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Amsterdam for one day in May ! Recommendations

Amsterdam for one day in May ! Recommendations

Old Mar 10, 17, 10:27 pm
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Amsterdam for one day in May ! Recommendations

Hey guys!

I'm land in AMS around 10am and leave the next day at 10AM as well. This will be in the middle of May. I've actually never been here before and I'm looking forward to checking out the city for the day !

What is the best plan of attack for me and what should I see/how should I do it(transportation wise)? Is it best to grab an in terminal airport hotel or should I stay in the city for such a short trip?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated !

Thank you in advance
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Old Mar 11, 17, 10:08 am
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Obviously it depends on what you want to see and do. But I would definitely stay in the inner city not the airport. Here's what I'd do:

- Take the train from the airport to Centraal Station. It's ~15 minutes or so and drops you off right in the heart of the city.
- Stay near Centraal, there are plenty of hotels, at every level, within a few blocks.
- From your hotel, you have easy walking access to the Jordaan area, Red Light District, Anne Frank house, canal boat tours, and many other sights.
- It's further to the museums and Leidseplein, but walkable if you enjoy exploring...certainly easy by public transport.
- Find a nice place for dinner in Jordaan
- Get back on the train to AMS around 8 am (or whatever your comfort level)

Personally, I love walking around Amsterdam. I could spend a whole day doing that, just stopping to rest when I'm hungry, need a beer, or want to duck inside a shop. Which is why I wouldn't stay near the airport, get a couple extra hours of exploring in!
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Old Mar 11, 17, 4:08 pm
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Originally Posted by JBord View Post
Obviously it depends on what you want to see and do. But I would definitely stay in the inner city not the airport. Here's what I'd do:

- Take the train from the airport to Centraal Station. It's ~15 minutes or so and drops you off right in the heart of the city.
- Stay near Centraal, there are plenty of hotels, at every level, within a few blocks.
- From your hotel, you have easy walking access to the Jordaan area, Red Light District, Anne Frank house, canal boat tours, and many other sights.
- It's further to the museums and Leidseplein, but walkable if you enjoy exploring...certainly easy by public transport.
- Find a nice place for dinner in Jordaan
- Get back on the train to AMS around 8 am (or whatever your comfort level)

Personally, I love walking around Amsterdam. I could spend a whole day doing that, just stopping to rest when I'm hungry, need a beer, or want to duck inside a shop. Which is why I wouldn't stay near the airport, get a couple extra hours of exploring in!
Thank you very much !!!

This is exactly what I'll do. Any recommendations on where to grab lunch and dinner? And does it generally get rainy in the middle of May?

I'm thinking of maybe checking out a coffeeshop but it's been a while since I smoked so that will be deifnitrly a game time decision. I definitely want to see one though lol!
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Old Mar 12, 17, 5:34 am
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Although it sounds a bit touristy it's worth taking a canal boat tour to see the city from a different angle. You can pick one up at Centraal station where the airport train arrives or at other locations - here are some ideas.

Re food - a Dutch speciality cuisine is Indonesian Rijstafel. Also many Argentinian steak houses for the very hungry.

Re weather - let the internet be your friend
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Old Mar 12, 17, 9:53 am
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Originally Posted by farci View Post
Although it sounds a bit touristy it's worth taking a canal boat tour to see the city from a different angle. You can pick one up at Centraal station where the airport train arrives or at other locations - here are some ideas.

Re food - a Dutch speciality cuisine is Indonesian Rijstafel. Also many Argentinian steak houses for the very hungry.

Re weather - let the internet be your friend
I agree with all of this. Besides the rijstafel for dinner, find a nice brown cafe (pub) for lunch and try bitterballen with a beer. Or visit a market where you can try a few traditional Dutch items from food stands -- such as stroopwafel, herring, or kibbeling.
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Old May 2, 17, 8:15 pm
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Thanks for all the advice!

Booked at the NH Collection Amsterdam Barbizon Palace which seems to be steps away from the station... A bit pricey at $500 though

Any recommendations for nightlife for a Wednesday night? Doesn't have to be a club/show but somewhere with some good deep house music with some cocktails would be excellent!
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Old May 3, 17, 8:16 am
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More Amsterdam questions!

When using public transportation, I see I can buy tickets online (costs € 8,40 for r/t ticket between AMS and Amsterdam Centraal). Any benefit to this? Is it more expensive this way? Any issues buying online?

Landing at 10:25 and departing at 21:05. Luggage checked through but need to clear passport control and lock carry-on in luggage locker.

Any suggestions of what to do when traveling solo during the day? I'm interested in Anne Frank House but no tickets available online (will stop by after 15:30) and boat cruise, and was told to avoid the ones right by the train station. Anything else, preferably on the cheap to free side (not interested in investing money in an art museum to spend 10 minutes there)?
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Old May 3, 17, 9:02 am
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Originally Posted by joshwex90 View Post
More Amsterdam questions!

