An itinerary for people interested in art and design. Visit Amsterdam’s top museums, art galleries and trendy cafés and restaurants.
Start your first day by just exploring the city and especially the stately grachtenpanden (canal houses) of the Keizersgracht, the Prinsengracht and the Herengracht. Don’t forget the Gouden Bocht (Golden Bend), which is the most prestigious part of the Herengracht between Leidsestraat and Vijzelstraat. If you have time left, visit the Grachtenmuseum, to learn all about the history of the canals and the beautiful canal houses.
In the afternoon wander around in the Jordaan, one of Amsterdam’s most famous neigbourhoods. Originally a poor neighbourhood for labourers, it was one of Amsterdam’s first neighbourhoods to become gentrified. While gentrification is a justifiably controversial topic, it did make the Jordaan an area dotted with lots of art galleries, trendy cafe’s and hip boutiques. Especially the area called Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets) is well worth visiting and by some considered to be the epitomy of Amsterdam.
For lunch or a quick dinner visit the Vegan Junk Food Bar, a vegan fast-food restaurant with a street art atmosphere. It is located at the Regulierdwarsstraat 57 near the Gouden Bocht of the Herengracht.
An Amsterdam art itinerary wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Museumplein. So spend your second day visiting the top museums at the Museumplein. The Rijksmuseum, the Van Goghmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum and the MOCO museum are all located at the Museumplein. Visit the Night Watch at The Rijksmuseum or Van Gogh’s famous masterpieces in the eponymous museum. The Stedelijk Museum focuses mainly on art of the last two centuries and also offer some top pieces, like Gerrit Rietveld’s Red and Blue Chair. It also has a comprehensive collection of drawings and paintings by Kazimir Malevich. The Moco Museum (Modern Contemporary Museum) is an independent museum dedicated to exhibiting modern and contemporary art. The museum focuses on making art more accessible to the public.
Visiting two of the museums will probably take you the whole day. For dinner you can visit one of the many restaurants around the Museumplein. If you fancy Asian haute cuisine try CHANG-I, one of the best Asian restaurants in Amsterdam and just walking distance from the Museumplein.
Reserve day 3 for smaller museums and galleries, of which there are many in Amsterdam. The Straat Museum focuses on all kinds of street art and graffiti. Many top street artists from around the world are on display on murals and huge canvases. The Rembrandt House Museum is a small museum in one of the houses that Rembrandt used to live. It has a lot of etchings and sketches on display and gives you an insight on how this Dutch Master used to work on his masterpieces.
If you’re just as fond of cats as art, a museum not to miss is the Cat Cabinet. This independent museum is completely dedicated to cats and art. There’s kitty-themed work by Picasso, Rembrandt, Theophile Alexandre Steinlen, Henriette Ronner Knip, Toulouse-Lautrec and more. Enjoy it all while petting the cats that actually live in the museum.
Tip! One of the best hotels in Amsterdam to stay in as an art lover is the Art’otel. All rooms feature unique art pieces and inside the hotel is an art gallery dedicated to contemporary art.
Take note! When planning to visit more than one museum, it might be more affordable to make use of the I Amsterdam City Card.