This was actually my second visit to Amsterdam, but I never wrote about the first time so it’s like it didn’t happened. Like when I lost my virginity.
To truly appreciate the grandeur of the bicycle ridden, pot heavy, wonderland of a place Amsterdam is, you must acknowledge the origin of the city’s name. The history behind it begins in 1250 when the city was founded around a Dam; Amsterdam was originally called “Amestelledamme” which is Medieval Dutch for “Dam in a Watery Area”. The canals within the city were originally dug for water management and defense, but are used today to transport local merchandise. They’re also used as very chill places to smoke a joint while envisioning yourself in Medieval Amsterdam. Maybe I watch too much Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I imagine that back then there were a lot of vampires, and if you don’t, you’re imagining Medieval Amsterdam wrong.
SO? What else is there to do in Amsterdam besides #420blazingit? TONS!!! Here is an incomplete guide of cool stuff I did while I was there that you can do to! All you need is a lighter, GoogleMaps, a lot of money, a buddy, and a portable phone charger.
I was going to start off with the museums, but I know you just want to read about the pot. In my personal opinion, the weed I got in Amsterdam doesn’t compare to that I’ve smoked in Barcelona, but that could also be because I was buying the cheapest stuff. The city is absolutely loaded with coffeeshops which is awesome because you can pop in, blaze, and then go to breakfast right next door. The only catch is that you have to purchase something if you enter, but that’s reasonable.
The Bulldog: This was the first coffeeshop established in Amsterdam. I’ve only been to one location, but I’m sure the other four are just as dope. The music is bumping, everyone is vibing, the walls are covered in graffiti, and they have cool bulldog merchandise.
Paradox: This one is really close to The Anne Frank House and The Pancake Bakery (scroll down for information on museums and food), so plan accordingly. It’s small and lowkey, but the weed and spacecakes are really cheap, the walls have dope alien illustrations, and the hot chocolate is absolutely delicious.
The Dolphins: I had the most surreal experience here. My friend and I took truffles earlier that day and ended our trip in this coffeeshop that was decorated to make you feel as if you were underwater. There’s a downstairs area, but we spent the entire time at the bar talking to our Jamaican spirit guide, Samora. She taught us how to buy the right kind of weed, told us about the Minion’s Holocaust conspiracy theory, and gave us life advice as if she were the Yoda to our Luke Skywalker. Samora was the HBIC at the coffeeshop. Two other girls worked under her: one was dressed in all black and was hot as fuck. Her hair was dreadlocked in a ponytail and between her deep, sultry voice and choker you could just tell she was a witch. The other girl had very pale tattooed arms, bad posture, and wore an oversized white t-shirt. She was beautiful in her own respect and you could tell that you didn’t want to fuck with her, but a vulnerable side showed through her slumped back. I think it was fate that I went The Dolphins coffeeshop that day, even though I don’t really believe in fate. It was the kind of experience where I felt like if I returned the next day the three girls wouldn’t be there and it would have been as if it the whole thing was a figment of my imagination. Samora signed the dolphin notebook I happened to be carrying around with me, because if working at a coffeeshop in Amsterdam wasn’t cool enough she also happens to be an up and coming singer! And her shit is fucking dope.
There are lots more coffeeshops, but these are just the few whose names I remember and worth mentioning.
The Van Gogh Museum: I forced my friends to come with me to this museum, but they wish I hadn’t because admission was a whopping 17 euros. If art doesn’t interest you then I wouldn’t suggest going, but on the other hand how about you shell out a few bucks to fucking educate yourself about one of the most celebrated painters? Although some of his most famous paintings, The Starry Night and his Sunflower series aren’t featured in the exhibit, the museum does a good job of explaining the crazy artist’s past. In elementary school I learned that Van Gogh chopped his ear off and gave it to his “girlfriend” but according to the museum he gave it to a prostitute, and according to ABC news, neither of those stories are true.
Museum of Prostitution: This was actually one of the highlights of my trips to Amsterdam. Located in the Red Light District, the Museum of Prostitution gives the history of prostitution in the city and aims to inform people what the oldest profession in the world is really like. It has two floors and is well worth the eight euros. In fact, I would even pay 15 to get in! Every wall has an informative plaque that answers a juicy question about prostitution, and there’s even a room that shows you what the view from inside the window is like.
