Van Baerlestraat 27, Museumplein
Nestled in the luxe shopping corridor inside the Conservatorium hotel, Skins Cosmetics is a beauty junkie's dream come true. In addition to a far-reaching roster of skincare and cosmetics lines, many of which are clean (Rahua, Kjaer Weis, RMS), it holds one of the most comprehensive boutique fragrance assortments we've ever seen. The staff is helpful but not overbearing, so feel free to approach them if you're interested in a quickie makeup tutorial or guidance in picking out a new signature scent. The gleaming staircase at the center of the exposed brick space will take you directly to the Meraki hair salon, where you can schedule everything from cut to color to an emergency blowout.
Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat, Museumplein
This is Amsterdam’s grandest shopping street, where all the usual suspects—Chanel, Valentino, Cartier, Prada, and more—are well represented.
Van Gogh Museum
Museumplein 6, Museumplein
Although the breadth of the Rijksmuseum is impressive, there's something pretty incredible about being able to see the work of a single artist curated in great depth in one place. You'll see many of Vincent Van Gogh's most famous paintings (Sunflowers, Irises, The Potato Eaters) in the museum's permanent collection, as well as fascinating, lesser-known works in the evolving exhibition wing. There are also pieces by Van Gogh's contemporaries (e.g., Émile Bernard, Paul Gaugin, Maurice Denis) on display, which adds an interesting layer of context. All together, the museum tells a thorough story of Van Gogh's life and legacy, both of which are often shrouded in myth. Buy tickets online if you can. Also, depending on what time of year you're in Amsterdam, the museum may have extended hours, and the evenings tend to be less crowded times to visit.
Museumstraat 1, Museumplein
The Rijksmuseum is the Louvre of the Netherlands—meaning you won't see it all in one go, and it's worth returning to again and again. The Rijks first opened in 1800 under a different name but it's been in its current building since 1855. It underwent a ten-year long rebuilding and renovation process, which was completed in 2013. The heart of the museum is Dutch art from the Middle Ages all the way through the 20th-century. Not surprisingly, it's best to buy a ticket online so you don't have to wait in line at the ticket office. And like other Amsterdam museums, the Rijks is generally more quiet before 10am and after 3pm.
1071 An Amsterdam, Museumplein
While it takes up prime real estate in a former music conservatory just a stone's throw from the Rijks and Museumplein, Conservatorium has a lot more going for it than location alone: Design-wise, the architecturally impressive lobby is both breathtakingly modern and traditional, all while keeping to an elevated, but not at all pretentious vibe (don’t let the bustling entrance fool you, this is a great place to stay with kids). Fittingly, the rooms are spacious, outfitted with the most state-of-the-art gadgets, and come with all the classic hotel comforts like plush beds and pristine bathrooms. Furthermore, there’s a world-class spa and gym and two refreshingly health-oriented but still somehow indulgent restaurants—all a testament to the city’s wellness-focused mindset.
Van Baerlestraat 5, Museumplein
Right around the corner from P.C. Hooftstraat and a short walk from the Rijksmuseum, this conveniently located lunch spot makes for a surprisingly quiet reprieve on a day of sightseeing (there's another location in city center). The décor is crisp and bright, with white subway tiles occupying one wall and exposed brick on the other. The first thing you’ll see when you walk in is a deli counter stuffed with fresh seafood, from King crab legs to oysters. It should come as no surprise that the must-orders here are the fruits de mer seafood plates, but the fried cod and simple grilled fish dishes are also excellent. You won’t go wrong with a crisp glass of white wine.