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Amsterdam In One Day

Updated on July 5, 2012
Herengracht (Gentlemen’s) Canal, Amsterdam
Herengracht (Gentlemen’s) Canal, Amsterdam

If you only have one day in Amsterdam, where should you go and what are the city’s absolute must-sees? Even though one day is not probably enough to explore Amsterdam thoroughly, you still have enough time for a great adventure in this beautiful city. You have enough time to walk from one end of the old center of Amsterdam to the other and experience all that Amsterdam has to offer along the way: charming Amsterdam bridges and unique canals with houseboats, hidden churches and surprising shops, Dutch specialties at street vendors and variety of beers in thriving Amsterdam’s hangouts. You have enough time to stop by in a couple Amsterdam museums of your choice, take a boat cruise, have a dinner in one of many great Amsterdam restaurants and dance a night away in wild Amsterdam nightclubs.

Damrak, Amsterdam
Damrak, Amsterdam
Dam Square, Amsterdam
Dam Square, Amsterdam


Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is well-connected by train with central Amsterdam. You don’t have to take a taxi or rent a car to get to the city. Only a half an hour trip on a train for only 3.60 euro brings you to Central Station. No matter where you are staying, your day in Amsterdam will start from Central Station and the street called Damrak, which leads to Dam Square a half mile away. Damrak divides the city to the old (oude) to the left of Damrak and to the new (nieuwe) to the right. While you are strolling Damrak you are passing tourist shops with Dutch attributes such as wooden shoes and windmill salt-shakers; Damrak Sex Museum, which is one of most popular museums in Amsterdam; and the old Beurs (Stock Exchange). Arriving at Dam Square you can look clockwise and see the following: the Royal Palace, a beautiful building built in 1648; the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), which is actually not that “new” and is about 600 years old; De Bijenkorf department store, the white obelisk of the National Monument; and Madam Tussaud’s museum.

Red Light District, Amsterdam
Red Light District, Amsterdam

Red Light District

From Dam Square you can go a few blocks to the east and you will get to the Red Light District, one of Amsterdam delights. The Red Light District is Amsterdam’s oldest neighborhood, which has hosted the world’s oldest profession since 1200. Here, besides an obvious attraction, such as window displays of working girls, you will find many interesting shops, museums and architectural jewels. Just walk along beautiful Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in a heart of the Red Light District and view charming bridges and houses rising directly from the water, and you will see that the area is absolutely picturesque.

Red Light District Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum

For art lovers to take even a quick look at two famous Amsterdam museums, Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, is a must. You can walk from Dam Square or take a tram to Museumplein where both of these museums are located. At the Rijksmuseum you can view an incomparable collection of Dutch Masters. There are 7 million items in the museum inventory. Here, there are masterpieces by Rembrandt (including famous The Night Watch), the great works of Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Pieter de Hooch and Vermeer. There is also the renovated Dutch History collection from the Middle Ages to 1945 as well as art pieces of Dutch Impressionism.

The Van Gogh Museum is devoted to the permanent collection of works by Van Gogh and other 19th-century artists. The main focus is of course Van Gogh paintings and his art development from dark landscapes painted in the Dutch provinces to his light Parisian Impressionism to his masterpieces painted at Arles. The new wing of the museum, designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa and used for changing exhibition is a piece of art and design itself.

Vondelpark, Amsterdam
Vondelpark, Amsterdam


Just a step away from Museumplein, there is Vondelpark, a huge beautiful city park, a home to lively concerts and dance event during the summer, and a paradise for joggers, skaters, cyclists and romantic couples all year round. At the edge of the park, you can have a lunch at the popular Café Vertigo with large complex of outdoor tables and excellent selection of soup, sandwiches and drinks. Canal cruises and boat tours departs just one step away from Vondelpark, so you can continue to explore Amsterdam on a boat. Avid shoppers probably would like a stroll along P.C. Hooftstraat, which is right outside of Vondelpark. P.C. Hooftstraat is full of the most exclusive designer clothes shops in town.

Leidseplein, Amsterdam
Leidseplein, Amsterdam

Amsterdam at night

If you are staying a night in Amsterdam you have to take an advantage of diversity and wildness of Amsterdam’s nightlife. Leidseplein is probably Amsterdam’s liveliest area, filled with outdoor cafes, theaters, nightclubs and restaurants. Just off Leidseplein, Leidsedwarsstraat and the Restaurant Row, full of countless Thai, Indonesian, Italian, Dutch and Indian restaurants. Leidseplein’s south side is bordered by the Stadsschouwburg, the city’s main theater. To the right of the Stadsschouwburg, there is a great entertainment complex Melkweg (Milky Way), with all youth oriented entertainment. The Rookies, a block east of Leidseplein along Restaurant Row, is one of the rare coffeeshops that sells individual, prerolled good quality joints of pure marijuana with no tobacco.

Have a great day in Amsterdam!


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    • Megan Coxe profile image

      Megan Coxe 6 years ago from somewhere between here and there

      I love articles about one day in city. It's hard to narrow down the choices sometimes. Especially in a place like Amsterdam!

    • profile image

      moxy 6 years ago

      Where's mokiete!!!!!

    • fatuisred profile image

      Fatu yarrow 6 years ago from Location is somewhere over the rainbow in Newark,N.J.

      I have been to Amsterdam and it is amazing, thinking about going back..

    • Leo Fuegazo profile image

      Leo Fuegazo 6 years ago

      Great article, good presentation, better writing...amazing.

    • Xavier Izaguirre profile image

      Xavier Izaguirre 7 years ago from UK, London

      Very useful I am going to Amsterdam in 2 days I will try to make the most out of it

    • Shinkicker profile image

      Shinkicker 7 years ago from Scotland

      Great Hub

      An amazing city. I stayed only one night there once, now I know there is so much I missed.


    • thepranksta profile image

      thepranksta 7 years ago

      Nice page on Amsterdam! I enjoyed the video. Keep up the good work.