Exploring Amsterdam Like A Local

Boasting a blossoming arts scene, killer cafés, and more than a bike-friendly spot or two, Amsterdam is the perennial travellers’ city. With a new store opening every minute in the Dutch city, the problem is not what to do in Amsterdam, but how to avoid the well-trodden path and see the place anew. Fear not. While Amsterdam might be more than covered in the travel industry, there are still plenty of ways in order to get the insider lowdown. All it takes is a little local insight! 

Where To Brunch

If you don’t do brunch, you’re seriously missing out on a treat. With dozens of specialty cafés to speak of, Amsterdam is a city made for kicking back and taking it easy — all with a killer coffee in hand, of course. While the city is booming with brunch spots, it is its canal systems that are really doing the meal proud, and Gs Brunch Boat is at the top of the pack. Primarily known for its brunch, this functioning boat doubles as a city guide, helping you to get a load of all of Amsterdam’s top spots in real style. Stock up on your Bloody Marys, get yourself a plate of eggs Benedict or two, and feast your eyes on all of that contemporary architecture.

Where To Sleep

Finding a place to sleep for the night need not be a problem; with countless spaces being converted, you’ll have your pick of the pack. If you’re in line for something a little less ordinary, but still maintaining that luxury factor, the Tire Station balances the best of both worlds. Converted from a former tire factory, the hotel is as minimalist as they come, balancing utter comfort with great taste. The hotel is a stone’s throw away from leafy Vondelpark, too, giving you no excuse not to get out and get exploring. All you have to do is resist those Dutch Auping beds!

Where To Shop

Shopping in Amsterdam is a dream — there’s no denying it. Whether you’re into sustainable materials, kitchenware to last a lifetime, or slow fashion pieces, you’re bound to stumble across a gem that suits you. One of the very best shops is Sukha, a local favourite that sports Dutch-designed fashion and home goods. Clean, minimalist, and always in style, the store puts quality first, and anything that you come home with is bound to last you for a lifetime. If you’re more into what goes on your skin, however, body boutique Skins is the place for you. Stocking scents and body care products from around the world, the shop takes luxury very seriously. Prepare to indulge.

Where To Drink

Mood lighting, classic cocktails, and a great wine list to boot, 5&33 is a bar that you’re not likely to forget in a hurry. As well as boasting a hefty collection of art and design books, 5&33 also has its very own collection of contemporary Dutch art, which can be perused as you sip your cocktail. If you prefer your cocktail with a side of music, however, give Tunes a visit. Tucked away in the Conservatorium hotel, the bar has a whopping forty different kinds of gin, more than enough for any alcohol aficionado. Grab a stool, order a small plate, and wait as Tunes transforms itself from day to night.

Where To Eat

Boasting a huge international selection, Amsterdam is a great place in which to try absolutely any kind of cuisine. If great food and killer views are your kind of thing, Ciel Bleu might just be your perfect match. Created by Michelin-starred chef Onno Kokmeijer, the restaurant specializes in avant-garde creations, such as pigeon with pistachio cream. Book well in advance and choose your dishes with care; there’s nothing worse than food envy!

Hannah Lamarque
Hannah is a freelance writer and copy editor living in Europe. She writes about travel, art, design and culture and loves discovering hidden places in the cities that she visits.