate for having a flat where we can have breakfast and coffee in our pajamas to start our day. So, I found a great little flat, directly in the center of the city, walking distance to everywhere! The flat we stayed in was right on one of the canals on Singel Street; the owner lived on the site and was very helpful during our stay! The apartments are called Amsterdam Jewel Canal. We stayed in his Pearl Apartment, and it was so cute, right on the canal, and just the perfect place for the two of us! (We left the kids at home this weekend. Yippee!)
The owner was very helpful and sent us emails and directions! The stairs are very, very steep, so if you have a problem climbing stairs, this building is not for you; however, there are nice, comfy beds, a great view, and easy access to everything; we never drove our car anywhere! He has parking on site, but it is quite expensive, or you can park at the many city parking lots for minimal fees each day and walk/tram back into the city! Easy peasy! Compare prices of Amsterdam Hotels Here.
You know me – I already have everything planned and timed, tickets bought and reserved, so I don’t have to guess or wait in line for anything! First stop tonight was dinner – it’s a Friday night and everything is most likely packed! I booked a full dinner and boat ride so we could see Amsterdam at night and eat some good food along the way!
Canal Tour in Amsterdam
The boat was very nice, we were served a Kir Royale when we started the journey, which just set the romantic and magical mood! The food was a four course meal that was surprisingly excellent! You can choose, meat, fish or pasta.. Benas had meat and I had the fish both were fantastic. We also had all-you-can-drink beer and wine that was included in the price! The cruise was two hours (with dinner and commentary.) You can have a hotel pick up or you can walk to the waterfront, directly in front of the train station. We reserved our boat Tour tickets online here to be ahead of the game and the crowds. You can compare all Amsterdam river boat cruise prices here.
Red Light District, Amsterdam
After dinner and the boat ride, we decided to take a walk and see the streets of Amsterdam; and, of course, when in Amsterdam you have to Tour the Red Light District and… yes, see a sex show! The red light district, know to the Dutch as De Wallen, (little walls) named from the walls of the canals holding back the water. In the 1500’s Priest and married men were forbidden to enter this district, and eventually prostitution was banned and illegal. In 1811 the ban was lifted and today there are over 300 red light window stalls.
I think it is a must, just to say you have been there! First we took a guided tour of the red light district, learning all the naughty and interesting history. You can compare Walking tours here.
Sex Show in Amsterdam
My hubby was super excited! I surprised him with tickets to a midnight sex show, but listen, I have to tell you – these are not really that great and the performers look miserable and bored. We went to one of the oldest and most women-friendly sex shows in Amsterdam called the Casa Rosso. The address is Oudezijds Achterburgwal 106-108, and it is right in the middle of everything. If you get lost, anyone can point you in the right direction! You can read about it and book your tickets here – http://www.casarosso.nl/.
Get yourself a drink, take a seat, and enjoy! Come on, it’s Amsterdam!
Amsterdam Coffee Shops
After the show, we walked back through the Red Light District with its glass windows and women waving at you. It could have been all that walking past the many coffee shops that gave us the munchies, but my husband is a professional athlete so we did not partake in the coffee shops; however, if that is your “cup of coffee” you will not be disappointed. They are on every corner! The first licensed cannabis coffee shop opened in Amsterdam. In the late 1970 the Netherlands decriminalize the use and possession of u pro 30grams of weed.
Of late, the bordering countries have pushed the Netherlands to reign in the coffee shops and make stricter rules. If you are going to partake in visiting coffee shops, I would suggest a Coffee Shop tour on all things you should know before you go. There is a law in Amsterdam – in order to smoke weed, legally, you must be a resident, but I am not sure how many shops really check or care!
Old Amsterdam Cheese
My favorite thing to do in Amsterdam is eat the Cheese! No Really, Old Amsterdam Cheese is one of my absolute all time favorite cheeses! Old Amsterdam was founded by a family of fishermen, who set out to find a new trade after the Afsluitdijk causeway was built in 1932. Lambert Westland, the head of the family spent years perfecting his own cheese recipe, until his masterpiece of old Amsterdam. Even today the recipe is a well guarded family secret.
If you are a cheese lover I suggest you try the cheese, or even partake in a cheese tour to get the best of all Amsterdam Cheese. Our suggestion is The Amsterdam Cheese and Wine Tour you can check prices here.
