Amsterdam Travel Guide

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Updated: April 7, 2020

The 96 best hotels, restaurants, shops, tasting houses, cocktail bars, craft breweries, cafes, museums, markets, tours, neighborhoods, and things to do in Amsterdam.

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Getting Around Amsterdam Travel Guide

Getting around Amsterdam is easy and enjoyable whether by foot, bike, or public transportation.

Amsterdam Hotels

1. Pulitzer Amsterdam • Western Canal Ring • $$$$

Luxury boutique hotel located right on a canal and walking distance to many of Amstedam’s top attraction. Close to shopping, great restaurants, and trendy bars. My favorite hotel in Amsterdam. • Map • +31 20 523 5235

2. Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam • Southern Canal Ring • $$$$

Glamorous hotel spread over six 17th century palaces featuring a luxury spa, indoor pool, and a private courtyard. With a special gastronomic focus, the Waldorf Astoria boasts four restaurants and bars, including the two-Michelin-starred, fine dining Spectrum. Rooms and suites feature understated, elegant furnishings, many with separate living rooms and views over the UNESCO heritage Herengracht canal. Beautifully located within a short walk of Rembrandtplein, Hermitage Museum, and plenty of shops and restaurants. • Map • +31 20 718 4600

3. Andaz Amsterdam • Western Canal Ring • $$$

Whimsical design hotel overlooking Prinsengracht canal in the historic canal ring. Original video art in the lobby, contemporary rooms with open-plan bathrooms. Numerous boutiques, cafes and restaurants of hip Nine Street shopping neighborhood right on its doorstep, and the Museum Quarter, Anne Frank House and the medieval center a short walk away. • Map • +31 20 523 1234

4. Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam • Medieval Center • $$$$

Swanky hotel with a spa, indoor heated pool, and several wonderful restaurants and bars, including one with a Michelin star). Set in two 15th century convents later converted into royal residences (the hotel offers a daily historical tour), rooms and suites here combine vintage and contemporary elements with canal, garden, and city views; apartments add kitchenettes and private entrances. Fantastic, central location near the Royal Palace, Dam Square, Hermitage Museum, and lively shops, restaurants, and bars. • Map • +31 20 555 3111

5. De L’Europe Amsterdam • Medieval Center • $$$$

Elegant, luxurious 19th-century hotel with a contemporary makeover and an interior filled with Dutch Masters reproductions and crystal chandeliers. Sits on its own peninsula in the southern part of the medieval center; great views of the Amstel river from many rooms. Michelin-starred dining onsite and exceptional, personalized service. Short walk to Rembrandtplein and its surrounding nightlife; walkable to the Museum Quarter and ideal for exploring the medieval center and the Red Light District. • Map • +31 20 531 1777

6. The Dylan • Western Canal Ring • $$$

Boutique hotel with 40 individually-styled rooms inside a stunning 18th-century canal house, located on a quiet street in hip Nine Street shopping neighborhood in the historic canal ring. Michelin-starred restaurant and own canal boat. Walking distance from the medieval city center, Museum Quarter, and Anne Frank House. • Map • +31 20 530 2010

7. Conservatorium Hotel • Museum Quarter • $$$$

Palatial neo-gothic hotel that used to be Amsterdam’s conservatorium of music. Suspended violin centerpiece, soaring atrium ceilings, superb dining and cocktail bar, plus the largest gym and spa in the city. If money is no object, the I ♥ Amsterdam suite comes with its own private rooftop terrace. Located right across the street from Amsterdam’s three heavyweight art museums. • Map • +31 20 570 0000

8. Misc EatDrinkSleep • Nieuwmarkt en Lastage • $$

The best boutique hotel in Amsterdam with individually decorated garden or canal-facing rooms. Charming, intimate place with personalized attention and a great cocktail bar. Located near the Nieuwmarkt metro stop. Medieval city center and the Red Light District bars, attractions and restaurants right on your doorstep. • Map • +31 20 330 6241

9. art’otel • Medieval Center • $$$

Large boutique hotel opposite Centraal Station, with original artwork, stylish, contemporary rooms, and an art gallery and nightclub in the basement. Popular with younger guests; an ideal location for exploring the medieval center and the Red Light District. • Map • +31 20 729 7200

10. Hotel Okura • De Pijp • $$$$

Luxurious, minimalist 5-star hotel, with some of Amsterdam’s best dining under one roof, including two Michelin-starred restaurants. Fantastic health club with pool and superb city views from its lofty, award-winning cocktail bar. A short walk from the quirky design stores and street market in De Pijp. • Map • +31 20 678 8300

11. The Toren • Western Canal Ring • $$$

Opulent boutique hotel spread across two 17th century canal houses – a bold mix of gilded mirrors, luscious fabrics, chandeliers, and modern amenities. Great views of the Keizersgracht canal from many rooms. Arranges private canal cruises in historic boats. Steps away from the Anne Frank House, easy walk to the medieval center and hip Jordaan district. • Map • +31 20 622 6352

12. Hotel TwentySeven • Medieval Center • $$$$

Exclusive, 5-star luxury right on Dam, the medieval center’s main square. Just 16 individually designed suites, rich color scheme, and carefully curated art by the CoBrA collective throughout. Personalized butler service and one of the best bars in the city onsite. Surrounded by restaurants and bars, stone’s throw from the Royal Palace. • Map • +31 20 218 2180