When using public transportation, I see I can buy tickets online (costs 8,40 for r/t ticket between AMS and Amsterdam Centraal). Any benefit to this? Is it more expensive this way? Any issues buying online?

Landing at 10:25 and departing at 21:05. Luggage checked through but need to clear passport control and lock carry-on in luggage locker.

Any suggestions of what to do when traveling solo during the day? I'm interested in Anne Frank House but no tickets available online (will stop by after 15:30) and boat cruise, and was told to avoid the ones right by the train station. Anything else, preferably on the cheap to free side (not interested in investing money in an art museum to spend 10 minutes there)?
I've never bought tickets online, usually at AMS or Centraal.

I've done a canal tour from Centraal and I thought it was good. It gave me a good overview of the city, some history, and I got some good pictures. Maybe I just got lucky picking one.

Given that you want to try to see the Frank house, I'd go right there from the train station and see if you can get a ticket. It's only maybe a 10 minute walk, and in Jordaan, which will be a great area to get some lunch and just generally walk around and explore. You could easily spend a good part of your day here.

After that, go back to do the canal tour from Centraal. Then go walk through the Red Light district, just a couple minutes in the other direction from the Jordaan. Just next to the RLD is the Nieuwmarkt, which is a daily market in a square if that interests you.

Museums don't seem to be your thing, but if you change your mind, the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh, IMO, are two of the most enjoyable in the world.
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Old May 3, 17, 12:32 pm
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Originally Posted by joshwex90 View Post
Any suggestions of what to do when traveling solo during the day? I'm interested in Anne Frank House but no tickets available online (will stop by after 15:30) and boat cruise, and was told to avoid the ones right by the train station. Anything else, preferably on the cheap to free side (not interested in investing money in an art museum to spend 10 minutes there)?
Regarding the Anne Frank House, I recognize that my opinion could easily be in the minority, and that some people have reasons why it might mean more to them, but personally I'd put it on the lists of things to avoid at all costs in Amsterdam. To me, it's simply a money grab, and it's being operated in such a way as to try to grab as much money as they can from people. As such, you spend the entire time going through the house in one long line of people, shuffling forward a few inches every now and then. The place is all but completely bare of anything, and I found it very difficult to get any real feeling of context, because the whole place is just one long line of people shuffling through. Personally, I think they need to cut the number of people allowed in by at least 60-70%, although that'd mean turning people away. Without the crowds inside, I think it'd be possible to get more out of the experience. If you don't have advanced tickets, well, good luck. The line outside was long enough that the day we visited I'd be willing to bet that those at the end of it weren't going to be admitted because it would close before they ever got close to the front.

Now, we were there in the middle of summer, which undoubtedly isn't the best time to do things. Is it better in May? No idea. But if there's a long line outside, my guess is it's going to move at a crawl because the inside is going to be packed so tight that it moves at a crawl. If there's not a long line, then maybe things would be better inside, which would go a long ways towards resolving my problems with the site.

I know a few years ago they were being ordered to return a bunch of the documents and stuff they had on display. I honestly don't know how that ever got resolved, but if they did lose those items, there'd be even less at the house to recommend it. (And when I say on display, this stuff was largely confined to one room, I think it was near the end of the tour, and was probably one of the reasons things moved so slowly through the house - everyone was lined up to basically walk slowly past the documents on display, and basically the rest of the house was one long queue for that.)

I know my opinion doesn't match a lot of others, and these days may not even be socially correct, but I'd still maintain that it's not high on my list of things one should see in Amsterdam. And if you don't have advanced tickets, I definitely can't recommend wasting a couple of hours in line outside waiting to get in.

(Hmm, it looks like they have changed things somewhat on the admission since I was there, and now general admission without prebooked times is only after a certain time in the day. Although I still see people complaining about it being crowded, so don't know if that's helped or not.)
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Old May 3, 17, 3:26 pm
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Originally Posted by cardsqc View Post

I know my opinion doesn't match a lot of others, and these days may not even be socially correct, but I'd still maintain that it's not high on my list of things one should see in Amsterdam.
I think there's some truth to what you say, and sight seeing in general is a very personal thing.

For me, I read the book as a child, and while the house is rather bare, it helped make real for me how dreadful it must have been for so many people to be confined to such tight quarters.

For others it may have religious or social significance. But ultimately I would agree there are things I'd put ahead of it in Amsterdam -- even though I'm not a big art lover, I've always loved Van Gogh's work and I find the museum excellent. Others may be bored silly .
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Old May 3, 17, 6:58 pm
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Originally Posted by JBord View Post
I've never bought tickets online, usually at AMS or Centraal.

