How'd I get there? 17 euro Flixbus from Hamburg, Germany.
Where did I stay? I spent two nights in the Generator Hostel which is located on the edge of a beautiful park, it felt like paradise! My only complaint about the hostel was they put the toilet and shower inside the room—this is something I find really irritating. If you come in late, and want to shower, you're disrupting the people trying to sleep. The only communal rest room was in the basement of the hostel.
Red Light District? Since this is usually the first thing people think about when it comes to Amsterdam, I'll cover it first. Yes, of course I checked it out! Honestly, it's basically just a big tourist destination. I took a walk around and had fun, it's a must-do, obviously. I didn't partake in anything too sinful. Weed isn't really my thing and although there were some very good looking ladies, I'm luckily not in a point in my life where I feel a need to pay women for attention. There are also walking tours—I didn't end up joining one, but I've heard they're great! You learn more about the history and the prostitution business. You can also go see sex shows and peep shows—these are super popular. I went to a peep show and... it was interesting. Let's just say I checked that box. Overall, it was a fun experience but Amsterdam has a lot more to offer than just the Red Light District.
Tip: Do not take any pictures—they are very strict about this and apparently your phone might end up in the canal.
What else did I do? I was in Amsterdam for 2 nights but did most of the fun stuff all in my one solid day. I started the day with the Heineken Experience VIP tour. If you like beer, I recommend forking out the premium price for the VIP experience. You are in a small group of about 10 people and get a personal tour around the old-brewery-turned-museum while they give you the full background and history of Heineken. Then, you go into a private bar where they serve you 5 beers paired with cheeses. If you're cool like me, you can make friends with the tour guide and end up trying a 6th beer. You also get 2 more beers afterwards in their public bar. While on the tour, I met an American couple and they told me about A'DAM Lookout—a building across the train station, accessible via free ferry ride, where you can pay to go to the top observation deck where you can enjoy great views of the city. I recommend this as well! It was a great way to relax and enjoy the views. I splurged again and paid for a "premium" ticket that gave me 2 drinks at the rooftop bar and a free gift which turned out to be a bottle opener, ha! You take an elevator to the top floor where you can walk around, enjoy a drink, sit & relax. You then can walk up some steps to the outdoor rooftop observation deck. They have this mechanical swing that swings you off the edge of the building a few feet. It looked fun but I decided I would save my money. While I was up there, I asked this nice girl from Taiwan to take a picture of me which basically lead to an impromptu photoshoot where she instructed me to do different poses. I returned the favor.
The rest of the day, I casually walked around and explored. The weather was beautiful and so the restaurant's patios were jam packed with people watching the World Cup games. Later that evening is when I went and walked around the Red Light District.
What did I eat? The first night, I enjoyed some pad thai at Boi Boi—a short walk from the hostel. The sauce was a little sweeter than I prefer but it was still tasty. The most memorable thing I had in Amsterdam was at Vegan Junk Food Bar. Would ya look at that picture? Just look at it! Beautiful. It was the most glorious vegan burger and fries I've ever had. I would pick it over a beef patty any day. The flavor profile was incredible. They also make bomb sauces for the fries. Plus, graffiti art was the center of their branding so I fell in love. Generally speaking, it seemed that Amsterdam had a pretty Americanized food style.
- VIP Heineken Experience Tour
- Walk around the Red Light District, join a walking tour, go to a sex show or peep show. Check that box.
- A'Dam Lookout—awesome view of Amsterdam while you sip.
- Go eat at Vegan Junk Food Bar!
- Public transit is super easy to use.
- Drink a lot of Heineken, it's the freshest there.
Would I go again? Hell yes! But, I think it would be even more fun with a group of friends/brothers next time.