13. Sir Albert Hotel • De Pijp • $$$

Nineteenth-century diamond factory turned hip 4-star hotel, with contemporary artwork, guest library heavy on art and design books, bright and spacious rooms (many with open-plan bathrooms), iPads for guest use, and excellent onsite restaurant. Easy walking distance from De Pijp’s street market, the neighborhood’s independent boutiques and the Museum Quarter. • Map • +31 20 305 3020

14. Crane Hotel Faralda • Amsterdam Noord • $$$

Amsterdam’s strangest hotel – inside a revamped red and yellow industrial crane. Three uniquely designed suites to choose from, plus a rooftop hot tub. Steps away from Amsterdam Noord’s arty NDSM-werf, urban beach, and several good restaurants; cycling distance from Amsterdam Noord’s other attractions. A short, free ferry ride from Amsterdam’s Centraal Station and the medieval center. Adults only. • Map • +31 20 760 6161

15. Hotel Seven One Seven • Southern Canal Ring • $$$

Sumptuous canalside mansion with just nine individually styled rooms, personalized service, and a carefully selected mix of antique, contemporary, and designer furnishings. Located on a quiet street overlooking Prinsengracht canal but a stone’s throw from the bars and restaurants of Leidseplein and easy walking distance from top art museums. • Map • +31 20 427 0717

Amsterdam Restaurants

16. Spectrum • Medieval Center • $$$$

At the sister restaurant to Zwolle’s 3-Michelin-starred De Librije, the tasting menu is pricey but worth every penny. The cutting-edge style of cooking and daring pairings of ingredients result in memorable creations – shrimp in a yuzu sauce with fois gras mousse, beetroot merengue with ice of smoked haddock liver – and there’s a superb wine list to boot. Located in the Waldorf Astoria. Dress Code. Reservations essential. • Map • +31 20 718 4643

17. Ciel Bleu • De Pijp • $$$$

Blow-your-paycheck fine dining, with fine views over the city from the 23rd floor of Hotel Okura and 2-Michelin-star creative European fare. Seasonally changing multi-course menu and excellent wine list. Reservations a must; dress code is smart casual. Located at the southern boundary of the De Pijp neighborhood. • Map • +31 20 450 6787

18. Breda • Western Canal Ring • $$$

Innovative, playful approach to modern Dutch cooking, pioneered by two hotshot young chefs. There’s no menu; lunch comprises 3, 4, or 5 mystery courses, and dinner is a selection of dishes of the day – Small, Wide or All We’ve Got. Numerous select wines by the glass. Reservations essential • Map • +31 20 622 5233

19. BAK • Houthavens • $$$

Popular foodie hotspot for several years running, well worth seeking out in its out-of-the-way location north of Jordaan, overlooking the Houthaven harbor. Changing daily menu comprised of seasonal Dutch produce, paired with natural wines. The lunch menu (weekends only) is a steal. • Map • +31 20 428 1111

20. Ron Gastrobar Oriental • Southern Canal Ring • $$

Stylish but informal gastrobar by Michelin-starred chef. Come here for Asian-inspired, Dutch-fusion, tapas-style dishes with that range from sweet and sour pork belly with green apple to boneless spare ribs and thousand chili fish. Excellent classics and original gin cocktails. Ideal for starting the night before hitting the bars around Leidseplein or Rembrandtplein. • Map • +31 20 223 5352

21. Restaurant Adam • Vondelpark • $$$

Modern Dutch fare in a refined setting, near the northwest corner of Vondelpark. The four multi-course surprise menus consist of beautifully presented, clever dishes, such as crispy pork belly with celeriac or grilled seabass with white asparagus. Top-notch service. Reservations recommended. • Map • +31 20 233 9852

22. Blue Pepper • Museum Quarter • $$$

The pick of Amsterdam’s many excellent Indonesian restaurants. Two multi-course menus on offer: a vegetarian or non-vegetarian rijsttafel (“rice table”). The spread of small dishes may include soft shell crab with pineapple, fish steamed in banana leaves and lamb satay. It’s a 5-minute walk from bustling Leidseplein. Reserve ahead – especially for their candlelit dinner cruises. • Map • +31 20 489 7039

23. Yamazato • De Pijp • $$$-$$$$

Splurge on an exquisite multi-course kaiseki tasting menu at the chef’s table at this Michelin-starred, minimalist Japanese institution. Bento boxes and good-value daily set menus available at lunchtime, as well as a la carte sushi and sashimi. Located inside Hotel Okura. • Map • +31 20 678 7450

24. Restaurant Anna • Red Light District • $$$

Sleek, elegant Modern Dutch restaurant with white-cloth tables and elevated Dutch comfort food. Excellent list of global and organic wines, as well as views of Oude Kerk – Amsterdam’s oldest church – and the Red Light District windows. • Map • +31 20 428 1111

25. Cannibale Royale • Medieval Center • $$

This meatery is one of the top contenders for Amsterdam’s best burgers, as well as chunky pastrami and pulled rib sandwiches at lunchtime, and expertly grilled steaks in the evenings. Lots of cocktails, global beers, and wines to choose from. Great location in the heart of the Medieval Center; three more branches around the city. • Map • +31 20 233 7160

26. Hemelse Modder • Nieuwmarkt en Lastage• $$$

Cozy, welcoming restaurant with canal views, minutes away from the Nieuwmarkt square. Dutch dishes with global touches, with an emphasis on local, seasonal produce sourced from nearby markets. Intimate vibe and a lovely outdoor terrace out back for alfresco dining. • Map • +31 20 624 3203

