From hip Jordaan and diverse De Pijp to the coffee shops and brothels of the Red Light District, Amsterdam’s neighborhoods each have their own distinct character. Here’s how to explore beyond the Canal District and see what off-the-beaten-path Amsterdam is like.
The historic center of Amsterdam, Centrum is home to the city’s famed Canal Ring and many Amsterdam landmarks. This is where you’ll find public squares such as Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein, and high-end shopping areas and entertainment.
Just a short ferry ride from Amsterdam Central Station, Amsterdam-Noord is packed with waterfront cafes, rural villages, and cutting-edge culture. Bag the best city views from the rooftop observatory at the the A’dam Tower; check out tiny wooden houses in Nieuwendammerdijk village; and shop for local specialties at the Pekmarkt street market.
Once a close-knit working-class community, Jordaan is now an upscale neighborhood favored by artists and foodies. Cozy pubs, speciality foods shops, hip restaurants, and small galleries line the narrow canals in this trendy Amsterdam neighborhood.
Red Light District (De Wallen)
There’s more to Amsterdam’s Red Light District than sex shops, brothels, and peep shows. De Wallen is the oldest part of Amsterdam and home some of the city’s most charming canals, gabled houses, and restaurants. You’ll also find the city’s oldest church, the gothic Oude Kerk, and Amsterdam’s Chinatown here.
Just south of the city center, you’ll find De-Pijp, a lively and cosmopolitan district. Nicknamed Amsterdam’s Latin Quarter, this neighborhood was once home to the city’s students and artists, but now it’s a mix of cultures, cuisines, and markets.
The Jewish Quarter
Just east of the city center is the Plantage, aka the Jewish Quarter. This district is home to many sights significant to Jewish culture such as the Old Portuguese Synagogue, Jewish Historical Museum, and Hollandsche Schouwburg. The Jewish Quarter is also home to the Amsterdam botanical gardens and zoo.