Another gorgeous European city ripe with culture and history. We lived here for three weeks in 2017 and we had an absolute blast walking along the canals, exploring all the various neighbourhoods and discovering great workspaces. And of course eating and drinking!
Here's a list of my favourite Dutch things!
De Pijp- This is the neighbourhood we stayed in while we were there and we quickly fell in love it. It has tons of cafes, coffee shops (...both kinds), bars, restaurants all within walking distance. It was also close to a co-working space we loved. They call it the Latin quarter but if we're being honest it did not feel Latin to me. It is lively though, and has been a home to hippies, boho spirits and creatives since the 60’s. I loved the Sarphatipark (a large park perfect for a picnic) and we were lucky enough to have it right across the street from our Airbnb. There is also the Albert Cuypmarkt which sells all sorts of things out in the street by loads of vendors. Meats, cheeses, fruit, veggies, electronics, anything you want! The Heineken Experience is also in this neighbourhood which has a rooftop that gives you a great view of the city on a clear day. This neighbourhood is home to loads of different ethnicities and their foods. On a typical stroll you pass Kebabs, Thai food, Dim Sum, Indian and Vegetarian restaurants as well as wine bars, and coffee shops. Feels more local than some of the other neighbourhoods but you should note, it is a bit far from the super central stuff if that’s what you want to do while in town.
Jordaan/Oud-Zuid is probably the most popular neighbourhood to stay in and with good reason! It's stacked with history, museums, parks + green spaces, beautiful historic buildings -- it’s impressive. This is where the wealthy has always lived throughout Amsterdam’s history. It's the home to the high end shopping street of PC Hooftstraat. If you're looking to do some high end shopping or to merely walk amongst some of the wealthiest, this is your neighbourhood!
Oud West- The home to Amsterdam's trendy design stores, cafes and excellent restaurants. The big food court called De Hallen is here and it's awesome for when you can’t decide what to eat OR when you have a big group and everyone wants something different. Lot Sixty One coffee is here too and a street market called Ten Katemarket. It also has concept stores which I am a total sucker for. This neighbourhood is also the home to Vondelpark which is probably the most visited park in the city.... Amsterdam’s central park, if you will.
- Bocca Coffee is a super cute, open air coffee shop.
- CT Coffee and Coconuts— Are you craving the beach while visiting Amsterdam? This place has a great nice open layout place with a super fun, beachy-y vibe. You can eat, drink coffee and tea, and is a great place to chill and work etc.
- Scandinavian Embassy— YUM the espresso here.. just thinking about it I'm craving a coffee. Also I loved the porridge and went here we went back numerous times while in town. Beautiful coffee in a cute little space but it is a bit slow so it's not for a quick coffee stop. However it’s the best coffee in the city in my opinion.
TRADITIONAL DUTCH FOOD
- Winkel 43 is the spot if you want Dutch Apple pie, and trust me, you WANT Dutch Apple Pie.
- For Stroopwafels I have two suggestions. Original Stroopwafels is the spot for OG, basic stroops. and Van Wonderen Stroopwafels is where to go for the hipster interpretation, complete with toppings. Really, you can't get enough dessert so I'd really recommend just hitting up both.
- For Dutch Pancakes you have to go to The Carousel in De Pijp. It located on the side of a roundabout so it's great for people watching and great pancakes! It seems to be regarded as the best in town by tons of locals.
- Venkel is a salad place with great salads but all health food. If you have people who don’t like that kind of food they don’t have many other options for food.
- SLA is also a salad bar of sorts, I loved the tempeh one. I felt like it was more filling than Venkel but it could also have just been my salad choice.
- Yoghurt Barn: is exactly what it sounds like, a place with awesome yoghurt combinations. Also has cakes, sweets, juices, teas, all yummy! It's a cozy detox restaurant complete with raw foods and Acai bowls.
Little Collins is one of my favourite spots in all of Amsterdam. I loved it and could have ordered any of their 10 or so brunch options. Also so many Bloody Marys (try the Kimchi one) Mimosas, etc are all offered.
My top two choices are Geflipt, and OMG you have to go and get the Spicy Mexican burger, and also the Cannibale Royale. Cannibale Royals also has other meats, Geflipt has some veggie options and grilled sandwiches (Tostis)
- Spaghetteria Zuid- A really great pasta bar with about 6 options and they all looked delicious. We loved the Ravioli and Parpadelle.
- Oresti’s Tavern— This is a great spot for Tapas style mediterranean food, super fun atmosphere.
- Sinne is affordable Michelin star quality food and was truly amazing.
- Cafe Restaurant Van Kerkwijk— great spot near the centre of the action but tucked away on an alley. Not a large menu and it changes daily but expect it to be wonderful.
- Foodhallen- Big food warehouse with tons of stalls and options for everyone.
THINGS TO DO, PLACES TO SEE
Anne Frank Haus is of course a must. It's an amazing way to learn about the history of Amsterdam and WWII as well as what happened to the Jewish population during the German occupation of the Netherlands.
When you're in Amsterdam you absolutely have to do a canal tour! We did the The Dam Boat Guys canal tour and it was really great.
Red Light District, for obvious reasons...
You really should Eat/Drink on a park with a blanket when in Amsterdam, there are so many beautiful parks to choose from— Vondelpark or Sarphatipark are two of my favourites
Cheese Tasting/Wine Tasting: The dutch are known for their cheese so definitely take advantage of being surrounded by so much deliciousness.
Also, remember: Coffee Shop= a place to drink coffee. Coffeeshop= a place to smoke hash. Original Dampking is one of the first spots in the city where you could buy and smoke weed. Keep in mind it is not actually legal in the city anymore but the rules are not heavily enforced. You can also not smoke cigarettes inside or even have them on the table so keep those hidden and do not smoke inside! You have to go outside for those. Fun fact: Oceans 12 was filmed at this location.
Amsterdam is the land of biking so make sure to rent Bikes and ride around the city. Just be prepared while the city is bike friendly the bikers are not necessarily. There are 17 million people in the country and 18 million bikes. So they are used.
Learn your geography: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE_IUPInEuc
Learn a bit of history about the Nazi occupation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDjSTSoG_IU
As remote workers it was so important for us to find a good work place. WeWork on Weteringschans was great for us. It cost 100 Euro a month for a hot desk and they have meeting rooms you can reserve, Skype/audio rooms, coffee/tea, and beer after 3pm! It also has a fun view over a roundabout. We never had any problems with the wifi here 7 down and 9 up in the middle of the afternoon with loads of people on. The Metropol location is bigger but we never went over there but we could have, our passes work there too.
Spaces was also a major contender for us and they have multiple locations around the city. Tons of great reviews for them too we were just living closer to WeWork. It much pricier to be there at 225 euro a month.
Have you been to Amsterdam? What's on your list? Leave a comment below or comment on my Instagram @lizmercer_ I would love to hear your tips!