Anne Frank House, Amsterdam
Our first stop today on day 2 is the Anne Frank House. I am sure that most of you know who Anne Frank and her family were. Just in case, they were a Dutch family that were hidden away for two years in a secret annex so they wouldn’t be persecuted by the Nazis for being Jewish. Eventually, her family was caught and sent to the death camps. Her father, Otto Frank, was the only one to survive the camps. To read about their life, history, and the death camps, click here ! The tour is amazing and you even get to see the original bookcase that hid the annex in the attic and see where the family lived.
You should buy your tickets in advance and online. They often sell out and or you will have to wait in a big line. Here is the link to buy tickets online directly from the museum. You can read all about the museum and compare prices here. Also beware, many tours include walking by the museum but do not include entrance. To get a local in-depth look at her life before hiding the Anne Frank Walking tour is a wonderful tour to experience what life was life for her at the time.
Amsterdam and a long and unique history, with the first written history dating back to 1275. It was originally a fishing village centered on the Amstel River. However, recent excavations show human could have lived in this area as far back as 2600BC.
Now you have to see the city of Amsterdam, and the best way to do that is to wander around. You can take a walking guided tour that goes past all the points of interest with great commentary. Other options are the hop-on- hop-off-bus (one of my faves) and don’ miss the Diamond Museum stop where you can see the history of diamonds and how they cut them! Or the hop-on-hop-off-canal boats. Compare prices of all guided tours in Amsterdam.
Points of Interest you should not miss in Amsterdam
Dam Square is the center of the historical section of Amsterdam, and its name is derived from just like it sounds, it was built to dam the river. In the square you will see the National Monument and the Royal Place. All are worth a look! Once a year there is a fair in Dam Square, and if you are lucky like we were, you will catch the tulip market where thousands of colorful tulips are being sold in front of the Royal Palace!
The Royal Palace
Is one of three palaces in the Netherlands which are at the disposal of the monarchy (meaning they live there when they are in town). The palace was originally built as a city hall in the 17th century but later became the royal palace of King Louis Napoleon and later of the Dutch Royal House. It is situated on the west side of Dam Square.
Directly across from the palace you will see the National Monument. It is a white-stone structure built in 1956 as a monument to commemorate the casualties of World War II and other conflicts. You will also see the 15th century Gothic Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, along with a lot of shopping!
Chicago Boom Show
We have lived in Europe for about seven years now, so this was a big Weekend in Amsterdam City Breaks trip for us, and we were very excited about watching a comedy show in English. It is probably one of the things we really miss – shows, movies, and plays in English, so I was excited! If you like comedy, you will love this show! All the actors are from the USA, and they do impromptu comedy that totally engages the audience, and honestly, my belly hurt when we left! They have the option for dinner and the show, or just dinner. Check out Prices and times here.
Xtracold Ice Bar Amsterdam
Our last stop for the night is the Xtracold Ice Bar! We got out of the show and jumped in a taxi to the ice bar! I know, I know – very touristy of us, but here is the skinny on the XtraCold Ice Bar – You should make reservations if you want to go into the ice room or you wont get in. You can buy tickets and make reservations here.
They will give you these great ponchos; the room is -10C, so it’s cold! The price is 19.50 euros per person, and with that you get the beautiful silver poncho to wear, under the romantic black lights, and two drinks served up in shot glasses made of ice! There are some ice sculptures inside, some tulips frozen in ice, and a king’s chair that everyone can sit on and get a photo taken. They will not let you take any photos inside.
I was ready to come out of the ice room after about five minutes. Is it worth it? Totally NOT! But hey, I had to do it once.
Now, the bar/lounge itself is pretty cool. It is all done in white counters and red & blue lights. The bartenders were very friendly so we decided to have some ice-cold cherry vodka shots. Now that was worth the trip! The cherry vodka was absolutely awesome! So if I had to do it again, I would stop by the lounge, have a cherry vodka martini, take a photo with the polar bear, and just hang out for a while. We had a great time! If you want more night lift there is a great bar tour of Amsterdam, that takes you to all the local bars, check prices here.
Heineken originated in Holland and you can go back and the see the way Heineken started. Gerard Heineken, at 22 years old bought the brewery in 1864. From there is grew to the global brand that you know today. The family still runs much of the production. The brewery has a cool 3D Video ride, with many high-tech options to see all through the brewery. Don’t miss the horses, and the end you get a few glasses of beer and can even purchase a real bottle of beer with a personalized label to take home! Don’t miss this fun and exciting piece of history. Here is a great option to see the Brewery and take the hop on hop of canal bus.
Now get some cheese and wooden shoes to take home, and never forget your amazing weekend in Amsterdam City Breaks Trip!
This post has been updated 5/15/2017