10 x The Best Areas to Stay & Visit in Amsterdam

Looking for the best areas to explore in Amsterdam? As locals we break down our most favorite neighborhoods. So you know where to stay and where to go during your trip!

Canal Ring – City Center (Grachtengordel) 

The Canal Ring, located in the heart of Amsterdam, is a place of historical charm and beautiful canals. The area is filled with boutique shops, art galleries and cozy cafes. It’s an excellent choice for a romantic stay and for those who want to be close to attractions like the Anne Frank House, 9 streets, Noordermarkt and the Rijksmuseum. Staying here gives you a fantastic Amsterdam experience, but it is also the most touristic area at the same time. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site with elegant 17th-century canal houses and tree-lined waterways, creating a lovely setting. 

Canal in Amsterdam

The Canal Ring generally covers the area bordered by the Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht canals, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods, including iconic streets such as Damstraat, Kalverstraat and Leidsestraat. 

Our local favorite tips:

De Jordaan

The Jordaan is a neighborhood located in the city center that we’d like to highlight separately. The neighborhood attracts artists, creatives and those who appreciate a laid-back yet vibrant atmosphere. Stroll along the charming canals, explore local art galleries and discover hidden courtyards. The Jordaan is renowned for its boutiques, vintage shops and cozy cafes. On Saturdays, don’t miss the Noordermarkt, where you can find everything from antiques to organic produce.

Townhouse in the Jordaan neighbourhood of Amsterdam

This area is also home to the Anne Frank House, Westerkerk and next to the 9 streets. In the evening, the Jordaan comes alive with bars, restaurants and live music venues, offering a taste of the local nightlife.

Our local favorite tips:

Amsterdam North – NDSM Wharf (Amsterdam Noord)

Once an industrial shipyard, linked to the Dutch East India Company (VOC), how times have changed! This area has undergone a big transformation.The NDSM Wharf is an open-air canvas, you’ll see impressive street art and graffiti turning old warehouses into vibrant art pieces everywhere. NDSM is home to many studios, galleries and waterfront dining spots. This has made it a magnet for travelers looking to explore beyond the traditional tourist destinations.

Throughout the year, Amsterdam Noord hosts a lot of cultural events and festivals which we love! You can take a free ferry to and from Amsterdam Central Station, which is also a beautiful ride if you ask us. 

Our local favorite tips:

  • To stay: DoubleTree by Hilton, Botel
  • To do: STRAAT museum
  • Free: Discover all the graffiti and street art
  • Lunch: NXT NDSM
  • Diner: Gio’s by the river and Contrast
  • Best view: From the free ferry that you take to go to North

Old-West (Oud-West)

Oud West in Amsterdam is a vibrant neighborhood that gives a great idea of the local life. We live here ourselves and we absolutely love it! It’s located right next to Vondelpark and so close to big attractions like Rijksmuseum and the Spiegelgracht. In this neigborhood you’ll find many cozy cafes and really good restaurants. And a little tip from us: if you’re in Oud West wander around trough the beautiful streets like Bosboom Toussaintstraat, Eerste Helmersstraat, Derde Helmersstraat and so on. 

Street in the Oud-West neighbourhood of Amsterdam

Our local favorite tips:

  • To stay: Maison ELLE, Conscious Hotel
  • To do: Visit the Foodhallen
  • Free: Picnic at Vondelpark
  • Lunch: Gertrude and Karavaan
  • Diner: La Parole and Pastis
  • Best view: Derde Helmersstraat

Westerpark Neighborhood (Westerparkbuurt)

Nestled around Westerpark, this Neighborhood has a lot of different things to offer. The park itself hosts festivals, markets and provides a green oasis for a nice walk. On The Westergasterrein, a former gasworks, you’ll find many food hotspots, art galleries, cafes and activities. Westerparkbuurt is really close to the Jordaan neighborhood and many popular attractions.

Our local favorite tips:

The Pipe (De Pijp)

What sets this area apart is the cosmopolitan atmosphere that fills every corner. This neighborhood attracts a diverse crowd, from (many) students to young professionals and families. The lively markets, such as the iconic Albert Cuypmarkt in De Pijp, showcase a variety of fresh products, lotsss of food and unique finds. In the evening, this area is perfect for enjoying a delicious dinner and for going to a bar afterwards. You will find many locals here, as it is our go-to area for non-touristy bars like De Tulp or Het Paardje! 

Our local favorite tips:

  • To stay: Sir Albert Hotel, Pestana Amsterdam Riverside
  • To do: Shopping in all the amazing boutiques like Anna + Nina, Cotton Cake, Penny Lane and so on
  • Free: Visit the famous Albert Cuyp Market (try lotsss of food)
  • Lunch: Locals all day brunch and Mana Mana
  • Diner: Eetcafe Wijmpje Beukers and Bar Bellini
  • Best view: Nieuwe Amstelbrug (bridge)

Old South incl. Museum Quarter (Oud Zuid incl. Museumkwartier)

The classy gem of Amsterdam! This neighborhood screams elegance and chic boutiques. The Museum Quarter is the cultural heart, home to some of our biggest museums like the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. Art lovers, this is your Disneyland. Oud Zuid itself is all about the impressive 19th-century architecture mixed with a modern, upscale charm.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

You can go to P.C. Hoofdstraat for some high-end shopping and chill in Vondelpark afterward. You’ll find many coffee spots in this neighborhood and in the evening, there’s the Concertgebouw for some classy tunes. 

Our local favorite tips:

  • To stay: Max Brown Hotel, Conservatorium Hotel 
  • To do: Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum
  • Free: You can visit the gardens of the Rijksmuseum for free everyday between 9 AM and 5 PM. You will find art, pretty flowers and many locals who have a coffee here!
  • Lunch: Take away a homemade Italian sandwich from Renzo’s and enjoy it at Moods Coffee & Brunch
  • Diner: Eetcafe Schotsheuvel and Yerba
  • Best view: On Museum Square you have one of the best views over Rijksmuseum

Amsterdam East (Amsterdam Oost)

This neighborhood is a melting pot of cultures, with its streets buzzing with a lively mix of shops, cafes and a variety of flavors from around the world. Oost is known for its relaxed charm, where every corner seems to tell a different story. It’s a great place for some vintage shopping and trying foods from all over the world. East often attracts people who value cultural diversity, trendy cafes and local markets.

The Amstel river in Amsterdam at night

If you’re up for some laid-back vibes and a mix of cultures, East is the place to be.

Our local favorite tips:

Eastern Islands (Oostelijke eilanden)

Nestled in the heart of Amsterdam the Eastern Islands offer a tranquil escape with a touch of historic charm. Made up of Kattenburg, Wittenburg and Oostenburg, these islands have a lot of history from when the Dutch East India Company (VOC) thrived. You can see old warehouses and places where ships were built, showing how the city used to be connected to the sea.

The maritime museum of Amsterdam

Visitors can check out the old Maritime Museum or take a walk by the harbor to enjoy the pretty views of Amsterdam. On the eastern island you’ll find a mix of local breweries, cozy cafes and small parks, giving you a nice mix of peace and interesting things to see. In summer we love to go swimming at the ‘’Marineterrein’’, where all the locals come together to eat, swim & listen to music. 

Our local favorite tips:

If you enjoyed our ultimate neighborhood guide, be sure to check out the Best and Most Beautiful Streets You Want to Visit in Amsterdam as well. You may also like to check the 19 x Best Breakfast Places in The City. Looking for Low-Budget Tips? We’ve got you!

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