The Anne Frank House: If you don’t buy your tickets WAY in advance, I’m talking 3+ months in advance, you’re gonna have to wake up mad early to wait on the line to get in. Doors open at 9am and when I arrived at 8am there was still an hour and a half wait. Tickets are only 9.50 euros to see an exhibit and the annex where Fritz Pfeffer, and the Frank and van Pels family hid during World War II. It is incredible that everyday people wait hours to learn about the horrors of the Holocaust and to commemorate Anne Frank and her legacy. After the annex the museum concludes with video interviews of Anne’s classmates and friends. They low key talked shit about her and said that she was controlling and high maintenance, “but not in a bad way”. I guess that was a way to keep her grounded in our minds? Natalie Portman who portrayed Anne Frank in a film was featured saying, “Anne Frank wasn’t a saint”. I found that deeply disturbing. Why was that necessary to say? It sounds so petty and kind of like the actress is jealous of the young teenager who died in a concentration camp, but I digress.
The Heineken Experience: I had so much fun at to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin a few weeks prior to my Amsterdam trip that I decided to check this out too. It was quite the experience; the museum is very well planned and easy to walk around, although to be honest I wasn’t quite interested in how hops are used to make beer. I just came for the free pints and bracelet they give you which I am never taking off. What made my Heineken Experience so fun was the group of Englishmen dressed as coal minors who stood behind me and serenaded all the visitors during the long wait for the “Brew U” simulation ride. The gentleman were celebrating a bachelor party, and the bachelor was dressed as a canary. They were hilarious, drunk, and given the opportunity I would have made-out with all of them. Boys, if you’re reading this, slide into my DM’s ;).
The Pancake Bakery: This shit is UNREAL! And by “shit” I mean food of the gods, and by “pancake” they mean “crepe”. Get whichever pancake you desire, but you’d kick yourself in the nuts if you don’t order The Dutch pancake. If you go with a buddy, or if you’re alone, I suggest splitting one savory and one sweet pancake. The last time I went I got a bacon, cheese, and mushroom omelette and The Dutch pancake.
Waffles + Hotdog stands: These stands cover the city’s streets, but they close pretty early so you have to get them during the day. The hotdogs aren’t the best I’ve ever had, but it’s cheap and good enough for a student traveler. The waffles on the other hand… they melt in your mouth. I’m allergic to Nutella but I’ve seen my friends orgasm over Nutella waffles, so I’m obligated to suggest ordering that.
Hot chocolate: You can get this literally anywhere that serves food. Amsterdam has the best hot chocolate I have ever had, but that’s probably because I haven’t been to Belgium yet.
Bagels and Beans: This is a very adorable, quaint, and affordable place to get plain, sweet, and savory bagels. The hot chocolate they serve comes as a glass of warm milk with a cup of milk, or dark chocolate pellets that you mix into the drink yourself. It’s not the best I’ve had, but it’s pretty fun to DIY and Snapchat it. My favorite part about this chain store cafe is that there are plenty of outlets and free wifi 🙂
The Cheese Shops: Amsterdam is sprinkled with cheese shops filled with free samples. If you get hungry during the day just pop into one of the stores, peruse the products as if you’re going to buy something for your parents, and sample every damn cube of cheese offered. Pro tip: don’t try this if you’re the only person in the store and you don’t intend on buying anything. It’s rude, and pretty awkward when the shop owner stares at you while you freeload. When I went to Amsterdam when I was 16 with my family we spent an hour in the Old Amsterdam Cheese Store and my brother and I ate our weight in stroopwafles (also a notable Amsterdam dessert to try) and cheese.
On my first trip to Amsterdam I went to a Galantis concert which was dope, except I arrived pretty late because I was under the impression that the headliner wouldn’t go on until after 9:30, but Dutch shows are punctual and I missed Peanut Butter Jelly :(. The following night my friend and I went to Bierfabriek, a restaurant bar known for its abundance of peanuts (which I am allergic to). We met a beautiful German man who rolled a joint for us and helped us smoke it before we went to Disco Dolly, a club that our friend who studied in Amsterdam the semester before told us to check out. The line was too long and the local girls behind us said they didn’t know why it was so popping because it’s just an average club. They also said they’re jealous of the American Dream that everyone has in the states because in Amsterdam everyone is just chill and unmotivated.
