Traveling to Amsterdam for many people visiting Europe is a must-visit destination, often for a particular reason such as smoking marijuana or see the Red Light District. Tourists love this romantic bike lovers city with its picturesque canals, bridges, great architecture and much more. Everyone discovers Amsterdam they way they want but here I share the treasures that make Amsterdam, Amsterdam.
Smoking Cannabis, Marijuana
For some, finding out that it’s allowed to smoke cannabis probably sounds like heaven. Wandering around Amsterdam, I often smelled it and really didn’t mind. I spotted quite a few coffee shops, places where you can go and buy ready-rolled joints and socialise with people. I walked into Prix D’Ami, where the atmosphere was really chill, blasting some hip hop beats as many visitors slid in their “own” zones. Ha ha. Another cool hotspot is said to be Easy Times.
I thought you might be interested to read more about the coffee shops and the laws in the Netherlands. And if you want to know where you can and can’t smoke in Amsterdam.
Live Sex Show at the Red Light District
Prostitution, like cannabis, has also enjoyed great tolerance in Amsterdam. The Red Light District (a big neighborhood in the main city center) is also well-known by many people and is another “highlight/hotspot” of the city. The area at De Wallen is probably the biggest magnet for bachelor parties held in Amsterdam. The guys can have a crazy night out before the groom commits to the marriage – after a crazy visit to Amsterdam, perhaps he may change his mind. Ha ha.
My Live Sex Show experience
The live sex show was probably one of the weirdest things I have seen in my life because something like this couldn’t be more awkward to watch – a one-hour “fake” performance, but it was funny – pretty fake, though. To give a few more details, we entered one of the live sex show bars (40 EUR entry fee) and the trip downstairs was like walking into a cinema. The live action location is set up like a mini theatre with seats for the audience and a stage for the actors. What I found really funny was that during the one-hour performance, there were several acts and whenever a new act started, the curtain opened. I remember when the curtain opened, they suddenly started this fake foreplay with the guy taking off the woman’s clothes and then they did it on stage – I remember him looking at me and giving me a wink face, lol. One time, when the curtain opened the couple already had had sex and then had changed positions. Usually, it was couples but one act involved a threesome. The price to watch such a show is from 40 EUR and is offered in many places on De Wallen.
How the city sees the area: How the city sees the Red Light District ?
Biking Culture: Bikes Everywhere
What I find really incredible about Amsterdam is that all the locals are obsessed with riding their bikes. They bicycle to work and for leisure and exercise, and even to their weddings. Well, perhaps not all, but it really feels like it at times. I really loved seeing the Dutch bikes as they have a unique style and are awesome – I really want one. For many people living in Amsterdam, having a bike is like drinking coffee every morning, and it’s a big part of the lifestyle in the most bicycle-friendly city in the world. The city is also really well planned with bike paths, so be careful when you want to cross so as not to get hit by the fast bike cyclers. A fun fact that I found out is that about 10,000 bikes are stolen in a year, and that’s a record number ! When I asked the locals about why they would all do it so much, the reply was “because it just is an easy and efficient way to get around”.
Canals, Bridges + Architecture
The ‘Grachten’ is what the famous canals in Amsterdam are called; they are another highlight that gives this incredible city a little romantic flair with all the bridges to cross. A clean number of 165 canal – that’s what Amsterdam is proud of. I really enjoyed wandering around and the crossing bridges above the canals overlooking the historic Renaissance architecture. If you choose the right spot, especially at night, you can see many beautiful, arched bridges at the same time, more splendid than anything !
Amsterdam has the reputation for obviously being very open to sex and different types of relationships. I could feel the open spirit and thought this culture has developed partially because of the openness to other points of view, as already addressed above. In my opinion, it is a very positive city for experimentation and exploration.
Typical local / Traditional dish: Beer and Bitteballen
When in Amsterdam, I was lucky enough to hang out with some local friends I knew from work. We went to a bar because they said: If you are in Amsterdam, you have to have beer and Bitterballen. They asked if I had had it before and ordered it without getting a yes or no answer. Ha ha. Bitterballen are delicious, deep fried, crispy meat balls served with a tangy mustard dip ! The consistency is odd after you bite into the crispy shell and you have to be careful because the inside can be very hot.
This is a very touristy spot about 45 minutes by bus outside Amsterdam. I really enjoyed the famous windmills that you no doubt know from all the postcard photos; it is a cute little village. I tried to hitchhike back afterwards but unfortunately it didn’t work.
How to get there ? Catch the bus 391 from the main central station (15 EUR return trip).
Failed hitchhike from Zaanse Schans to Amsterdam:
How to get around in Amsterdam ?
Well, it’s either with a rented bike or by public transportation such as the underground, tram, ferry or bus. There is a very good and helpful local website to check public transportation connections: www.ns.nl/en
A couple of other local hotspots I wouldn’t miss:
- Chill at Hannekas Boom
- Café Fonteyn at Nieuwmarkt
- Walk from Leidseplein to Noordermarkt
Going out: Night Clubs
The clubs in Amsterdam are okay but not as good as in New York City. Some very good clubs I recommend are: Jimmy Woo, NYX, Chicago Social Club or Dolly’s.
Where to Stay in Amsterdam ?
During my stay in Amsterdam, I was accommodated at the hostel, ClinkNOORD *sponsored*. I really enjoyed it and would go again because they had a big social space where you can connect with other travelers and also feature a different event every night, which was fun. It was karaoke night the night of my stay and it was awesome. The staff was friendly and helpful; it’s clean and the highlight of the experience is that you have to commute by ferry from the central station. I thought this was so cool because it really makes you feel like you are in Amsterdam.
Next to the hostel you can see the IAMSTERDAM sign and also take a lift up to view the city from the top of the A’Dam Lookout. Pretty cool that you can use a swing that makes you swing off the building.
I TRAVEL FOREVER’s VIEW & RECOMMENDATION
Traveling to Amsterdam was, in my opinion, very interesting; I was quite curious to discover a city where the illegal was legal. There were some very unique characters from all around the world wandering about. A lot of people that I met in the hostel were from Australia.
In Amsterdam itself, it might be quite difficult to get to know the locals well, so if that is your intention – like mine was – I would recommend visiting a couple of other cities. I’m not entirely sure if I would agree with the fact that it’s Europe’s most romantic city because it’s too crowded; so I leave it up to the couples traveling there together to decide. To summarise Amsterdam is Amsterdam because it has very unique offerings like nowhere else in the world and for these reasons it will always stay high on the bucket list for people traveling to Europe… I think everyone who visits Amsterdam has his or her own purpose and opinion about why they have traveled there and why they liked it.
So, I will let everyone else make a decision about what makes the Amsterdam experience their own.