I've done a canal tour from Centraal and I thought it was good. It gave me a good overview of the city, some history, and I got some good pictures. Maybe I just got lucky picking one.

Given that you want to try to see the Frank house, I'd go right there from the train station and see if you can get a ticket. It's only maybe a 10 minute walk, and in Jordaan, which will be a great area to get some lunch and just generally walk around and explore. You could easily spend a good part of your day here.

After that, go back to do the canal tour from Centraal. Then go walk through the Red Light district, just a couple minutes in the other direction from the Jordaan. Just next to the RLD is the Nieuwmarkt, which is a daily market in a square if that interests you.

Museums don't seem to be your thing, but if you change your mind, the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh, IMO, are two of the most enjoyable in the world.
If you don't have much time, I would skip Rijksmuseum (which is huge) and do Van Gogh (even if you take your time, you will be done in 2 hours max).

Canal tour - pretty much a must-do.

One thing we did at the end of our trip but that would work out particularly nice for the OP, since it is just a day trip, is climbing to the top of NEMO (the science museum). It gives you a fantastic view of the city if it's a nice day out (as well as sights of planes descending into Schipol all day long - not close by though). If you want to get off your feet a little but have a gorgeous view doing so, go there. It does close at 7PM, and it's probably ~15-20 minutes walking from Centraal - so easy to hit up at the end of your time in the city.

My last suggestion would be around train tickets...the stupid machines did not read my American pin card - the signing issue made it say there was a 'technical problem'. While getting a ticket at AMS is relatively easy in-person if you are there early in the morning, Centraal can be a time-burner. I would make sure to buy the roundtrip either online or at AMS and avoid having to stand in ticket lines in Centraal.
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Old May 4, 17, 3:38 am
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Thanks all! The reason for buying tickets online would be to avoid the issue of not recognizing my credit card, something Amsterdam public transportation is particularly notorious for.

I could certainly try the Van Gogh Museum. Would there be enough time to do a boat cruise, Van Gogh, Nemo, Heineken Experience, and Red Light District?

Regarding Red Light, this may sound ridiculous, but what exactly is there to do there - just walk around?
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Old May 4, 17, 5:48 am
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In addition, I see that Heineken costs € 16 but 25 including a canal tour. Anyone know if the tour is roughly similar to what I could expect from the standard ones?
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Old May 4, 17, 6:51 am
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Originally Posted by joshwex90 View Post
When using public transportation, I see I can buy tickets online (costs € 8,40 for r/t ticket between AMS and Amsterdam Centraal). Any benefit to this? Is it more expensive this way? Any issues buying online?
You cannot use the Dutch railways website to buy this as it only accepts Dutch internet banking payments.

However, you can buy these train tickets at https://www.discoverholland.com/Tickets

If intending to travel around Amsterdam by public transport, then the Amsterdam Travel Ticket for €16 may be of interest. Buying online here is merely a "prepayment" as you still have to collect it at the airport. But as you are worried about your credit card not being accepted in person, this seems like the ideal* option unless your intention is to walk around all day.

If operating in euros, then it costs 10 cents more than buying the train tickets online and a GVB 24-hour pass separately; but it is surely worth it to avoid having to find the ticket machine in Amsterdam Centraal metro station; furthermore anyone paying cash or wanting to buy their train ticket in person will be saving money as there is a paper ticket fee which is not charged for the Amsterdam Travel Ticket. (But I believe there is a credit card fee when buying in person at Schiphol station.)

*pun intended (iDEAL is the Dutch internet banking thing I mentioned, which is the least ideal option for foreigners)
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Old May 4, 17, 9:26 am
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Originally Posted by joshwex90 View Post
Thanks all! The reason for buying tickets online would be to avoid the issue of not recognizing my credit card, something Amsterdam public transportation is particularly notorious for.

I could certainly try the Van Gogh Museum. Would there be enough time to do a boat cruise, Van Gogh, Nemo, Heineken Experience, and Red Light District?

Regarding Red Light, this may sound ridiculous, but what exactly is there to do there - just walk around?
It's never been a big deal to me to walk up to the window at AMS to buy the ticket. They may have a 1 euro surcharge or something for doing it, but as PsiFighter37 said, just buy the round trip, it will take 5 minutes of your time and you won't have to worry about it again.

There won't be enough time to do everything you list.
I've never done the Heineken Experience because I've heard it's not that great (and I love brewery, beer, wine related tours). You may want to research that one. I think you could probably do 3 on your list, assuming you'll want to sit down and get a quick bite to eat too.

RLD - yes, for most of us (), you just walk around. It's quite a circus, although more so at night. It's just a few blocks long, and I'd say walk through there on your way to something else just for the experience. The most fascinating thing for me, and a symbol of Dutch tolerance, is the Oude Kerk which is not quite in the middle of the RLD, but you'll see what I mean.
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