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There are so many reasons to love Amsterdam, from the picturesque alleys and warm-hearted Dutch people to the vibrant culture, great shopping and vivacious Amsterdam nightlife. Amsterdam has been referred to as the cultural capital of the Netherlands and is home to many great attractions: the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House and a network of historic canals, to name a few.
The distinctive system of canals, waterways with canal-side terraces, houseboats and, of course, the bicycles that make up almost half of Amsterdam’s traffic are all things that have become synonymous with this charming city. In fact, one of the best ways to experience Amsterdam is by renting a bike. Here are our recommendations of places to visit away from the main tourist areas.
Fuel Up for Your Day
G’s restaurant is run by Canadian expats in the Jordaan neighbourhood. It’s one of the few places in Amsterdam where you can find traditional North American breakfast and brunch. On the menu, you’ll find everything from eggs and French toast to bagels with lox, mimosas and Caesars to help you get your day started off right. If you happen to be visiting during the summer, they even have a “brunch boat”! It tends to get busy, so we recommend making a reservation.
Shop ’til You Drop
IJ Hallen, Europe’s biggest flea market, is in the Northern part of Amsterdam, located across the IJ in Amsterdam Noord. It’s held the first weekend of every month inside an old shipping warehouse. In the summer, the market takes place outdoors—a true shopper’s delight. As all flea-market shoppers know, it’s better to arrive early than late, as the market can get busy. The doors open at 9 a.m. and close at 4:30 p.m. There are a total of 750 stands divided into two seperate halls where you can find something for all tastes: vintage clothing, jewelry, antiques, toys, tools, and kitchen supplies at very low prices.
If you prefer luxury shops, designer fashion houses and unique boutiques that are hard to find elsewhere, you may want to add P.C. Hooftstraat to your list. It is THE shopping street in Amsterdam, and will offer you the luxury experience and beyond. Since the 1970s, this place has been home to many designer brands and is known as one of the high-end shopping areas in the Netherlands. Some of the boutiques you can find here include Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Laurel, Oger and Valentino.
A Taste of the Night Life
Paradiso is a cultural centre in Amsterdam—an old church building dating back to 1968—not far from Leidseplein nightlife, and home to the most popular alternative music venues and nightclubs. The concert hall boasts a capacity of 1,500 with terrific acoustics and has hosted some legendary acts, from Al Green and The White Stripes to Queens Of The Stone Age and Lady Gaga. If there are no concerts while you are visiting, you can still enjoy a taste of their club nights, hosted by DJs playing various genres of music. Make sure to check their regularly updated schedules to get an idea of what’s coming up—you may just be able to watch your favourite artist perform while in Amsterdam.
One of the things we enjoy the most about travelling is eating. Foodhallen is a massive food hall in a converted tram station. There, you can find many stalls with flavours from around the world. If you are a foodie, make sure this place is on your list.
Amsterdam is an incredible city full of excitement and culture. Like most cities, it is best explored by taking advantage of exclusive local tips and finds. Happy travelling and tot ziens!