Destinations / Europe

The Best of Amsterdam’s Red Light District Nightlife

A vibrant capital that is known for its famous canals, historic architecture and colourful art scene, Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Most travellers visiting Amsterdam find a mix of fascinating historical landmarks, world-class museums and a wander through the famous De Wallen area, better known as the Red Light District on their itinerary. While travellers typically only take a glimpse into the flashing neon-lit Red Light District and its well-known controversies, if you take a further look at the diverse set of streets you’ll discover a variety of interesting, and perfectly safe, attractions. From cosy coffee shops, outdoor cafes, and lively bars and clubs, there are a wealth of places to explore the buzzing nightlife scene in Amsterdam.

One of Europe’s greatest walking cities, many of Amsterdam’s 17th-century buildings, neighbourhoods and tiny alleyways sit alongside a wide range of hotels. With over 300 million visitors per year to HotelsCombined, we’ve done our research on Amsterdam and have highlighted the top hotels in walking distance to the city’s top attractions in the Red Light District in addition to highlighting where you can sample some of the best nightlife.

One of the oldest parts of Amsterdam, the Red Light District offers an extensive list of fascinating places nearby. You can wander through the quirky shops on Warmoesstraat and soak in the city views from an outdoor terrace in Nieuwmarkt, as staying near the Red Light District means you’re only a few minutes from the city centre. From the unique condom shop to the 16th-century brewery once run by nuns, or the educational Prostitution Information Centre to controversial clubs like Casa Rosso, travellers will find that Amsterdam specialises in unique one-of-a-kind attractions during the day and at night.

 

Red Light District

Red Light District

The Red Light District, translated to “Rosse Buurt” in Dutch, is the oldest and most famous part of Amsterdam consisting of a network of small alleyways with neon-lit streets. Visitors who only gaze at the area’s controversial aspects would be amiss, as picturesque canals highlight some of Amsterdam’s best kept treasures. Situated next to Amsterdam Centraal station, the area is more multifaceted than visitors think with a variety of interesting neighbourhoods, historic landmarks and cultural gems. Visitors can explore the vibrant shops and markets on the streets of Warmoesstraat and Nieuwmarkt, dine in the multicultural Chinatown and visit Oude Kerk, an impressive 800-year-old parish church. Typical nightlife is also popular in the area, where visitors will discover a variety of lively restaurants, bars and clubs that are regularly packed with revellers.

Red Light District Under 10 Minutes’ Walk

Red Light District Under 10 Minutes Walk

 

RHO Hotel

RHO Hotel

Located in the city centre, RHO Hotel is only a two-minute walk from Dam Square, De Wallen and Warmoesstraat street. Operating since 1989 as RHO Hotel, the building was originally used by a gold trading company, and today guests can explore a beautiful Art-Deco style lobby that was built in 1908. Considered a historic gem, in addition to its appealing architecture, guests will find the location convenient for indulging in the city’s best shopping and nightlife venues.

The MAGNA PLAZA shopping mall is right around the corner, in addition to the pedestrian-friendly Kalverstraat shopping street. Located on a quiet side street, guests of RHO Hotel are also only a less than a five-minute walk to the airport shuttle bus stop and Amsterdam Centraal station. After a day of exploration, guests can retire to modern and comfortable rooms, with upgraded suites boasting cosy living rooms and a spacious balcony.

Star Rating: 3*
Price: €80 – €417
Guest Rating: 7.8
Address: Nes 5-23, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

Offering stunning views of the Royal Palace, guests who stay at NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky can take advantage of its premier location. Dating back to 1855, this 150-year-old hotel feels anything but tired with 451 recently renovated rooms to choose from. Guests will find a range of accommodation choices, from spacious Family Rooms to Apartments with canal views, while those who want to indulge in a bit of luxury might find the Royal or Presidential Suite more suited to their needs.

