What are some of your favorite memories of Amsterdam?
Most were forgotten the next day :-P
Kidding - Queen's day (April) is an event to catch. Made Octoberfest seem like a museum field trip.
Museum night - in November - buy a ticket for about 20 euros and explore almost all of the fantastic museums, which will remain open through the night. One big museum-party.
How would you spend 36 hours in Amsterdam?
Chill at Vondelpark
Visit the attractions - if I had to pick, I'd say Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum, Heineken Brewery, Anne Frank Huis. though there are several other museums as well.
Eat at the pancake house on Weteringcircuit.
Relax with good beer at the plazas - Leidseplein, Dam square, rembrandtplein.
Ride a boat along the canals - either with friends, or a hop on hop off boat tour that starts at many places, including at Heinekenplein.
Just outside Amsterdam, visit the legendary "windmills" at Zaanse Schaans, and the picturesque town of Volendam.
If you are there at the right time of year, check out the tulips at keukenhof
What kind of practical information should first-time visitors know about Amsterdam?
Stay as close to the center as possible. If you stay inside the A-10 ring, you can bike anywhere in Amsterdam. Even better would be to stay inside the last ring canal (inside or around Stadhouderskade) - Amsterdam is very compact, so as long as you stay near the center, you can esily bike or even walk to all the major attractions.
Must rent a bike (can do this easily near Centraal Station) to get around - it may seem tricky at first with all the rules etc. but this is simply the best way to get the most out of the city. It is very bike friendly.
Language shouldn't be an issue, most people speak very fluent English.
Driving and parking inside Amsterdam are nightmares (and expensive).
What are some precautions that people should take while exploring Amsterdam?
None that I am aware of really - it's one of the safest cities in Europe. I think the biggest threat you could face in Amsterdam is your bike getting stolen :-P
so just make sure to lock it well.
Any other indispensable pieces of advice to share?
Definitely rent a bike to get around - don't waste time and money on public transport unless you have to go outside the city!
The Carousel Pancake House, opposite the Heineken Brewery. Though if you see the merry go round horses around you, you may think this kind of a gimmicky place, it's actually anything but. The food is fresh and outstanding and the place has a homely feel to it - like a Dutch version of the quintessential American diner. It was a favourite haunt for Sunday brunches after late nights on Saturdays. There are tens of types of delicious pancakes you can try - all of them were great and easily got you through the entire day without needing another meal. I also really liked the English Breakfast they did, which was possibly the best I have had anywhere in the world