Where to Stay in Amsterdam 🇳🇱: 10 Best Areas & Neighborhoods for Tourists

Updated on April 13, 2024
by Alex Miller

I’ve written a comprehensive guide to the best places to stay in Amsterdam to help you choose the perfect place to suit your travels.

Our Pick of the Best Hotels in Amsterdam

Every corner of this city is unique in its own way, from the old houses overlooking the canals in the historic center to the elegant cottages in the more residential areas. Depending on what type of vacation you’re planning, you’ll have to prefer one neighborhood over another to fully enjoy each day.

In this quick guide, I’ll list the best neighborhoods in Amsterdam and talk about the features of each. Depending on whether you’re vacationing with your family, as a couple, or with a group of friends, one neighborhood will be much better than another.

Remember: Amsterdam is a very touristy place and accommodation prices can be high, especially during peak season. My advice is to always book accommodation in advance to have more choices and, most importantly, to find the best deals.

Quick Guide to the Best Neighborhoods in Amsterdam 📋

1. Binnenstad (near Central Station) – Best Area to Stay for the First Time 🔥

👀 Central hub: As one of Amsterdam’s most famous areas, the Binnenstad is a must-see for first-time visitors. It is part of the Old Centrum – Old Center district, which also includes neighborhoods such as Jordaan, Plantage and Canal Belt.

Royal Palace
Royal Palace
Dam Square
Dam Square
Portugese Synagoge
Portugese Synagoge

🚉 Well connected: The Binnenstad is located directly adjacent to Amsterdam Centraal station, making it incredibly easy to access. Simply exit the station and walk just 5 minutes south to enter this bustling neighborhood.

🏛️ Top attractions: Almost all of Amsterdam’s major attractions are centered within or close to the Binnenstad, including:

  • Royal Palace
  • Dam Square
  • Portugese Synagoge
  • Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk shopping streets

And the magnificent cathedrals De Oude Kerk and De Nieuwe Kerk.

🚶‍♂️ Walkable size: Getting around the Binnenstad is very walkable thanks to its compact size and largely pedestrianized streets. But be sure to keep an eye out for bikes when crossing streets! Trams also frequently run through the area and can useful for connecting to other Amsterdam neighborhoods.

There’s no shortage of accommodation options, from quaint houseboats to historic canal houses converted into hotels and B&Bs.

All hotels in Binnenstad →

Where to stay in Binnenstad?

Expensive hotels:

Medium price range:

Budget hotels:

2. Jordaan – Best Area to Feel Authentic Amsterdam 🔮

Once home to the city’s working class, today the area entices with hidden shops, cozy cafés, and glimpses into authentic local life.

❕ Overlooked gem: Despite its charm, many first-time tourists overlook the Jordaan on initial visits to Amsterdam. This is a mistake, as the area offers an irresistible blend of culture, shopping, dining, and photogenic canal views.

Jordaan, Amsterdam
Jordaan, Amsterdam
Jordaan, Amsterdam
Jordaan, Amsterdam
Jordaan, Amsterdam
Jordaan, Amsterdam
Jordaan, Amsterdam
Jordaan, Amsterdam
Jordaan, Amsterdam
Jordaan, Amsterdam
Jordaan, Amsterdam
Jordaan, Amsterdam
Jordaan, Amsterdam
Jordaan, Amsterdam

🗺 Well positioned: Fortunately, the Jordaan is centrally located, making it easy to incorporate into any Amsterdam itinerary. It sits just a 10-15 minute walk west of landmarks like

  • the Anne Frank House,
  • Royal Palace,

and the 9 Streets shopping district.

🏡 Charming streets: The neighborhood layout features a grid of narrow streets interlacing with pretty canals and tiny passageways called gjin. Around each corner, discover another local boutique, rustic brown café or hidden garden.

🚶Getting around: Here are some key transportation tips for visitors:

  • Walk or rent bikes – rent bikes near Central Station or Dam Square to pedal over.
  • Take the tram – Tram lines 13, 14 and 17 from Central Station stop along the Jordaan’s main drag, Egelantiersgracht.
  • Use a canal boat – Float right into the heart of the Jordaan via canal cruise or water taxi along the Lauriergracht, Bloemgracht and Prinsengracht canals.

