Ah, Amsterdam… The city I used to live for five years and still hang out a lot due to work and friends.
There’s no need to inform you how to find the city centre or the main shopping street as everybody is heading there. Just follow the others as soon as you drop of your train at the Amsterdam Central Station. In a radius of 1 km from the Dam Square you will only find touristic stuff. Other touristic metropoles are the Rembrandtplein (plein = square) and Leidseplein. The streets Damrak, Kalverstraat and Leidsestraat connect this centres to eacht other. Although it is a touristic area, it’s all still very pretty and you will find beautiful buildings, museums, hotels, shops bars and restaurants here as well.
So what do I like about Amsterdam? I like Amsterdam best early in the morning when I cycle next to the canals to work. With not much other people around you zip back in time and can imagine horses and carriage passing by… the atmosphere is beautiful. You feel the potential sleeping energie of the city and with the canals, old trees and old buildings I always get a happy feeling.
During daytime I like the places in Amsterdam that bring me close to this feeling as wel. The more quite and remote places. Everytime I wander around in such a district I’m impressed again by the beauty and friendly vibe of the city. So where can you find these nice views and atmospehere?
– University of Amsterdam’s Oudemanhuispoort; go really back in time here
– Area around Dijkstraat; cute decorated houses with gardenplants everywhere
– Reguliersgracht and Amstelveld; beautiful views and cosy little square
– Staalstraat; romantic street with most romantic bridge of the city
– Brouwersgracht; other beautiful canalsite with views
– Prinseneiland; different vibe due to old warehouses turned into homes
Amsterdam grows fast. Popularity of the citycentre changes to neighbourhoods more peripher. One of this neighbourhoods is the NDSM-warf. Once a place for maintaining big ships, now an arty upcoming spot. A lot of festivals take place on the old warf with on the background the Berlinlike abandoned buildings, crane and graffiti. Next door arty bars open where you can have organic lunch or diner while enjoying the view over the Ij-river ánd the newly build architecture of Amsterdam. Hip offices settle here same as the biggest fleemarket of the Netherlands. A lot of folks only pay attention to the old buildings in the city centre of Amsterdam, but these new buildings are also worth a look. They show the modern side of Amsterdam in a good way. The buildings do fit right in their classic surroundings but still look really fancy.
-> There’s a Free ferry ride from behind the Central Station to NDSM-warf of 15 mins including spectaculair views of Amsterdam’s skyline and the arty NDSM-warf. And that all for nop. So this is my best tip when visiting Amsterdam.
There’s a big big partyscene in Amsterdam, but I’m not into it anymore. According to me, the initatives are great, but the right energie lacks. I rather go to Berlin or to Kiesgrube to party. Less expensive and more satisfying. If you are into electronis music; check out Studio 80 on Rembrandtsquare or club Trouw on Wibautstraat. Boom Chigaco Social club, Doka and Chapter 21 are locals favourites as well. Depending on the evening they play different types of music from electronic to 90’s R&B hits. During summertime there are plenty of mainly electronical festivals going on. You can find more info about clubs, parties and festivals on Residentadvisor.
The best shops of the Netherlands are in Amsterdam, for sure. I love the vintage shops and also some more common store chains. You find the best vintage stores scattered around town. For example on the Nieuwe Hoogstraat there are a few. Among other nice shops, you will find some vintage ones in the 9 streets, Haarlemmerstraat and Jordan area as well. My commercial favourites are River Island and Monki in Kalverstraat and Brandy & Melville in the Leidsestraat.
Bars and restaurants
Plenty of nice restaurants and bars around. making a reservation on fridays and saterdays is wise to do.
Some favourites for a drink and diner:
– Hannekes Boom, Dijksgracht 4. Unique place, feel out of town in the middle of the centre. Nice cheap foods and drinks
– Noorderlicht or Pllek, NDSM-warf. Hip and Hippie. Nice views and nice food.
– Café Vrijdag, Amsteldijk 137. New, nice, chill
– Bar Baarsch, Jan Evertsenstraat 91. nice, chill, jummie
– Mossel & Gin, Gosschalklaan 12. nice, hidden place.
– Restaurant Mazzo, Rozengracht 114, lot of nice (vegetarian) choise
– Jottum, Eerste Anjeliersdwarsstraat 17, Tapas how the Dutch like it
– La Maria, Vechtstraat 79, very cute little place with mediterrenean kitchen
– In de buurt, Lijnbaansgracht 246, an oasis between all the touristic places. nice atmosphere and good priced food
– Pasta e Basta, Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 8, very nice Italian place, bit expensive but worth it. let yourself surprise!
This are just some suggestions, wander around and you will find a lot of nice places yourself as well!
Other nice places to visit around Amsterdam
The Netherlands are full with characteristic old towns with the same kind of houses like Amsterdam. Even more special are the old defence architecture of some cities. For example Haarlem, Weesp, Leiden, Utrecht, Muiden and the king of all: Naarden. If you look this places up on the map, you will notice a star-figure around the citycentre. Not only beautiful in 2D, but also in 3D. All this towns have a really nice atmosphere with cute, different houses, small streets, watersides and nice restaurants and shops. A lot of visitors skip Hollands 3rd biggest city, Utrecht, but that’s a shame. Utrecht is really pretty and not overtrown by tourists. They even do have their own (in my opinnion more beautiful) canal! In Muiden you will find the prettiest castle of the Netherlands, the Muiderslot.