Here are my personal tips -based on experience and research- for a great experience in Amsterdam which resulted in a good list of tips (food/restaurants, nightlife, museums, shopping, coffee shops, and parks).
Restaurant Adam, best restaurant of Amsterdam, if you want to have something special have diner here! (€40- 60 main dish but worth it!) Website
Hanneke’s Boom A great restaurant to site outside, the food is nice but you go there mostly for the hipster environment. (€15 to €25 for the main dish) but you end up drinking lots of beer there 😉 Website
Hemelse modder is a really nice Dutch/French organic restaurant, semi-fancy, almost only locals. Around €35 for a menu or €20 main dish. Website
Loetje aan het IJ Nice Famous Dutch steak restaurant. A specially the venue at the water is great! (€20 to €30 for a main dish) Website
And every day the bigest food market form the Netherlands (except Sunday) the local market Albert cuyp.
Great for special beers are Brouwerij ‘t Ij (it’s in a windmill), Spuyt, Tripel and de Prael. Also around nieuwmarkt square there’s loads of great bars like de Bekeerde Suster (Brewery) or Fonteyn.
A great 17th century Dutch liqueur distillery is Wynand Fockink, reserve a tasting hour for €17,50 including 6 drinks and a tour!
For more alternative places you can go to Roest or de Ceuvel, better with nice weather though.
The Bloemenbar at Spuiplein is open until late, the poolbar around the same area is aslo a very nice spot.
Go to the areas of Leidseplein or Rembrandtplein, I prefer the former. Paradiso is a beautiful old venue at Leidseplein for concerts as well as dancing.
A great Berlin style EDM venue is de school (usually only in weekends, so check what’s on).
For more alternative places go to pacific parc or skatecafe, always check what’s on though.
The (legendary) gay areas are around the reguliersdwarsstraat and the zeedijk.
For nice boutique shops go to the 9 streets and de Haarlemmerstraat in the Jordaan area.
For the expensive big brand fashion shops go to the “Pieter Cornelis hooft straat” between the Vondelpark (biggest park in Amsterdam) and the museum square.
For great secondhand clothes go to the nearby Waterloo square clothes market (Monday through Saturday) and the episode, time machine, zipper and kilo shops.
All the standard shops you can find at the kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk around Damsquare.
Coffeeshops (no coffee; Weed)
Great Coffeeshops are the Bluebird, the Grey Area, the Dampkring, 1e Hulp, Boerejongens, de Graal (really nice to hang out, play chess and board games, they even have a 5 euro an hour recording studio out back for customers!) and the Prix the Amie if your with a big group. Anothet great one is Smoke Palace which is on the Lineausstraat.
For the most popular museums (Anne Frank, Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum) order your tickets online beforehand to skip the hour long lines.
If you want to pick one of the main museums I would personally go for the Rijksmuseum. It’s the biggest museum in Amsterdam and they have art of all the great painters from the 17th century.
I would personally advise you not to visit the Heineken Experience. Long lines, expensive tickets and it’s basically just a brewery, nothing special.
If you want to learn more about the history and culture of Amsterdam go to the Amsterdam museum.
Some nice alternative museums are stedelijk museum (modern, next to Van Gogh), foam (photography) and Eye (cinema and video art, its a movie theater as well, with a bar with a wonderful view of Amsterdam).
Also have a peak inside Tuchinski, the oldest movie theater in Amsterdam build in an Art Deco style with a crazy interior.
The Vondelpark, next to museum square.
Sarphatipark, in the Pijp is parallel to the Albert Cuyp market
Amsterdamse bos is a nice place and they also have a lace where you can cuddle with goats.