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Old Posted Mar 7, 2014, 2:49 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Barcelona
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Amsterdam is extremely walkable and most worthwhile sights to see are within the canalbelt anyway. Just walking around will give you plenty to see and do. Also consider seeing the city from the water. If a tourboat is too touristy, rent a boat, get some food and drink and explore the canals for yourself.
Besides the obvious like the Redlight District, Dam Square, Rijksmuseum and the other museums in the museum district, the Central Station, Anne Frank House etc, these are a couple of my favourites located in the city center.

-a little hidden away and accessible from a small sidestreet of the main shopping street (Kalverstraat) is Begijnhof
-the old post office (you have a good one in DC as well ) now shopping center Magna Plaza, behind the Royal Palace on Dam Square. It's one of my favourite buildings in Amsterdam
-Chinatown is basically a street named the Zeedijk which runs from southeast from the Central Station (over the water to the left if you're coming from there) to de Nieuwmarkt with the Waag. It has a buddist temple and some good eateries (Nam Kee is nationally famous). Between this street and Damrak is the Redlight District (go when it's dark, it's more exciting).
-Damrak is the wide street leading from the Central Station to Dam Square. It's very touristy (don't eat there) but it does take you past de Beurs van Berlage, the old stock exchange and the finest example of Amsterdamse School architecture.
-at the end of de Kalverstraat and Rokin (they converge) is Muntplein, with another personal favourite, de Munttoren. There's also a floating flowermarket, touristy but oh well...
-if you take de Leidsestraat, you end up on Leidseplein and a bit farther along Vondelpark. If it's a sunny day that's a nice neighbourhood and park to explore or to eat lunch. You're also close to the museum district now.
-two museums not located in the museum district but worthwhile are NEMO and the National Maritime Museum, both east of the Central Station.
-there are a lot of great new buildings around the water (het IJ) such as the new library, a new music building and the new film institute.
-Dappermarkt, daily open air market in de Dapperstraat
-west of the city center there's the Nine Streets which is an unique shopping area with a lot of small unusual shops.
-as for urban neighbourhoods to explore, go west from there to the Jordaan and another neighbourhood to explore would be De Pijp, south of the city center.

Also, get the I amsterdam city card for transportation and discounts:
http://www.iamsterdam.com/
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