Undeniably, the 2010s was Amsterdam’s decade. With an astonishing rise in tourism and a direct Eurostar link to the city centre to sign the decade off, it proved itself to be more than a stag-do weekend; but a beautiful city full of history, culture and charm. So far on my travels, the Dutch have impressed me the most with their immaculate style, relaxed laws and chic lifestyle. So, when I visit, it is a personal mission of mine to fit in with the locals. When visiting Amsterdam, it is easy to follow the current of tourists, however, it’s time to stop chasing the travelling ‘I Amsterdam’ sign and introduce ourselves to the cool Dutch culture we’ve been compromising for so long.
This guide promises to provide a day that is Amsterdam local approved, packed with unmissable treats and extends your footprint further than Dam Square. A condensed and curated list of my personal favourite spots in Holland’s capital that has you covered from morning coffee to evening cocktails, and trendy places to visit in between.
American Brunch Cafe| Amsterdam Central, Oud West & Pijp | $$ | Instagram: @moakpancakes
Suitable for Vegetarians & vegans | Best for a brunch date
Start the day with a sugar rush at the brunch café Moak. Here, the floral walls set a perfect background for the glorious, camera friendly pancakes which can be eaten sweet, savoury and vegan. I can approve that the pancakes at Moak are impeccably fluffy, highly reviewed and absolutely worth it. Personally, I will go for a classic ‘The Supa Dupa’ pancake which is American pancakes topped with fruit, chocolate sauce and grated coconut, however if I am willing to push the boat out ‘The Rich and Famous’ pancake is incredible, with Greek yoghurt, fruit, granola, cinnamon, maple syrup, dates, pistachios and edible flowers on top it is not only delicious, but a feast for the eyes as well. Wonderfully, these can all be washed down with a glass of Mimosa Rosé (with watermelon or pineapple!)
Bar, Fashion, Gastropub| Amsterdam East | $$ | Instagram: @louielouie.nl
Suitable for Vegetarians & vegans | Best for drinks with friends / Dinner date
Once breakfast is over, hire a bike and set off for Ooster Park. Although best enjoyed in the heat of summer, the options certainly are not seasonally limited. Play it by ear and cycle around the square, surrounded by cafes and bars you can easily make your own discoveries and let your own spontaneity decide. Still, I will nudge you in the direction of Louie Louie, one of many establishments where brunch, dinner and drinks until 3AM are an option. Louie Louie’s invitingly cosy atmosphere pairs well with the wholesome variety of food options such as tapas and tacos.
Contemporary, Healthy food | Zeilstraat | $$ | Instagram: @stach_food
Suitable for Vegetarians & vegans | Best for lunch with friends
One underrated travel tip for any city break is a place to find a healthy snack. Stach, is one of Amsterdam’s ultimate reasons why it’s one of the most relaxed, convenient cities to visit. It is essentially a healthy, unique deli chain dotted around Amsterdam, so there shouldn’t ever be one too far away. For a mini food shop for your weekend apartment, or a lunch sat down or taken away, they are incredibly reliable to cater to your needs.Food options are unlimited in Amsterdam anyway and Stach is a great example of this as it holds delicious vegan options, wine, breakfast pots, amongst other special delights such as truffle cheese toasties.
Contemporary Art Museum | € | Instagram: @mocomuseum | Best for small groups
In fact, take one of these snacks along with you to a trip to a museum. If you’re visiting Amsterdam it’s highly likely that a museum is on your to do list anyway, when the Anne Frank Huis and the Van Gogh museum are just a couple of the famous museums to visit. For something a little more contemporary, try the Moco Museum, pay for a ticket on the door, or to skip the queue and buy in advance on the website. Here you can view many of Banksy’s artwork, as well as Stik, where an entire shops shutter with Stik’s graffiti art from south London is displayed here.
Photography Museum | € | Instagram: @foam_amsterdam | Best for photography lovers
For a different experience, Foam, is a unique photography museum that presents four different exhibitions that interchange throughout the year. The different photographic genres range from documentary, art and fashion in a unique building where it feels as if the photographic art is never-ending as you discover a new room around the complex layout. Or, escape reality for a moment and take a visit to fluorescent light museum Electric Ladyland. This installation will certainly impress your travel buddies, with an array of fluorescent lights packed into a chamber, it’s an extraordinary photoshoot opportunity. Book an appointment and pay once you are there. The installation is a one of a kind experience which you won’t regret taking a trip to.
Bar | NDSM | $$ | | Instagram: @pllek_amsterdam
Suitable for Vegetarians, vegans & GF | Best for small & large groups
Finally, end the day at Pllek, my favourite recommendation. Pllek is a lively and trendy ‘beach bar’ built from colourful shipping containers, looking out onto a serene view of water and towards Amsterdam. With plenty of outdoor and indoor seating this restaurant-bar is perfect for any season. All the food is fresh, and there is plentiful vegetarian options that will cater to everyone. How to get there is part of the novelty of this bar, it is in fact by boat, which is free! Find it behind Amsterdam central station, going towards ‘Amsterdam NDSM’ and hop on a long with the locals where it takes you straight to Pllek. A perfect spot to sit down, enjoy a cocktail and end your busy day relaxing.