Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the only place on Earth where it feels like being LGBTQIA+ is the majority. This Dutch capital city is worth a visit for its picturesque canals, unique architecture, and lively LGBTQIA+ scene. Their annual Pride celebration is notorious for its massive street parties and canal parade.

I thought Amsterdam was just a party scene, and when I went there at 22 for the first time I was totally cool with that. But there is so much more than that, from the Van Gough museum to Anne Frank's house to so much other history and beauty. You definitely don't need to be a partier to put Amsterdam on your bucket list.

Bike along picturesque canals and try authentic *coffeeshops* in one of the most inclusive cities on the planet. Amsterdam solidifies itself as famously LGBTQ+ friendly, a destination where homosexual couples can feel safe holding hands while exploring new terrains. With a diverse and thriving LGBTQ+ scene to experience in the city, and several pride festivals *throughout* the year there are plenty of great ways to enjoy this holiday destination.

During the first week of August, visit the picturesque canal-lined streets of Amsterdam for one of the most riveting festivities for LGBTQ+ in Europe. Amsterdam has solidified itself as one of the most progressive cities in the world, providing a world-class experience for visitors seeking to enjoy the busy festivities during Pride and making the most of the gorgeous city around them.

Through the elaborate canals and cobblestone pathways of historic Amsterdam, lies some of the most exciting Kings Day events in the country. Visit Amsterdam, the heart of the Netherlands, for fun activities and parades as well as world-famous nightlife. Visit a traditional coffee shop for some 420 friendly products and experience the local lifestyle of cycling the picturesque streets.

Sometimes referred to as the NL Theater Festival’s quirky sister, Amsterdam Fringe Festival is all about bringing avant-garde productions to light. https://amsterdamfringefestival.nl/

Amsterdam is one of the few destinations that I’ve visited with friends. The amazingly walkable city by the water was the perfect destination for a girl’s trip. As a Black traveler, I expected to stand out a bit— over 81.7% of the population in the Netherlands are Dutch. However, the stately city of Amsterdam is very culturally diverse, being home to more than 180 nationalities. Immigrants from the Middle East, Morocco, Turkey, and others have greatly influenced the city, especially its culinary scene. This rich cultural mashup is a huge plus for any travel nerd. I experienced little to no trouble in Amsterdam when it came to my race. Maybe it was because I was traveling with a racially diverse group of friends, but I didn’t have that feeling of sticking out like a sore thumb. But a group of four young women walking the Red Light District after dark? LOL. Our small female friend group stood out pretty clearly as we walked that popular tourist trap after dark. The red-lit street brings many gawkers and bucket-list tourists, and we were no different. However, we did receive a bit of unwanted attention.  We received the stares, winks, lewd questions, and remarks with disbelieving laughs and shared cringes. I would have felt very different about the attention had I been traveling solo. I guess it goes to show that sometimes, putting in that extra effort to group plan is worth it. I also saw my first (and last) peepshow. It was definitely strange. but now I can check it off my bucket list. TIP: Don’t overlook the Amsterdam Museum or the Van Gogh Museum. Yes, they are popular tourist spots, but they’re popular for a reason. Plan your trip to coincide with one of the special interactive exhibits at the Van Gogh Museum for some particularly unique Insta inspiration. For foodies, it’s time to take advantage of Amsterdam’s rich cultural scene. Check out Ten Kate Market for a myriad of global vendors, from Asian to Spanish to French. For that storybook moment, have brunch at a canal-side restaurant like Bakers and Roasters. Or for a more colorful vibe, try Bulls and Dogs for a milkshake so photo-worthy you won’t want to drink it (but you will anyway)! 

Amsterdam is an extremely charming city with many little houses that look like they are about to tip over and beautiful waterways that weave around the city. It is one of the best cities for walking around and also has some really great restaurants that are very romantic around the Valentine's Day period. There is something so special about this city's beauty that you have to experience to understand, and what better way to do so than with the person you love.

With New Years parties ranging from fancy balls to all night raves, Amsterdam would certainly be an exciting place to celebrate the new year! Explore the beautiful canals by day and check out the mini winter festival. Make sure you find some oliebollen (fried dough balls) and champagne to ward off evil spirits heading into the new year!

To ride bikes along the canals.

There’s pretty much one rule when it comes to King’s Day in Amsterdam: wear orange. This might be the world’s rowdiest birthday bash, beginning way back in 1891 on Queen Wilhelmina’s special day. Since then, it’s safe to say it has wholly transformed. In recent years it has drawn anywhere from 600,000 to upwards of 1 million partygoers, so get ready for one hell of a hangover if you choose to join in.

Netherlands North Holland

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