No visit to Amsterdam feels complete without losing yourself for awhile in the magic of the Jordaan district. Just come ready to wander, take pictures…and fall a little bit in love!

All hotels in Jordaan →

Where to stay in Jordaan?

Expensive hotels:

  • Hotel Mercier – an elegant boutique hotel in a historic building with exquisite interior design and upscale service.
  • Krisotel – stylish hotel in a modern building with spacious rooms, panoramic views and excellent location.
  • Pulitzer Amsterdam – a fashionable hotel in a luxurious mansion with a rich history, located in the heart of the city.

Medium price category:

Budget hotels:

  • Bed of Roses – a simple and inexpensive hostel in the city center, offering basic amenities for youth and budget travelers.
  • Homey Budget Bedroom – economical apartment with basic amenities at an affordable price, a good option for short trips.
  • Ground floor Jordaan Apartment – an apartment in a historic building with authentic style at a reasonable price, great for independent travelers.

3. Grachtengordel – Best Place to Stay in Amsterdam for Couples 💑

🌉 Iconic: Nestled in the heart of Amsterdam lies the iconic Grachtengordel, known for its beautiful canals lined with colorful narrow houses dating back to the Dutch Golden Age.

📜 Famous canals: The Grachtengordel, Dutch for “Canal District”, refers to the crescent-shaped area and comprise following canals:

  • Singel -One of Amsterdam’s most iconic and important canals, constructed in the 17th century
  • Herengracht – Known as the “Gentlemen’s Canal”, featuring Amsterdam’s most prestigious Golden Age homes
  • Keizersgracht – Nicknamed the “Emperor’s Canal”, home to the city’s widest canal streets
  • Prinsengracht – Named after William of Orange with vibrant houseboats moored along the quays

It’s no wonder this district epitomizes the romantic allure of the city for so many.

🚶‍♂️🛶 Explore: Getting around the Grachtengordel itself is a joy, with its idyllic canals and picturesque bridges begging to be explored on foot or by boat.

📍 Prime location: When it comes to location, Grachtengordel offers a prime base to soak up Amsterdam’s top attractions. It is located just west of the lively city center and Red Light District. Venturing outside the neighborhood, one can easily walk or take a short tram ride to most sights.

In winter with Christmas lights and snow-covered bridges, fall with colorful leaves on the streets or lush spring, this area always has a special romantic charm, perfect for couples.

All hotels in Grachtengordel →

Best hotels in Grachtengordel?

Expensive hotels:

Medium price range:

4. Westerpark – Where to Stay in Amsterdam on a Budget 💸

🌲 Leafy escape: Westerpark is a vibrant neighborhood centered around its namesake park. Though not in the main tourist zone, it’s well worth venturing just 20 minutes by tram or bike to experience Westerpark’s hip atmosphere, green spaces, and wealth of cultural attractions.

🗺 Adjacent charm: In terms of location, Westerpark sits adjacent to the Jordaan, a popular neighborhood for visitors. Yet it retains its own distinct character as a revitalized hub for young Amsterdammers.

🦋 Local flavor: Here’s a quick overview of what to see and do there:

  • Westerpark – The expansive green space sprawls over 5 hectares, encompassing lawns, gardens, a pond, and plenty of recreational zones.
  • Westergas – An old gas factory turned into a cultural center with numerous nightclubs, trendy restaurants and bars.

🍴 Tasty treats: Don’t miss the restaurants of Westerpark – From cozy bistros to globally inspired eateries, Westerpark’s dining scene impresses. Some of the best are TonTon Club, Westergas Mossel & Gin and Pacific Amsterdam.

🚲 On the move: Getting around Westerpark and the surrounding areas is very walkable and convenient thanks to Amsterdam’s extensive tram system with stops throughout the neighborhood. Biking is also popular and the flat terrain makes it easy to get around on two wheels.

All hotels in Westerpark →

Where to stay in Westerpark?

Medium price category:

Budget hotels:

5. Museum Quarter (Museumkwartier) – Best Amsterdam Area for Art Lovers 👨🏻‍🎨

🌇 Cultural hub: The Museumkwartier is located in Amsterdam’s trendy Zuid district and is the city’s center of art and culture. As a first-time visitor, spending time wandering through this neighborhood.

