My husband and I have a 24 hr layover in Amsterdam in May. What are the "must do's"?
what floats your boat?
Anne Frank (get tickets in advance via website)
Rijks Museum (arrive early right when it opens to avoid lines)
Van Gough Museum (get tickets in advance via the website)
World Press Photo show at the New Church next to the Royal Palace at Dam Square
I would not pick more than one museum, unless weather is really bad. It would rob you the opportunity to enjoy the canals and open area.
With one day: nice weather walk around the Jordaan area, eat lunch at a café on one of the canals. Anne Frank house in the Jordaan area. A boat ride through the canals. Pub at night.
Raining: boat ride through the canals and museums. If you like beer, check some of the older pubs.
I love the Rembrandthuis museum. You can see the big guys (Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh) , but visiting Rembrandthuis is something you can do in an hour and still have time to see other sights or just people watch from a cafe. It is much less crowded and you are in the artists studio, which was a nice change from the grandness of the larger museums.
The standard tourist attractions that I would try to see at least one of include the Rijksmuseum (at least see The Night Watch and Vermeer's paintings of people wearing lace collars), the Anne Frank House, the National Monument and the exterior of the Koninklijk Paleis (royal palace) on Dam Square, and one of the canal boat tours.
But my quirky personal "do not miss" list includes the following: walking across the Magere Brug (skinny bridge) on the Kerkstraat and (if you're lucky) seeing how it works when a boat is passing under it on the River Amstel, visiting the Homomonument around the corner from the Anne Frank Huis in the plaza next to the Westerkerk, walking through the Albert Cuyp Market on the Albert Cuypstraat and eating a raw herring from one of the vendors, visiting the Rembrandthuis (museum) which will get you into a corner of the Jodenbuurt (former old Jewish district), and the Hollandsche Schouwburg on Plantage Middenlaan which is a museum of the Nazi deportation of Amsterdam Jews. Have an out of the ordinary tourist experience and see at least one of them.
The one attraction which I missed on my 2 visits which is supposed to be just wonderful is the Hortus Botanicus (botanical garden) on Plantage Middenlaan.