From LAX, KLM and Northwest have nonstop service; United flies direct (one stop). Restricted round-trip fares begin at $626.
To call numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (international dialing code), 31 (country code for the Netherlands) and the local number.
WHERE TO STAY:
Hotel Acro, 44 Jan Luijkenstraat; 20-662-55-38, fax 20-675-08-11, http://www.acro-hotel.nl. Acro is conveniently located in the museum district, steps away from a tram stop and across from the Rijksmuseum. We paid about $90 a night, including breakfast. Free New Year's T-shirts were a nice touch. Doubles are $70-$115.
AMS Hotels, 20-683-18-11, fax 20-616-03-20, http://www.ams.nl, has convenient locations throughout the city: AMS Hotel Beethoven, 43 Beethovenstraat, 20-664-48-16; AMS Toro Hotel, 64 Konigslaan, 20-673-72-23; and AMS Museum Hotel, 2 P.C. Hoofstraat, 20-662-14-02. Doubles $117-$190.
Amsterdam-American, 97 Leidsekade; 20-556-30-00, fax 20-556-30-01, http://amsterdam-american.crowneplaza.com. Built around 1901, the sprawling Amsterdam-American is an Art Nouveau monument. Doubles $350.
The Park Hotel, 25 Stadhouderskade; 20-671-12-22, fax 20-664-94-55, http://www.principalhotels.co.uk. A lovely hotel with a convenient museum district location. Doubles from $135.
WHERE TO EAT:
Cafe Luxembourg, 24 Spui; 20-620-62-64, http://www.diningcity.nl. Sandwiches and snacks, breakfast and brunch, drinks. No hassles if you linger awhile over a cup of tea. Lunch items from $4, suppers $10.
Djanoko Indonesisch Restaurant, 61 Van Baerle-straat; 20-662-96-65. Djanoko has been here for more than 50 years. Open 5-11 p.m. Dinner for two $35.
Restaurant Het Begijntje, 6-8 Begijnesteeg; 20-624-05-28. At this family-owned restaurant near the Amsterdam Historisch Museum, you can enjoy anything from chocolate milk to a complete dinner, including excellent apfelstrudel. Entrees $8-$15.
The Pancake Bakery, 191 Prinsengracht; 20-625-13-33, http://www.pancake.nl. Pancakes and omelets (from $5.65); open noon to 9:30 p.m.
Granada, 13 Leidsekruisstraat or 69 Lange Leidsedwarsstraat; 020-625-10-73, http://www.dinnersite.nl. Bar, tapas and restaurant; terrific food and a warm welcome. Open from 5 p.m.; closed Tuesdays. Tapas from $5, dinners from $15. Reservations encouraged. Located near Leidseplein.
Restaurant Pulpo, 87 Willemsparkweg; 20-676-07-00, http://www.restaurantsparks.nl. Mediterranean and French cuisine, modern decor, informal ambience. Dinner for two with wine $70.
TO LEARN MORE:
Netherlands Board of Tourism, 355 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10017; (888) GO-HOLLAND (464-6552), http://www.holland.com.