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When it comes to things to do or places to visit, Amsterdam has an impressive offer. But with the variety comes the difficulty: which ones to choose? I often get asked for recommendations, and I’ve had quite a few posts in mind with places I would choose. And then it hit me, why not ask the locals for some tips?This article is a collection of places and things to do in Amsterdam, a completely random selection. I asked people to tell me their favourite places in the city. I tried to organise it on categories for an easier navigation.

Here are the favourite things to see and do of Amsterdam locals.

Bars, Restaurants, Shops and hotels.

1. Adelina

  • Friends&Foes – a really nice little store in the Pijp, on the corner of Roelof Hartstraat and Hobbemakade. They have a spectacular selection of board games, card games and roleplaying games. Including some more indie stuff that’s hard to find elsewhere. Do check their website as it’s well updated with what they have in the store.
  • Henk’s Comics & Manga Store – Located nearby Nieuwmarkt metro station, Henk’s Comics & Manga Store is an amazing place for Comic Books and Manga lovers. They offer a great variety of titles together with other goodies such as action figures, Funko Pop collectables, posters, and other merch. The staff is really friendly so would definitely advise a visit to the store.
  • The American Book Center. The ABC is my favourite bookshop. They offer English – language books (with a nice SciFi and Fantasy selection) together with games, calendars, comic books, mangas and many more. The store also offers the option of getting a nice cup of coffee together with a good book and a view of the Spui area. They have a great online shop and organise events regularly. If you are interested in joining a Book Club, check their monthly Book Chats to connect with booklovers and discuss a selected novel.

2. Sinead

  • Mezrab, the house of stories, where they have live storytelling nights, music and comedy nights in English. A great meeting place for Dutchies and internationals. Diverse, LGBT+ friendly.
  • Tales and Spirits cocktail bar – not only are the cocktails great and the bar staff charming AF, but the little bites you can order to accompany your drinks are divine. The complimentary crackers (made from rice & peanut) and their fried chicken are my favourite. You can’t book. But turn up as two people and look sad and they will do their best to find a space for you.
  • Third recommendation is the very popular café ‘t Papeneiland. A classic brown café. Best apple pie in Amsterdam and super cool interior.

3. Nesli

  • Parakeet: Already well-known by the Kinkerbuurt residents, Parakeet is a small cocktail bar with tropical setting also serving amazing nacho dishes. They have a menu with around 10 cocktails, and a couple of shots (to finish up your visit!), some of them changing seasonally. Aside from the menu, you should definitely check out the board next to the bar where they usually have their weekly special cocktail. My all-time favourite here is White Negroni, a simple and smokey mix made with mezcal, sake and Italian vermouth.
  • Hiding in Plain Sight: If there is one bar that can make me cycle from West to East, it’s HPS. Its cozy, dimly-lit interior makes you wanna chill all evening sipping their sophisticated cocktails. Two simple but crucial things I expect from a cocktail bar is water served (and topped up regularly) and something to snack next to your drinks (both free of charge, of course). At HPS water comes to your table immediately and their snack of choice is popcorn, which makes me almost jump up and down with joy. My personal favourite here is the one with the great Lithuanian name Šaltibarščiai (shall-teh-barsh-chay), made with the mix of unexpected ingredients, starting with dill-infused vodka.
  • Mr. Gyoza: a relatively new place in Oud-West serving signature cocktails and, hence the name, delicious gyozas. Once you enter the place, you get teleported into a small eatery in a hectic food street in some city in Eastern Asia. All their cocktails are with Asian twists and some of them even come with a serving demonstration performed by the mixologist himself. Bar seating is highly recommended for the full experience. As for the cocktails, I tasted almost everything on their menu but always returned to this delicious one: Sencha, made with matcha-infused tequila. 

