After recently spending a few days in Amsterdam, I have totally fallen in love with the city! It was never on my list of top destinations, I’m not entirely sure why, but I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that I went! While most people immediately think of Venice as the city of canals, Amsterdam could easily take the title with all it has to offer. Below, I’ll share some of my favorite things we did and what you should definitely do if you visit!
Canal Boat Ride
This was easily one of my favorite things that we did while in Amsterdam and you must take a boat tour if you go! We took the KINboat excursion which I particularly loved because it was really intimate and not a massive boat full of tourists. The ride also came with two complimentary glasses of wine, which is always amazing, but the best part was getting to know the amazing history of the city with our tour guide. As we weaved through the stunning canals we learned about architecture and how Amsterdam came to be. He also told us about the Red Light District and various other interesting anecdotes that brought the city to life.
When in Amsterdam you must try an Original Stroopwafel at the Cuypt Market. This amazing dutch cookie consists of a cinnamon-y caramel layer between two wafers and is absolutely delicious, especially if the weather is cold out. I can still taste the warm gooey treat and there’s nothing better to sink your teeth into as you wander through the market taking in all that is Amsterdam. (Ps. the line may look long but it is worth it and does not take that long!) ..oh and yes, I got the SuperStrooper and ate the whole thing, lol.
My Favourite is Gouda
The Netherlands are known for their gouda and you would be remiss to leave Amsterdam without trying some cheeses! Though it is a bit commercial, I loved going to the Amsterdam Cheese Company and trying nearly all of their gouda flavors and aging. All of their cheese is also airplane ready, making it easy to bring home. Most of the cheese brought to Amsterdam is made in the close by town of Gouda, which is why Gouda (the cheese) is the king of all Dutch cheeses!
Restaurant Lt. Cornelius
The best meal I had in Amsterdam was by far the surprise 3-course meal at Restaurant Lt. Cornelius. This upscale hipster restaurant serves Dutch cuisine with a modern take and is everything you would expect from a trendy LA restaurant. They also offered wine pairings with each course in the surprise meal, which is always an amazing way to elevate the dining experience. For the appetizer we had a raw scallop salad that was absolutely divine, the entre was halibut with gnocchi (my favorite!) and the dessert was a ginger centric gastronomic plate served with a fresh ginger cocktail. Delectable. I also recommend ordering the Dutch wine they have available here, the grapes are grown by the sea and so the wine has a slightly salty taste that is exceptional. Oh and, if you go, and I highly recommend you do, make sure you pay attention to the art on the wall as you may notice something interesting…
If Amsterdam is known for one thing, it’s weed and its infamous coffee shops. While I don’t particularly enjoy smoking, I am, after all, a California girl and have had my fare share of experience with the popular drug so I decided to give it a go in Amsterdam. If there is one place in the world where you might as well, I would say it’s this city. I went to the first ever coffee shop, The Bulldog, to purchase the goods and it’s possible my review of Restaurant Lt. Cornelius is a bit biased because of this. 😉 When in Rome, right?
I love a good wine bar and Glou Glou is no exception. This adorable little bar had an amazing selction of wines and a dark atmosphere perfect for cozying up with a nice bottle of wine. Something about this place truly felt like home to me with the chalk menu on the wall and the chic crowd of couples and friends chatting over drinks. Though it did close a bit early for a wine bar, I still think it’s a great spot for an out-on-the-town casual nightcap.
Our first meal in Amsterdam was some pasta at Casa Di David. I am of the field of thought that you can never go wrong with pasta, and Casa Di David did not disappoint. It’s a charming restaurant with a nice staff, but the best part is that you can sit right at the window on the second story looking out over the canal. We went at night and it may as well have been magic watching the city lights reflect off the canal. I got the pesto gnoochi (of course) and it was so yummy on a cold winter night.
The Cuypt Market is essentially Amsterdam’s resident farmers market. You have vendors lined up and down the street selling all sorts of little items. Most are not worth buying, but I think walking up and down the Cuypt Market feels very true to Amsterdam in a sense. It is also where you will find the original Stroopwafel’s cart!
Scotch and Soda
One of my all-time favorite brands, Scotch and Soda, happens to be from Amsterdam! They have so many shops throughout the city and you should definitely stop by one if you are looking to do some shopping! I really think this brand captures the unique feel and style of the city. Seriously, Amsterdam locals have amazing style!
Thank you so much for reading my Amsterdam blog post! I have never been so surprised with how much I love a city as I was with this gorgeous place. There is something really magical and cool about Amsterdam and I think aside from LA, Paris, and Rome, it is possibly one of my favorite places on earth! We also happened to be extremely lucky to have gone at a time were some of the canals were frozen over for the first time in 6 years! We walked on the ice while the locals skated – truly an unforgettable once in a lifetime experience… Can I go back already!??