With my best friend living as a local in Amsterdam, I visit a lot. I don’t know about you, but every time I head to a new city, I like to hunt out the cool spots that the locals love. Ticked off all the things on the standard Amsterdam tourist attraction list? Why not explore some of what the local’s get up to? After a good amount of time exploring the Dutch city, here’s a few of my top things to do in Amsterdam.
What to see in Amsterdam
The Public House of Art – Nieuwe Spiegelstraat is the main street in the city centre to visit for art purchases. The first weekend I visited, one of the galleries here was hosting a Bansky exhibit. Another was showing a Jeff Koons collection. Interesting to browse, but who can realistically afford this? Certainly not me on my EasyJet flying budget! Walking into those places unnerves me a bit. The assistants can most likely smell my budget traveller poverty (sob sob).
However, there is a place where you could afford the art. The Public House of Art has a motto;
We believe art is for all. Art to disrupt, not bankrupt.
This multi-floored gallery is there to be explored and is, in my opinion, top of my list of cool things to see in Amsterdam. On arrival, we’re greeted by one of the show assistants. “Would you like a tea, a coffee, a vodka?” (it’s 1 pm. I can’t do vodka yet). They will enthusiastically talk you through the gallery’s current themes, prices (they run from £100 to £2000), and general laid-back approach to affordable art. Take up residence in one of the tucked away ‘chill areas’ with your tea/coffee/vodka, and enjoy the atmosphere without feeling the usual pressure to buy.
Where to eat in Amsterdam
Coffee and Coconuts – I’ve written a full post about vegan food in Amsterdam, but this place is pretty fun. In De Pijp district of Amsterdam sits a large converted cinema, now home to an enormous coffee house serving, coffee, food, and COCONUTS! Coffee and Coconuts is three floors of free WiFi, clean white walls, hanging plants and comfy bean bags. This all makes for one my favourite chill out spots in the city. OK, it’s a little hipster, but it’s beautiful. On the menu; Strawberry Gazpacho, Roasted Tempeh Sandwiches and Blackberry Coolers.
Where to drink in Amsterdam
Foodhallen – Fast becoming a well known Amsterdam tourist attraction, the locals still frequently visit this wonderful food experience. Foodhallen is a unique food and drinks venue, created in the old tram depot. Super busy at weekends, the wine bar, beer bar, or gin and tonic bar are all great spots to set up camp and do some premium people watching.
On our visit (a bustling Friday night), three DJ’s ran a set in the middle of the hall whilst we picked our way through food stands. Although stands are known to pop-up and rotate, vegan food and veggie options were reasonable, and we settled on vegan hot dogs topped with popcorn from one stand and sweet potato fries from another. Dining is casual, with dwellers sharing tables (and American style bleachers).
What to listen to in Amsterdam
OIJ – What better way to plug into a city than by setting up your Spotify up with tunes from one of the residents? Local artist OIJ is a strong Amsterdam contender. His single ‘Believe’ was the theme song for the European Athletics Championship, and this music producer is picking up pace fast. With his music carrying the same feels as those of Flume, Burial and Chet Faker, you’ll be cruising around the city feeling too cool for school.
Looking for even more cool stuff to do in Amsterdam? If you haven’t heard about the Avocado Show, check out my post!