The good news: you booked a trip to Amsterdam! The bad news? You only have 48 hours to see as much as you can. Lucky for you, Amsterdam is full of all sorts of shenanigans for you to see. The reality is you can’t see everything in such a short amount of time. However, I’ve got a few sights you should have on your itinerary in the “Venice of the North.”
One of the biggest tourist attractions in Amsterdam comes straight from Earth itself: marijuana. Yep, these aren’t your average coffee shops! The edibles have a little more kick then your usual Starbuck’s baked good and the smell is most definitely not Pumpkin Spice. If you’re an avid smoker, you’ll probably love it. If you’re not, skip it. If you want to try it out because “when in Amsterdam…” do it! Traveling is all about new experiences. Just be safe and don’t overdo it.
Sexmuseum Amsterdam Venustempel
The Sexmuseum is an interesting little pit stop full of erotic photos and the positions to go with them. The museum itself is small so there’s no audio guide or tour guide available, nor necessary. You can walk around on your own! Tickets are 5 euros, but seeing fellow tourists squirm and laugh is priceless.
The Heineken Experience
This was one of the highlights of the 48 hours! Unlike the average museum with floors and floors of paintings and history, The Heineken Experience is truly that: an EXPERIENCE. It mixes self-guided areas with tour guides who offer in-depth knowledge of their beer-making process. Plus, there’s even a beer simulation where you are on a movable platform, pretending to be a Heineken. And you can’t forget the 3 Heinekens you get to enjoy at the end!
Architecture and Canals
Seeing how the locals navigate living around a variety of canals, trams and bikes is a sight in itself. You can go on paid tours, but sometimes it’s cool to just observe a culture on your own. Instead of scrolling through your News Feed while waiting in line for tickets, look up to see how people are interacting. Be a slow traveler and analyze the alignment of buildings literally bridged together over the canals and the efficiency of their bike lanes. Roam around! Not everything has to be a structured attraction nor in a complete rush even with only 48 hours.
The Red Light District
Sex shops, brothels and museums are what you can find here in The Wallen (De Wallen) neighborhood, or the Rosse Buurt as locals call it. Are you seeing the pattern of what attracts tourists? While not as wild as you think, everything is uncensored. From vagina postcards to peep shows, The Wallen leaves nothing to the imagination.
The Anne Frank House
Anne Frank: the young Jewish girl who’s diary of her time in a concentration camp has been on summer reading lists for years. In museum form, The Anne Frank House showcases her story in a self-guided tour that will leave you speechless, tearful and hopeful all at once. With re-creations of her home, hiding places and the words of her father, it’s necessary on your trip. I recommend buying your tickets online to avoid the long line. It’s not the happiest of places in Amsterdam, yet a much-needed balance between the coffeeshops and erotica.
Speaking of balance, Amsterdam is also known for their nightlife! This why The Red Light District mentioned earlier is famous. Aside from the peep shows, you have your normal bars and clubs inside and outside the district to experience. The club I went to was a mix of popular and underground rap and R&B. They played Lauryn Hill, so it can’t get much better than that.
Time restraints on new adventures aren’t ideal, especially in the dead of winter. But beggars can’t be choosers! We make them work with a lot of speed walking, good meals and lack of sleep. It all makes for a good adventure and stories to share when you go back home. Cram what you can and just plan to come back again.