One day in Amsterdam - what to see?

I’m going to Amsterdam next week and have one day off for touristy stuff. I’ve been there once before but I was eleven at the time. So, what are the absolutely essential things to see and do in Amsterdam on a tight schedule?

[sub]I’m not into either marijuana or prostitution, so please skip the “get high and get laid” jokes. Thank you.[/sub]

Do the Canal Boat tour. Hokey, but a must.
Van Gogh Museum
do the Heineken tour, if you’re so inclined
Anne Frank House. Bit of a downer, though.
If the weather permits, just walk around. Have coffee somewhere.

All can have a very long queue depending on the day.

I’d say start at the Van Gogh Museum and see what the queue is like(you can pre-buy online tickets which means you can jump the queue BTW) then walk to The Dam via Leidseplein hang a left and see what the queue for The Ann Frank House is like.

Go for a beer in the gorgeous Belgian bar close to The Dam, Cafe Belgique, take a walk around the red light and then head back on a tram(1,2 or 5) to Leidseplein and go to Rookies Coffee shop(the most bar like one in A’dam IMO) have a beer and a joint and just chill for the night talking to people at the bar.

Spent 3 months in A’dam last year. Loved every minute of it.

Head for the Jordaan, just west of the city center. The aforementioned Anne Frank house is there, but there’s also plenty of nice brown cafes and art galleries and shops and it makes for a pleasant area for strolling. The museums just a little ways from Leidseplein are also worth visiting.

See Rembrandt’s Nightwatch, it never ceases to amaze me.

When the weather is good go sit in het Vondelpark. When in doubt take the less crowded route, the prettiest part of Amsterdam is where you walk along a Canal and you dont see any other tourist; this is 3/4 of Amsterdam so go get lost.

The Anne Frank house was very interesting and I enjoyed it. You might want to at least wander around the Red Light district just for the fun of it.

Van Gogh Museum, without a doubt.

If you go to the Tourist Information Bureau (the VVV, which is situated just outside the main station) you can get a ticket which will allow you to jump whatever queue there may be.

I believe you can also get tickets with a similar queue jumping arrangement for other museums there.

The Anne Frank house - it’s there, but the queues can be long, and some people find it to be not the best use of their time. If you have an interest in the Holocaust, there are other places in Amsterdam worth visiting: the Hollandsche Shouwburg, on Plantage Middenlaan, which was used as a deportation point, is very moving. The Jewish Historical Museum is a comprehensive and sensitive collection.

Otherwise, as An Arky suggested, head for the Jordaan. Sit a little, drink a coffee or a beer, watch the people go by, look in some gallery and shop windows, and have some down time.

Enjoy your trip.

I think it’s worth wandering around the Red Light area for the architecture-- it’s the old part of town, with the oldest church, the old weigh-house and some other goodies (and a very out-of-place Buddhist temple), and also a 17th-c Catholic “attic” church. One day? I’d skip the museums and just wander around. If you like beer a lot I have other suggestions (which don’t included Heineken). If you’re an architecture nerd I have other suggestions.

This is a good call BTW. There is a recreation of the painting in Rembrandplein with lifesize statues. Excellent stuff.

Well, what do you like?

I agree with the canal boat tour suggestion. If you like to walk there are four different walking tours from the Gilde Amsterdam you can sign up for called “mee in Mokum” (Mokum is slang for Amsterdam). The one called “Roam around Amsterdam” covers lesser-known spots; the VOC walk concentrates on the Golden Age; there’s one for the city center and one for the Jordaan quarter. You can also take a roller blading tour if that’s your thing. It’s been an unseasonably warm winter so you probably will not have to stay indoors unless you want to.

The botanical garden is lovely, the artis zoo is reputed to be good but I haven’t seen it yet. There is a houseboat museum which is fun if small (if you go to the Anne Frank House or the Heineken tour it’s in the same area, the jordaan).

In the past fifteen years an unknown artist has left bronze and iron statues secretly in various places in Amsterdam in the middle of the night. I think there are six now.

The Singel flower market is fun; the flowers are displayed on floating barges.

There’s a lot of must see but it really depends on what you like.

I would like to point out that Amsterdam is a charming, lively place. Other posters seem to think it is a holocaust memorial.

While the ‘Nachtwacht’ is awesome, don’t look at anything called ‘Nachtwacht’ except the original painting (unless you are an american tourist of course).

For an unexpected suprise visit ‘Onze lieve heer op zolder’ (don’t google it, just find it irl, Adress: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 40)

And btw if you are american Do not rent a bike, my countrymen will thank you. (we start slalomming trams, busses an cars when we are 4 years old, dont try at home)

Well, I have 3 days (not just 1) this Dec. but thought I’d give this a bump to see what else people come up with (especially anything that unique to the Xmas/New Year’s season). :slight_smile:

The Begijnhof (Convent, church?). It’s neat to see, but I have no idea how to tell you how to find it. It seems to me that you enter through an unmarked door. Maybe someone here knows for sure.

I also recommend the Red Light district if only to see how that it’s really not as terrible place a place as some imagine.

And take a canal tour.