The on-site White Room restaurant serves upscale cuisine from a Michelin star chef, while the hotel’s cafe pairs delicious afternoon tea with panoramic views over Dam Square. Nightlife attractions like Cafe de Dam, Louis Bar and The Bulldog Amsterdam are just minutes away, while cultural landmarks such as the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House are within walking distance.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: €93 – €2921
Guest Rating: 7.9
Address: Dam 9, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Die Port Van Cleve Hotel Amsterdam

Die Port Van Cleve Hotel Amsterdam

Only a seven-minute walk to De Wallen and the Red Light District, Die Port Van Cleve Hotel Amsterdam is conveniently located right behind Dam Square. A former home of the Heineken brewery, guests will find three separate buildings connected to each other, which means the rooms are all unique in design and layout. Rooms range from Single to Executive, with 24-hour room service and king sized beds in upgraded rooms.

Guests are encouraged to visit the on-site De Blauwe Parade to catch a glimpse of the unique large Delft Blue tile fresco that dates back to 1887, where you can sip on local beers and soak in the historic ambience. For those who want to venture further out, you’re less than a 10-minute walk from Warmoesstraat, Nieuwmarkt and many of the area’s top bars and clubs such as Bitterzoet and Cafe Hill Street Blues.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: €67 – €358
Guest Rating: 7.5
Address: Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 176-180, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Tulip Inn Amsterdam Centre

Tulip Inn Amsterdam Centre

Less than a 10-minute walk to the Rembrandt House Museum, Dam Square and the city’s most famous canals, Tulip Inn Amsterdam Centre places guests near numerous city attractions in the historic centre. A modern hotel that is suited for both business and leisure travellers, guests can choose from 111 individually designed Standard and Superior rooms with king size beds and walk-in showers.

Refuel at the intercontinental buffet at the on-site breakfast restaurant or head to the lobby bar for an energising cup of coffee before exploring the historical and cultural landmarks just steps from the hotel. In the evening, choose from a variety of nightlife venues nearby such as Cafe Hill Street Blues which is only a two-minute walk away.

Star Rating: 3*
Price: €37 – €193
Guest Rating: 6.4
Address: Beursstraat 11-19, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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France Hotel Amsterdam

France Hotel Amsterdam

A convenient home base if you’re travelling via train, France Hotel Amsterdam is only 400 metres from Amsterdam Centraal station. Ranging from Comfort Single to Budget Triple, the hotel accommodates for a variety of budgets and tastes and is perfect for those travelling solo or in large parties, with spacious rooms offering picturesque views of the canal.

Guests can soak in the sunshine and dine on the cosy on-site waterside terrace when the weather is nice, or find trendy restaurants like Burger Bar and De Bekeerde Suster less than a 10-minute walk away. Come evening, and the adjoining Molly Malone Irish Pub and multiple bars and clubs in Warmoesstraat are only a five-minute walk away, offering guests an abundance of opportunities to explore Amsterdam’s famous nightlife scene.

Star Rating: 3*
Price: €33 – €191
Guest Rating: 5.8
Address: Oudezijds Kolk 11, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Centre

Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Centre

Located on a traffic-free square between Amsterdam Centraal station and Dam Square, Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Centre is only a nine-minute walk to the city centre and its many highlights. With 239 rooms ranging from Single to Business XL and Junior Suites, this hotel is ideal for a variety of travellers and is perfect for anyone looking for a quiet and comfortable stay.

Start your day with hot croissants and freshly squeezed orange juice at the on-site breakfast buffet and end it next to the cosy fireplace at the hotel’s stylish bar lounge. Visitors can easily explore the area on foot and can reach the Dutch national museum, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam’s favourite green space, Vondelpark, and the trendy street market, Albert Cuijp, in less than 10 minutes.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: €69 – €278
Guest Rating: 8.4
Address: Nieuwezijdskolk 19, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Hotel Location

 

Red Light District Under 15 Minutes’ Walk

Red Light District Under 15 Minutes Walk

 

Ibis Amsterdam Centre

Ibis Amsterdam Centre

Less than a kilometre from the Red Light District and Dam Square, Ibis Amsterdam Centre is within 15 minutes’ walking distance to many points of interest in the city. Suitable for a variety of travellers, here guests will find 363 rooms with comfortable beds and a peaceful ambience to ensure a proper good night’s rest. Overlooking the River IJ, rooms are modern and cosy and offer a work area, flat screen TV and coffee making facilities.

