Culturally and socially, Amsterdam is the most modern of cities.

But with its picturesque cobbled streets, serene canals, and iconic architecture, the city has also managed to retain ties to its historic past.

Getting to Amsterdam from the Schiphol Airport is an easy train ride that lets passengers off in the heart of The Old Center, which is the main downtown shopping areas with many unique stores along with variety of restaurants, from local Dutch cuisines to a popular South American steak house. The Old Center in Amsterdam is also home to the famed Red Light District and has several gay bars that serve cocktails. Ironically, while marijuana is sold on practically every street, finding a cocktail outside of hotels can be challenging for those looking to relax with a Happy Hour drink. Beer, however, can be found everywhere in Amsterdam.

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On the other side of the Old Center is the Canal Belt, a charming area that is like taking a step back in time. The canals were originally built during the 1600s to encircle the then-center of town. There are graceful mansions along the tree-lined canals as well as antique shops, top line hotels, and restaurants. The Canal area is also the location of the Ann Frank House Amsterdam, where visitors can see the place where Frank and her family lived in hiding from the Nazis until discovered and sent to the concentration camps.

The Leidsplein is the entertainment center of Amsterdam, filled with music and dance clubs, cafes, bars, and movie theaters. This area tends to be very crowded with locals and tourists alike.

Amsterdam is also a cultural center and the museum district boasts three noted attractions: the Rijksmuseum*, the national museum of the Netherlands that features a large collection of Golden Age Dutch masterpieces; the Van Gogh Museum; and the Stedelijk Museum, which features classic modern and contemporary art. And lets not forget the Anne Frank House located on the Prinsengracht canal, it is a museum dedicated to the Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank, who hid from the Nazi’s with her family.

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One of the city’s up and coming areas is the Waterfront that has been undergoing gentrification and now features several upscale restaurants and clubs and shows off a sleeker, more modern side of Amsterdam.

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