27. Greetje • Plantage/East Amsterdam • $$$

Old fashioned charm combined with a refined approach to Dutch cooking. Seasonal ingredients, terrific execution, and a frequently changing 7-course tasting menu. Don’t skip the inventive desserts. • Map • +31 20 729 7450

28. Le Perla Pizzeria • Jordaan • $$

Boisterous neighborhood gem, popular with families. Thin and crispy pizzas made with fresh ingredients, baked in a wood-fired oven. Toppings include hard to find ingredients such as Tuscan salami and brick-oven-roasted pig from Aricia. Also baguette sandwiches, pastas, and salads. • Map • +31 20 624 8828

29. De Plantage • Eastern Amsterdam/Plantage • $$

Former 19th-century greenhouse with soaring ceiling and wrought-iron struts. Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner; beautifully presented dishes include a burrata salad with eggplant and blood orange and ravioli with pistachio and Turkish sheep’s cheese. Socialize at the large communal tables inside, or head into the garden. Located next to Artis Royal Zoo. • Map • +31 20 760 6800

30. GUTS • Southern Canal Ring • $$-$$$

This hip, experimental restaurant keeps its menu a secret. You order a certain number of courses, based around a single ingredient or single cuisine that changes every few months. You might get cucumber-clad herring, ceviche with pisco sour ice, or white asparagus with pistachio. Multi-course lunches are a great value. • Map • +31 20 362 0030

Amsterdam Shopping

31. Old Amsterdam Cheese Store • Medieval Center

Renowned for its award-winning mature Gouda, this store has several branches across the city, with the original in Damrak. Numerous cheesy souvenirs to choose from: including green and red pesto Gouda, hemp Gouda, and smoked cheese. Cheese paraphernalia also, from cheese hatchets to specialized cheese knives. Hour-long cheese and wine tastings arranged. • Map • +31 20 330 1602

32. Nikkie • Vondelpark

The flagship store of Amsterdam-based actress and TV presenter turned designer, Nikkie Plessen. Street-smart women’s fashion here includes bomber jackets, trench coats, strapless dresses, jumpsuits, and T-shirts with bold slogans. Accessorize your outfit with Hexagon overknee boots or Nikkie sneakers. • Map • +31 20 358 5185

33. Scotch & Soda • Medieval Center

Amsterdam brand of hip streetwear gone global. Men’s and women’s apparel includes velvet jackets, jeans with colorful flourishes, neon silk shirts, and leather gloves. • Map • +31 20 528 7661

34. Blond • De Pijp

If you’re blonde, like blondes, or are into kitschy and adorable gifts, check out this store whose blonde owners adorn mugs, plates, teapots, and dishes with funky, colorful designs. Pottery aside, they also put their designs on mobile phone cases, stationery, homeware and more. Custom-made design possible; just let them know what you want. • Map • +31 20 428 4929

35. Condomerie Het Gulden Vlies • Red Light District

The world’s first condom specialty boutique, selling condoms in every imaginable size, color, flavor, and design. Vegan condoms, eco condoms, forest-fruit flavored condoms – they’re all here. There’s also a fun range of lubricants and condom-themed postcards, clothing, posters, and even snacks. Gentlemen, if you use their website’s guidelines to measure yourself, the staff can help you get the right fit. • Map • +31 20 627 4174

36. Heinen Delftware • Southern Canal Ring

The Netherlands’ distinctive blue-and-white Delft pottery has been going strong since the 16th century, and this highly regarded outlet sells Delfts Blauw both for ornamental and everyday use in all price ranges. There’s everything from miniature porcelain clogs to hand-painted tulip vases and plates, designed by renowned artists. The staff can assist with packaging and shipping. • Map • +31 20 440 2222

37. Bloemenmarkt • Southern Canal Ring

This famous flower market has been based here since 1860, when flower sellers would moor their barges here and hawk their wares. While the market is no longer floating, it makes for a particularly colorful spectacle during the spring tulip season (April to mid-May). You can buy tulip bulbs and tulip-themed souvenirs (clogs, fridge magnets) year-round. • Map

38. Pied a Terre • Museum Quarter

Europe’s largest travel bookstore, with a skylit interior and attached café. There are over 600,000 maps here, travel guidebooks in various languages, gorgeous coffee table books with glossy travel photos for inspiration, an array of globes, and indispensable local books, such as Learn to Cycle in Amsterdam by Ruth Oei-Abraham. • Map • +31 20 627 4455

39. The Magic Mushroom Gallery • Medieval Center

Recreational marijuana and magic truffles are legal in the Netherlands, and this is a branch of the leading “smart shop” chain. Friendly staff will help you choose from a large selection of weed, truffles, bongs, and pipes, and advise beginners which strain and intake method would be best for you. (Just remember not to try and bring any home as a souvenir.) • Map

40. Marie-Stella-Maris • Western Canal Ring

Amsterdam-based and locally beloved range of high-end beauty products. For each item you purchase, a percentage goes towards clean water projects around the world. • Map • +31 85 273 2845

Amsterdam Tasting Houses and Cocktail Bars

41. Café de Dokter • Medieval Center

Tiny, clad in dark wood and filled to the brim with bird cages, antiques, old clocks and other curios, Amsterdam’s smallest pub was founded by a surgeon and has been in the same family for generations. There are just four tables and a good selection of whiskeys and beers, with a rotating whiskey of the month and superb smoked beef sausage to go with it. • Map • +31 20 626 4427

