If you're looking to live like a local in Amsterdam and not just do terrible tourist stuff while you're here, this is the guide for you.


A lot of people visit Amsterdam and ask for advice on where to eat, what to drink, what to do and where to stay. Now that I’ve lived here for a few years, I finally feel like I have at least some authority to tell people the best places to do all of these things.

Consider this document your ever-growing guide to Amsterdam, what to do here, the neighborhoods to visit and the places to eat.

I guess you could consider this a guide for people visiting, and wanting to avoid the awful tourist parts of Amsterdam, or you could use it as a reference if you’re thinking of moving here.

Last edit: March, 2023.

If you have ideas, suggestions, or feedback, please add them as comments! It’s a living document, and some bits aren’t done. I probably made mistakes too. Forgive me.


That one time it snowed here and the canals froze over!

That one time it snowed here and the canals froze over!

Here's a quick breakdown of all the neighborhoods you want to know about, and what each of them is known for in Amsterdam (at least, according to my experience, of course). Click each one to open it up or collapse it.

Paying for stuff 💰

All rise for the Dutch national anthem….

All rise for the Dutch national anthem….

The Dutch are one of the best in the world with electronic payments, and every store you visit will have a modern payment terminal—they have an incredible online payment system called iDEAL that has >99% market penetration and zero fees, but is only accessible to locals (though that won’t matter if you’re visiting).

Unfortunately…… they also really dislike credit cards here as the locals use an awful, very clunky system called Maestro, which means many terminals actually block credit cards. Most Albert Heijn supermarkets—the biggest chain in the Netherlands—don’t allow paying with credit card at all (hot tip: Albert Heijn to go supermarkets will, so look for those).