Most visitors to Amsterdam don’t venture past the city center. As a first timer in the city, this makes a lot of sense. Within this area, you can walk along the canals, visit the Anne Frank House, peruse the windows of the Red Light District, and enjoy most of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions. However, Amsterdam has much to offer away from the tourist trail, with many neighborhoods begging to be explored. If you are returning to Amsterdam or have the time to spare, head to these four areas for an adventure that will take you beyond the guidebook.
Amsterdam-Noord, or Amsterdam North, is an area booming with artists, fantastic restaurants, and a gorgeous waterfront. Free ferries behind Amsterdam Centraal Station will take you to “Noord” in only five minutes. Be sure to check out the Brouwerij de Vriendschap (Friendship Brewery) where you can try locally brewed beers in an organized tasting session.
Check out the Amsterdam-Noord website for more info on attractions and upcoming events.
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The neighborhood of Westpoort is located along Amsterdam’s main harbor in the northwest. While Westpoort has traditionally been an industrial area, things are changing. “Hip,” “artsy,” and “culture” are some of the buzzwords use to describe the neighborhood recently, with the Westergasfabriek leading the transformation. A former gasworks, the Westerfabriek has become the “in” place in Amsterdam for concerts, television, and cultural events. It’s definitely worth a visit.
To find out what is happening in Westpoort, check out the Westergasfabriek website.
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Ijburg is a terrific example of how the Dutch reclaim land from the sea. Made up of artificial islands along Ij Lake, this is the newest and hippest neighborhood in East Amsterdam. Take a tram from Amsterdam Centraal and you can be in Ijburg in only fifteen minutes. Taking in the modern architecture is a must; be on the look-out for the boats mooring in the backyards of locals who live there. In the summer, don’t miss Blijburg, a beach that holds concerts and events, offering a chance to experience Dutch entertainment in a relaxed setting.
If you plan on visiting Blijburg, check out their website for upcoming events.
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Do want to see where the rich and famous of The Netherlands reside? Look no further than Oud-Zuid, where gorgeous townhomes overlook Amsterdam’s Vondelpark. Wine bars, art galleries, museums, and posh eateries are everywhere. To get the most out of your visit, leave the busy streets and walk along the tree-lined residential areas where the best venues can be found.
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Amsterdam is home to over 176 nationalities, more museums per capita than any other city in the world, and a diverse range of activities that could keep you busy forever. On your next visit, do yourself a favor and check out the lesser-known neighborhoods. You will fall in love even deeper.