42. Café Hoppe • Medieval Center

Since its opening in 1670, Hoppe has been attracting a diverse crowd of socialites, entrepreneurs, and journalists, and continues to do so to this day. You can knock back beers, award-winning wines, and numerous genevers within its ancient, wood-paneled walls, or else perch on the terrace of their modern pub section that makes for great people-watching on the Spui. Lots of special events, such as Herring Parties in June. • Map • +31 20 420 4420

43. Wynand Fockink • Red Light District

This 17th-century tasting house is a terrific place to educate yourself about genever (Dutch predecessor of gin); there are 70 or so liquers and genevers to choose from. They’re slurped from traditional tulip glasses, and you traditionally bow after the first sip. Boswandeling (Walk in the Woods) is a good one to start with. • Map • +31 20 639 2695

44. Rosalia’s Menagerie • Nieuwmarkt en Lastage

Attached to the awesome Misc EatDrinkSleep boutique hotel and just around the corner from the raucous Red Light District, this intimate cocktail bar is one of the best places in town to try contemporary concoctions or sip an artisan beer or wine. Their Vesper martini (gin, vodka and blueberry habanero jam) is a knockout. • Map • +31 20 330 6241

45. Vesper • Jordaan

A Jordaan neighborhood institution that’s essentially located in someone’s front room, this cozy cocktail bar features a creative, seasonally changing cocktail menu. They also offer a boozy High Tea menu, ideal for a lazy afternoon. • Map • +31 6 87244056

46. Door 74 • Southern Canal Ring

It’s easy to walk past this unmarked door without even noticing it’s there, but if you’re in the know, send a text message to gain entry to this dark-timbered speakeasy. An original cocktail is created daily; alternatively, try their Searching For Black Matter, a concoction of Botran Solera rum, dried pineapple bitters and Marzipan syrup. • Map • +31 6 34045122

47. Twenty-Third Bar • De Pijp

Come to the 23rd floor of Hotel Okura for some of the loftiest views of the city, as well as beautifully presented classic cocktails and indulgent champagne cocktails. The suberb bar snacks come from the hotel’s Michelin-starred adjoining restaurant. • Map • +31 (0)2 06787450

48. Bar The Tailor • Medieval Center

Inside the Hotel Krasnapolsky on Dam square and named after the original profession of the hotel’s founder, this slick bar is overseen by world-renowned mixologist Tess Posthumus. Her original cocktails grace the menu, including the award-winning Cuban Mist. • Map • +31 20 554 6114

49. Tales & Spirits • Medieval Center

Overlooking Singel canal on the western edge of the medieval center, this classy bar has award-winning mixologists serving imaginative, original cocktails. Try General Lee, a Knob Creek Rye, Dom Benedictine and Amaretto concoction that comes with its own theme tune. • Map • +31 6 55356467

Amsterdam Craft Beer Breweries

50. Brouwerij Troost • De Pijp

Trendy Troost has three locations across the city, all of which offer guided tours and tastings and have brewpubs attached. As well as a dozen or so brews, ranging from pilsner to aged barley wine, Troost also makes its own lemonades, gin, and jenever. The most atmospheric is the former monastery in De Pijp, with an attached restaurant serving comfort food and burgers. • Map • +31 20 760 5820

51. Brouwerij ‘t IJ • Plantage/East Amsterdam

Located in a former bathhouse beneath Amsterdam’s tallest windmill, the city’s most famous independent brewery produces almost three dozen beers; their Zatte and Natte are particularly good double and triple flagship brews. The large terrace is awesome on sunny days. While there’s no restaurant, the pub serves cheese plates, sausages, and other snacks. Private tours of the brewery available outside the public tours Friday-Sunday. • Map • +31 20 261 9800

52. Butcher’s Tears • Amsterdam Zuid

Unique, unfiltered and unpasteurized beers brewed at this edgy industrial space, overlooking a canal south of Vondelpark. At the tasting room, open Wednesday to Sunday, you taste barrel-aged wild ale with dates or seasonal and limited edition beers. No food is served, but there are occasional special events, such as live music. • Map

53. Oedipus Brewing • Amsterdam Noord

Started by a group of four friends, Oedipus is a quirky microbrewery found in an industrial space in Amsterdam Noord. At their funky taproom, they pair their six permanent beers and a couple of stouts with award-winning burgers from the Beef Chief. Besides that, they experiment with unusual ingredients (Szechuan pepper beer, anyone?) and host Beer Dinners monthly in collaboration with different restaurants. • Map • +31 20 244 1673

54. Brouwerij de Prael • Red Light District

Great location in the heart of the Red Light District, surrounded by bars and cafes. This brewpub has a full range of own beers, IPAs, and stouts, and collaborates with other creative brewers. De Prael is also responsible for Amsterdam’s first ever rainwater bitter, and it ain’t half bad! The burgers, samosas, pulled pork sandwiches and chili dogs at the attached restaurant are an ideal accompaniment to the brews. • Map • +31 20 408 4469

Amsterdam Cafes and Brunch Spots

55. Café Eijlders • Red Light District

A local institution since 1940, during WWII this beautiful, stained-glass brown café was a haven for artists who refused to do the Nazis’ bidding. It’s still very much a bohemian hangout, with occasional exhibitions, regular poetry readings, and impromptu music sessions. • Map • +31 20 624 2704

