Here are some highlights:
- Grab some world-famous apple pie at Winkel 43 (it is DEFINITELY NOT GLUTEN FREE, for those of you who might care).
- Reypenaer Proeflokaal: My favorite cheese shop in Amsterdam. It’s packaged in a way that means you can even bring it back home with you!
- Stop by Marqt, an upscale grocery store that has tons of gluten free options.
- Window shopping on Berensluis (Scotch & Soda is my favorite) or Reestrat
- Tales and Spirits: My favorite cocktail bar in the city with a speakeasy vibe and FANTASTIC drinks.
- Proeflokaal Arendsnest: Grab a seat at the wood-paneled bar and choose from a huge selection of Belgian beers. Or, if you’re like me and can’t have gluten, grab a cider (they have a few to choose from).
- Hang out with the locals at Cafe de Tuin – whether it’s 10am or 10pm, you’ll find this cozy cafe packed with locals. We stumbled upon it one night after a drink at Tales and Spirits, and had a glass of wine outside on the street. It was lovely.
During your exploration, you’ll probably wander east towards the city center into some cute alleyways full of little boutique shops, making for some of the best window shopping in the city. Known among locals as ‘The Nine Streets’ (De Negen Straatjes), this quaint neighborhood is known for its lovely narrow streets, beautiful houses, charming bridges, great restaurants, and indie boutiques. Spend some time exploring the nine alleyways and surrounding canals before your next move.
The Anne Frank Museum
The Anne Frank House is a unique museum that holds the impressive collection of 15,000 documents and artifacts. Learn the poignant and heartbreaking story of the Secret Annex, Anne Frank, her family, and other people who hid there for more than two years during World War II.
The Anne Frank House tickets can only be purchased online and are valid only for a specific time slot. Keep in mind that this is one of the most visited sites in Amsterdam, so the tickets sell out very fast. You’ll want to book several months in advance if you want to visit the museum. The first time I went to Amsterdam, I didn’t book in time and had to skip it. Don’t make the same mistake – book tickets three months in advance
The admission fees range from € 0.50 (ages 0-9), and € 5,50 (ages 10-17) to € 10,50 (adults), including € 0.50 booking fee. The Anne Frank House is open from 1 April to 1 November daily from 9 am to 10 pm and 1 November to 1 April from 9 am to 7 pm. The museum is closed on 9 October for Yom Kippur.
If you miss the museum, I’d highly recommend a walking tour focused on Anne Frank to hear her story and get a feeling for what Jordaan was like in World War 2.
For lunch, check out Foodhallen. It’s a, you guessed it, food hall with tons of different vendors in a cool space. They have great gluten-free options, like Fento, and you’ll find some of the best coffee in Amsterdam next door at Lot Sixty One Coffee.
Next, move on to the world-famous Red Light District.
Afternoon: The Red-Light District
DO I HEAR SOME LUDACRIS’ PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND?
Definitely make sure to include De Wallen, normally known as the Red-Light District, into your 2-day Amsterdam itinerary.
If you’re interested to learn more about Amsterdam’s history, coffee shops (in Amsterdam, “coffee shops” are actually for smoking cannabis, and cafes are for coffee. It’s a little confusing) and legal prostitution, a guided red-light district walking tour is the best way to explore this aspect of the city.
We did this on our last trip, and it was one of the best experiences of our 2 days in Amsterdam.
With around 400 red-light and blue-light windows, a great number of coffeeshops and bars, De Wallen street is a hub of partying in the city.
The district gets crowded with people each night and carries on well into the morning. If you’re looking to experience a coffee shop while you’re in Amsterdam, this is the place to do it. Amsterdam’s cannabis coffeeshops are not allowed to advertise, but you will easily spot them by a green and white license sticker in the window.
One thing you can’t miss in the Red Light District is tasting some craft made liqueurs at 340 years old Wynand Fockink Distillery. I had read about this place before my first trip to Amsterdam, and it blew me away. You’ll find a HUGE variety of liqueurs, both fruit forward and herb blends, and genevers available to try. The helpful and cheerful staff behind the bar will help you figure out what you might be interested in, and pour it for you. Grab a bottle and take it home with you – they make great gifts for friends or family back home.