Anyway, after having no luck with the clubs, my friend and I decided to leave the Red Light District and call an uber home. Just as it arrived three tall boys ran into us and convinced us to stay out with them instead of ending the night early. We agreed and gave the uber driver the boot. For the next few hours we roamed the city and smoked joints on the canals as if the five of us had been longtime friends. The boys were best friends from school in Rotterdam and were only there for the night. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t invite them back to our place because we were staying in a family friend’s house and my friend had a boyfriend; not that I wouldn’t mind an orgy with hot German, French, and Swiss guys.
On my recent visit to Amsterdam I had much better luck with the nightlife. On Friday we pregamed at the bar in our hostel, became friends with the bartender, and went to Sugar Factory for an entrance fee of 13 euros. Holy moly, I coulda done without that! It was cool to see how the Dutch party in a club, but the music was essentially the same the entire time and got super boring. I did meet the most beautiful man I had ever seen who towered over me. Just as I was closing in a deal he got distracted by some girl friends who entered the club and stole the man who I will forever refer to as the one that got away. Saturday the bartender from the hostel invited us to a coffeeshop with his friends and this old guy, Antonio, who they had just met. I forgot all of their names except for Antonio, so I called them all Antonio and they just went with it. Bartender guy was trying to hook up with my friend, but when he realized she had a boyfriend he switched gears and tried for me. I wasn’t into it, but I was into his hospitality. Dutch boy #2 kind of looked like a coke addict, but was very sweet and a true gentleman. Dutch boy #3 was too tall for his body and was kind of socially awkward, but I think that’s because he was nervous to be around girls. He was never without a joint in hand, and he told me that he smokes a gram of weed a day. The boys bought us drinks, smoked us out, and took us to a different coffeeshop where one of them worked. It was really cool to go inside after closing hours, so I suggest making a cool Dutch friend like mine who can get you access to that.
The plan was to go to the Red Light District to see a peep show, but I was extremely tired, it was raining, and we had to wake up super early to beat the line for the Anne Frank House. The Dutch boys sent us off in one of those bike cabs. I tipped him three extra euro because when I asked him if it was hard to ride with us he said, “Actually, no. Eh, because you are ladies actually it was quite easy”.
My thoughts on the Red Light District: it’s cool to walk around at night and see the girls in windows, and the boys staring at the girls in windows. The area is full of tourists, which could be a bad or good thing depending on your outlook. Definitely worth a visit.
Other Fun Shit to Do
The Sex Palace: A lot of people spend 50 bucks to see a live sex show. That’s dumb, just watch porn! A more authentic, and affordable Amsterdam activity to do is see a peep show for a euro a minute. My friend and I entered a small closet sized room and when we deposited our euros a window opened to reveal a not so sexy woman touching herself on a revolving couch. She looked fucking miserable, which made me fucking miserable. I felt so sad for her. The worst part was that I didn’t realize she could hear everything I was saying about her life. Oh well.
Canal tour: Don’t book a tour online – you can save three euros if you buy a ticket for a tour once you get to Amsterdam. There’s an audio guide you can listen to, but it’s pretty boring and time is better spent sitting outside where you can feel the fresh breeze. It’s nice to go if the weather is pleasant, and the hour boat ride is BYOB. Hell yeah!Vondelpark: There’s another lovely park in Amsterdam that I didn’t get the chance to go to, so I’m just going to pretend like it doesn’t exist. Vondelpark is absolutely gorgeous, but small. It’s a perfect place to pick flowers for your hair, to eat a picnic, and to eat your magic truffles.
- Find somewhere to buy alcohol to pregame the pregame because bars are expensive. Liquor stores close early; like seven pm. Plan accordingly!
- If you’re broke and don’t wanna spend a lot of money on food, go to a supermarket. They have really amazing (cheap) sushi.
- If you’re thinking about whether you want to take magic truffles or not, just do it.
- Don’t buy all your weed in one place. Experiment with the strands and go to different coffeeshops.
- Don’t take uber or taxi. Use the tram system, or walk. Don’t be a fucking princess.