🎨 Famous museums: The Museumkwartier centers around the Museumplein, or Museum Square, aptly named for the three major museums that border this public space:

  • the Van Gogh Museum
  • the Stedelijk Museum
  • the Rijksmuseum

🗺 Easy navigation: Getting around the neighborhood is a breeze since all the main attractions sit within a few blocks of each other. Amsterdam’s efficient tram system runs along the district’s outskirts, or you can rent a bike and peddle your way past galleries and green spaces.

💎 Smaller museums: Beyond the big three museums, the Museumkwartier houses smaller specialty museums to pique many interests:

  • The House of Bols recounts the history of Dutch genever (gin) through interactive exhibits
  • For diamond lovers, the Diamond Museum illustrates Amsterdam’s glittering gem trade

When you need a culture break, unwind at one of the charming cafés lining the museums or escape into Vondelpark next door.

All hotels in Museumkwartier →

Where to stay in Museumkwartier?

Expensive hotels:

  • Conservatorium Hotel – a luxury hotel in a historic building with exquisitely designed interiors and upscale service.
  • Hotel JL No76 – an elegant boutique hotel with a personal touch, located in a quiet museum district.

Medium price range:

  • Max Brown Hotel Museum Square – a modern hotel in the center of the museum district with comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.
  • Hotel Cornelisz – a cozy, traditional Amsterdam-style hotel near Museumplein Square.

Budget hotels:

6. De Pijp – Best Area to Stay in Amsterdam for Foodies 🥘

Nestled south of the city center, De Pijp is one of Amsterdam’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

🏪 Local market: Once in De Pijp, start by grabbing some snacks at the bustling Albert Cuyp Market. Over 300 vendors sell fresh flowers, spices, Dutch treats like stroopwafels, and plenty of global street food. The market runs Monday-Saturday, but Saturday is when its energy peaks.

🍴 Top restaurants: Be sure to check out the best restaurants in the neighborhood:

  • The Bazar on Albert Cuypstraat, where there are constantly changing “themed” restaurants with eclectic decor and cuisine
  • Tulsi Indian Restaurant, a popular Indian cuisine restaurant
  • SOJU Bar, an equally famous Korean restaurant

And if you want to dine in an old Dutch café that combines the charm of Southeast Asian street food, check out CT Coffee & Coconuts hot spot.

🚏 Well-connected: With trams and buses connecting De Pijp to Centraal Station in under 20 minutes public transport makes getting there simple as well. Plus, De Pijp is fairly compact making walking its colorful streets easy.

The area also offers a variety of accommodation options, from elegant and sophisticated hotels to simple and inexpensive hostels.

All hotels in De Pijp →

Where to stay in De Pijp?

Expensive hotels:

  • Hotel Okura Amsterdam – a premium luxury hotel in a skyscraper with panoramic views and upscale service.
  • Sir Albert Hotel – an elegant boutique hotel in a historic building with personalized service and a homely atmosphere.
  • Houseboat Amsterdam – an affordable houseboat with unique views of Amsterdam’s canals.

Medium price range:

  • ibis Styles Amsterdam City – a modern hotel with a colorful design, good location and reasonable prices.
  • Nine(T)Teen – a small cozy hotel in a typical Amsterdam building with an authentic atmosphere.
  • Het Kabinet – an original themed hotel dedicated to art and design.

Budget hotels:

7. Oud-West – Take a Break from the Crowds 🕊

Perfectly walkable and brimming with charming cafés, trendy boutiques, and leafy canal views, Oud-West charms visitors.

Oud-West, Amsterdam
Oud-West, Amsterdam

📍 Well-located: Its central location makes attractions like the Rijksmuseum, Vondelpark, and Dam Square readily accessible by foot, tram, or bike. Museum Quarter are mere minutes away.

🛍️ Shop + dine: Be sure to visit De Hallen, a shopping and cultural center including cinemas, hotels, exhibition centers, stores and restaurants.

🌭 Fresh market: If you love markets, go to Ten Katemarket, a market where you can find agricultural produce and trade goods, as well as plenty of street food.

