Amsterdam West: An Amsterdam Neighborhood Guide
Buckle up and get ready for a ride! This is your guide to the ever-growing epic neighborhood of Amsterdam West. This includes a lot of neighborhoods within this area, so there’s a ton of variety with interesting architecture, amazing food, tons of green space, and some pretty great things to do in Amsterdam west.
Planning to stay in Amsterdam for a while and want to explore deeper into this incredible city? Find out what’s so interesting about the Eastern Docklands and how you can explore the inside of a replica ship to get some epic photos. Or head across the IJ on a free ferry and find a whole new vibe in Amsterdam Noord (my neighborhood!).
There’s so much to uncover in this city. I’m always finding something new and wanting to share with you. I’ll add to this post, and all my neighborhood guides, to make it so you’ll always know what’s awesome. If you want to see all my Amsterdam posts, no worries, they are all right here to browse.
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Why visit Amsterdam west?
First let’s define what west really means. In Amsterdam, the west is just outside of the center canal ring. It means the IJ on the Westerpark side and borders Overtoom on the other side (that the major street that goes the length of the famous Vondelpark). It includes the neighborhoods Westerpark, Oud-West, Nieuw West, and Bos en Lommer & De Baarsjes.
Sean and I loved living in the west. Seriously, head-over-heels in love with it. We were there for almost 3 years and could have easily stayed if the housing market allowed. While the area of all of west is pretty massive, each neighborhood has its own awesomeness about it. This will likely be a living post as I discover new things and places to share with you. I love exploring my city and I hope you do, too!
I’ve read that Nieuw West has been called the next Camden and compared to Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood. Now, I don’t like to say one place is like another because anywhere and everywhere is its own personality. The main reason I don’t like things like “The Venice of the North” kind of sayings is because it’s been said about waaaay too many places. So, I’m not going to say it’s the Camden of the Netherlands. It is what it is and that’s an up-and-coming neighborhood that people are starting to flock to. Time will tell how popular it gets!
The biggest reason to visit is because you’ll get away from the crowds and into the local neighborhoods. What does that mean? It means that you get a real vibe that’s lively and real. That’s what I want when I visit a city. If that’s what you’re looking for as well. Then, here you go!
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Things to do
Street Art Museum Amsterdam Tour
Take a street art tour with Street Art Museum Amsterdam in the Nieuw West and see some commissioned (and maybe some non-commissioned) works that are sprinkled over about 4 square km on this neighborhood. The Street Art Museum Amsterdam is passionate about sharing the stories of street art and bringing in visitors to experience a different side of Amsterdam.
Shop at de Hallen
This old tram depot is packed with shops and sometimes hosts markets! My favorite shop has got to be The Maker’s Store. It’s even in our post on where to get the best Amsterdam souvenirs. But there are plenty of cute boutique shops as well, so don’t miss the other building for more shops! Oh, and you can catch a movie in de Filmhallen as well. I just love this place!
De Hallen Architecture Tour
If you’re a fan of architecture and de Hallen, then a guided tour might be the perfect thing for you. This neighborhood has a ton of history, and some really impressive recent history as well. Learn all about it on a private tour with a knowledgeable guide from de Gebouwen Guids. It’s all super interesting and I certainly appreciated the building along with the whole plan for the area, a bit more.
Sloten Windmill Museum
Yes!!! It’s windmill time! At the edge of Amsterdam, you’ll find a still-working 150+-year-old wind mill. It can still be used to drain water (a main reason we had windmills in Amsterdam at the beginning). In case you don’t know, Amsterdam is about 2 meters BELOW sea level. Yep. We pay very important taxes to the water people to keep us dry! And windmills can still be part of that process. See, the history is still relevant! Oh, and you can climb up inside the windmill, too. That’s always my favorite part.
Hang out at the park
Easier said than done because there are a few to choose from…and how do you choose? Westerpark is awesome and the closest to the main part of the city. It’s also part of the larger complex of Westergasfabriek with restaurants, shops, and a huge nature area (outside of the main park). There’s Erasmuspark which is small but has a lovely garden. Rembrandtpark is perfect for a bike ride and picnic. And Sloterpark has Sloterpas (a lake) and Sloterpas Strand (beach). It’s a beach in a city!!