Start your day off right with the hearty all-you-can-eat breakfast before exploring the city, as the vibrant shops and attractions on Warmoesstraat are less than a 10-minute walk from here. Stroll the picturesque canals in the evening and dine at the nearby Burger Bar, or indulge in the high-energy revelry at Bitterzoet, one of Amsterdam’s top clubs just a 5-minute walk from the hotel.

Star Rating: 3*
Price: €60 – €210
Guest Rating: 7.6
Address: Stationsplein 49, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam

Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam

Located just opposite of the main train station, Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam provides easy access to the city’s top cultural attractions such as the Amsterdam Museum, Anne Frank House or the Van Gogh Museum. Here guests are greeted with excellent amenities that include a gym, swimming pool, Finnish sauna, solarium and beauty salon.

Guests can choose from two wings, the Victoria Wing and Urban Wing which include multiple rooms options ranging from modern Superior, Executive, and Urban Suites. With a sleek and stylish design, upgraded rooms come equipped with in-room entertainment systems, luxury bathroom amenities and a work desk. In addition to in-room service, the hotel features three on-site restaurants and bars serving international cuisine and a wide selection of beverages on a lovely terrace. Wrap up your evening with drinks at the on-site Lobby Lounge Bar or Cafe Hill Street Blues right around the corner.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: €67 – €257
Guest Rating: 7.9
Address: Damrak 1-5, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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NH Carlton Amsterdam

NH Carlton Amsterdam

Within a 20-minute walk of Amsterdam’s major attractions, NH Carlton Amsterdam offers a perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Ranging from Standard to Superior XL, bright and spacious rooms suit a variety of travel preferences and budgets, with modern comforts that include a separate sitting area, sofa bed and choice of pillows.

Built in 1926, NH Carlton Amsterdam’s historic building boasts quintessential Amsterdam architecture right next to the local Flower Market, where the top three floors have private balconies overlooking the Dam Square and Munt Tower. A signature Antiox breakfast buffet is served every morning, while those in need of refuelling during the day will find the Van Kerkwijk, The Lobby Nesplein Restaurant & Bar and De Bekeerde Suster restaurant less than a 10-minute walk away.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: €63 – €237
Guest Rating: 7.3
Address: Vijzelstraat 4, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Nadia Hotel Amsterdam

Nadia Hotel Amsterdam

Located near the Royal Palace in Dam Square, Nadia Hotel Amsterdam is a small family hotel next to the historic Keizersgracht canal. An intimate hotel with 52 cosy rooms, guests who splurge for an upgraded room will be treated to private balconies with pleasant views of the canal and Westerkerk, a 17th-century reformed church in central Amsterdam. Those arriving by plane will find the location convenient, as the airport shuttle bus travels directly to the hotel.

Shop until you drop at the Kalverstraat shopping area only 500 metres away, while those in search for cultural attractions will find the Anne Frank House a three-minute walk from the hotel. The Westermarkt tram stop is at the front door with connections to Amsterdam Centraal station, or in 10 minutes you can be in De Wallen and the Red Light District by foot.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: €47 – €194
Guest Rating: 7.7
Address: Raadhuisstraat 51, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Hampshire Hotel Eden Amsterdam

Hampshire Hotel - Eden Amsterdam

A 12-minute walk to the Red Light District, Hampshire Hotel – Eden Amsterdam is in a perfect location for a weekend away or a city break. Boasting 218 modern rooms, guests can choose from the budget-friendly Standard Room, luxurious Executive or opt for the spacious Family Room, all featuring top-quality pillows and plush beds for a comfortable night’s rest.

