Amsterdam is one of, if not the, most travelled cities in Europe but a lot of us are left wanting more after we travel to this city because we see so little of it and the culture. It leaves us asking the question, how do 'Dammers live?
Famous for it's green friendly mode of transport, it's natural to want to bike to see the city too. In fact, I encourage it! If you don't want to stick out like a sour thumb, however there are a few alternatives to the painfully advertised bikes. My favourite company is right next to Centraal Station and it has bikes of all colours and sizes, including tandem, disabled bikes and ones with ride-alongs for the kids. StarBikes Rental has it all and the costs are much lower than that of their larger competitors. It helps that they make a mean coffee, too.
Like most of us, Amsterdammers like to soak up every minute of sun they can and every free moment from work too which also means that the local hangout, isn't a popular tourist spot. It's just natural. While this spot is best in the warmer months because you have to take a free fairy to the NDSM Warf from mainland, the views are incredible. Pllek, named after the Dutch word for place, is completely understated. This pseudo-storage container has an art gallery, good food, great drinks and better still a view of the city unlike any other. The pebble beach has housed outdoor cinemas, yoga sessions and a variety of fun activities. With a fire pit, why wouldn't you want to go?
It's a well known fact Amsterdam has a beautiful cityscape, with all the canals and intriguing buildings but the best way to view the city is to go to the library. Amsterdam's library is not only Europe's largest but it also has a free view unlike any other in the city. On the top floor, there is a cafe that has a lovely terrace in which you can see a good portion of the city. If you can, go during golden hour and capture those perfect selfies and landscape shots.
While Amsterdam does have legalized weed, most locals don't partake. Instead they bike to their local watering whole and have a couple drinks before biking home. My favourite spot for a laid back drink has to be Hannekes Boom - an interesting pub with an equally interesting past. Hannekes Boom has repurposed and recycled all their decorations which makes it an interesting spot to say the least. If you're lucky enough, like I was, when a boat pulls up to their dock, the boat owners will let you sit on their boat on the busier nights when seating can be limited. There are also live DJs and performers every so often so check out their calendar before you visit Amsterdam!
5. Evenings Out
We all like a good night out every so often and while clubbing wasn't a big part of the scene in Amsterdam, there are still a good selection of places to visit. For an interesting and musical night out, go to Jazz Cafe Alto for Jazz music, dancing, great drinks at fair prices and to meet the locals. You'll be sure to be caught up in conversation with them if you aren't completely caught up by the music.
Amsterdam has a very busy, very tourist ridden high street called Kalverstraat near the palace and Dam Rak but I like the Nine Streets where there are more boutiques and you can quickly get to the famous Tulip Market. For antiques in the Spiegelkwartier there are over 70 stores where you can get ancient to more modern items and is near the museum quarter to make things easier for you to get in both local and tourist happenings in the city.