Vondelpark is cool, but it’s super crowded and the other parks in the city are every bit as beautiful if not moreso. I wandered into a random one while exploring the outskirts of the city and could have spent an entire day there. Vondelpark was too busy for me.
I recommend the Heineken tour if you’re into quirky, kitschy stuff with beer included. 11 euro and three beers are included, plus you’ll meet some cool people on the tour. Well, OK, it’s not really a “tour” as a “watch a bunch of Heineken ads field trip” with some old out of commission copper boilers. But the beer bottle ride more than makes up for it, especially if you hit up the coffee shops beforehand.
I don’t recommend canal rides. They’re often in seven different languages, and one of my friends got unlucky enough for English to be the seventh, so when she finally heard what they were seeing, it was already gone. At about noon, head out to the big church by the canal and watch the music man play his horns in chorus with the church bells. A great, great show.
Buy a couple of baguettes and start feeding pidgeons. Then when you’ve amassed a crowd, whip out the ol’ umbrella and send them flying at the tourists. That was probably my favorite thing to do (well, I was under many influences, but still.)
The food kind of sucks. Most places will try to rip you off. Don’t eat the pizza, whatever you do. Sara’s Pancakes is near the Dam square and a dream. I had Chilean style pancakes, served with spiced meats and peppers which was heavenly. But for the most part, don’t waste your money, not even on the “good” restaurants which are ridiculously overpriced.
Check the statue of man confronting the end times in the Dam square, right about 5:00 or 6:00 in the afternoon. That statue gave me chills and really sparked my pride in humanity. I took from it “fuck you, apocalypse. bring it on”, which may not have been the central message but art’s different from everyone.
And for the love of god, buy a hooker or at least go see a sex show. I didn’t and it is the biggest regret of my trip.