56. ‘t Smalle • Jordaan

This former 18th-century jenever (Dutch gin) distillery, complete with porcelain beer pumps, is a great all-rounder. Grab a coffee and cake, a light lunch, or nab a sunny spot on the stone terrace overlooking the canal and nurse your craft beer. • Map • +31 20 623 9617

57. Bakers & Roasters • De Pijp

One of Amsterdam’s favorite brunch spots. Kiwi/Brazilian-owned Bakers & Roasters is renowned for its French toast with banana marmalade, crispy bacon, Navajo eggs with chipotle cream, and poached eggs with smoked salmon stack. Wash it down with a strong coffee or a Bloody Mary. • Map • +31 20 772 2627

58. Scandinavian Embassy • De Pijp

Intimate, blond-wood-paneled, minimalist cafe, serving exceptional coffee sourced from Scandinavian micro-roasters (including an interesting cold press coffee made with tonic water). The snack menu is short and sweet: expect salt-cured salmon on Danish rye and freshly baked pastries. • Map • +31 68 160 0140

59. Omelegg • Medieval Center

The central branch of the Netherlands’ first omelettery is all about the egg. Choose from two dozen omelets (try the Mariachi with jalapenos and sundried tomatoes or Viking Fisherman with smoked salmon, dill and lemon zest), or grab a lunchtime sandwich – all against a mural backdrop of traditional Dutch windmills. • Map • +31 20 233 2406

60. Coffee & Coconuts • De Pijp

Former 1920s art deco cinema turned café. Served in a triple-level, open-plan space with a John Lennon mural, brunch dishes include almond and coconut pancakes, scrambled eggs with feta and avocado toast with dukkah. Light lunch dishes such as prawn tacos and paper-baked cod are accompanied by jugs of homemade cooler. • Map • +31 20 354 1104

61. Café Sliterij Oosterling • Southern Canal Ring

Dating back to 1735, this low-ceilinged, atmospheric pub/café used to sell tea and spices from the Far East before being turned into a genever distillery. The gleaming copper casks still have pride of place and it’s a local favorite for a beer, genever, or coffee, with sunny outdoor seating out front. • Map • +31 20 623 4140

62. Screaming Beans • Western Canal Ring

Excellent espresso, from one of Amsterdam’s original specialty coffee shops. Expected carefully selected single origin coffees that span the globe, roasted on the premises. Plenty of coffee kits and craft chocolate to purchase, too. • Map • +31 20 626 0966

63. Espressofabriek Sloterdijk • Westerpark

Superb coffee served in a beautiful space with soaring ceilings, courtesy of one of the pioneers of specialty coffee in Amsterdam. Beans are roasted in-house and sunny weather is perfect for enjoying the Westerpark ambiance. • Map • +31 20 486 2106

Things to Do in Amsterdam

64. Canal Tour

Seeing the city from the water is a quintessential Amsterdam experience and there are almost as many canal cruise companies as there are canals. Most depart from Damrak in the Medieval Center, across from Centraal Station. Standout operators include Those Dam Boat Guys (entertaining, BYOB, expat-run, with plenty of quirky city history); Leemstar (small-group, 75-minute tours in a 90-year-old Dutch wooden saloon boat) and Blue Boat Company (mainstream tours, but with unique themed options, such as pirate-themed tour for kids). And if you want to drive your own, Canal Motorboats have small electric boats for hire (no boat license necessary).

65. Keukenhof Gardens

Every year, Keukenhof Gardens, an hour southwest of Amsterdam, open for just two months (mid-March to mid-May). There’s no better place to see tulips than the gardens’ 79 acres, planted with a mind-boggling 800 varieties of the flower. The gardens attract hundreds of thousands of visitors; the most convenient way to visit is on a tour package with included transportation and skip-the-line admission, booked at the I Amsterdam Visitor Center in front of Centraal Station. • Map • +31 252 465 555

66. Zaanse Schans Windmills

Synonymous with the Netherlands, these authentic windmills out in the countryside make for an excellent half-day trip from Amsterdam. One of the larger operators, Amsterdam City Tours run excellent excursions in luxury coaches, passing through the fishing villages of Volendam and Marken. But if you’re looking for something more intimate, That Dam Guide runs small-group tours to a 400-year-old windmill that’s off the beaten track, complete with a family farm visit and wine and cheese picnic. • Map

67. Amsterdam Red Light District Tour

These guys run several in-depth tours of the Red Light District where the world’s oldest profession has been practiced for centuries. The best one – if you want to know the secrets of the trade – is with the Fokkens twins, former ladies of negotiable affection for 50 years. On top of that, you get to stroll the narrow alleyways with their window brothels, check out cannabis shops, and learn about the history of this gritty part of town.

68. Hungry Birds Street Food Tours

The best of Amsterdam’s food tours, Hungry Birds is a small, friendly operator that specializes in small-group foodie adventures. Discover typical Dutch food, the best street food, and find out where the locals go drinking in the evenings. If you’re after something more exotic, their Daytime East explores Turkish coffee shops, Pakistani samosas, Surinamese specialties, and Moroccan street food in Amsterdam’s multicultural Oost.

