Amsterdam: Under the Radar

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Advisor - Maggie Pecorino
Curated By

Maggie Pecorino

  • Amsterdam

  • Food & Wine

  • City Travel

  • Outdoors

  • Nightlife

  • Entertainment

city on a narrow canal lit up at night
Curator’s statement

Since first visiting in 2017, Amsterdam has become a second home to me. It is difficult to put into words the sense of joy and comfort I experience while spending time in this city; I only know that these feelings increase each time I’m there. Allow me to share a few under the radar spots that I’ve discovered first hand throughout the years.

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Where to stay in Amsterdam

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Things to do in Amsterdam

buildings on a canal at night

Vice Versa Comedy Nights: English language comedy (stand-up, improv, etc.) held weekly at an intimate bar in the lively De Pijp neighborhood. $10. Local beer. Great cocktails. Always good vibes. Search "Vice Versa Comedy" online for tickets and buy in advance.

Go wild at an Ajax game: While not as internationally famed as football in England or Italy, Amsterdammers love their club with a passion. Catch a summertime match and celebrate the lively atmosphere.

Explore Amsterdam Oost: In my opinion, such an underrated part of the city. Go beyond the busy center and take a leisurely stroll around this residential eastern neighborhood. Beautiful buildings. Parks and cafes galore.

NDSM: Perhaps not so off-the-beaten-path anymore... but still worth the quick ferry ride. This industrial part of Amsterdam-Noord is home to an ever-expanding number of galleries, arcades, street art, and cultural event spaces with constantly rotating exhibitions.


Disclaimer: First-time visitors should never skip the Rijks or Van Gogh. However, here are some suggestions if you enjoy a more low-key museum experience.

KattenKabinet: Museum of cat art and objects located in a canalside home. Hilarious.

Embassy of the Free Mind: With the mission of preserving knowledge, this organization has collected an impressive library of centuries-old writings by thinkers and scholars. Reading room. Garden. Cafe. Great place to spend a few hours on a rainy day.

Tropenmuseum: A vast collection of work focusing on diversity and highlighting universal themes of cultures from around the world. (Tip: afterwards, head to nearby Brouwerij 't IJ for beer and charcuterie.)

Eye Film Museum: Film buffs rejoice! This cool, contemporary building houses historical film items and posters with a rotating exhibition (Tarantino when I went). They also host screenings of old films in 35 and 70mm.

Jewish Museum: Jewish heritage in the Netherlands is rich and historically important. I recommend the audio tour for a full experience. Ticket price includes entry to the beautiful Portuguese synagogue across the street.

Day Trips:

Zandvoort aan Zee: Did you know that only half an hour away from Centraal Station is a lovely little beach town? This stretch of shore is long and lined with restaurants, so even on crowded summer weekends you can find some peace and quiet in the sun.

Gouda: Say cheese! An hour south of the city lies the charming home of our beloved Gouda cheese. Visit the Gouda Museum, try a Gouda fondue at Restaurant Belvedère, and of course, buy some to take home.

Places to eat & drink in Amsterdam

bicycle in front of fruit stand


Hollands Hap Hmm: Traditional Dutch cuisine — think deliciously simple variations of meat & potatoes — in a homey space. Great introduction to the country for a great price. No reservations. Arrive before 5 pm for your best shot at a table.

Tacos & Tequila: On a crowded street in Centrum, you can find some seriously delicious Mexican fare. Tasty tacos (with a jackfruit option for vegans!) and excellent margaritas. Or, just go straight for a mezcal flight. You’re in Amsterdam.

Mr. Blou I Love You: Easy to miss health food stand run by the kindest chef/owner. The falafel wrap is consistently amazing. A nice alternative from the oft-heavy Dutch pub fare.

De Kas: Upscale vegetarian pre-fixe inside a greenhouse. With sustainability as a focus, De Kas grows everything on-site. Reservations required.

Dignita Hoftuin: Beautiful brunch spot in a beautiful glass building. Bonus: all proceeds go to a social enterprise non-profit offering support and training programs to communities in need. Very cool.


Waterkant: Hidden behind a gas station on a main road. Perfect for waterfront sunset drinks and snacks (Dutch & Surinamese fusion). Chill during the day, bustling at night. My go-to rec for a younger crowd.

Cafe Soundgarden: Unpretentious dive with a focus on hosting live music (check website for schedule). Cute canalside backyard space.

Cafe Gollem: Cozy, local pub with a resident cat. Strong selection of Belgian beers. Amazing cheese board.

Gebrouwen door Vrouwen: Women-owned and led brewery! Love to see this in a male-dominated industry.

Vondelbunker: Underground vibes. Literally under a bridge. Radical, community-led space. Home to a variety of (often free) events. Schedule updated regularly online. Cash only.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out my guide, 4-Day Itinerary in Amsterdam and Beyond.

Advisor - Maggie Pecorino

Travel Advisor

Maggie Pecorino

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to the Netherlands.