Vibrant cultural attractions like Rembrandtplein and the Stopera are nearby, while the luxury shopping mecca Kalverstraat can be reached on foot. Guests will find a variety of restaurants, bars and shops surrounding the hotel to indulge in, including the Dutch favourite The Lobby Nesplein Restaurant & Bar and the bustling markets in Nieuwmarkt less than 15 minutes’ walk away.

Star Rating: 3*
Price: €41 – €230
Guest Rating: 7.3
Address: Amstel 144, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Amsterdam Centraal Station

Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Amsterdam Centraal Station

Adjacent to Amsterdam’s Central Station, Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Amsterdam Centraal Station is an upscale hotel less than 15 minutes’ walk from the Red Light District. Guests can choose from a variety of stylish rooms featuring floor-to-ceiling windows that frame stunning views of the historic city centre, while upgraded suites come equipped with separate living areas. Guests will find iMac PC/TVs in every room, with complimentary breakfast and late afternoon drinks and snacks provided for those in Executive Rooms.

Maintain your fitness at the on-site gym before grabbing your morning coffee at the lobby-level Starbucks. Come evening, and dine on delicious cuisine at the on-site restaurant Eastwood Beer & Grill or pair a refreshing cocktail with breathtaking panoramic views of Amsterdam at the hotel’s rooftop terrace. Guests can use the hotel’s convenient in-house Bicycle Rental service to explore Amsterdam’s top attractions or venture out on foot.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: €95 – €1135
Guest Rating: 8.8
Address: Oosterdoksstraat 4, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Hotel Location

 

Neighbourhoods Near Red Light District


Warmoesstraat
Warmoesstraat

One of the oldest thoroughfares in Amsterdam and running adjacent to the Red Light District, Warmoesstraat boasts a variety of historic shops, bars and coffee shops interspersed with galleries and cafes for visitors to explore. Dating back to the 13th century, shopping is a major highlight in the area with a variety of quirky shops selling anything from designer brand clothing to unique souvenirs. It’s where travellers can visit Amsterdam’s Prostitution Information Centre, an educational centre and resource for providing information about Amsterdam’s tolerant attitude towards prostitution. Visitors will also find the famous Condomerie shop, a specialised condom shop with a serious message. Amongst the eye-opening array of colourful novelty condoms and humorous displays of artwork, it also provides visitors useful advice about condom use.


Nieuwmarkt
Nieuwmarkt

A few minutes’ walk from Central Station, Nieuwmarkt, or “Nieuwmarkt square Market”, is a popular square that is known as one of Amsterdam’s oldest districts. A popular area for farmers in the 17th century, it now attracts both visitors and locals for its abundance of restaurants, cafes and coffee shops, in addition to lively markets that sell handmade crafts and fresh produce. Dine on a range of authentic Asian cuisine in Chinatown, walk through the former medieval city walls at the historic Da Waag or join the throngs of partygoers at night. Revellers can discover racey clubs like Casa Rosso that leave nothing to the imagination, or for a more tame night out, enjoy cocktails at a wealth of other popular bars and clubs in the area.

Bars & Clubs in the Red Light District

The Bulldog

 

The Bulldog Amsterdam

Located at the Leidseplein, The Bulldog Amsterdam is one of the Amsterdam’s most famous nightlife attractions. Operating since 1985, it is a former police station where visitors will find a quirky bar and an attached coffee shop. Here you can gawk at bills that are hung from the ceiling, observe mugshots that adorn the walls and sit in the former jail cells that preserve its nefarious history. The place attracts people from all over the world, including celebrities like David Bowie, Madonna and Snoop Dogg.


Wynand Fockink

A must-see on your Amsterdam nightlife itinerary, Wynand Fockink is a unique standing room only tasting house. Providing an intimate experience, this historic gem has been unchanged since 1679, where guests will find antique bottles lining the walls, including their original juniper-flavoured gin-like drink. Visitors can take a tour of the distillery and sample a range of over 60 different jenevers and liqueurs served in their designated glass, and soak in the extraordinary atmosphere where Churchill once visited.

