Going Dutch in Amsterdam
BY Billy Kolber
July 06 2009 12:00 AM ET
Convention exit strategy
The "I Amsterdam" card (Iamster-dam.com) gives you 24, 48, or 72 hours of public transportation, admission to 26 museums, and benefits at dozens of attractions and restaurants. Having one in your pocket makes it easy and fun to duck out of that afternoon plenary session for a more rewarding hour at, say, the Museum of Bags and Purses (Herengracht 573; +31 20 524-6452; Tassenmuseum.nl), where purse collectors will find a justification for their obsession and a museum store to fuel it. Or be one of the first visitors to explore the Hermitage Amsterdam (Amstel 51; +31 20 530-7488; Hermitage.nl), an ambitious satellite of the Russian museum, which reopened this past June after a ¤39 million ($53 million) upgrade.
Amsterdam's many small, unusual stores make shopping fun again. Save an afternoon for strolling around the Nine Streets (TheNineStreets.com), with numerous boutiques and cafés. Be sure to check out the affordable homoerotic wood-block prints and pottery at Eddy Varekamp (Hartenstraat 30; +31 20 625-7766; GayArts.nl, open Monday-Friday and by phone request). They make perfect housewarming gifts for your friends in Palm Springs. Denham (Prinsengracht 495; +31 20 331-5039; DenhamTheJeanMaker.com) is the flagship store and studio of Jason Denham. There are lots of stylish and interesting things here, including the charming sales staff, who are happy to slip you into a pair of custom-made jeans from the Blue Salad Bar.
In the nearby Jordaan District (JordaanWeb.nl), the 17th-century buildings are now home to artists, students, and young entrepreneurs. Jordaan hosts the Lindenmarkt (Lindengracht), a general market, on Saturdays and a flea market at the Noordermarkt on Mondays. Check out Broer & Zus (Rozengracht 104; +31 20 422-9002; BroerenZus.nl ) for cool, fashionable kids' clothes. After all that strolling, rest your legs at Winkel (Noordermarkt 43; +31 20 623-0223), a bar and café open late and serving an impossibly light, not-too-sweet Dutch apple pie. It's the perfect antidote for whatever ails you.
Need to blow off some steam after a long day? Head right on over to Warmoesstraat, the city's "leather" street, home to many rainbow flag-waving businesses, including the Cockring (Warmoesstraat 96; ClubCockring.com), the city's most dependably busy gay club any night of the week. Find more gay nightlife ideas at NightTours.com/Amsterdam.