4. Mihnea

  • 4’33 Grand Café, once known as Zouthaven Restaurant, is a cool spot not just for its decent grub and drinks, but for the amazing view it provides over the IJ. Right next to the famous Bimhuis concert hall, this café lets you take in the wide-open view of the bay, all the way down to the edge of the water. It’s the perfect hangout for an afternoon chill session, especially on those rare warm Amsterdam days when you want to catch a sweet sunset. Before or after you can also take a relaxing walk along the IJ on the Veemkade, which starts only a few minutes out.
  • The Mezrab is a lively cultural hub in Amsterdam, centred around storytelling and mixed performing arts. Swing by for an entertaining night filled with gripping tales (true or fictional), spot-on improv comedy, or groovy tunes, all in a cosy atmosphere. The diverse line-up covers a range of styles and themes, but if that’s not enough to bring you back, then the mouthwatering home-cooked soup definitely will!
  • In Amsterdam, you’ll find plenty of eateries, including vegetarian spots, but my go-to is Spirit. It’s not about being fancy or having tiny portions; it’s all about the tasty variety of vegan and vegetarian self-serve options. Their fair and hassle-free payment system, where you just weigh your plate, adds to the charm. Give it a try, and you’ll definitely want to come back for seconds!

5. Nina

NAP Amsterdam — Bar/Restaurant in Iburg. If you ever find yourself in the Ijburg neighbourhood of Amsterdam, NAP is the best place to grab a coffee, lunch, or meet friends for cocktails or dinner. Now, maybe I’m biased because NAP is so close by to my apartment, but I feel like this bar/restaurant is worth a trip. It’s located right on the water and has a wall of windows overlooking a picturesque view of a little marina filled with bobbing boats. The food – which has some nice seafood options – is always super fresh, sophisticated, beautifully presented, and surprisingly reasonably priced. And the ambiance is *chef’s kiss.* But I can’t wait for the weather to get better so I can enjoy its outdoor seating. As a newbie to Amsterdam, this is my favourite place to hang so far! 

NAP cafe

6. Theo

  • Pllek. A hip place built amongst shipping containers in Amsterdam Noord, overlooking ‘t IJ, with seasonal food, a beachfront and the occasional live music.
  • Amsterdam Duck Store. A great store to buy unique gifts. They sell a ridiculous variety of rubber duckies, in various sizes and disguises. You can find something here for everyone.
  • Waterkant. A hidden gem of a bar with a waterfront, inspired by “De Waterkant”, in the heart of Paramaribo, the capital of Surinam, where you can experience the famous Surinam hospitality and enjoy delicious multicultural snacks and drinks.

7. Bryony

Since I’ve become a mom, I’ve been annoyed by how ridiculously small the Amsterdam cafes are, and I’ve been looking for spacious ones (for groups, pushchairs or for working). This is my list: Karavaan, Kanarie Klub, MidWest, Vessel, Pacific, Capital Kitchen, Deus Cantina, Public Space Noord, Benji’s.

8. Alexandra

One of my favourite places to enjoy a good coffee is Trakteren. It’s a small and cosy place, but with great attention to the quality of the taste. It’s always a pleasure to have a chat with the people there.


9. Nancy

Pane e Olio: Italy in Amsterdam — great Italian delicacies, best Italian coffee. Buy some food and eat it next to the Multatuli statue.

10. Jerry

  • Hotel Room Mate Aitana – a perfect hotel with a incredible view, in a quiet area next to the IJ.
  • Patisserie Van Avezaath Beune in Oud-Zuid, where I work and always try to make the best pastries!

11. Ioana: Bacalar Amsterdam – for fantastic tacos and a special atmosphere.

12. Doris

The Happy Bookieman. Herengracht 267A. This little bookshop is a haphazard space in the best way possible, selling a random selection of used books in both Dutch and English. You will have the chance to interact with the owner, who is a nice guy and very friendly with tourists.

Happy Bookieman

13. Manasi: Tasty Talks – a platform that brings people together over authentic cultural food experiences, bringing out the undiscovered regional cuisines through home dining events and cooking workshops.

Tasty Talks

14. Lisa: Pazzi for pizza, Mama’s and Tapas for tapas and great service, de Japanner for Japanese food. Old, traditional bruine kroegen: Ruk en Pluk (classic!), Eik en Linde, Café Chris, Café de Ster.

