The 8 best neighborhoods in Amsterdam (2023)

Starting from its central canal ring,AmsterdamThe characterful neighborhoods consist of intricate networks of streets and public squares with unique shops, cozy restaurants and cafes and lively bars, as well as open green spaces. Each of these interlocking districts has its own personality and attractions.

Wherever you decide to stay, Amsterdam's compact layout and integrated network of bike lanes, trams, buses and trains make it easydiscover the cityin a single trip. From top shopping areas to the ideal places for first-time visitors to while their time, here are Amsterdam's best neighborhoods.

The 8 best neighborhoods in Amsterdam (1)

city ​​center

Best neighborhood for first time visitors

Amsterdam GrandCentral Stationlies on an artificial island in the broad river IJ. With trains arriving here from the airport, domestically and internationally, includingDirect connections to London, this Gothic-style landmark is likely your introduction to the city.

If you walk south from the train station, you will be immersed in the medieval center, with busy tourist streets, shopping streets and sights like theAmsterdam Museum, which give an insight into the history of the city. Amsterdam was founded on what is today in the 13th centuryDamm, a huge square dominated by theRoyal Palace.Damrak, the original mouth of the Amstel, is the starting point for many canal tours.

On the east side of Damrak is the sizzling red light district known locally as De Wallen. It is – at least for the moment – ​​notorious for its canalside brothel windows (depending on their movement off-center) and concentration of “coffee shops” (Cannabis cafes that could soon be banned for tourists) crowded alongside souvenir shops and numerous bars. Incongruously at its heart is Amsterdam's oldest building, which dates back to 1306Old church(Old church).

East again on the Nieuwmarkt (New Market), the one built in 1488Carwas originally a city wall gate, which became the scales of the city. Rembrandt lived and painted nearby; his former home and studio now house the illuminationRembrandt-Haus-Museum.

There are plenty of accommodation options in the city center in all price ranges, including hostels and budget hotels.

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Plantation and the East

Best neighborhood for families

Just a short walk from the center, the green plantation is an oasis of calm. If you areTraveling with children, this neighborhood has plenty to keep you entertained. Opposite from the 17th centuryHortus botanicusBotanical Gardens, the oldest zoo in mainland Europe, theRoyal Zoo Artist, the only museum in the world dedicated to microbes encompasses the amazingMicropies.

Curious young minds will like it tooNEMO, an interactive science museum housed in an extraordinary green copper boat-shaped building with panoramic views from its terraced roof. Amsterdam's adjacent eastern docklands and islands with converted shipping warehouses are inextricably linked to its seafaring history, which is explored at the kid-friendly Maritime MuseumThe Maritime Museum.

Mid-range hotels are the mainstay of the Plantage area, with some youth hostels and new-generation hotels on the eastern edge of town.

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Southern canal ring

Best neighborhood for nightlife

Just south of the city center, the Southern Canal Ring is one of Amsterdam's main entertainment districts. neon litLeidsepleinAndRembrandt-Platzare surrounded by vibrant bars, clubs and restaurants. Utrechtsestraat has some more sophisticated hangouts and Reguliersdwarsstraat flies the rainbow flag as Amsterdam's premier LGBT+ street.

Some of the city's most enchanting waterways are found in this section of the canal ring, including the Golden Bend, flanked by magnificent Golden Age mansions, and the Reguliersgracht, famous for its seven photogenic bridges. Many of the neighborhood's boutique hotels are located in beautiful canal houses.

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Vondelpark and to the south

Best neighborhood for culture

Steps from the frenetic Leidseplein, theVondelpark– a delightful collection of English-style gardens, cafes and an open-air theater – provides a breath of fresh air. Lawns also make up the grassy area nearbyMuseumsplatz, where the three best museums in Amsterdam are located: the national treasure chest of theReichsmuseum, the flagshipVan Gogh Museum, as well as modern and contemporary artCity Museum.

Opposite the Museumplein, theconcert hallhosts classical music concerts in the splendor of the 19th century. Surrounding Vondelpark is some of Amsterdam's best value accommodation, from hostels and B&Bs to mid-range and high-end hotels, with plenty of eco-conscious options.

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The pipe

Best neighborhood for local life

A village atmosphere prevails in De Pijp between the Museumplein, the southern canal ring and the Amstel. This is where the historic brewery is located, which today houses the MultisensoryHeineken experience, but the real reason to head to this vibrant neighborhood is to hop between its creative cafes and all-day brunch spots, restaurants, bars and boutiques, and browse the city's largest street market, TheAlbert Cuyp Market. Join the locals to shop for everything from bike locks to fabrics, flowers and fresh produce, and pack a picnic to take to De Pijps restSarphati-Park.

As this is primarily a residential area, the choice of accommodation here is limited, but there are a handful of appealing mid-range hotels and B&Bs.

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Western Canal Ring and Jordaan

Best neighborhood for shopping

Heading from the city center to the west side of Amsterdam's UNESCO-listed canal belt, the pace slows. This is one of the prettiest parts of town, guarded by the bell tower of the ornate 17th-century churchWesterkerk. Right next to the Westerkerk is one of Amsterdam's most important historical sights, theAnne Frank House, where the young diarist and her family hid from the Nazis during World War II.

Some of Amsterdam's most enticing shopping is centered around the West Canal RingNine Streets, a "nine little streets" tic-tac-toe board of small, specialty boutiques.

Crossing the Prinsengracht from here takes you to the Jordaan, Amsterdam's atmospheric former working class district with narrow streets and quaint houses. The Jordaan has even more fascinating shops (especially fashion, antiques and Dutch design) and wonderful weekly markets like theLindengracht market. When you need a break from shopping, visit one of the Jordaan's wood-panelled shopsbrown cafes(brown cafes; traditional Dutch pubs).

Exclusive boutique hotels are the norm on the western ring of canals; There are some more affordable alternatives in the Jordaan.

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The West

Best neighborhood for restaurants

West of the Jordaan, not far north of Vondelpark, is the Oud West (Old West), a lively, sophisticated neighborhood with some of the city's best restaurants today. This is a great foretastefood halls, with adventurous stalls offering Dutch and international food and drink around a shared dining room in theThe hallsCultural complex in converted tram shed. De Clercqstraat, Bilderdijkstraat and Jan Pieter Heijestraat are also good streets for restaurants.

Further north to the west of Amsterdam - connected to the city center along the Haarlemmerstraat and its western extension Haarlemmerdijk, both rich in grocery stores and restaurants - lies the greenWest Park. In addition to the park, former gasworks now include theWestergasfabriekCultural complex with a range of restaurants, bars and a great craft brewery,Troost Brewery. Food markets and festivals are often held here.

Hip hostels and hotels are scattered throughout the western part of the city, but there are also charming places like aAndhistoric bridge keeper houses.

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Amsterdam Nord

Best neighborhood for urban art and architecture

Across the IJ from the city center, directly accessible from Central Station by a short, free ferry ride, Amsterdam Noord (Amsterdam North) is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in the city.

In theNDSMYou'll find street art in former shipyards, cool cafes made from recycled materials and the cavescity ​​of art("Art City") studios. One of the high profile sights this side of the river is the edgy whiteEYE Film Institute, and a former oil company office building,A'DAM Tower, whose outdoor attractions include a virtual reality roller coaster, a dizzying giant swing over the top edge of the observation deck and a spectacular view over Amsterdam.

The tower also contains a hotel; other unique lodging options in the neighborhood range from aHostel in a laboratory from the 1920sthrough toLuxury suites in an industrial crane.

Introducing Amsterdam

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The article was first published in January 2015 and last updated in August 2021.

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