Amsterdam is known around the world for its risqué coffee shop culture and salacious Red Light District, but there is far more to this culture-rich small city. The Dutch capital has more than 100 canals and more than 1,200 bridges throughout the city; it’s one of the most bikeable cities in Europe and it’s full of world-class museums and hundreds of restaurants.
To learn what Amsterdam has to offer, you need to get away from Leidseplein Dam Square and the Red Light District. Head to these neighbourhoods using these Amsterdam area guides:
This charming neighbourhood is near the Anne Frank House. While it lacks the canal architecture of other areas, the upmarket village is perfect for meandering; you never know what you’ll stumble upon.
Art Galleries. Jordaan is home to some of the best art galleries in the city. Check out the Go Gallery, which displays a range of colourful street art. Galerie Buuf and the KochxBos galleries are also worth visiting for tributary work and underground art, respectively.
The Pijp was once a working-class quarter and its name (the Pipe) comes from its long, narrow streets. This neighbourhood is bohemian and eclectic. You’ll find artists working alongside Syrian restaurants and Surinamese delis.
Albert Cuyp Markt. The market is the largest street market in the Netherlands and his been trading since 1904. The neighbourhood has a strong multicultural vibe and you’ll find that reflected in the market’s offerings.
The Plantage is the place to go if you love parks and green space. It’s a great place for picnics or enjoying nature at the Hortus Botanicus (botanical gardens) or the Park Frankendael – a former 17th-century country estate that is now a public park.
Restaurant Bloem. This restaurant was a storehouse in the 1800s and its terrace has a gorgeous view of the Entrepotdok (Warehouse Dock) and the water surrounding it.
The nine cobbled side streets that connect the canals between Leidesgracht and Raadhuisstraat make up the 9 Straatjes neighbourhood and offer plenty of history and unique shops to explore.
Shopping. You’ll find boutique and vintage stores in 9 Straatjes, filled with that Dutch personality you won’t get when you explore Leidestraat or the Magna Plaza.
Waterfront and Noord
Take one of the city’s free ferries up to Noord (North), where you’ll find chic architecture, trendy waterside spots, and fun festivals in the summer.
Villages. While this area is notably modern, you can also discover historic villages like Nieuwendam and Zunderdorp that still have traditional stolpboerderijen – square farmhouses with pyramidal roofs.
Of course, you have to see the canals! The grachtengordel surrounds the Old Centre and it represents what most people visualize in their minds when they think of Amsterdam.
Greenwoods. If you’re a fan of al fresco dining, you can enjoy Amsterdam’s high tea on a terrace by the canal. Freshly baked scones and muffins at this New Side tea shop are an excellent way to start your day.
Now that you know what to do, see, and eat, maybe it’s time to find yourself the perfect hotel in Amsterdam too! Check out Hipmunk to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Photo via Pearly Meixsel via Trover