Bitterzoet

A trendy club in the heart of Amsterdam, Bitterzoet translates to “bittersweet” and offers a variety of live music ranging from hip hop to reggae to jazz fusions, focusing on emerging talent and subculture bands. An energetic crowd often fills the two-storey nightclub venue, where it features a grand bar, stage and dance floor that is popular throughout the night. The rotation of music changes regularly here, so it is best to check the event calendar to ensure you get the most out of your stay at the late night spot.

Cafe Hill Street Blues

A grungy coffee shop and bar covered in colourful graffiti, Cafe Hill Street Blues is a small, unpretentious place to hang out and socialise. Located in the city centre near the Red Light District, travellers can have an authentic Amsterdam cafe experience here. Head downstairs for a set of comfy couches in the sitting area and enjoy the friendly service, variety of music and fun atmosphere. Head to the sister location, Hill Street Blues, in nearby Nieuwmarkt for a more laid-back atmosphere.

Cafe de Dam, Louis Bar

A hole in the wall bar in the heart of Dam Square, Cafe de Dam, Louis Bar is full of personality and perfect for a night out for both old and young partygoers. It’s a small pub with a set of steep stairs and top-notch hospitality, where beer lovers will appreciate the variety of lagers on tap. A bright and cheery atmosphere with festive decor, this bar offers the perfect blend of lively music, affordable drinks and a premier location.

 

Restaurants in the Red Light District

Restaurants in the Red Light District

 

 

The Lobby Nesplein Restaurant & Bar

An excellent spot to enjoy a meal, The Lobby Nesplein Restaurant & Bar stays busy at all hours of the day with a warm and welcoming ambience. From Sunday brunch to the flavourful dinner menu, the restaurant serves classic Dutch cuisine with an international flair. Guests can enjoy a refreshing Gin & Tonic in the sitting area with a fireplace and leather sofas or head to the terrace overlooking the Nesplein.

Van Kerkwijk

Within walking distance to Dam Square, Van Kerkwijk boasts a relaxing ambience, a stark contrast from the outside area buzzing with people. Food lovers will find a variety of fresh, made-to-order cakes, pies, soups and salads in addition to a rotating set of international dishes that change daily. Open late, pair your dish with a glass of wine or beer, as it is an ideal spot to indulge in at any time of day.

Molly Malone’s Irish Pub

An Irish pub close to Amsterdam Centraal station, Molly Malone’s Irish Pub is the ideal place to dine on delicious pub cuisine and sip on a pint. Boasting a spirited atmosphere, this cavern-like establishment offers an extensive menu of beers and whisky in one of the oldest warehouses in the Red Light District. Live Irish folk music and entertainment is standard here, alongside a live stream of football and rugby matches on their big screen.

Burger Bar

Located on the popular Warmoesstraat street, visitors will find Burger Bar, one of the city’s best places to grab a delicious burger late into the evening. A build-your-own system ensures you get exactly what you want, with extensive options to customise your meal. From Irish beef to Wagyu to chicken to its endless toppings that include egg, blue cheese and avocado, finish your creation with a glass of wine, beer, or milkshake for a hearty meal on the go.

De Bekeerde Suster

A historic restaurant, bar and brewery near the bustling Nieuwmarkt and Red Light District, De Bekeerde Suster is perfect for a delightful meal paired with freshly brewed beer. Translated to “The Reformed Sister”, the location was once a brewery run by nuns in the 16th century. Visitors can try the “Witte Antonia”, an unfiltered wheat beer attributed by one of the nuns alongside a variety of hamburgers, sandwiches and salads.

 

 

What do you love most about Amsterdam’s nightlife?

Amsterdam is a vibrant city with an alluring nightlife scene, where travellers come from all over the world to explore its stunning architecture, world-class museums and famous Red Light District.

