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Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2 Days

Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.

Day 1

  • AmsterHome Hotel
  • Anne Frank House
  • Damrak
  • Staalmeestersbrug
  • Vondelpark

Our flight arrived into Amsterdam, Netherlands around 9 am. We took the 397 bus to the Museumplein stop (30 minutes from the airport) for a quick walk to our hotel, AmsterHome. AmsterHome worked out great as there were bunkbeds for the kids in our room, which was luckily ready when we arrived.

We dropped our bags and took the tram from Museumplein to a stop close to the Anne Frank House. This was a spur-of-the-moment standby trip and we didn’t know if we were going when we woke up on the morning of the flight. We would have liked to have gone into the Anne Frank house but they sell out weeks in advance (as do several other places). Our goal instead was to walk around, get a feel for the city, and find the best views in Amsterdam.

We walked along the canals right by the Anne Frank House, which are very popular and picturesque. Here’s a map that shows the canals and most of the other places I’ll be mentioning.

Map of the best views in Amsterdam

We really didn’t have a specific plan or route, but generally headed towards the center of the city. We passed a place called Heertje Friet and decided to stop for some food. They are known for their fries, and you’ll find fry stands all over the city. We had bitterballen and croquettes (fried balls with lots of choices for filling). It was good but not great.

Next was making our way up to Damrak. That’s the row of houses right on the water that is probably the most famous image of Amsterdam. Along the way we stopped at Melly’s Stroopwafels, which were fantastic. We got several of the big, freshly made stroopwafels with oreos and other toppings.

While Damrak is typically known as the row of houses, it’s actually a wide road with many shops. The water and houses are at the very end of the road, close to the Central Train Station. It’s also where many of the canal tours depart.

After Damrak, we cut over a few streets and walked down the canal that runs along the back side of De Oude Kerk, Amsterdam’s oldest building. The road is called Oudezijds Voorburgwal and we walked on the side opposite De Oude Kerk. I think that’s one of the best views in Amsterdam.

Continuing away from the city center, we moved over a couple more streets to get to Staalmeestersbrug. This is a bridge that yields what ended up as my favorite view of the trip. It’s a little bit out of the way but I thought it was definitely worth it.

The view from Staalmeestersbrug

Caught a nearby tram, showered, and headed out on foot to nearby Vondelpark. This is a famous and very large park with a lot of green space, trails, and buildings. There are several restaurants in the park and we ate at Taproom ‘t Blauwe Theehuis. It was a great meal and one of the best memories from the trip.

Day 2

  • WONDR Experience
  • De Oude Kerk
  • Dam Square

It was showing rain all day which turned out to be accurate. We slept in late because we were all up in the middle of the night for a few hours and weren’t in a hurry to go out in the rain. Purchased tickets to the WONDR Experience for the afternoon and set out for brunch close to noon. Every place we went to had a long wait so we took a tram to the central train station.

Got some food from a vendor there and took the metro to the Noorderpark stop. Walked a little less than a half mile to the WONDR Experience. It’s a bit difficult to describe, but there are a bunch of different staged rooms with themes to take pictures in them. Some of the areas included a flower “hall,” a ball pit, a dark maze-like room with hanging, lighted bags (think of heavy bags, but filled with air), a bounce house, and more. Kids loved it and both said it was their favorite part of the trip. They have timed entries and could possibly sell out, so probably best to order in advance in peak season.

Took the metro back to the Central Train Station and walked through the city center again. Made stops for doughnuts and kebabs. So many options for food on pretty much every street.

I wanted to walk around De Oude Kerk and see it up close, so we took a direct route there. One of the alleys had the good ol’ famous red lights lit up, which surprised us. So, make sure you pay attention if there are any lit up red lights wherever you’re walking. Maybe I should have known better, but I thought we were outside that area. There were some immediately across from the church. Beautiful building though!

De Oude Kerk up close

Made our way to Dam Square, which has the National Monument sculpture and some very nice architecture on all sides. Melly’s also happens to be right around the corner, so we went back for more stroopwafels.

Still raining. Tram back to the hotel, showered, then a 1-stop tram ride to nearby Leidseplein. This is a “happening” area with lots of shops, restaurants, and bars. Walked to The Pantry to see if we could eat there, but they were full of reservations until they closed. That’s a place to put on your list for traditional Dutch cuisine if you can get a table in advance.

Opted for the nearby De Hollandse Tulp and had a good meal there (also traditional Dutch cuisine). Walked back to the hotel as it had mostly stopped raining. Took the 397 bus back to the airport in the morning for our flight home.

Additional info on Amsterdam


Amsterdam is very easy to navigate. Taking the bus from the airport worked best for us because it stopped right by our hotel and we bought a 2-day pass that gave us unlimited rides on the busses, trams, and metros. You can buy tickets for and catch the 397 bus right outside the main terminal exit. It is well marked.

You can also take the train to the Central Station, which is faster and cheaper than the bus. There are taxis, too, of course. Which method you take probably depends on where you’re staying and comfortability.

A great option for transportation and sightseeing is the Amsterdam City Card – details here.

Amsterdam is well known for having tons of bicyclists. There are bike lanes everywhere, so it’s important to keep checking each direction whenever walking.

While there is a fantastic public transportation system, it is a walkable city. You can get just about anywhere in 30 minutes or less, and the architecture and canals always keep the views interesting.


French fries (frietjes) with sauce, stroopwafels, bitterballen, pancakes, cheese, apple pie, split pea soup, and stamppot (mashed potatoes with a variety of options like meat and vegetables) are some of the Dutch foods to try.


Staying in the city center is very expensive. Expect to spend several hundred or more per night for a well-reviewed, good place in the center. We saved hundreds each night staying near Museumplein at AmsterHome, and thought it worked out perfectly. It’s more affordable because it’s not in the thick of the city, but very well connected with buses and trams. Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum are right by the stop. In nice weather (and if you had a lot of time) you could walk all the way to the center in about 35 minutes.

The “culture”

Yes, soft drugs and prostitution are legal and readily available in Amsterdam. Keep an eye out for the red lights if you’re approaching the district, and do not go near there at night. There are weed brownies and other “goods” in some of the regular souvenir shops, so some exposure might be unavoidable. However, we never felt like we were in a dangerous or sketchy area even walking around with 2 young children.

Other things to do in and near Amsterdam
  • Museums, museums, museums
  • Bloemenmarkt: a floating flower market
  • Tulip Festival: usually between the months of March and May
  • Muiderslot: a castle ~30 minutes from the city
  • Zaanse Schans: an area with windmills ~20 minutes from the city
  • Brussels, Belgium: 2 hours by train

Traveled in February 2024

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