Courtesy of Amsterdam Museum

It's the perfect time to get out and about, enjoying the city's many other pursuits.

November 16, 2015

There’s so much to do in Amsterdam, it’s easy to avoid going shopping. In fact, it’s the perfect city for pointless pottering about—but if you need some ideas, here are just a few must-dos when you’re in town.

1. Breakfast at De Bakkerswinkel

Start the day off in leisurely fashion with a delicious breakfast at De Bakkerswinkel. Choose one of their homemade croissants, fresh sourdough bread, and other baked goodies. There are several branches around town, and all of them are good.

2. Connect with the Past at Amsterdam Museum

What better way to avoid shopping than to ponder Amsterdam’s long history as a trading capital? Find out all about the once mighty merchants of the city at the quirky and enjoyable Amsterdam Museum.

3. Stroll through the Vondelpark

Get active by going for a run, a bike-ride, or just a gentle stroll through the Vondelpark, the city’s most central and best-loved park. It’s also great for people watching: get a cup of coffee and watch the world go by.

4. Lunch Like a Local, at Loetje

Join the locals for a steak (reputedly the city’s best), prawn croquettes or an uitsmijter (fried eggs with cheese)—plus great Belgian fries—at Loetje, a typical Dutch eetcafe (the national version of the bistro).

5. Get contemplative at the Rijksmuseum’s Asian Pavilion

As well as the Old Masters, the Rijksmuseum has a fantastic Asian collection—the perfect place to contemplate the emptiness of consumerism amongst the serene sculptures of Buddha and assorted boddhisattvas.

6. Beer—And a Windmill—at Brouwerij t’IJ

Take in some classic Dutch scenery at Brouwerij t’IJ, which is located next door to a fine old windmill. This microbrewery produces some of the city’s best organic beer—a great alternative to shopping at any time.

7. Crepe Expectations at the Pancake Bakery

In Amsterdam, you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy pancakes for dinner. The Pancake Bakery, housed in a lovely old warehouse on picturesque Prinsengracht, serves up adult-sized savory Dutch pannenkoeken in every permutation you can think of, from Italian-style caprese to Thai chicken to chile con carne, plus a range of temptingly sweet options for after (assuming you can manage it).

Jane Szita is on the Netherlands beat for Travel + Leisure. She lives in Amsterdam.

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