The first place I take a visitor from out of town is the Rijksmuseum; the recent restoration was worth having the main buildings shut for several years.
To escape tourists I head east to the Eastern Docklands (Oostelijk Havengebied in Dutch). The IJhaven and Zeeburg areas have lots of history, interesting architecture and good places to eat. Try Roest in the summer.
For some quiet time, slip into one of Amsterdam’s smaller old churches (the Zuiderkerk, for example). Often you’ll be one of only a handful of people in it.
If you come to my city, get your picture taken with the iAmsterdam letters. It’s kitschy but everyone does it. There is always a set at the Rijksmuseum on the Museumplein side. A second set sits at Schiphol airport and a third set moves about the city. You’ll often find them across the river from Centraal Station in front of the A’DAM Toren and the Eye film museum.
If you have to order one thing off the menu from Seasons (our favourite restaurant in Amsterdam), it has to be the fire shrimp.
The Society Shop is my one-stop shop for great clothes for someone of my age and profession.
Locals know to skip various chip/fries stands scattered around the city and check out the two best fries places (Vleminckx Sausmeesters and Manneken Pis) instead.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to the Albert Cuypmarkt. Lots of things to see and little snacks along the way.
For a huge splurge I head to the Hotel Okura and eat either at Serre ($$) or Ciel Bleu ($$$$).
Photo ops in my city include the main canal district, the Amstel river and the Westerdok area.
If my city were a celebrity it’d be George Clooney — good-looking, cultured, worried about the planet and popular with all ages.
The most random thing about my city is the Red Light District. Sex shops, good restaurants, interesting shopping and the old university all within several easily walkable blocks.
In my city, an active day outdoors involves hiring a bicycle and exploring the areas outside the old central area. Taking the ferry north across the IJ and cycling north gets you into the Dutch countryside very quickly.
My city’s best museum is Foam, an outstanding space to see the wide and varied world of photography.
My favorite jogging/walking route is in the Amsterdamse Bos. It is a fair distance south of the old city but has 10K and half marathon routes marked out. While everyone goes running in Vondelpark, more people should try Beatrixpark.
You can tell a lot about my city from the season. It’s a party city in the summer; in the winter, everyone moves inside to warm and cozy places to escape the dark and wet weather.
You can tell if someone is from my city if they can talk on their cellphone, balance a baby and a bag of groceries while cycling full steam in the rain.
In the spring you should head to the surrounding countryside to see the tulip fields in bloom. Keukenhof is the traditional place to spend a day.
In the summer you should rent a boat and putter along the canals like half of the city does. Try boaty.nl in the Oud-Zuid area or Mokum Boot in the Oost.
In the fall you should drink a bock beer at the Brouwerij ‘t IJ, especially if it’s a nice day when you can drink it outside in the beer garden at the foot of the Molen De Gooyer.
In the winter you should take in the Amsterdam Light Festival. Started in 2012 and now running annually in December and early January, the Light Festival brings light-based art installations to Amsterdam during the darkest time of the year. Some of my photos of the installations are available here.
A hidden gem in my city is the City Archives (Stadsarchief Amsterdam). It’s in a beautiful old building and the exhibits are always interesting.
For a great breakfast joint, try dim sum at Oriental City or Sea Palace.
Don’t miss taking in a concert at the Concertgebouw. It’s one of the best places to hear music in the world and the Dutch take their classical music very seriously.
Just outside my city, you can visit Haarlem. It’s a short train journey away and has several excellent museums like the Teyler and the Frans Hals.
The best way to see my city is from a bicycle.
The best book about my city is In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist by Pete Jordan. An engaging book documenting the love affair between Amsterdam and the bicycle.
When I think about my city, the music that comes to mind is the awful Dutch dance music that accompanies every Koningsdag (was Koninginnedag up to 2014) and summer festival. I definitely not a fan but you can’t help but associate it with summer in the city.
If you have kids, you won’t want to miss the Nemo Science Museum. And it has one of the few sun terraces in the city.
Het Grachtenfestival could only happen in my city. The combination of summer weather, the historic architecture of the Jordaan canal district and classical music all often enjoyed from the comfort of your own boat could only happen in Amsterdam.