Need help planning two days in Amsterdam--going with a couple of buddies on our way to Poland. Help!
You can go on the big Amsterdam canal boat trips as Shauna mentioned, but it is even better to hire a small boat ("Sloep") yourself for a couple of hours and enjoy Amsterdam with your own boat like the locals do.
You probably already know about the Red Light District. The old red light in the window trick to let you know it is a brothel... obviously, this section of Amsterdam has a whole lotta red lights. Great place for uh, costume ideas!
On a totally different note, the Anne Frank House was one of the most hauntingly important visits I ever made. Such a well designed museum whose mission is to to illuminate through Anne Frank's story, all forms of prosecution and discrimination.
I highly recommend taking one of the Amsterdam Canal Cruises. I did so on my first visit to Amsterdam. When traveling solo (or otherwise) I like to get the "lay of the land/water" early in my trip so on the boat ended up meeting terrific people who I later met for art excursions, etc. and it was true travel kismet.
Cafe 't Smalle is a perfect spot to sit alongside the canal and watch the world go by. Seemed everyone had a sandwich and a beer here so I followed suit. Worked like a charm.
Make sure you check out the Van Gogh Museum. I loved this museum. It is full of incredible art & inspiring quotes from Van Gogh throughout the building... Pretty sure I still have them in a notebook somewhere. If you go, get there early and you'll be glad once you see the line of people waiting to get in. One of my favorite museums ever.
The Underground Violinist is located in the City Opera House (also known as the Stopera). It is symbolic of the Jewish community that used to be here before World War II.
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I defintely second both the recommendation to visit the Van Gogh Museum and tour the canals by boat. Additionally I'd really recommend just strolling along the canals for a bit: Amsterdam is really quite lovely, especially outside of the main touristy areas.