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The Traveller's Magazine
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Amsterdam has been one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations for ages. Maybe you’ve been there before, seen the Rijksmuseum, gone on a canal cruise, visited as many “coffee shops” as you can handle and you still want more. Check out Amsterdam through a local’s glasses, here’s your guide for what to do, where to eat and find the best beers.

Locals know how to experience a city: they know the best and worst places to eat, what museums are over-rated, undiscovered sights left off the tourist map, the cheapest accommodations, where to find a local beer and where you’ll find the party and when. As for Amsterdam, once you’ve seen the tourist side of the city, switch it around and take a look from the view of the locals.

What to do?

  • Urban Home and Garden Tours – 3 hour tours around Amsterdam visiting privately owned houses and gardens. No tour is the same as they are completely customized to your interests. Guided in Dutch or English or both. Start the tour with a cup of coffee and some cakes in the garden!
  • Jordaan/Old Center

    Tel: +31 20 688 1243

    Price: €28.50

  • Spaarndammerbuurt – this housing project for the working class was designed by graduates of the Amsterdam School of Architecture, notably Michel de Klerk. There are three main complexes worth exploring for their unusual lines and form!
  • Spaarndammerplantsoen 140, Westpark

    Open: Tues to Sun 11:00-17:00

    Admission: €2.50 (to the museum)

  • Foam – this photography gallery always has 3 or 4 exhibitions happening at one time. The curators are known for their poignant taste. Foam is recognized as one of Amsterdam’s best art galleries and they often host events, ask about any upcoming ones while you’re there. Afterwards enjoy a drink in the museum café.
  • Keizersgracht 609

    Open: Sat to Wed 10:00-18:00, Thurs and Fri 10:00-21:00

    Admission: €7.50

Where to eat?

  • Latei – everything in this restaurant is for sale, not only the food: tables, chairs, cups, photographs on the wall… It is done up in retro fashion with great vintage finds. Enjoy hearty sandwiches, organic coffee, fresh juices and home-made cakes. Free Wi-Fi.
  • Zeedijk 143

    Tel: +31 2062 57 485

  • Café Stevens – tables at this casual place have views of De Waag and it’s right on the Nieuwmarkt. The lunch menu is particularly affordable, €5 and they have a wide range of Belgian beers.
  • Geldersekade 123

    Open: daily 10:00-01:00

  • Van Harte – deep within the 9 straatjes is Van Harte. It’s a little difficult to find in the labyrinth but if you happen upon it, stop for lunch or dinner. Home-made bread and fresh ingredients.
  • Hartenstraat 24

    Open: daily 11:00-23:00

Where to go for a beer?

  • Bar Struik – the graffiti on the wall changes but the hip atmosphere doesn’t. The crowd is always mixed and there are DJs on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Rozengracht 160

    Prices: Beer for €2

  • Walem – with a terrace on the canal, it’s hard to resist spending an evening here enjoying beers with friends. It’s located next to Metz & Co.
  • Keizersgracht 449

    Open: daily 10:00-17:00 & 18:00-22:30

  • Engelbewaarder – this literary café, which is more lively than quiet, is famed for its choice in beers, some of which you cannot find anywhere else in Amsterdam.
  • Kloveniersburgwal 59

    Prices: Beer for €2.20

    Have you had a chance to discover Amsterdam with a local? Where did they take you, what did you most enjoy? Add some of your own ideas by leaving a comment!

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3 responses to “Like a local: Amsterdam

  1. Hey Jeremy and Coralie, thanks for the comments, I'd love to make it to Amsterdam this summer and I'm adding your recommendations to my list!

    Event boards are by far the best way to find out what's going on and when, a great tip!

  2. I have lived not far from Amsterdam from quite some time, and I would advise a few nice places:

    About the food, I would advise eating on the markets: fish, olives, and my personal favourite: Stroopwafels; all this surrounded by bikes, Dutch people: that's the way to go.

    About the party places, I think the best is to go in any restaurant, and have a look at the flyers at the entrance: Amsterdam has numerous places to have fun, try pick one of the flyers and you will discover a new place at each time!

    And about the coffee shops: I would advise the Jolly Joker: you may have tried different coffee shops, but this one combines nice atmosphere, nice clients and good quality.

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