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The Insider’s Guide to a Weekend in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, the city of canals, tulips, and bicycles, is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re a seasoned globetrotter or a first-time visitor, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to help you navigate making the most of the city’s offerings in a weekend.

Friday Evening: Rooftop Revelry

Kickstart your weekend with a panoramic view of the city at one of the best rooftop bars in Amsterdam. These lofty locales offer a blend of exquisite cocktails and stunning vistas, setting the tone for your Amsterdam adventure. From the SkyLounge Amsterdam, where you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city’s skyline, to the Canvas, known for its eclectic music and dance nights, each rooftop bar offers a unique experience. So, whether you’re a cocktail connoisseur or a dance enthusiast, Amsterdam’s rooftop bars have something for everyone.

As the sun sets, the city’s skyline transforms into a spectacle of lights, providing a mesmerizing backdrop for your evening. The rooftop bars, with their ambient lighting and chic decor, become the perfect spots to unwind. Enjoy a glass of Dutch gin as you soak in the views, and let the city’s charm wash over you.

Saturday Morning: Cultural Immersion

Immerse yourself in Amsterdam’s rich cultural tapestry. Begin your day at the Rijksmuseum, home to masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer. This iconic museum houses an extensive collection of Dutch art and history, offering a glimpse into the country’s illustrious past. From the intricate details of Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” to the subtle beauty of Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid”, each artwork tells a story, making your visit to the Rijksmuseum a journey through time.

Next, head to the Van Gogh Museum, a shrine to the tormented genius’s vibrant works. This museum, dedicated to one of the most famous artists in history, houses the largest collection of Van Gogh’s works. As you walk through the museum, you’ll witness the evolution of Van Gogh’s art, from his early works characterized by dark, somber tones to his later works known for their bold colors and dramatic brushstrokes. The museum also offers insights into Van Gogh’s life, making your visit a holistic experience.

Saturday Afternoon: Café Culture

Amsterdam’s café culture is a world in itself. And by “cafes in Amsterdam”, we don’t mean coffee shops. These laptop-friendly cafes are perfect for a leisurely lunch or a quick espresso while you catch up on emails or plan your next stop. From the rustic charm of De Koffieschenkerij, located in the oldest building in Amsterdam, to the modern aesthetics of Lot Sixty One, each café offers a unique ambiance, making your coffee break a delightful experience.

In addition to serving excellent coffee, these cafes also offer a variety of culinary delights. From traditional Dutch pastries to international cuisines, the food scene in these cafes is as diverse as the city itself. So, whether you’re a foodie looking to explore local flavors or a digital nomad seeking a cozy spot to work, Amsterdam’s cafes cater to all your needs.

Saturday Evening: Canal Cruise

As dusk falls, embark on a canal cruise. The canals are not just a way to avoid the city’s traffic. The city’s iconic waterways, bathed in the soft glow of twilight, offer a unique perspective of Amsterdam’s historic architecture. 

As you glide through the canals, you’ll witness the city in a new light. The 17th-century buildings, with their gabled facades, reflect in the calm waters, creating a picture-perfect scene. From the comfort of your boat, you can appreciate the architectural marvels that line the canals, each with its own history and charm.

There are several options for canal cruises, from traditional boats to modern, eco-friendly vessels. Some cruises offer guided tours, providing insights into the city’s history and architecture. Others offer unlimited wine and cheese, adding a touch of luxury to your cruise. Regardless of your choice, a canal cruise is a must-do when in Amsterdam.

Sunday: Exploration

Start your Sunday with a visit to the Albert Cuyp Market, a bustling bazaar offering everything from fresh produce to vintage clothes. As you stroll through the market, you’ll be enveloped by a vibrant atmosphere, filled with the chatter of vendors and the aroma of fresh food. From Dutch cheese to Indonesian spices, the market offers a variety of local and international products, making it a paradise for food lovers.

In addition to food, the market also offers a wide range of other products. From handmade jewelry to vintage clothes, you can find unique items that reflect Amsterdam’s eclectic style. The market is also a great place to interact with locals and experience the city’s community spirit. So, whether you’re looking for souvenirs or just want to soak in the local culture, the Albert Cuyp Market is a must-visit.

Amsterdam is a city for everyone and Sunday is a great day to check off some of the city’s must-visit places

Many Amsterdam attractions are accessible, ensuring an enjoyable experience for all. For instance, the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum offer wheelchair access, making them accessible for visitors with mobility issues, and plenty of activities in Amsterdam are child friendly as well. This guide for disabled travelers to Amsterdam provides more information on accessible attractions in the city while we’ve put together a list of activities that are great with kids in Amsterdam

While some of the historical landmarks may not have been updated, the Dutch put great emphasis on ensuring that everyone can access the city. Amsterdam also offers a variety of experiences that cater to different interests. From art and history to food and shopping, the city has something for everyone. Regardless of your preferences or needs, you’re sure to find something that suits you in Amsterdam.

Sunday Evening: Culinary Adventure

End your weekend with a culinary adventure at one of Amsterdam’s Michelin-starred restaurants. The city’s gastronomic scene is diverse and exciting, offering a range of cuisines from around the world. From the innovative fusion cuisine at Restaurant C, where the menu is based on temperature, to the traditional Dutch fare at De Kas, where the ingredients are sourced from their own greenhouse, each restaurant offers a unique dining experience.

As you savor your meal, take a moment to appreciate the creativity and passion that goes into each dish. The chefs in Amsterdam are known for their innovative approach to food. While the Dutch don’t have the amazing food culture of many European countries, it is a major food exporter thanks to its cutting-edge tech. So, whether you’re a foodie looking for new flavors or a traveler seeking a memorable dining experience, Amsterdam’s culinary scene will likely be a unique experience.


Amsterdam is more than the infamous Red Light District and cannabis coffee shops. It’s a city of culture and history, offering a myriad of experiences for the discerning traveler. From its world-class museums and historic architecture to its vibrant markets and innovative culinary scene, Amsterdam is a city that continually surprises and delights. For a deeper dive into the city’s attractions, consider the Fodor’s Amsterdam guidebook.

As you explore Amsterdam, you’ll discover that the city is a tapestry of diverse neighborhoods, each with its own character and charm. From the artistic enclave of Jordaan to the trendy district of De Pijp, each neighborhood offers a different slice of Amsterdam, making your exploration of the city an exciting adventure.

A weekend in Amsterdam offers a wealth of experiences. Whether you’re sipping a cocktail at a rooftop bar, marveling at masterpieces in a museum, cruising along the canals, exploring a bustling market, or indulging in a culinary adventure, you’re in for a memorable experience. And if you decide to extend your stay, there’s always more to discover in this enchanting city.

So, pack your bags and get ready for a memorable weekend in Amsterdam. And remember, the city is more than its stereotypes. It’s a city of culture, history, and inclusivity, offering a myriad of experiences for the discerning traveler. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or a week in Amsterdam, this city is sure to captivate your heart.

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