A Breakdown of Amsterdam’s Coolest Neighbourhoods
Need some advice on the best neighbourhoods to visit in Amsterdam? We break down the city’s coolest areas so you know what not to miss on your next trip to the funky city. From the hippest districts, leafy neighbourhoods to unmissable pockets like the Red Light District, get to know the Dutch capital like a local and discover more than just the centre. It’s time to familiarise yourself with some of Amsterdam’s coolest neighbourhoods using our comprehensive guide…
Let’s start with a central neighbourhood that you can’t miss if you’re visiting Amsterdam. Jordaan is a charming area tucked away in the centre of the city filled with trendy boutique shops, health cafes, hip coffee shops, cosy pubs, museums and markets. Famed for its tree-lined streets, beautiful canal views and the famous Nine Streets, (a trendy shopping street with Insta-worthy shop facades), it’s a picturesque part of Amsterdam. Stop by on Saturday at the Lindengracht Market if you’re a foodie to taste the amazing street food on offer. If we had to describe Jordaan in three words it would be charming, quaint and relaxing.
You can get your dose of culture in Jordaan at the Anne Frank House, one of the city’s best experiences. Dedicated to the Anne Frank, you will get a glimpse into her life in hiding. With canal side pubs, coffee shops, alfresco dining and some of the best cafes in the city, it’s no wonder this little pocket of Amsterdam is a local favourite.
- Must eat: Winkel 43 to try authentic Dutch apple pie
- Coffee shop: Paradox
- Our favourite coffee shop: Screaming Beans
- Pancake stop: The Pancake Bakery
- Favourite health/vegan cafe: SLA
- Favourite monument: Homomonument
- Museums: The Cheese Museum and the Anne Frank House __
Head to Amsterdam Noord (North), an industrial playground just across the water from the centre of town. This area was once a former shipyard and has now been transformed into a quirky, local hang out for Amsterdam locals. Graffiti, warehouses, windmills, vintage shopping and factories-turned restaurants is the vibe here so as you can imagine, it’s a pretty cool place attracting hipsters and young locals to enjoy the alt-scene. Amsterdam Noord is full of fun things to do; it’s even home to Europe’s highest swing located on the A’Dam Lookout. Swing over the city and experience panoramic views over Amsterdam. To get there, just catch a free ferry across from Central Station and you’ll reach the north of the city in just 3 minutes.
- Affordable lunch: Tolhuistuin
- Favourite cocktail spot: The A’Dam Lookout bar
- Urban beach: Pllek
- Vintage shopping: IJ-Hallen Vlooienmarkt(€5 entry)
- For graffiti & art: NDSM Wharf
- Favourite urban cafe: Noorderlicht
- Favourite sight: The Crane Hotel
Check out our guide on Things to do in Amsterdam Noord
One of the coolest neighbourhoods in Amsterdam. De Pijp is one of those places where locls love to hang out. You could easily spend a day or two exploring or eating and drinking your way around this trendy pocket of south Amsterdam. Not only is this area packed with some of Amsterdam’s hotspots like the Heineken Experience, and the Netherlands’ biggest and best market, Albert Cuypmarkt but it also has a chilled out, arty vibe with trendy galleries, incredible breweries and cool eating spots.
- The best beer tour: Heineken Experience
- A boozy lunch: De Pizzabakker for pizza and Prosecco
- For fully loaded hotdogs: Bulls & Dogs
- For street food: Albert Cuypmarkt
- Breweries: Cafe Gollem and Brouwerij Troost
- Our favourite coffee shop: Roxy
The medieval city centre of Amsterdam is full of old school bars and clubs, known best for its Red Light District and more promiscuous culture. You can’t come to Amsterdam and not experience the Red Light District at least once in your life. Walk down at night and you’ll experience prostitutes in red-lit windows, peep shows and sex shops that reflect the city’s relaxed and tolerant attitude to sex. It’s best to walk around the Red Light District in a pair or group but be aware that it’s forbidden to take photos of women. But it’s not all brothels and sex shops, there’s more to De Wallen than that. Narrow alleys, old architecture, stretching canals and some amazing Instagrammable spots. Head to the picturesque narrow houses of Damrak for the best photo opportunity. De Wallen can be a pretty misunderstood area so we recommend checking it out to see what we mean: this is also a residential area where families reside and it’s full of cool cafes, boutique shops, plus Amsterdam’s Chinatown is just a short walk away.
- Best Burgers and Happy Hour: Belushi’s
- Best photo spot: Narrow houses of Damrak
- Best Museums: The Sex Museum and The Hash Museum
- Best shop: Condomerie (the world’s first condom shop)
- Best restaurant: Restaurant Tibet
- Explore: Amsterdam Chinatown
If you love all things culture then add Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter to your itinerary. This historic area of the city is nestled just south of Leidsplien, one of Amsterdam’s buzzing squares. This neighbourhood is melting pot of art, culture and history where you will find some of the city’s best museums including the Rijksmuseum (a must-do if you want to learn more about Amsterdam’s history), the Van Gogh Museum (which houses the largest collection of Van Gogh’s work) and the Stedelijk Museum. You will also find the beautiful Vondelpark in the Museum Quarter, one of the cities prettiest parks where you can set up a picnic or rest your legs after a day of sightseeing.
- Museums: Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum
- Where to Eat: Cafe Brecht or ’t Blauwe Theehuis
- Our favourite coffee shop: Back to Black
- Our favourite hostel: Flying Pig Uptown
- For Dutch meals: Café Wildschut
- Photo spot: iAmsterdam sign
Escape the hustle and bustle of central Amsterdam to the greener, more spacious Westerpark. Lots of green space, a lively creative culture, amazing architecture and great restaurants, if you want to see more of Amsterdam than just the touristic areas, then make Westerpark your first stop! Located in Amsterdam West, Westerpark has a fun, lively atmosphere offering a mix of independent shops, old-school street markets, new restaurants and traditional cafés, all set against a green backdrop. The actual park itself is dotted with trees, vast ponds and plenty of grass to hang out with friends and enjoy the sun.
Home to the Westergas complex, this area often plays host to festivals and events that take place here. The Milkshake music festival is one of the most famous, as well as Awakenings Festival, so there’s always a party going on in Westerpark. Be sure to check out the art house cinema Kettelhouse too.
- For Craft Beer: Troost
- For seafood: Mossel & Gin
- Quirky things to do: Ton Ton Club (Retro arcade)
- To relax outside: Westerpark or Het Stenen Hoofd (an urban beach)
Need a hostel in Amsterdam? Check out the Flying Pigs
Article by Shereen Sagoo