A Local’s Guide To Amsterdam: Where To Avoid Tourists In The City Center

by Nick Papa

A Local’s Guide To Amsterdam: Where To Avoid Tourists In The City Center

A Local’s Guide to Amsterdam is part of a series collaboration with Spotted by Locals Amsterdam


Amsterdam has a compact layout that’s perfect for wandering and discovering new spots. At the very center of the city, tourists overtake the Damrak from Centraal Station down to Dam Square and beyond to the Museumplein. But to escape the crowds, travelers need not wander far outside the city center. From the Jordaan district to the new center of cool in Amsterdam Oost, here’s where to find the locals in the city center.

Local's Guide To Amsterdam White Label Coffee

White Label Coffee for espresso with the aficionados.

With speciality coffee shops on almost every corner, finding a caffeine fix can feel overwhelming. White Label Coffee is one of the best in Amsterdam-West, not only for its deliciously rich blends that are roasted in-house, but for the free WiFi and modern, modular design where local creatives go to work on their laptops and catch up on emails.

Local's Guide To Amsterdam- Westergasfabriek

Westergasfabriek for shopping with the locals.

The former gasworks factory Westergasfabriek is now home to Sunday Market, where the locals go for fashion, designer wares, art and food. The market aims to provide a creative platform for entrepreneurs, helping them to connect with shoppers by drawing them into a dynamic venue known for creativity and artistry.

Local's Guide To Amsterdam- Roest

Amsterdam Roest for beach vibes in the city.

Amsterdam may be known for its historic canals, but in Amsterdam Oost (the east), Amsterdam Roest is a bar with a man-made beach. Relax on a stretch of sand along the canal at the converted industrial buildings, which have been transformed into a local favorite known for eclectic arts programming including film screenings and live music.

Local's Guide To Amsterdam-Hangar

Hangar Amsterdam for open-air dining.

Hop on a short ferry ride to Amsterdam Noord (the north). Just across the IJ bay from the city center, Hangar Amsterdam feels like an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the touristy Centrum. Sit on the terrace and enjoy the water views, and the celebrated menu of oysters, risotto, steak tartare and tiramisu.

Local's Guide To Amsterdam-Jordaan

Jordaan district for the best city walk in Amsterdam.

Cool cafes, hip bars and creatives inhabit the charming streets of the Jordaan district. Don’t be intimidated by the difficult-to-pronounce street names. Head to the Brouwersgracht, a great starting point, then pocket the map and wander. Find Cafe Sonneveld and try their stamppot, a traditional Dutch dish made of potatoes and vegetables, or visit Cafe Winkel 43 for the best Dutch apple pie in Amsterdam.

Local's Guide To Amsterdam-HappyHappyJoyJoy

Happyhappyjoyjoy for Asian street food.

After sampling traditional Dutch cuisine, don’t forget to acknowledge the city’s varied offering of international cuisine. Happyhappyjoyjoy, a celebrated newcomer, has become famous for bringing street food to Amsterdam in a stylishly luxurious way, but without the price tag. Head here for Thai, Malay, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Chinese bites, and don’t miss a speciality cocktail or ice-cold Asian beer.

Local's Guide To Amsterdam- Volkshotel

Volkshotel for an eclectic hotel stay.

The former office building of the daily Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant has been transformed into Volkshotel, a vibrant, stylish and affordable design hotel. The affordable tag sacrifices no amenities: The hotel has a rooftop bar and restaurant, creative co-working space in the lobby, and even artists-in-residence. Each room is beautifully designed with big windows and even bigger views of Amsterdam.

About Spotted by Locals

Spotted by Locals is a series of apps and blogs with up-to-date tips by locals in 60+ cities across Europe and North America. To get more local tips, visit the Spotted by Locals website or download the app from iTunes or Google Play.


A Local’s Guide to Amsterdam photos by Javier M, Amsterdam Roest, Roman Kraft, Stijn te Strake, Daria Nepriakhina, White Label Coffee, Wallpaper Magazine, Volkshotel


More Local Guides by Spotted by Locals

A Local’s Guide to London

A Local’s Guide to New York

A Local’s Guide to Riga

A Local’s Guide to Rome

A Local’s Guide to Barcelona

Nick Papa
Nick is a fifth-generation New Yorker interested in exploring city culture and trends. For five years, he has worked in social media and PR for travel and hospitality brands while he moonlights as a travel writer and editor for Spotted by Locals, a publisher of alternative city guides.

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