Are you a tourist, an artist, a culturati, an expat or a night owl? These are Amsterdam’s best neighborhoods curated for travelers.
Figuring out where to stay in Amsterdam might be overwhelming, you want to be near the canals but away from crowds of tourists. You’re a museum fanatic but still want to be close to the city center. We’ve done the homework for you, below are five major Amsterdam neighborhoods broken down by the type of traveler you might be.
Centrum – for the tourists
If you love shopping and being in the middle of the iconic UNESCO-listed Amsterdam canals, then Centrum neighborhood is your best bet. If you hate massive groups of tourists, then veer away from Centrum. For shoppers who love browsing through local boutiques, the 9 Streets is within walking distance, if not only a few steps away. You’ll see Anne Frank’s House here, along with numerous galleries and the 17th century Royal Palace Amsterdam. Centrum might be a tiny borough which covers merely 8.04 km2, but it holds the second-highest income per household in the city, making it one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Amsterdam.
De Pijp – for the expats
Eclectic cafés, cool brunch spots, and stylish folks. De Pijp has recently captivated the attention of expats living in Amsterdam either for work or as digital nomads. A former neighborhood for the working class or low income families during the 19th century, De Pijp has been gentrified by artisanal coffee shops and one of a kind boutiques that feature new and unique Dutch labels. Don’t miss Albert Cuyp Markt – named after a famous painter from the 17th century – this is where you can discover anything from vegetables, fruit, clothing to accessories.
Nieuwmarkt en Lastage – for the culturati
A former city gate, Nieuwmarkt en Lastage is one of the most multicultural neighborhoods in Amsterdam, encompassing Chinatown, Jewish Quarter…and many more. Even the Dutch themselves will say that the best of Dutch food comes from various eating culture of their colonies. Hence, the diversity of restaurants you’ll find in Nieuwmarkt en Lastage is anything but lackluster. From Thai to Indonesia, this area is filled with flavors amped with excitement. In regards to sightseeing, you’ll want to check out NEMO Science Museum and Mediamatic where art, science and design emerge. There are often exhibitions that highlight ecological and sustainable initiatives. For shopping, don’t miss Waterloopleinmarkt for thrifty items and Nieuwmarkt for food.
De Wallen (Red-Light District) – for the night owl
As the oldest neighborhood in Amsterdam, De Wallen is globally known for its dimmed red lights and visible prostitution. Situated in the middle of the city, De Wallen contains a bridge built in 1270 connecting Rokin and Damrak roads. You’ll see 301 room-cabins showcasing prostitutes who rent the low-lit spaces, some hustle for business while some are busy scrolling through their phones. Staying in this area doesn’t necessarily mean that nightlife would be your sole highlight since the government has been attempting to clean up De Wallen. Brouwerij de Prael, for instance, serves house-brewed draft beer while offering jobs to locals having a difficult time in the job market.
Oud-Zuid – for the artists
A bit further from the central canals is Oud-Zuid where you’ll encounter Amsterdam’s most beloved museums. Rijksmuseum features Dutch and European collections from the Middle Ages to modern day, meanwhile Van Gogh Museum is dedicated to the Neo-Impressionism artist’s life and works. You’ll also see beautiful pieces by Dalí and Banksy at the Moco Museum, as well as contemporary designs at the Stedelijk. Stay at the posh Conservatorium Hotel, where you’ll have easy access to all the museums and Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat – a high-end shopping street, home to international designer brands, including: Louis Vuitton, Tiffany’s, Cartier…etc.