Are you planning to explore Amsterdam bars? This post is precisely for you!
Amsterdam is the largest city in the Netherlands and the country’s capital. The city is renowned for its beautiful canals, excellent museums, and exciting nightlife.
Approximately 5 million tourists visit the city annually, making it a central tourism hub.
This is a blessing and a curse. There’s a wide variety of restaurants, Amsterdam bars, and activities. Simultaneously, the number of tourists and options can be overwhelming.
That’s why I asked my friends from Amsterdam for their best local tips. I’ll highlight some important events followed by the best bars, restaurants, and coffee spots per area. The places with a were recommended by multiple people.
Whether you are living or visiting Amsterdam, these tips will likely come in handy!
Now, let’s dive into Amsterdam bars, restaurants, and coffee in the following areas: North, South, East, West, and Center.
The central station is in the city center, and you can find all the other areas around that using a compass or the simple map below
De Negenstraatjes en de Jordaan are two important areas in Amsterdam’s city center.
The Negenstraatjes (or “Nine Streets”) is a small area with nine streets (as the name implies) full of little design stores and cafes. It’s a great place to stroll around and do some shopping.
The historic neighborhood of De Jordaan is known for its narrow streets and pretty canals. It’s a popular place for tourists and locals, and there are many small shops, cafes, and art galleries. It’s most famously known as working-class neighborhood with authentic bars to get your daily dose of Dutch directness.
You can visit the Anne Frank House or a funny-looking science museum for kids called NEMO. The museum looks like a ship but is the inverse of the tunnel it’s built on. It’s nice to combine NEMO with Hanneke’s boom.
Amsterdam-Zuid is one of the most crowded parts of Amsterdam with 8,500 homes per square kilometer. It’s also famous for the Zuidas, home to many offices, especially for bankers and lawyers. This is why some restaurants in this area are more expensive.
Another famous area in Amsterdam Zuid is called De Pijp. It’s a very popular area with bars and restaurants. You’ll not have problems finding a nice place, but you might have difficulties getting a reservation.
It also houses some of the most famous museums in Amsterdam, namely the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum, which are all located on the same square called her Museumplein, known for the “I AMSTERDAM” sign. Unfortunately, the sign has been moved, so you won’t get your legendary picture here. Check out the new spot if you need to please your Instagram followers.
During winter, you can ice skate on the square, and there’s a fantastic little fossil store called Stenelux. If you want to visit the museums, make a reservation in advance.
Amsterdam Oost (East Amsterdam) is a vibrant and diverse neighborhood in Amsterdam. It is famous for its lively atmosphere and mix of cultures and has many popular bars, restaurants, and shops.
The Flevopark and the Oosterpark are two of this area’s many parks and green spaces. There are also several cultural institutions in Amsterdam Oost, such as the Tropenmuseum and the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ. Overall, Amsterdam Oost is a lively and active neighborhood that visitors should check out.
A lovely day trip to visit the lighthouse island is recommended. This will be a unique experience, with a boat to the tiny island near Adam, eating in a greenhouse in the summer and by the fire in the winter.
North Amsterdam, known as Amsterdam Noord, is a vibrant and ever-evolving part of the city. It’s famous for its rich industrial history, thriving arts community, and stunning natural scenery. Amsterdam Noord may be reached by ferry just across the IJ river to the north of the city center.
Some of the most visited places in the area are the NDSM Werf (a repurposed shipyard turned arts and culture center), the EYE Film Institute and cinema, and the A’DAM Tower (a landmark observation tower with panoramic views of the city). Amsterdam Noord has many parks including The Noorderpark and Amsterdamse Bos.
Amsterdam West is known for its arts scene and hip hangouts. It’s located next to the Singelgracht and Vondelpark and home to the Erasmuspark and the Rembrandtpark.
The area has numerous well-known landmarks, such as the Westergasfabriek (a repurposed gasworks turned cultural center). The old factory houses a museum called Fabrique Luminiere with light shows and immersive visual experiences of established artworks.
Whether you’re in Amsterdam for a long weekend or several weeks, please use these tips to make the most of your stay. I’m grateful for my friends helping me out and excited to visit all these places myself.
King’s Day (or Koningsdag) is a national holiday in the Netherlands celebrated on April 27. It is the birthday of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, and the whole country celebrates and has parties.
On this Day, people in the Netherlands usually wear orange, the national color of the Netherlands, and participate in street parties, parades, and other public events.
Therefore, King’s Day is a time for people to get together and celebrate the culture and history of the Netherlands. In addition to the national events, many cities and towns also have festivals and events to mark the Day.
It is super fun; you have many festivals and people selling things on the streets, but you’ll have just as much of a great time wearing something orange and walking around the streets. If you have an old Lonely Planet, make sure to visit on the right dates because it changed when the king’s mother (the former Queen) retired.
Amsterdam’s history of LGBTQ+ rights and activism is long and rich. The city has been at the front of the fight for sexual and gender minorities to get equal rights and be accepted.
In the early 1900s, Amsterdam had a thriving gay subculture, one of the first places to celebrate gay pride openly. Gay pride started as a protest movement and led to the first official gay pride parade in 1971. Since then, it’s been organized every year, and the whole city goes out to celebrate.
Today, many people think that Amsterdam is one of the most welcoming cities for LGBTQ+ people, and its annual pride parade is one of the largest and most well-known in the world. It’s a beautiful and busy event with spectacular parade boats on the canals.
You can find more info and the dates here.
If you like electronic music, it’s worth checking out Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE).
ADE is a conference and festival for electronic music that takes place every year in Amsterdam. This festival is one of the most significant events of its kind in the world, and people from all over the world come to see it. There are many kinds of electronic music at the festival, like house, techno, and trance spread out over parties throughout the city.
It also has panel discussions, workshops, and events for industry professionals to meet and talk with each other.
ADE usually takes place for five days in October. It is put on by the Amsterdam Dance Event Foundation, whose mission is to promote electronic music and help the industry grow. Ticket typically sells out quickly, so ensure you get your tickets on time. You can find more info on their website.
The Amsterdam Light Festival is a wintertime event that happens every year in Amsterdam. It is a celebration of light, art, and culture, and it has a variety of light installations and works of art by artists from around the world. The festival is usually held in the city’s historic canal district for about two months.
During the festival, people can do various things, like take boat tours of the light installations, go on walking tours, or participate in workshops. The Amsterdam Light Festival is a popular event for locals and tourists, and it’s a great way to see the city differently.
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If you have any tips that are not part of this list, please leave them in the comments!