69. Mike’s Bike Tours

One of the best ways to see the city (and the surrounding countryside) is to make like the Dutch and get around on two wheels. Mike’s is based in Nieuwmarkt en Lastage and does a highly recommended 3-hours city tour that takes you along the canals and cobbled streets (for participants aged 13 and above, since you get to hear about Amsterdam’s history and vices). Longer options include a 30km countryside tour, following the Amstel river and stopping at authentic windmills and a clog/cheese factory. • Map • +31 20 233 0216

70. Heineken Experience

You’ve tasted the beer, now come to the world-famous brewery for the self-guided, super-fun, multi-sensory ‘Experience’ on the northern edge of the De Pijp district. Allow an hour and a half to follow the brewing process from water and hops to bottling; the show-stopping finale is the 4D multimedia exhibit in which you become the beer – shaken, heated up, sprayed with water and bottled. Prebook online to save €2. • Map • +31 20 721 5300

71. A’DAM Lookout

A 22-story viewpoint with an Over The Edge swing for daredevils. The former headquarters of Royal Dutch Shell in Amsterdam Noord has been transformed into a hip hotel with a revolving restaurant on the 19th floor and a rooftop viewing platform with epic 360-degree views of the city. Pay €5 extra to dangle your legs over the roof’s edge from Amsterdam’s highest swing. • Map • +31 20 242 0100

72. House of Bols

The interactive home of genever, the Dutch granddaddy of gin, conveniently located across the street from Amsterdam’s three heavyweight art museums. During the entertaining self-guided tour, you get to learn all about this Dutch spirit that’s making a comeback in bars across the country. Peruse centuries-old recipes, sniff the ingredients, knock back a shot in the psychedelic tasting booth, and learn to mix a cocktail with the expert mixologists. • Map • +31 20 570 8575

73. Royal Palace

The home of the Dutch royal family. When the King is not in town, you’re welcome to wander around the opulent rooms, filled with priceless art, chandeliers, gilded clocks, antique maps and furniture, left by Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother Louis. The king actually lives in the Hague but uses the palace for state functions. During the King’s birthday in April, the streets around the palace fill with revelers dressed in orange – the royal color. • Map • +31 20 522 6161

74. NDSM Wharf

Abandoned shipyard turned hip art community. Reachable by frequent free ferries from Amsterdam Centraal Station, this hip, up-and-coming area in Amsterdam Noord has a bit of a post-apocalyptic vibe to it. Several warehouses have been converted into exhibition spaces, the abandoned trams provide a broad canvass for graffiti artists, an old submarine sits half-submerged in the harbor, and there are several excellent restaurants here – particularly popular in the evenings. • Map

Amsterdam Museums

75. Rijksmuseum • Museum Quarter

The Netherlands’ best art museum. One of Amsterdam’s heavyweight attractions, this is the biggest and best collection of Dutch art in existence. Make a beeline for the Gallery of Honour on Floor 2 to see Rembrandt’s Night Watch, Kitchen Maid by Vermeer, mind-blowing doll’s houses, and Delft ceramics; then head upstairs for the latest in Dutch design. Book your ticket online to avoid the worst of the lines. • Map • +31 20 674 7000

76. Van Gogh Museum • Museum Quarter

The world’s largest collection of Van Gogh works spread across four levels and a stunning glass atrium. Look out for the artist’s self-portraits, as well as some of his most famous works – Sunflowers, Starry Night – and his earlier, gritty paintings, such as The Potato Eaters and Skeleton With Burning Cigarette. Access is by timed ticket only; book your time slot online. • Map • +31 20 570 5200

77. Stedelijk Museum • Museum Quarter

The Netherland’s biggest and best repository of contemporary art. A permanent collection of over 90,000 works call this striking building home, including Picasso abstracts, paintings by Piet Mondrian, Monet, and Willem de Kooning and Auguste Rodin sculptures. Exciting changing exhibitions by big-name artists take place in the Bathtub, accessed via a trippy escalator. Don’t miss the terrific restaurant in the lobby. • Map • +31 20 573 2911

78. Anne Frank House • Western Canal Ring

Step through the swinging bookcase and go up the steep steps to visit the living space where Anne Frank and her family hid for two years from the Nazis until they were betrayed to the Gestapo in August 1944. Standout exhibits include Anne Frank’s red-plaid diary. This is one of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions; prebook your ticket on the website to avoid queueing for hours. • Map • +31 20 556 7105

79. Dutch Resistance Museum • Plantage

Dutch heroism during WWII on display at this excellent interactive museum. The exhibits, made to look like wartime city streets, span the 1930s and Nazi occupation and comprise stories of resistance and heroism – including keeping 300,000 Jews hidden from persecution – as well as collaboration and betrayal. • Map • +31 20 620 2535

80. Hermitage Amsterdam • East Amsterdam

The Dutch branch of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia. The result of Peter the Great’s admiration of the Netherlands, Hermitage Amsterdam dips into priceless collections of art and Russian palace treasures, on loan from St Petersburg. Try to catch one of the excellent temporary exhibitions and get here before 11am to beat the lines. • Map • +31 20 530 8755

81. Jewish Historical Museum • Nieuwmarkt en Lastage

Beautifully-presented history of Jews in the Netherlands. Spread across four beautifully restored Ashkenazic synagogues, the exhibits walk you through Jewish cultural life in Amsterdam from 1600 to the present day. The harrowing WWII exhibits deal with hiding from the Nazis and post-war integration. The absorbing Children’s Museum introduces kids to Jewish culture, and tickets include entry to the stunning Portuguese-Israelite synagogue next door. • Map • +31 20 531 0310

