I am so glad we stopped in Amsterdam for 1.5 days on our way back home to Texas. It was the perfect amount of time to get an abbreviated feel for this beautifully architectural city. We arrived to rainy and cold weather but after begin in direct sun for close to a week and a half, we couldn’t complain. I did a full Amsterdam FODMAP travels recap. I would love to hear from you your favorite must-do things are!
We stayed at the Apollo Hotel as my husband had travel points for Starwood hotels. I was so impressed with the decor and ambiance of the hotel. It had such a rich feeling not only in the lobby but also in the guest rooms. I was obsessed with the wallpaper, lighting fixtures, and furniture. The location was not the most centrally located but it was doable and much less expensive than some of the other hotels.
Red Light District Walking Tour – We almost didn’t do this tour as it was raining and cold but we bundled up, grabbed an umbrella and were sucked it up. I knew very little ahead of time about the Red Light District and found it both fascinating and mind-blowing. The tour was with a highly knowledgeable guide and a group of about 25 of us. We walked through the Red Light District learning all about prostitution including when it became legal, taxes, healthcare, cost of service for about 2 hours. Walking down the street and seeing actual red lights in front of windows with ladies either behind the curtain or in front was pretty wild! This would be an adult-only activity! 🙂
Van Gogh Museum – Talk about a complete 180-degree experience going from the Red Light District the night before to the Van Gogh Museum. We bought tickets ahead of time which was recommended to avoid waiting in lines. The three levels of the museum were in chronological order of his art and life. The gift shop was also a great place to buy gifts for friends and family.
Anne Frank Museum – The only option for purchasing tickets is online and you have to do this ahead of time. I had tickets close to 3 months in advance as only a maximum amount of tickets are sold for each hour allocated. I saw SO many people come to the museum, planning to buy tickets in person and being turned away. The actual museum was an extremely moving experience. You walk through the building and the attic of where Anne Frank’s family lived for 2 years. What stood out the most to me was just how normal of a teenager Anne seemed to be even while she was in hiding. I am so thankful for having had this experience as hearing the story is not the same as seeing it in person.
Bird Thai Restaurant – I love Thai food and heard such great reviews about this restaurant ahead of time. We came here before the Red Light District Tour around 6:30 PM and the line was already out the door. By the time we left the restaurant, the line was around the corner! I ordered delicious shrimp pad thai and my husband had a basil beef dish that he raved about. The food came out quickly and there were no issues with needing garlic and onion free dishes. I would have gone here a second time just to try more options as the menu was massive!
Bagel & Beans – I cannot tell you the last time I had a bagel and even longer since having one that did not taste like cardboard! This was a cute cafe to stop in to have a light breakfast or snack with tea or coffee. We came here for breakfast on the way to the Van Gogh Museum.
Foodhallen – I am so glad our friends recommended we stop here for lunch as this type of food hall is right up our alley! There are SOO many food and drink options which made it fun to order and try different dishes. We ordered the tofu vermicelli bowl from Viet View, Dutch fries from The Butcher and my husband also had the traditional bitterbal trio from De Ballen Bar. The hall was packed with people which made finding a table challenging but we did it and it was well worth the wait!
Amsterdam Pancakes – You can’t go to Amsterdam and not have a pancake, am I right?! I was so excited to try this cafe as gluten-free pancake options were available. We shared a pancake with strawberries and chocolate sauce. It was the perfect afternoon treat!