MUST DO: AMSTERDAM
Van Gogh Museum: The Van Gogh Museum was one of the best curated museums I’ve ever visited. The museum did a fantastic job guiding you through the life and work of Van Gogh - it wasn't the typical like zzz-town museum where you aimlessly walk around just to browse the art and never really read the descriptions (at least I'm culprit to that). The museum is three stories high so it is definitely a good place to spend a morning & head to lunch after. I HIGHLY recommend getting tickets in advanced online. The walk-up line is ridiculously long in the high season (aka summer). Make sure you are there between 30 minutes of the time of your ticket, or they may not let you in! We did the beyond awkward backpack run to make it in time so please...save yourself.
Anne Frank House: I wouldn't even call The Anne Frank House a museum, you are fully immersed into the life and times of Anne Frank the moment you walk in the door. Before you enter the museum you are given an audio headset that guides you through the house, hearing the “voices” of Otto, Margot, Edith and Anne Frank etc. It was a moving experience to walk through the same rooms the family lived in, see the wallpaper, posters, kitchen sink etc. still intact. Seriously I had the chills in there once or twice. Visiting while you are in Amsterdam is an absolute must. Again, I highly recommend purchasing your tickets way in advanced (as is in when you book your flights) because they are usually booked months + in advanced.
Canal Tours: After a long day of travel, the best way to spend your first day in Amsterdam is a relaxing canal tour. Amsterdam is known as the “Venice of the North” as it is a city on water, making the canal tour the best way to explore the city! I always make mental notes of places I liked on the tour to visit later on in my trip. Nothing worse than finding about a cool, hidden area the last day of your trip. Amsterdam is also famous for their houseboats- quirky,colorful homes that float along the canal. The history of the houseboats and how sought after they are today was so interesting, all information we learned from our guide. If you’re traveling on a budget, there are canal group tours. You can see stands set up by the water all around the city. Another option would be a private tour, and it is best to book through your hotel.
Red Light District: The Red light district spans about 7 blocks in the outskirts of Amsterdam and is home to live sex shows, half-nude women dancing in the windows, and sex shops of your wildest imagination aka AWESOME. We walked through the district after dinner one night and it was one of the most entertaining things I’ve experienced in Europe also one of the most entertaining experiences I've shared with my parents (ha). Most people there are "spectators" but every once and awhile you see someone emerge from a woman's room and the crowd quite literally goes wild. Not even joking they also have the most ridiculous sex shops in terms of having anything you could ever possibly want or need, SO if you're in the market for anything of the sort goooo.
Coffee Shops: Coffee shops in Amsterdam are essentially covers for marijuana shops. I would do some research before walking into any coffee shop, google the best ones in your area. None of the shops advertise, so don’t be on the lookout for a “WEED HERE” sign (not that I did that or anything...). Again, once you’re in the shop ask whoever is helping you for their recommendation & they will be able to help you narrow down what it is you want. Buy your own supplies before going. There are plenty of smoke shops around Amsterdam, especially in the Red Light District.