82. Amsterdam Museum • Medieval Center

One thousand years of Amsterdam’s history in seven punchy, family-friendly exhibitions. Check out the interactive DNA exhibit, dress up as a civic guard with a ruffle collar for the Revolt against the King and Church, peruse porcelains and religious artifacts in the maze-like basement, and look out for Rembrandt’s macabre Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Deijman. Great rainy day fun. • Map • +31 20 523 1822

83. Rembrandt’s House • Nieuwmarkt en Lastage

This three-story canal house was the home, studio, and ultimate source of financial ruin for Dutch painter Rembrandt. He originally bought it with the help of his wealthy wife’s fortune, but couldn’t keep up the mortgage payments. Check out the original furniture, cabinet of curiosities, and Rembrandt’s famous etchings on the top floor. Don’t forget to pick up a free informative audioguide. • Map • +31 20 520 0400

84. Diamond Museum • Museum Quarter

Walk your way through the history of the Dutch diamond trade, from the carbon’s journey from the mines of Africa into the hands of Amsterdam’s diamond cutters and polishers. The world’s most famous diamonds on display here – the Orlof Diamond, the Maharajah – are clever, glittering replicas, as are the diamonds encrusting the crowns and swords. • Map • +31 20 305 5300

Amsterdam Food and Flea Markets

85. Albert Cuypmarkt • De Pijp

Amsterdam’s legendary street market. Spread across several blocks of Albert Cuypstraat in De Pijp, this lively market is great for people-watching, shopping for all sorts of offbeat souvenirs (furry clogs, anyone?), fresh produce, and munching on some traditional Dutch street food snacks. Don’t miss the raw herring with sweet pickles and the gooey, caramel-filled stroopwafel (choose between regular and chocolate). • Map

86. IJ Hallen • Amsterdam Noord

Europe’s largest flea market takes place once a month inside a warehouse in Amsterdam Noord, easily reachable by free ferry from Centraal Station. With over 750 vendors, it’s a great place for bargain hunters in search of vintage clothing, collectible bric-a-brac, antiques, and more. • Map

87. Foodhallen • Amsterdam Oud-West

Inside the revamped former train depot that’s been turned into a cultural complex, Foodhallen is a superb indoor food market specializing in gourmet street food. You can spend days grazing on dim sum, macarons, Mexican tacos, Korean chicken wings, waffles, noodles, and other delicious offerings. • Map

88. Noordermarkt • Jordaan

This busy farmers’ market takes place in front of the Noorderkerk in Jordaan on Mondays and Saturdays. Vendors sell a full spectrum of homemade pastas, olives, organic produce, locally made meat products and more. • Map

89. Waterlooplein Market • Nieuwmarkt en Lastage

Operating Monday to Saturday, this outdoor flea market comprises over 300 stalls and is a great place to soak up some Dutch culture. Popular with locals and visitors alike, it’s a good place to browse for vintage clothes, accessories, or even grab some fried fish for a quick snack. • Map

Amsterdam Neighborhoods

90. Medieval Center/Red Light District/Nieuwmarkt en Lastage

Amsterdam’s original downtown and historic district, home to a good mix of high-end and mid-range hotels, as well as some great economy picks. Lots of bars, cafes, and restaurants for every budget, good shopping, numerous smart (marijuana/mushroom) shops. X-rated entertainment in the Red Light District. Adjacent to the Western Canal Ring, Southern Canal Ring, and Plantage; across the water from Amsterdam Noord.
Best stuff: De L’Europe Hotel Amsterdam Misc Eatdrinksleep HotelHotel TwentySevenart’otel amsterdamVenustempel SexmuseumNieuwe Kirk (New Church) • Oude Kirk (Old Church) • Hash, Marijuana & Hemp MuseumRed Light Secrets Museum of ProstitutionMILK Exhibition SpaceRoyal PalaceAmsterdam MuseumDam (main square) • Spui Square (great bars nearby) • Rembrandt’s HouseDe Waag (great street market) • Jewish Historical MuseumMadame Tussauds AmsterdamCanal Tours (Damrak is a popular jumping-off point) • Amsterdam Red Light District ToursDe Laatste Kruimel (café popular with families) • Vleminckx (great Belgian fries) • Anna (romantic fine dining) • Haesje Claes (Dutch home cooking) • Spectrum (cutting edge Michelin-starred cooking in the Waldorf Astoria) • Café Hoppe (historic bar with outdoor terrace) • Café de Dokter (atmospheric, centuries-old bar) • Rosalia’s Menagerie (intimate cocktail bar).

91. Western Canal Ring/Jordaan

The Western Canal Ring is a Unesco World Heritage site comprising four parallel, interlocking canals, lined with historic gabled townhouses and home to some of Amsterdam’s best boutique hotels. Adjacent Jordaan is a mix of gritty working-class roots, antique stores, and upmarket galleries, with independent shops and cafes dotting the narrow lanes.
Best Stuff: Pulitzer Hotel AmsterdamThe Toren HotelAndaz Hotel AmsterdamThe Dylan HotelThe Hoxton AmsterdamAnne Frank House (book online to avoid huge queues) • Canal Tours (typically departing from Prinsengracht canal near the Anne Frank House) • Nine Streets (hip shopping neighborhood packed with fashion boutiques, cafes and restaurants) • Amsterdam Tulip MuseumHouseboat MuseumNoordermarkt (farmers’ market on Mondays and Saturdays) • Breda (one of Amsterdam’s most creative restaurants) • Pancake Bakery (family-friendly pancake heaven) • Stubbe’s Haring (legendary pickled herring stall) • Bluespoon (creative farm-to-table dining), Bar Brasserie OCCO (Modern European fare, “High Wine” instead of high tea) • ‘T Smalle (atmospheric brown café inside former genever distillery) • Proeflokaal Arendsnest (almost 200 Dutch beers from small breweries).

