Friday, November 27, 2015

What can you avoid in the capital of the
Netherlands? These experiences are probably ones you'd never miss.
This Dutch city may conjure images of bucolic canal side
row houses, Technicolor tulips, and leisurely bike rides, but make no mistake
about it: it's one of the world's most popular destinations, and faces
crowds all year long that flock there as a result.
Many of them come to
experience what they think are typical local traditions or practices, but
there are several popular spots with nary a local in sight.
Want to experience
the city authentically? Read on for this list of tourist traps you can pass
on.
1.
Shopping on Kalverstraat Amsterdam's main shopping street is always
crowded, mainly it seems with day-trippers from out of town, and the stores
consist primarily of bland global chains.
For browsing, it's hopeless, so
give it a miss and go to the Nine Streets instead.
2.
Drinking on the Leidseplein Why drink in one of the most crowded,
noisy, touristy (and slightly overpriced) bars on the Leidseplein, when you
can visit one of the city's fine brown cafes and drink with the locals
instead? 3.
Hanging Out in Dam Square With its fire-eating buskers,
costume wearing human "statues" and droves of tourists, Dam Square could
be anywhere—there's nothing really Dutch about it.
Head to the Nieuwmarkt
instead for a more atmospheric city square.
4.
The Red Light District You may feel you have to see it, and though
there is evidence that it's coming around, the Red Light District is
charmless as a whole—unless you find drunken stag parties, the smell of
beer, fries and urine, and constant streams of gawping tourists appealing.
5.
Heineken Beer It's Dutch, it's ubiquitous, and it's certainly a
global marketing phenomenon, but there are much better tasting native beers to
drink when you're in town.
Try anything from Brouwerij 't IJ, for
starters.
6.
Driving It's never worth hiring a car in Amsterdam.
The roads are
narrow, bicycles are legion and own the road, traffic jams are endemic, and
parking is impossible—and ruinously expensive if you do manage it.
7.
Drinking Tea If you order a cup of tea in Amsterdam, you are going to
be disappointed.
The water is seldom hot enough to extract any flavor from the
teabag (teapots are the rarest of rarities in Amsterdam), and most eateries
will rarely be able to produce fresh milk or lemon to go with it.
Stick to
coffee.
8.
The Metro Banish all visions of the London Underground and Paris Metro
from your mind.
Amsterdam's version is old-fashioned, uncomfortable, and not
even particularly fast.
Take the tram.
Jane Szita is on the Netherlands beat for Travel + Leisure.
She lives in
Amsterdam.
Wondering what you can miss when visiting this Dutch capital?
Here are the most overrated things to do in Amsterdam.

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