At HotelsCombined, we find that travellers often choose hotels in the Red Light District that are a convenient walking distance not only to the city’s cultural landmarks and nightlife venues but near Amsterdam Centraal station, the main train station in Amsterdam. Hotels in this area accommodate a range of preferences and budgets, with many boasting on-site restaurants with hearty breakfast choices and opportunities to soak in panoramic views over Dam Square on a private terrace.

Beyond the controversies, travellers find the Red Light District boasts a plethora of cultural gems and interesting attractions that are worthy of further exploration. Multicultural neighbourhoods, buzzing shopping centres and cafe-lined streets, travellers who stay in this area are just a stone’s throw away from the city’s top attractions. From laid-back coffee shops to buzzing clubs, Amsterdam’s Red Light District entices a variety of nighttime revellers throughout the year.

What do you love most about Amsterdam’s nightlife? Let us know what you think is the most captivating aspect of this historic city.

References

  1. I amsterdam
  2. Netherlands Tourism
  3. Amsterdam.info
  4. AmsterdamTourist.info
  5. Visit Holland – The Netherlands

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2 thoughts on “The Best of Amsterdam’s Red Light District Nightlife”

  1. The last time I visited Amsterdam I stayed at Mövenpick’s city center hotel (located a few minutes’ walk beyond the Hilton Doubletree on the second map in the article). Because central Amsterdam is so compact, I’d definitely recommend for anyone looking for quiet accommodation with decent-sized guest rooms. It’s about a 20 minute walk to the bars and restaurants in and around the Red Light District, and probably 15 minutes to Amsterdam Central Station, which connects you with the rest of the city as well as the airport. Request a room on a high floor and you’ll be treated to panoramic views over the city and harbor.

    You’ll find the bars and restaurants inside the Red Light District are generally more expensive than those a few minutes away. If you’d prefer to drink with other tourists then pubs along the canals in De Wallen are your best bet. If you prefer a bar with a more local feel, head a little further south to places around the Amstel.

    If you find yourself to the north of the Red Light District, the city’s central library is 10 minutes away, and it’s home to a very good (and cheap!) Italian restaurant which serves up excellent pizza and pasta.

    If you’re in the mood for some modern French cuisine, check out Beulings. It’s about 15 minutes on foot from the Red Light District but well worth a visit for a special meal. The small dining room and open kitchen make it feel very cosy and the food was excellent.

    If you’re thinking about visiting the Anne Frank House, buy your tickets online to save waiting in line. You’ll still have to queue, and you need to be there at your allocated time, but it’ll save you potentially hours of waiting in line with those who didn’t pre-book.

    Lastly, if you’re looking for a different sort of museum experience, check out Electric Ladyland. It’s just around the corner from the Anne Frank House, in the basement of a shop run by an elderly couple, and offers a fascinating insight in to fluorescence though art, paints and rocks. It’s a tiny museum and certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I thought the passion and knowledge of the owners alone made it well worth the five euro fee.

  2. Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. I highly recommend it! I’ve traveled in many European countries, but Amsterdam’s public transportation (buses mostly) was very confusing — most likely because I don’t speak Dutch! Because public transportation can be so complicated, staying somewhere near the city center would make life a lot easier.

    The Anne Frank House is a must see, but make sure you allot enough time! I showed up about an hour before they closed, and I just barely got in and didn’t have much time to look around. Buy tickets ahead of time, or make sure you get there with plenty of time so you can truly enjoy looking around.

    The Royal Palace is a beautiful place to stop. Amsterdam has some of the most gorgeous architecture that I’ve seen. I didn’t have a chance to go inside, but even the outside of the palace is stunning.

    If you’re looking for inexpensive entertainment, and a unique experience, the Sex Museum is an option (although not one for the weak-hearted). At only €4, it can be a fun way to spend a few hours, as long as your traveling companions can handle the subject matter!

    My best tip: watch out for the bicycle lanes. I almost got hit multiple times by the incredible amount of cyclists!

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