92. Southern Canal Ring

Picture-perfect historic canals, quirky museums, some of Amsterdam’s liveliest nightlife (particularly around Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein squares), much of it gay-friendly. A great mix of luxury and boutique hotels, and narrow streets densely packed with restaurants, cafes, and shops.
Best Stuff: Waldorf Astoria AmsterdamHotel Seven One SevenSeven Bridges HotelLeidseplein SquareMuseum Van LoonHermitage AmsterdamFOAM (photography museum) • Bloemenmarkt (flower market – though tulips are only there in April and early May) • Willet-Holthuysen MuseumRembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square area – great nightlife) • Amstelsluizen (watch boats pass through the locks) • Magere Brug (photogenic, hand-operated bridge) • Restaurant Guts (innovative restaurant, surprise menu every time) • Lo Stivale D’Oro (family-friendly pizzeria) • Hosokawa (refined Japanese food) • Ron Gastrobar Oriental (Dutch-Asian fusion tapas, great cocktails) • De Koffie Salon (latte art) • Café Slijterij Oosterling (centuries-old genever distillery and café) • Eijlders (arty bar/café) • Door 74 (speakeasy-style cocktail bar).

93. Vondelpark/Museum Quarter

Amsterdam’s largest and most popular park that never feels crowded, right next to a heavyweight trio of the city’s most popular art museums. Great restaurants (high concentration of African restaurants north of Vondelpark), hip cafes, high-end boutique shops, good mixture of high-end hotels and wallet-friendly midrange guesthouses.
Best Stuff: Conservatorium HotelRijksmuseumVan Gogh MuseumStedelijk MuseumVondelparkDiamond MuseumConcertgebouw (classical music venue, tours of stunning architecture) • House of BolsFoodhallen (indoor gourmet street food market) • L’entrecote el les Dames (smart French restaurant, popular with concert-goers) • De Knijp (homestyle Dutch cooking) • Lalibela (the Netherlands’ original Ethiopian restaurant), De Bakkerswinkel (bakery mini-chain with lovely garden) • Blue Pepper (Amsterdam’s best Indonesian spread), Adam (inventive, contemporary dishes, romantic ambience) • Ron Gastrobar (tapas, good beer and wine) • Lot Sixty One (eco-friendworking-classstery).

94. De Pijp

Multicultural, formerly working class neighborhood, home to Amsterdam’s biggest street market. Several superb 5-star hotels, a few midrange options. Great selection of cafes, brunch spots, ethnic restaurants, and offbeat, independent boutiques.
Best Stuff: Hotel OkuraSir Albert HotelAlbert Cuypmarkt (huge street market) • Heineken ExperienceBoaty (boat rental with no prior experience needed) • Yamazato (minimalist, Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant) • Bakers & Roasters (imaginative brunches, great coffee) • Scandinavian Embassy (minimalist coffee shop), Omelegg (two dozen different omelettes), Ciel Bleu (2-Michelin-star French dining) • Thrill Grill (some of Amsterdam’s best burgers), Gerard Doustraat (shopping street lined with one-of-a-kind independent boutiques) • Twenty-Third Bar (great cocktails, lofty city views) • Brouwerij Troost (celebrated microbrewery inside former monastery).

95. Plantage/East Amsterdam

Refreshingly green and peaceful part of town, with 19th century pleasure gardens, leafy boulevards, and one of Amsterdam’s largest parks. Just north are the Eastern Islands, rich in maritime history, contemporary architecture and some great bars. Just a handful of midrange hotels here, plus a few good restaurants, cafes and bars.
Best Stuff: Zoku HotelArtis Royal Zoo (free entry to Micropia museum) • Dutch Resistance MuseumDe Hortus Botanical GardenNEMO (science museum) • Het Scheepvaartmuseum (maritime museum) • Muziekgebouw Aan ‘t IJ (striking concert hall) • De Plantage (creative fusion dishes) • Gebr Hartering (intimate restaurant specialising in Modern Dutch cuisine) • Greetje (reimagined traditional Dutch recipes; reservations a must) • Brouwerij ‘T IJ (Amsterdam’s leading microbrewery next to windmill, tours Friday to Sunday) • Amsterdam Roest (industrial warehouse art collective/bar) • Hannekes Boom (laidback waterside beer garden).

96. Amsterdam Noord

Former industrial district across the water from the Medieval Center, now one of Amsterdam’s hippest, most arty areas. Amsterdam’s most unique hotel, big art scene, cool viewpoint, some great restaurants and craft beer breweries.
Best Stuff: Crane Hotel FaraldaA’DAM Tower (viewpoint with extreme swing) • NDSM-werf (derelict shipyard turned exhibition space) • IJ Hallen (enormous monthly flea market) • EYE Film InstituteTolhuistuinThis Is Holland (unique 5D flying experience) • Pllek (waterfront café with urban beach) • Cannibale Royale (serious burgers and steaks) • Café Noorderlicht (hippyesque café) • Oedipus Brewing (quirky microbrewery) • Café de Ceuvel (ship wharf café and exhibition space).

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