🏘 Local flavor: Compared to busier areas, Oud-West offers respite from tourist crowds amidst plenty of local flavor. Spend an afternoon browsing vintage goods stores and offbeat boutiques before stopping into cozy pubs, like Bar Bario and Bar Centraal.

With its laid-back atmosphere and wealth of independent shops and cafés, a visit to Oud-West makes the perfect way to experience Amsterdam beyond the crowds.

All hotels in Oud-West →

Where to stay in Oud-West?

Expensive hotels:

Medium price range:

Budget hotels:

8. Plantage – Best Neighborhood for Family Vacations 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

🌳 Leafy refuge: Nestled between the city center and eastern docklands lies the verdant area known as the Plantage. Translating to “plantation”, this leafy refuge offers the perfect antidote to Amsterdam’s bustling canals and narrow streets.

🐯 Top things to see and do are:

  • Wander through Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo to spot exotic animals like giraffes and monkeys against a backdrop of meticulous landscaping and architecture.
  • Visit Hortus Botanicus, one of Europe’s oldest botanical gardens, featuring more than 6,000 plant species in eight themed outdoor areas and three Victorian-style greenhouses.

Beyond Hortus is Wertheimpark with rose gardens and jungle-like foliage, while the Plantage Middenlaan green boulevard attracts joggers and cyclists.

🏛️ Historic museums: Beyond the nature, Plantage lays claim to some of Amsterdam’s most fascinating museums:

  • The Dutch Resistance Museum documents the Netherlands’ occupation in WWII through photographs and artifacts.
  • The Hollandsche Schouwburg remembers the Jewish Theatre turned Nazi deportation center with a sobering memorial.

🍻 Evening hub: When night falls, low-key bars like De groene olifant by the Artis Zoo draw casual evening crowds.

🚢 Well-connected: Trams 9 and 14 run frequently through the district, connecting visitors to Centraal Station in just 5 minutes. With ample foot and bike paths, getting around Plantage could not be more convenient.

Where to stay in Plantage?

Luxury hotels:

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

  • Hotel Adolesce – a budget hotel with basic amenities located in a historic building.
  • The Bee Hostel – a fun and friendly hostel with shared rooms, kitchen and lounge, great for young people.

9. Amsterdam-Noord – Most Colorful Neighborhood 💮

Tucked away across the IJ river, Amsterdam Noord feels a world away from the bustling canals and crowded streets of central Amsterdam.

Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam
Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam
A'DAM Tower, Amsterdam
A'DAM Tower, Amsterdam
NDSM, Amsterdam
NDSM, Amsterdam
Pllek, Amsterdam
Pllek, Amsterdam
A'DAM Lookout, Amsterdam
A'DAM Lookout, Amsterdam
Noorderpark, Amsterdam
Noorderpark, Amsterdam

🚎 Quick connections: Trams and buses also zip to key sites like the EYE Film Institute and A’DAM Tower. From there, ferries whisk you straight to Amsterdam Centraal train station in minutes.

🎭 Artsy attractions: So what awaits travelers in Noord? Plenty of local flavor, green escapes and glimpses of Amsterdam’s future.

Three attractions lure culture lovers across the river:

  • EYE Film Museum – Get immersed in cinematic wonders at this futuristic building jutting over the IJ. Don’t miss their mindbending VR experiences!
  • A’DAM Tower – Take a sky-high swing on Europe’s highest swing or browse for vintage vinyl at this funky skyscraper’s music center.
  • NDSM Wharf – Amsterdam’s gritty, graffiti-strewn culture hub. Part art collective, part party central with pumping clubs and summer festivals.

🍴 Tasty treats: Grab a bite at Foodhallen’s food truck market or sip craft beers at the Romanesque Oedipus brewery. For family fun, the NEMO Science Museum delights all ages with hands-on experiments.

So don’t limit yourself to the city center – Amsterdam Noord brings together culture, nature and laidback vibes in one vibrant package. Just hop the free ferry and discover it yourself!

All hotels in Amsterdam-Noord →

Where to stay in Amsterdam Noord?

Luxury hotels:

  • Sir Adam Hotel – an elegant boutique hotel in a former river tram depot with luxurious interiors and river views.
  • Tribe Amsterdam City – a contemporary hotel in an industrial style with good amenities and services.


