Indulge your inner art critic
There’s an art critic in every one of us, and if you haven’t found yours yet then a quick trip to the understated but exceptional Stedelijk Museum will sort that out. The Stedelijk has a great permanent modern art exhibition you can browse through, but if you want to go more contemporary then head to the Moco Museum. The Moco Museum has a great Dali exhibition, but is also the kind of place you can expect to find the works of ‘rock stars,’ like Banksy, on display. Of course, no visit to the aptly named Museumplein can be complete without a stop at the Van Gogh Museum, which tells the story of the artist himself alongside more than 200 paintings and 500 sketches.
Window shop from the world’s biggest fashion houses
There are many reasons why Oud-Zuid is the city’s swankiest neighbourhood and PC Hooftstraat is certainly one of them. PC Hooftstraat is the best place to stare at beautiful things we might never buy: Chanel, Gucci, Hermés, Louis Vuitton, Chopard, Cartier, Mont Blanc and Armani all have a presence there. And after not-buying that €2000 bag to carry your imaginary €500 pen, further inspiration can be found at one of the many clothing, wine or chocolate stores on Beethovenstraat. Thankfully, Beethovenstraat also has many cafes and restaurants that will not break the bank, so you could always treat yourself to something sweet instead!
Get pampered at a day spa
All of us could do with a few hours at Akasha, the Conservatorium Hotel’s wellbeing centre. Their selection of luxury treatments extends to a signature facial using 24 carat gold, diamonds and pearls that is guranteed to put you on top of the world again. Next to the Conservatorium hotel, you’ll be lured in by the niche beauty brands and exclusive perfumes at Skins Cosmetics Amsterdam. And if you prefer a more accessible experience, book in for a manicure or massage at Soap Treatment Store on Van Baerlestraat.
Cycle, yes cycle, through a museum
OK so maybe not through the exhibits themselves, but the Rijksmuseum is the only museum we know of that has a bike tunnel running right through it; often full of incredibly talented (and sometimes not so talented) musicians and performers. The building is a masterpiece of architecture designed in 1885 by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers – the same man who designed Amsterdam’s Central Station – and reopened in 2013 after a ten-year renovation. It beautifully blends the old with the new, and staring at it you’ll often have a hard time noticing where one ends and the other begins. Understandably, it has been a designated national heritage monument since 1970.
Catch a classical concert, sometimes for free!
The Royal Concertgebouw is one of the world’s finest concert halls. It has exceptional acoustics, meaning it was purpose-built with meticulous care so that when the first string in Schubert's Symphony No. 8 vibrates, every spine in the room tingles with it – and all this achieved before modern recording equipment had even been invented. The Concertgebouw has an ongoing schedule that includes nearly year-round, free lunchtime concerts, as well as regular 75-minute guided tours that are well worth the low fee. If you’re a fan of classical music but have never listened to it live, you'll soon discover that your high-end speakers have nothing on the building’s sound quality.
Explore more of Oud-Zuid, or check out some other Amsterdam neighbourhoods!