I left my ❤️❤️❤️ in Amsterdam

What is it about Amsterdam that we love so much?

There is something electric about Amsterdam. It has a gravitational pull on my heart, but that’s okay. I love it. The city, the architecture, the history, the culture, the politics, the design, the innovation, the way of life merge into this beautifully blended city and life experience. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit on multiple occasions, which has enabled me to have a more immersive city experience. I’ve been able to slowly penetrate beyond the tourist exterior and discover the local pulse. So, this post is an accumulation of multiple trips (and hopefully more). It’s organized by neighbourhood to make it easier to navigate. Enjoy, like riding a tandem bike with your bestie on your day off!

Neighbourhoods

De Pijp

Albert Cuyp Market – This market is lively, and you can find all manner of things here. Fresh produce, fresh flowers, artisanal food products, a delicious assortment of food to go (Dutch, fusion, and world cuisine), and of course clothing, homeware, and such. I love most the terraces on the side streets running perpendicular to the market. 💐 

Bar Frisk – This is a great spot, a short walk from the hustle and bustle of Cuyp Market. It has an intimate terrace and an even more intimate interior. I stopped to enjoy a glass of wine on their patio, but their food menu looked fantastic. It’s on my to-do list when I go back. 🍷

De Japanner – This is a fun spot for izakaya-style Japanese food and a delightful and cheeky cocktail list. Case in point, Yuzu Call Me on My Cellphone. The vibe inside is straight up cool, no ice. No need. 🍶

Duke of Tokyo – A sleek karaoke bar created that emulates the bar vibes in the Golden Gai district of Tokyo. You’ll find an eclectic crowd feeding off the energy of the place. We only popped in for a yuzu sake shot, which was delicious. I need to go back, especially for a karaoke night. 🎤

Coffee & Coconuts – This is my go-to work spot when I need a change of scenery from my WFH situation. I usually get a V60 pour-over; ask the barista they have a good selection of beans. The smoothie bowls are a fantastic way to start your morning, or if you need something hardier, they have a solid breakfast menu. For lunch, I recommend the Baos. Get there early and know that working from a computer means sitting at the bar or the communal table. ☕

GlouGlou – One of the wine hot spots in the city. It could be the deliciously curated selection of natural wines they offer or the perfectly poised people-watching terrace. Not to mention the cozy interiors that make for a great date spot. If it’s natural wine you’re after, you need to add this to your need-to-go-to list. 🍷

Sarphatipark – A relaxing and charming park to run, walk, workout, people watch, dog watch, or enjoy a picnic. The park is surrounded by restaurants and bars and is a few blocks from the Albert Cuyp market. It is a popular spot with locals who come in droves to enjoy the park when the weather permits. 🌳 

Sir Hummus – What a lovely little shop with a truly delicious assortment of hummus. You can also get food-to-go and various items for cooking at home. I love the easy-going and friendly vibe of this shop and the delicious food. 🧐

Museum District

Van Gogh – Of course, this is a fan favourite, but I genuinely love getting lost in Van Gogh’s paintings. As a painter, I admire. It’s lovely to be able to sit amongst his masterpieces. At the same time, the museum space is also a beautiful space to be in. I love making a day at the museums. Usually, two max so as not to overload. 🎨

Rijksmuseum – A national museum for the Netherlands, is a beautiful yet large museum. It’s where I go for a history lesson and to explore the old masters, which I love. The museum has a mix of exhibits showcasing paintings, model boats, ceramics, and collected objects that showcase Dutch history through time. 🖼️

Moco Museum – Modern art and street art find harmony here, with a side of Instagram. The bright and eye-catching Moco museum packs punch with its small but captivating collections. You’ll find the likes of contemporaries such as Banksy, Yayoi Kusama, Damien Hirst, and The Kid, next to the ‘Moco Masters’ Warhol and Keith Haring. Just be prepared to study the art with Gen Z’ers posing next to it. Maybe it’s the evolution of art? 🧨

Stedelijk Museum – I think this is my favourite museum. Three floors of art, with the bottom floor housing art “from 1980 to the present, by international artists and designers who are helping to shape the changes of today and tomorrow. They challenge the status quo and offer alternative perspectives” (Stedelijk Museum). It’s the perfect blend of history, art, and culture. The bookstore is also on point. 💡

Vondelpark – The park connects to the museum district. It’s worthwhile to cycle through the park, and if the weather permits, bring a lunch and relax. 🚴

