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: May 8, 2019.

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. 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.

To make it more complicated, a lot of these places (most Albert Heijn To Go supermarkets, for example) also don’t take cash. I guess they don’t want money. 🤷 It’s a pervasive silly thing, but is slowly getting better. Try using your credit card without asking, even if they have a sign that says it won’t, because often it’s not actually blocked — they just think it is. But probably keep a €20 in your pocket just in case.