Sometimes, you just don't have the amount time in a city that you'd like to. To be honest, 72 hours is a pretty good time frame to get an overarching sample of a city.
We've got some suggestions of things to do, see, and eat if you only have 72-hours in Amsterdam, the Netherlands!
NEMO Science Center
The first site-seeing stop we made was at the NEMO Science Center. It was one of the spots included in our IAmsterdam, and who can resist fun science!?! The center is, of course, very family-friendly and geared towards children, but that does not mean we did not have a ton of fun here. From optical illusions to weather demonstrations to the sex-ed section on the "young adults" level. It was all in both Dutch and English, which was very lovely. We meandered and explored every level all the way to the top, which includes an observation deck that looks out over the city and waterways. *Fun fact: you do not have to pay for entrance to the NEMO to go up on the observation deck, as long as the museum is open. It would be a great place to meet someone for coffee or have an afternoon snack.
Van Gogh Museum
My favorite painter of all time is Vincent Van Gogh. The Van Gogh Museum, as you may be able to guess, houses a large collection of Van Gogh paintings along with his contemporaries. It contains such an amazingly constructed narrative of Van Gogh's life. You can learn about his studies, family and mental struggles. For me, it was a pretty emotional experience and mom definitely enjoyed getting to see all the artwork.
Vondelpark is one of the main, and biggest reasons I have come to fall in love with Amsterdam. We were very lucky that, to get to our hostel, you had to go through the park. Vondelpark is a public, urban park in the middle of the city. It might easily remind you of Central Park. In this park, you can find restaurants, gazebos, ponds and statues. It is just so beautiful and peaceful. This is the park that we took our bikes to ride around. (If you go to Amsterdam and don't ride a bike, have you really been to Amsterdam?)
The Redlight District was, honestly, nothing like what I think mom and I expected it to be. It was very busy and very similar to the crowds and vibe of Times Square in New York City. You can find here the museum of sex, but mostly, you can find a plethora of shops and restaurants surrounded by beautiful architecture.
Anne Frank House
We were never actually able to go inside the Anne Frank House. We were pretty upset about this, but there just wasn't enough time. The thing about the Anne Frank House is that it is such a famous historical site that is always busy, and by always busy, I mean ALWAYS BUSY. So here is what we suggest: if this is one of the most important sites on your tour of Amsterdam, you should definitely book a morning tour at least a week out. This will ensure that you get an appointment and you'll be able to add it to your itinerary.
The very first thing we did in Amsterdam, other than checking into our hostel, was going to get food at Alchemist Garden. It is a pretty simple walk from Vondelpark and is this super-cute, open space, cafe with a plethora of raw, vegan, and organic dishes. From raw vegan club sandwiches to delicious smoothies, it is English-friendly and fairly inexpensive. Alchemist Garden is, definitely, a great place to stop in and grab either a quick bite or enjoy a nice full meal!
This restaurant was suggested by the amazing vegan.in.amsterdam Instagram, which I 100% recommend you check out if you love vegan fare and are heading to Amsterdam. It was fairly close to the NEMO Science Center, which was much further out than most our planned stops, so we had to eat there our first night. We originally thought we were stopping in for some pizza, but learned that their menu changes depending on the day. Some days they only serve pizza and spirits and others they serve a full menu. We went on a day with full menu service and ate so much amazingly delicious food! The staff there are very English-friendly and our waitress was actually an American student, studying abroad. Seeing as the restaurant is in a greenhouse style building right on the waterfront from our table, we had an amazing view of the city, the water, and the NEMO. We also had a great view of the open-concept kitchen where we watched the chef and his staff prepare all the meals. Important: Make sure you make reservations, though, because it gets very busy!
For any vegan visiting Amsterdam, we must insist you go check out Vegabond. Right on the canals of the city, this cozy little lunch spot has it all; fresh food, desserts, coffee, and juices. It was amazing, and even better, if you are going to be spending extended time in the city, it also has a small grocery store with all kinds of vegan essentials! I found myself visually shopping around, knowing, I was only going to be in the city for a few days!
Fancy but worth it! We met up at Meatless District for dinner one of our nights in Amsterdam and were blown away! Within walking distance from our hostel, in Vondelpark, the Meatless District is a high-class vegan eatery, open late, and exactly what we had been looking for that night. It is a beautiful restaurant that is definitely the setting for a birthday or celebration dinner!
MOOK Pancakes was another restaurant we discovered through the amazing vegan.in.amsterdam Instagram account. It is not a 100% vegan restaurant, but they can make the majority of their pancake options vegan, and that is all I was asking for since I have a serious vegan sweet tooth! MOOK also serves some amazing beverages from wellness shots to fresh pressed juice to smoothies! The restaurant itself is super-bright and inviting and the staff was super-sweet. They even had English menus, which of course, is always very helpful when you don't speak the language. MOOK is definitely a great place to stop in for a weekend brunch date.
You want a nice big salad? Look no further than SLA! With three locations throughout Amsterdam, there is sure to be one close by. We really appreciated the set up of this organic salad bar. You can order from their list of specialty salads with feature ingredients like teriyaki marinated tempeh, beets, and black rice. Or if one of the signature salads is not quite your style, have no fear! You can always build your own from the kinds of greens to the toppings and dressing. We definitely recommend if you are looking to satisfy your daily veggie intake!
Lover's Canal Tour
Yes, my mother and I went on a "Lover's Canal Tour". Yes, we both enjoyed it very much. And no, it was not a bunch of couples. This was one of the tours included with our IAmsterdam cards, and it was great. If you have not guessed by our many aqua adventures, or maybe you are new to our blog, but we love being on the water! And, with the canals in Amsterdam being as famous and picturesque as they are, we could not give up this opportunity. It gives you a great view of the city while learning a little of the city's history. We 100% recommend taking a canal tour while in Amsterdam.