Take a canal cruise
For any special event, you should book a private canal cruise. Obviously it will be pricier than the long crowded boats. But Rederij de Jordaan uses authentic (but refurbished) small boats that are heated and have a pretty nice toilet. I don’t know about you, but that is SUPER important to me. If you are here during the Amsterdam Light Festival, you can book it in the evening to make the most of the festival. Best with a few friends, but certainly romantic with just two of you!
How to get there
Amsterdam West is a large area, so it really depends on where you are going. To reach some parts of the west, metro line 50 will be a big help. Then trams 3, 7, 11, 13, 15, and 17 can get it around and through. In addition, to alllll of those trams, there are plenty of busses as well. Why did I write all the trams out? Because, I want you to see just how accessible it really is. Add the busses, and it’s easy peasy.
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Where to eat
One of my favorites. I just don’t shut up about it. My only issue is that it is popular. Get to de Foodhallen early for lunch or dinner so you can find a seat. With 21 different food & drink stalls including a beer bar, a Gin & Tonic bar, and a “regular” bar, there is definitely something for everyone. I can’t really list my favorites because it would basically be the whole place. What I will say is that you should get bitterballen if you haven’t had it yet and a Gin & Tonic because I consider it an Amsterdam drink. For reference, you can get fancy hot dogs, Iberian ham, Vietnamese goodness, pizza, burgers, a massive meat plate, and a lot of veggie options (plus much more).
Full disclosure, we know the owner and went as soon as it opened. It is dang good! It’s also right by de Hallen. Branie an Asian-fusion place that’s just delicious. Definitely get the soft-shell crab and the KFC (much different than the American KFC, meaning MUCH better). I think this was my first time having soft-shell crab and was a bit scared. It was such a tasty experience, now I’m happy to try it anywhere (but nowhere has been as good).
Mussels & Gin
If you’re in the Westerpark area, you may want to check out Mussels & Gin. We’ve been a couple times and it’s always delish. A gin & tonic is a must here. Don’t argue (unless you just don’t drink, then you go on doing you). Just get one from the nice list they have. And get mussels and fries. If it’s a nice day, sit in the garden! Just be aware that it is in the middle of a very green area, so bugs are a real thing. No worries though. There’s an inside restaurant, too. Oh, and they have their own gin mayo–a must with the fries
Vegan Junk Food Bar (Westside)
No meat Monday? Vegan? Vegetarian? Maybe you just want to see what a vegan junk food bar looks and tastes like. I’ll admit, I was surprised. Everything was super tasty. I’m not vegan, but was curious. I believe that we can all like vegan meals, have vegan snacks, and not miss the meat a couple times a week. So, yeah, I’ll recommend this place! Besides, it’s funky and great for photos, too!
Obsessed. When we lived in the west, we would walk here all the time. Someone wants to meet up? Cool, meet us at Rotisserie. It is that good. Get the chicken, get a burger, get whatever. It’s gonna be great! I suggest reservations if possible, but try to get there. They use quality ingredients and everything (actually everything, including buns, pickles, and sauces) is homemade. You’ll leave feeling fully satisfied!
Explore our 3-day Amsterdam itinerary to get the best mix of the touristy and local activities
Where to stay
I don’t stay in a lot of Amsterdam hotels since we have our own house, but I’ve chosen the hotels below based on what I’ve heard personally, based on the reviews, and location.
Conscious Hotel Vondelpark
On the Overtoom (a road name) is the Conscious Hotel Vondelpark. Staying on Overtoom means you are very close to almost everything. There’s a tram nearby, Vondelpark is right around the corner, and they are an eco-hotel.
Conscious Hotel Westerpark
Yep, same brand as above! And I’m waaaay biased here because it’s in my old neighborhood, Westerpark. But this hotel is actually in this big amazing area known for its restaurants, markets, and festivals among the greenery. It’s worth taking time here to walk or big through.
Hotel de Hallen
I would stay here in a heartbeat. I’ve mentioned de Hallen above and there’s just everything there. It’s also right next to the Ten Katemarkt, a popular local market, and Kinkerstraat which is a lively street with lots of shopping available. The hotel describes itself as “urban vintage with an industrial touch.” Love that!
As you can see, the west can keep you busy and keep your belly full. #sorrynotsorry for so many food options! We really miss the old neighborhood because it was so interesting and felt real. I know you want to see the pretty canal houses, head to the museums and other highlights, too. But leave some time to see some of the real, everyday Amsterdam. It may just surprise you!
Wishing you joy and travels!