Grachtengordel

Foam Museum – This is one of my favourite museums to go to since I was an exchange student in Utrecht and continues to be a favourite 10+ years later. Foam is a photography museum. It is dedicated to curating fundamentally human exhibits at its core, showing diverse people, places, cultures, and ideas. It’s also a beautiful space to contemplate the exhibits or life. 📸

Red Restaurant – I popped into this tiny spot after visiting the Foam museum. It has a cute outdoor seating area, excellent for people watching as the spot is at a relatively busy intersection for pedestrians and bikes. I was there for lunch, so I enjoyed a super tasty hummus (and more) sandwich and a coffee. But, there were people inside enjoying a much fancier brunch, champagne, and an excellent-looking menu of brunch items. The lavish interiors suggest this would be a cozy and intimate spot for cocktails (when things open up again). 🍽️

Bocca Coffee – I came across this café and roastery on a more recent visit to the city. It’s part of how I explore a new neighbourhood, start at a café and if I’m lucky to get some suggestions or explore the general area. But, this coffee here is delicious, with a beautiful indoor space great for working, chatting, or downtime. They also have a great selection of home brewing products and accessories. It’s where I picked up my travel Kinto (Heart face). Pop in here for a coffee to go or linger (when we can again). ☕

Episode – This is a fun vintage shop with a great assortment of vintage pieces in different genres. I picked up some cashmere sweaters there (big heart), but there are some fabulous pieces for the more eclectic and streetwear styles. It’s well organized and easy to navigate, always a pit-stop when shopping for clothes. 👚

Jordaan

Lindengracht Market – This daily (except Sundays) market has the full range of bread, cheese, produce, flowers and much more. It has a much cozier feel than Albert Cuyp Market. Keep an eye out for the vintage markets that pop up next to it. 🧀

Hinata Ramen – I stumbled on this spot after a tour through the weekend market. Although I didn’t try the ramen (it was a hot summer day), the izakaya-style menu items were so on point. I tried the chicken karaage, edamame, onigiri, and a locally brewed yuzu beer (I swear I’m not obsessed with yuzu). 🍜
Anchor Book Store – This bookstore gem is a stone’s throw from Winkle and the weekend market. A fantastic selection of Dutch and English books. The owners have provided a selection of Dutch authors translated into English so that you can immerse yourself in Dutch culture a little bit more. 📚
Toki Cafe – This has to be one of my favourite cafes in the city. Aesthetically speaking, it meets my minimal cafe vibes, but they also make great coffee. It’s a hot spot with locals, so you get a chill, laidback vibe, not to mention a great opportunity to people watch. If you’re lucky to snag a spot, it’s well worth the time to slow down, read, think, or watch the world go by while you enjoy your fresh brew. ☕

The Rest of the City

American Bookstore – This is probably the most popular English language bookstore in Amsterdam. They have an incredible selection of books for all your needs. More obscure design, architecture, and coffee table books with a comprehensive fiction section of adults and young adults. A good spot for gifts for the book lovers in your life. Or for a unique souvenir. 📚
Tolbar & Cinetol – Tolbar has a relaxed yet fun vibe to it. They have a great selection of craft beers, cocktails and the food menu is ample and great for sharing. There is great outdoor seating, great for this summer weather, depending on the weather. What’s also cool is the live music venue, Cinetol, connected to Tolbar. Overall, an excellent spot for food, music, and good company. 📽️ 

Bar Oslo – This is an excellent restaurant across the canal from the Tire Station Conscious Hotel, where I was staying. In the summer, it’s a great spot to take in the people and boat watching. If you can scoop a lounge car by the canal, this is a great spot to unwind solo or with a friend or two. I recommend their version of a spritz and try the local Dutch beers. 🍺

The Breakfast Club – I love breakfast, so I was naturally excited to see that there was a restaurant dedicated to my favourite meal. But I love food in general. The food was on-point, selecting savory and sweet items: good coffee and a good vibe in the shop. The outdoor area is perfect for slow weekend mornings, yourself or with a friend (Oud West location). 🥞

Ken Sushi – This was a rad experience, and I’m so happy I got to try it. Ken Sushi is Omakase, which means “I leave it up to you,” or “Chef’s Choice.” I levelled up here when it comes to sushi here, and it was an amazing experience. The sake pairing was incredible, rose sake, I never knew. 🍶🍣 Photos below.

When your friends have a 360 view of the city

Photo Credit: Sidestreet Travel

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