People keep telling us we are fresh off the boat, but it sure doesn’t seem that way! It’s been 5 months and yet we are so comfortable with the city of Amsterdam already. We have made friends, we have jobs, we have traveled, and yet there is so much more to see and learn about Amsterdam. So, even though we have already written about how to be a tourist in your hometown, we have created S.M.A.R.T. goals for ourselves to keep exploring Amsterdam each month.
I want to start off by stating some limitations we have and also what kind of opportunities we have that make this possible for us. First of all, money money money money, things cost money and you can’t help but think about it. But we are on a budget (like most people)! Though we went out a lot in the beginning, we don’t do so much of that anymore. Just keep that in mind when we share our goals…we are not rich! Secondly, I do some work for Yelp and I’m an Elite member, so that comes with a few perks. Don’t hate…it’s called networking and just getting involved!
I had a nice long list of things I wanted to do each month…and then I lost it. It was probably for the best because some of the items were unreasonable and expensive. We ended up rewriting our list and narrowed it down to 5 goals that we think will keep us exploring, learning about our city, and having fun.
- Visit one new restaurant a month. This does not have to be a fancy michelin star place (though Sean REALLY wishes that was possible each month). A local cafe, a street vendor, a chain you haven’t been to yet, and ok, I’ll let FEBO count since I still haven’t been there.
- Visit one new bar a month. Why is this significant? The Dutch like to drink and apparently every expat seems to find themselves in the same habit. Amsterdam has some amazing cocktail bars, but beer is still huge here, too. Wine bars are popping up as well! We love The Wine Cellar and The Library for wine, and we’ve only been to one real cocktail bar called Hiding in Plain Sight which was great, and Vesper Bar should be next!
- Explore a new neighborhood. Amsterdam is small and yes you can bike everywhere. But the south-east and the south-west are quite a bit out of the way. And let’s face it, just because you ride through a place does not mean you have explored it. If you ask someone where they live in Amsterdam, they might just say “north”, “center”, “south”, “east”, “west”, “de Pijp”. I’m not sure why de Pijp get’s it’s own spot, but that’s the way it is. But each of those areas has many smaller neighborhoods with their own personality.
- Attend one event per month. This is where Yelp comes in a lot, but also Meetup.com, and various festivals. There is always something going on! Next month, there’s a chocolate festival, we just had a food truck festival, restaurant weeks, and of course tulip time is coming up, too.
- Go on one trip per month. Remember I said we’re on a budget? I think everyone thinks that if you travel you are rich or something crazy like that. It doesn’t have to be far and it doesn’t have to cost much. I’m pretty good at finding the deals. And we just found out that if you have the Personal OV-Chipcard, you can pay 50 Euro for a year and get 40% off the NS trains during non-peak hours! Hello cheap weekend trips in the Netherlands!
Bonus idea if you already have the Museum Card, add one museum per month to your list! We don’t have it yet, but it will make it on our list soon. This card gets you into most of the museums in the entire country. Definitely worth the fee!
To stay on top of it and to keep it on our minds, we’ll write a post each month reviewing what we did or did not do to show you how feasible this is! I’m excited! Let us know if you have plans to get out of your everyday routine and spice it up a bit by exploring what is around you.