9:30-11:30 AM: Vondelpark
|Vondelpark by: J. Kunst (CC)|
Nearly 10 million visitors include Vondelpark in their Amsterdam tour planner, drawn by the park’s abundance of ponds, lawns, and winding footpaths. Often compared to New York City’s Central Park, this sprawling green area covers approximately 47 hectares (120 acres) and remains a vital part of Amsterdam’s urban experience. As you stroll with the family or ride a bike, look for a Surrealist sculpture of a giant fish, created in 1965 by Pablo Picasso. Frequent weekend activities at this location include music and dance performances at the open-air theater, as well as kid-friendly events at several play areas and large playgrounds.
12:30-3:30 PM: Rijksmuseum
|Rijksmuseum by: Dennis Jarvis (CC)|
Housing masterpieces by some of the Netherlands’ most distinguished artists, Rijksmuseum boasts a huge collection of nearly 1 million objects, about 8,000 of which sit on display. Established in 1800, the museum occupies a majestic building combining elements of both Renaissance and Gothic architectural styles. Considered a masterpiece by architect Pierre Cuypers, the building preserves several centuries of art history and holds many of the finest paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Walk through the museum’s “Hall of Fame” galleries to see works by Rembrandt, Ruisdael, Hals, Steen, and Vermeer. Avoid the biggest crowds by visiting after 3pm, when you can enjoy the galleries and sculpture gardens at your own unhurried pace.
4:00-5:30 PM: Anne Frank House
|Anne Frankhuis by: Amateur Photography by Michael (CC)|
End your Saturday tour of the city at the Anne Frank House, a hugely popular historical attraction that receives approximately 1 million annual visitors. The secret attic where Anne wrote her wartime diary sits inside a 17th-century canal house at the very heart of the city and offers a powerful insight into a dark moment in European history. Indisputably one of city’s best-known sites, the melancholy house-museum displays Anne’s actual diary, a touching reminder of one girl’s optimism in the face of life’s harsh realities.
10:00 AM-1:00 PM: Heineken Experience
|The Heineken Experience by: Arjan Richter (CC)|
No Amsterdam itinerary can be complete without the Heineken Experience, a self-guided tour of a 19th-century brewery known globally for its Heineken pilsner. Designed to engage and entertain beer lovers from around the world, this tour allows visitors to walk through the industrial buildings where Heineken brewed its famous pilsner for well over a century. In addition to discovering the history of the Heineken family, you can also learn all about the process of pilsner brewing though a series of interactive multimedia displays. Go early to beat the crowds, and end your visit with a cold pint of the brewery’s famous beer.
2:00-4:00 PM: Prinsengracht
|Prinsengracht and Westerkerk by: Daryl Mitchell (CC)|
If you need another outdoor thing to do in Amsterdam, consider spending part of your Sunday exploring the area along Prinsengracht, the longest and liveliest of the city’s main canals. The 17th-century waterway stretches for about 3.2 km (2 mi) and remains one of the city’s major landmarks. Well-preserved houses constructed during the Dutch Golden Age line the riverbanks, while the surrounding streets feature numerous shops, cafes, and historical buildings. The canal’s architectural highlights include the tallest church in Amsterdam, the city’s narrowest house, and one of the oldest cafes in this part of Europe. If you have time to spare, stop by the only houseboat museum in the world, located inside a former freighter built in 1914.
A Weekend Getaway in “Venice of the North”
A growing favorite with travelers looking for a brief but memorable holiday, Amsterdam offers plenty of weekend sites and activities guaranteed to fill up any visitor’s itinerary. Make your two-day visit unforgettable by exploring the city’s parks and museums, and make time to take a long walk along its canals, which offer an ideal place for getting the feel of this great European capital.