Budget hotels:

10. De Wallen – The Noisiest Neighborhood 🎆

De Wallen is the city’s infamous red-light district, known for its network of alleys and canals lined with glass window brothels illuminated by red neon lights.

📍 Centrally located: De Wallen is nestled right in the central canal ring of Amsterdam, just a short walk from Centraal Station, Dam Square and the Royal Palace.

🌃 Mystifying nights: While during the day tourists flock to the neighborhood’s quaint shops, museums, churches and architecture, at night the red lights flick on and the area comes alive. The narrow alleyways and atmospheric canals create an almost mystifying aura unique to the oldest quarter of Amsterdam.

👎 Not kid-friendly: Personally, I also don’t recommend staying in the red light district known as De Wallen, especially if you are traveling with children.

🍻 Lively clubs: This is where a large number of onlookers congregate, deciding to spend the evening in one of the many clubs along the canal. But if it’s not intimidating and the goal is to hang out well in this particular neighborhood, it won’t be a bad option.

📷 No photos: Despite the neighborhood’s atmosphere, tourists are advised to avoid taking pictures of women in the windows of brothels and beware of pickpockets who are attracted to this lively area.

All hotels in De Wallen →

Where to stay in De Wallen?

Luxury hotels:

Medium price category:

Top Tips for Your Amsterdam Trip 🔝

Here are 5 tips to help make your trip to Lisbon comfortable and safe:

1. Be prepared for different electrical sockets and bring an adapter. 🔌 The Netherlands uses type C and F sockets that may be different from what you’re used to, so carrying a universal adapter allows you to plug in and charge your devices.

2. Use a money belt or concealable wallet. 👛 Unfortunately, pickpocketing happens, especially in crowded tourist spots. Keep cash, cards and important documents tucked away to ensure they don’t get swiped by sticky fingers.

3. Bring layers of clothing you can peel on and off. 👕 Amsterdam’s weather changes frequently, so wearing layers means you can adjust your level of warmth and stay comfortable inside and outside.

4. Be mindful when biking. ⚠ With all those cyclists zooming around, pay close attention while walking or biking yourself so you don’t get clipped accidentally. Obey traffic signals and stay alert.

5. Stay vigilant at night. 🌑 While Amsterdam is generally safe, it’s best not to wander narrow, dimly lit streets alone at night. Stick to well-populated areas and be cautious to avoid any isolated confrontations or situations.

Best Hotels and Neighborhoods on a Map 📍

FAQ: Amsterdam for Tourists ❔

Which part of Amsterdam is best to stay?

When planning your stay in Amsterdam, consider the city center, particularly areas like Jordaan, De Pijp, or Binnenstad. These neighborhoods offer a vibrant atmosphere, are close to major attractions, and provide easy access to public transportation.

Where to avoid staying in Amsterdam?

It’s advisable to steer clear of the Red Light District for accommodation. While it has its own unique character, it can be noisy and crowded, especially at night. If you prefer a more serene stay, exploring other neighborhoods like De Pijp or Jordaan might be a better fit.

What is the most walkable part of Amsterdam?

The Canal Ring stands out as the most walkable part of Amsterdam. Its compact layout, scenic bridges, and cozy streets make it perfect for exploring on foot. You can leisurely stroll along the canals, visit local cafes, and enjoy the charming ambiance without the need for extensive transportation.

What is the most picturesque street in Amsterdam?

One of the most picturesque streets in Amsterdam is Keizersgracht. Lined with elegant houses, lush trees, and reflecting canals, this street encapsulates the city’s beauty. Taking a leisurely walk along Keizersgracht allows you to appreciate the iconic architecture and capture stunning photos.

How many days do you really need in Amsterdam?

To fully savor Amsterdam’s charm, a stay of around 3 to 4 days is recommended. This duration allows you to explore the major museums, historical sites, and enjoy the local atmosphere without feeling rushed. It strikes a balance between experiencing the city’s highlights and soaking in its relaxed vibe.

How to stay in Amsterdam for cheap?

To keep expenses in check, consider budget accommodations in areas like Westerpark or De Pijp. Additionally, take advantage of Amsterdam’s efficient public transportation or rent a bike for an affordable and authentic local experience.