Local's Guide to Restaurants & Sightseeing in Amsterdam

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Curated By

Arlette Diederiks

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  • International Travel

  • Netherlands

  • Amsterdam

  • Local's Guide

  • Sightseeing

  • Shopping

Bike on bridge overlooking body of water during daytime
Curator’s statement

Having lived in Amsterdam for many years myself, it has a special place in my heart. The small but vibrant city has so much to offer in terms of culture, restaurants, arts and entertainment and this guide helps you find the best places to check when visiting.

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Where to stay in Amsterdam

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Conservatorium Hotel

A longtime favorite and award winner for its striking architecture, modern style and central location in the Museum Square district.

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  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht

Housed in what was once a public library, this luxury lifestyle hotel is a stylish choice in Amsterdam.

Fora Perks
  • Hotel / resort credit.

  • Welcome amenity.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out, whenever possible.

Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam

Canalside luxury in historic Amsterdam with a Guerlain Spa and fitness center, personal concierge services and two Michelin-starred restaurants.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Things to do in Amsterdam

Boat in body of water next to bridge and buildings during daytime

Arts and Sightseeing in Amsterdam

Famous for its canals, a tour along them is a must-do. Another great way to explore the city is by bicycle. Do a tour with a tour guide to make sure you stay safe and see all the important spots.

As for museums, the Rijksmuseum is a must visit, where you can see the Night Watch by Rembrandt and works from many famous Dutch painters, such as Johannes Vermeer and Frans Hals. The Van Gogh Museum is home to more than 1,400 pieces by the painter, among which the Sunflowers. The Anne Frank Huis is the place where Anne Frank and her family hid during WWII. 

If you're looking for a different type of museum, head to the Moco Museum.

Shopping in Amsterdam

One of my favorite streets to check out small shops is the Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets) where you can find great restaurants, cafés, art galleries, jewelers, boutiques and vintage stores. If you're looking for upscale designers and labels, head to the PC Hooftstraat in the museum district. You can also find some high-end labels at De Bijenkorf, one of Amsterdam's best known department stores which you can find at the Dam Square. Arts and antiques lovers can eat their hearts out at the Spiegelkwartier, which hosts more than 70 antique shops and galleries.

Places to eat & drink in Amsterdam

Bakery with case of baked goods during daytime

Restaurants for Coffee & Breakfast in Amsterdam

The Meets: Delicious plant-based healthy dishes made with fresh ingredients.

Benji's: At Benji's you really step into an urban jungle: green natural elements such as plants and wood are combined with more industrial tones in the form of stone and steel.  On the menu you can find healthy breakfast bowls, toast and also sweets for those who crave some sugar. After breakfast you can stick around and have a cocktail too!

Dignita: Here you can enjoy breakfast, brunch or lunch with a menu that highlights the seasons and reinvents traditional brunch classics with a twist.

MOAK Pancakes: At MOAK they serve organic pancakes with surprising combinations, such as vegan pancakes with saffron, or one with smoked salmon and avocado.

Restaurants for Lunch & Dinner in Amsterdam

Mama Makan: This Indonesian restaurant situated at the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam perfectly combines modern décor with lush green plants. You can pair delicious Indonesian cuisine with some tasty cocktails.  

Moon: Situated on the 19th floor of the A'DAM Tower, Moon is guaranteed to give you a special evening. But it's not only the spectacular views over the river IJ and the city that makes this a place you don’t want to miss. The food created by Chef Hans Geertsema is also well worth your visit. 

Vegan Junkfood Bar: Vegan Junkfood Bar serves, yes, vegan junkfood like burgers, fries and the typical Dutch bitterballs (here betterballs, because obviously without meat). There are also some healthier options, such as vegan sushi and salads. 

Drinks in Amsterdam

Hiding in Plain Sight: No food, but excellent cocktails at HPS, located on a corner in the Red Light District. Selected as one of the World’s 50 Best Bars by the UK’s Sunday Times, this bar is well worth a visit when you are in the city. 

Flying Dutchmen Cocktails: This bar has the largest backbar of the Netherlands with over 800 unique spirits and is focused on neoclassic cocktails. It made the top 10 of best cocktail bars Europe in 2019. Flying Dutchmen is very passionate about teaching its guests about the profession of bartending, about the stories behind the spirits, about existing recipes and about the bartenders who created these classic cocktails. So much more than just a cocktail bar!

Skybar Malabar: Have a cocktail with a view at Malabar, located on the 8th and 9th floor of Hotel Jakarta. Amsterdam and Indonesia melt here into a unique vibe with cocktails from the Far East and Western classics.

Need to Know

Dreaming of an adventure? Check out my surfing-based guide: Luxury Surfing Destinations Around the World.

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