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Monday, 23 February 2015


I've already blogged about Amsterdam at a glance - where we stayed and places we dined at - when myself and a friend visited earlier this year, but in that post I didn't really talk about what we got up to when we were there. I spent a lot of time researching quirky things to do in the city and in the end, I actually ended up with a long list of things we simply wouldn't have had the time to do. However, here's what we DID get up to.

This was probably the most oddball quirky thing we did overall. Electric Ladyland is basically the worlds first (and only?) florescent museum and since the pictures looked fun, I thought why not? As it turns out, it's basically just one room in this lady's house and is where she has experimented with florescent stuff to create these weird blobs which are very colourful. It's hard to explain but once down there (yes, we removed our shoes and climbed down into some random lady's basement, don't judge) we actually got given a somewhat interesting talk about rocks and how everyday items such as different currencies are actually dyed with invisible ink and can create amazing patterns under UV lights. It was definitely an interesting way to spend a rainy afternoon...
Tweede Leliedwarsstraat 5, 1015 TB, Amsterdam

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There are tons of canal cruises you can go on in Amsterdam and if you don't go on this particular one then I'd recommend that you at least go on one canal tour. It's a fun and alternative way to see the city and Amsterdam is well known for it's beautiful canals. This particular tour we took in the evening - the best way to see the colourful light installations - and it was terribly seasonal. On the dock there was a bar selling hot chocolate and mulled wine and the bar was surrounded by fairy lights. The tour itself was lovely and took about an hour and a half. It was interesting too because at one point I thought we were just going to turn around and go back the way we came but somehow despite heading in that direction, we ended up doing a round trip down some new canals. It was confusing. But definitely fun.
All canal boats dock right outside of Central Station.

Though this is a tourist attraction that EVERYONE visits when visiting Amsterdam, it is definitely an oddball one. Since we'd already decided to visit another sex museum (see below), we were going to skip this one but we passed it one evening when it was raining and realised since it was so cheap to get in, we might as well kill an hour or two mooching around out of the rain. It was definitely weird and although we spent most of the time giggling away, it was impressive. Who knew sex had such a rich history?!
Damrak 18, 1015 LH,  Amsterdam

I'd strongly recommended visiting here. It's slap bang in the middle of the Red Light District (also well worth a visit) and was intensely interesting. I actually learnt a lot during our visit and it showed us a much different side of prostitution. One area I found particularly interesting was the red room which overlooked the Red Light District and was an accurate representation of what it was like to be on the other side of the window. You could sit on two stools and look out as tourists looked in, assuming you were selling yourself. Further on, there were room set ups like the rooms the prostitutes work in, from the gritty single bed in a run down room to much more glamorous set ups. It held my attention throughout and the location is fab. If you want to spend an evening exploring this area of Amsterdam, then definitely take a stroll around the Red Light District and allow yourself time to visit this museum.
Oudezijds Achterburgwal 60H, 1012 DP Amsterdam

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Um, yes, that is us posing with a giant penis...why else do you think we went there?!

They have these in almost every major city and I loved going on the one here. We managed to see the city, learn some history and add new places to our 'must visit' list for the next time we visit Amsterdam. There's not much to say about this really - it is just a tour bus but with the added entertainment of learning about the history of the city whilst being warm and not getting rained on.
The City Sightseeing Tour Bus has stops throughout the city, the first stop being just outside Central Station. 

Okay, so it's not an attraction, but on one sunny day we jumped on the tram that takes you from one end of the city to the other and decided to just stay on. Since we had a travel card, we thought this might be another way to see the city and not just the tourist parts. I had a giant bag of Doritos (or at least some foreign version) and we sat right at the back with a great view. It was really fun and probably one of my favourite (as well cheapest) days of our whole trip.
There are tram stops throughout the city.

Going clubbing/drinking certainly isn't a necessity in Amsterdam but if you do, these are the places I'd recommend. Studio 80 is fun and definitely the go-to place, but as it only plays house music, the moment you walk in it's pretty obvious everyone in there is off their heads on drugs. A great place if you're into that type of music and definitely popular, but there are also better places to go. Another great bar was Smokeys which had a really cool atmosphere and played typical English clubbing music which again, is great if you want to dance to some stuff you already know. These two clubs are in one of the main squares which are filled with the most popular clubs and bars so flitting between these two or staying in this general area is ideal for a night out and you'll without a doubt find yourself somewhere which is busy and upbeat. We also loved Club Up, a club that seemed to have a million different floors (though now that I think about it, only had two I think). Amsterdam seemed to be filled with lots of cool bars (many were Irish!) that you could just duck into and party too, so I'd say it isn't necessary to plan exactly where you want to go and that you can easily find somewhere cool on a night out.

We booked this attraction along with the sightseeing tour bus and although I enjoyed this, I wouldn't say it was a must visit being that many places offer ice bar's these days - there's even one in London. It was really fun but it's obviously not the type of attraction you have to go all the way to Amsterdam to experience. Saying that, we could stay in the actual ice bar for as long as we wanted (which wasn't all that long because - and I know this is going to sound stupid - but it was REALLY cold. And I mean colder than you'd expect). The price included two free drinks in the ice bar and then a cocktail in the normal bar too. The normal bar was quite snazzy and the location of this attraction was pretty cool too with lots of pretty canals to walk along nearby.
Amstel 194-196, 1017 AG Amsterdam

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That's pretty much most of what we got up to in Amsterdam and I think we had a great time seeing the city from lots of different angles and not just doing the typical tourist thing. 

So there you have it; my mini guide of things to do in the beautiful city that is Amsterdam. It's not everything and there are a lot more things not mentioned (we spent one afternoon looking around a cool street market and we also planned to go to the Anne Frank museum, but the line was way too long) but it's a start and hopefully suggests some things other blogs have not. 

Have you ever been to Amsterdam? Have I missed any must visit places off of this post? Let me know with a comment!

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