I have become a Weekender of sorts. One who spends time in certain places, only on the weekends. I have become a master of the duffel bag, fitting in only the necessary items for a few days of vacation. This trips essentials included a pink wig, fishnet tights, and extra room for my vintage shopping spree to come. A few days in Amsterdam is unparalleled to anything else. The most outrageous, liberating, and hip people frequent this city, thriving amongst one another, and I was lucky enough to be one of them even if just for the weekend.
Our hotel was one of the first places to set the tone for the weekend. Volkshotel, located just a few blocks from the city centre, featured a plant-filled lounge and club, pop art, and rooftop jacuzzis. It was actually decently priced amongst other hostel and Airbnb options, plus gave us the luxury and security of a hotel as most hostels were unsecured.
After settling in, we immediately headed out to explore. My favorite area was Harlemerstraat, which was a cobblestone road lined with vintage stores, cafes, and eateries. If you feel so inclined, this is the place to check out Amsterdam's famous cafes, filled with hazy air and tons of locals. We meandered back towards the hotel in search of Bull & Dog's insane loaded milkshakes, pictured below. That night was my good friend Ellie's 21st, so we celebrated with our crazy colored wigs and a night out at bars and clubs in the Red Light District. If you're on the more wild side, you can go to shows as crazy as Moulin Rouge, but if you're looking for a typical night at the clubs, I would suggest Paradiso, SugarFactory, or Bitterzoet. Other top clubs can be found here. Let's just say people aren't lying when they say Amsterdam is outrageous!
The following day, my best friend Eliza joined us. Probably my favorite day out of my entire time abroad was this one - filled with art, tea, magazines, and one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen. In the morning, we booked the Heinekin Rock the City tour with 30 other kids that happened to be in town. For just 25Euro, you get a brewery tour, multiple samples, a canal ride, and access to the A'DAM lookout over the whole We lounged around in Vondelpark during the afternoon, playing with daisies and letting the April sun warm us. After a while, we headed to see the Banksy & Dali exhibit at the Moco museum. The building itself was an old, burgundy, Victorian mansion right in the heart of the city. Dali's works were brought to life in various statues and murals while Banksy's graffiti was strewn across various materials. I could have wandered that museum for hours longer, but closing time came and we took off to a neighboring cafe for ginger tea, journaling, and magazines. Eliza and I sat there as the time passed, sometimes in silence and deep in thought or at other times lost in meaningful conversation. I love that about her.
Our final days in Amsterdam concluded with sweet & savory waffles at The Pancake Bakery, an avo toast satisfaction at The Avocado Show, and the biggest flea market in Europe!!! Held on the first Sunday of each month, this enormous market flaunted everything from old mirrors to racks of vibrant neon ski jackets. We rented bikes at our hotel for 15Euro, took the free ferry from Centraal Station to Amsterdam Noord, and continued over to the abandoned shipyard where it's held. Be prepared with a 5Euro note for entry and access to the collection of goods, and get there early as the lines will wrap around the block! I got a black floppy Asos hat for just 2E and some rockin' black boots for only 5! Eliza, Shannon and I sat on the dock overlooking the city and etched our initials, knowing we'd return someday.
- TLDR -
To Stay: Volkshotel
To Eat: Bull & Dog, The Pancake House, any street fries , The Avocado Show
To Do: The Moco, Vondelpark, The Van Gogh Museum, Heinekin Tour & Boat Ride, A'DAM Lookout Swings, IJ-Hallen Flea Market, Harlemmerstraat, rent bikes, Red Light District, Paradiso Club
Getting Around: Bike, Public Transit, Free Ferries