15. Renata

16. Irina : Het Kleinste Huis – a lovely tea shop and café. Intimate atmosphere and excellent tea selection. Book in advance!

17. Tiago: Moeders, a special restaurant serving Dutch specialities.

18. Georgia: Small World Cafe – homemade style food, using fresh ingredients.

Creative Spaces

1. Evelina:

  • LOADS – amazing, inspiring and creativity tickling co-working spaces. Besides amazing coffee and super friendly and helpful staff, LOADS offer spaces for work, workshops, networking, events, solitude and even a natural light photo studio that I absolutely love to use.
  • MACA – more on visual arts, Moving Arts Centre Amsterdam is a unique space in the NDSM providing a view to the IJ on three sides of the building, which is an inspiring haven for artists and art lovers alike gathering community of filmmakers, visual artists, creatives and art lovers.

2. Natalia: De Bouwput – A gallery where artists can exhibit for free and the public can view art for free.

Museums and more

1. Doris

  • The Canal Museum. I discovered late the Canal Museum. A great visual museum that takes you to the history of Amsterdam and the canals. I wish it was the first thing that I’ve done when I was a tourist coming to Amsterdam. You will get 45 minutes of the interactive history of Amsterdam and if you have read Jessie Burton – “The House of Fortune” (or the House on the Herengracht as I like to call it), you will enjoy this museum better. The garden is open during spring and summer and is a real delight.
  • Hermitage’s Farmers Market. Every Saturday during spring and summer, you can visit the courtyard of the Hermitage Amsterdam for a real market: vegetables, fresh pasta, fish, dairy, sourdough, almost everything. They’re coming, as much as possible, from Dutch soil. Almost all “makers” are at the market themselves and they are happy to tell you about origin, quality of the products and how they work. Also, if you are visiting Amsterdam in August, you can enjoy the most romantic place to see a movie. During the last two weeks of August, from Wednesday to Sunday, you can see a record number of award-winning films here.
Canal Museum
Canal museum 01

2. Evelina

FOAM – amazing museum that provides interesting insights into the constantly changing art of photography and perspectives. It gives you the feeling of being transported from a busy streets of central Amsterdam into a creative and inspiring space.

3. Irina

  • Nemo Museum – if you have kids of about 3 and up, this is a place where you can spend the entire day, drifting from one exhibit to the next. Negatives: it’s always crowded. Positives: it is interactive, fun and all about science. Free with museum card, but try to book in advance.
  • Bike ride from Amsterdamse Bos to Vondelpark – put those headphones in and enjoy the city!

4. Peter

  • Don’t care for classical music? Start caring at the Concertgebouw with its world famous acoustics.
  • Architecture lovers really should have a walk around the Zuidas.
  • Strewn around town, the amazing interwar sculptures of Hildo Krop. They get more brittle every year, so enjoy them while you can.
  • Don’t miss out on a chance to walk along the river that gave Amsterdam its name: Amstel River.
Zuidas and Hildo Krop

5. Ioana

Visit a special neighbourhood built in the 20’s – Spaarndammerbuurt, with an iconic building: Museum Het Schip. Across the museum there’s a street like no other in Amsterdam: Zaanhof. After visiting these places, head towards the Houthavens neighbourhood for an incursion into the past, present and future.

6. Alexandra

  • OBA Oosterdok – I like it a lot, either for enjoying a coffee and a book by myself, or for going out with a friend, on the top floor where the view is great. I also like going there with my kids, in the mezzanine, at the children’s section — it’s hard to convince them to leave this place when it’s time to go home!
  • Museumplein: I like to have a picnic on the grass and feel the vibe of the city. There are many people people passing by in all directions and they really charge you with energy.

7. Jerry: the Jordaan neighbourhood is, for me, the most beautiful area in Amsterdam, with the cosy small canals and the old canal houses.

8. Achromatic Snap: Amsterdam Lookout, a boat ride; also, Heineken Experience is amazing.

I hope you found some interesting recommendations here. If you want to contribute to this list, please send me your ideas and I will update the article.

Note: Photos are courtesy of the person recommending those things.

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