Few cities are as quirky and universally known as Amsterdam. It is a wildly popular tourist destination, and for good reason. The general vibe in Amsterdam and the feeling you get walking the streets is distinctly unique and impossible to ignore. The next time you find yourself in Amsterdam and need something new to do, check out these cool offbeat activities:
Visit A Coffee Shop
Be honest, this is on your list. After all, Amsterdam's coffee shops are known around the entire world but certainly not for their coffee. Of course, with millions of eager tourists flocking to the city, there are tons of coffee shops that are nothing more than abysmal tourists traps. It is these places, these chains, which should be avoided at all cost. For a local experience, head on over to Grey Area, my personal favorite -- always a tasteful selection there.
Tour The Subway
It is possible to take a subway tunnel walking tour through Amsterdam's Noord-Zuidlijn Lign (North-South Line). Over the course of two hours we learned all about the history and development of the city's massive public transportation system. However, these tours are primarily in Dutch -- guests must book a private tour if they want it in a foreign language. (Of course that could also be a very offbeat thing to do, take a tour in a foreign language you don't know and try to see how much of it you can make sense of.)
The line is scheduled to reopen in 2018, which means this offbeat option will only be around for the next few years.
Explore The Noord
This place is so great I almost don't want to write about it, lest it become cheap and commercialized like so many other mainstream tourist "hotspots." For visitors looking for a cool place to go where the locals still outnumber the tourists, head on up across the river to Amerstdam-Noord (North Amsterdam).
A decade ago, there was nothing spectacular to the Noord, but over the last few years things have been quietly and quickly improving. New restaurants, start-ups, and other hipster-friendly joints are becoming more and more plentiful. Although the area remains overlooked by most foreign visitors, don't expect it to stay that way for long. Visit now while the area is still raw and untainted.
Go To A Flower Auction
Although this activity has grown increasingly popular with tourists in recent years, that doesn't make it any less offbeat. Where else are you going to see millions and millions of cut flowers in one giant auction house? Nowhere. Literally nowhere. The Aalsmeer Flower Auction is the largest in the world -- so big, in fact, that nearly every cut flower in the world that is intended for public sale passes through here. The sheer logistics of it are mind-boggling, but the beauty of it all will leave a lasting impression on you.
Bonus: Wander The City
Amsterdam is great at keeping things secret, and you never know what you will find when you just wander off into the distance without a set plan. Ask locals or just follow your gut for best results, but if you have limited time or would rather wander with a group, consider a walking tour of Amsterdam's infamous Red Light District, De Wallen, the oldest part of the city.