Over the winter break we travelled to Prague and Amsterdam. We ended up staying in Amsterdam for over 3 weeks due to delays in our US visa interviews. We stayed in an Airbnb near Haarlemmerstraat in the Jordaan district.
We loved everything about Amsterdam. In our short time there it ended up becoming one of our favorite cities in Europe — YES, it beats Paris for us. The city itself is charming to death with its gorgeous canals and narrow streets. Add to that the straight forward yet friendly people of Amsterdam, great shopping avenues and delicious food and we have the making of a really unique yet familiar cityscape.
Here is my foursquare lists to eat, play and shop in Amsterdam:
Walk. Walk. Walk some more.
Walking and biking are two of the best ways to explore Amsterdam. Since we were traveling with our puppy, we mostly walked around.
Hard to miss them. Hard to not fall in love with them.
Lights and plants
It seems that with over 9 months of gloomy grey season the Dutch seem to have perfected the art of making everything feel cozy. Its very common to see homes overflowing with indoor plants and great light setup. The outdoors have a similar vibe with string lights for the holiday seasons and small planters outside doors to make everyday walking feel like a joyous act.
Friends at Framer
I met with friends at Framer. They have a really sweet setup in De 9 Straatjes. It reminded me of how everything felt like one big family in the early days at Pulse.
I am talking about the normal coffee shops. Not the other kind Amsterdam is famous for. Pretty much like most of mainland Europe, espresso based drinks are the norm. It’s much harder to find shops that do drip style of coffee.
Here are a few worth checking out:
- De Koffieschenkerij — Get a sweet cake and enjoy the coffee in a beautiful courtyard along the canal.
- TOKI — Small and often crowded shop in Jordaan
- Bocca — Great coffee and minimal space with tables to work from for longer hours
- Screaming beans — In De 9 Straatjes area and great place to rest and grab a drink
One sunny day
Our entire stay had one good sunny day. The buildings we used to see every day in the grey daylight suddenly looked brighter and happier. We explored the Vondelpark on that day.
Unique food spots
Amsterdam has a lot of great food spots. I enjoy a good pizza over a Michelin star meal on any given day. Here are some really unique food spots we found:
- La Perla — Get the one with spicy oil and end the meal with Tiramisu. The staff here was in love with Waffee on the multiple occasions we went there.
- Foodhallen — A warehouse turned food court. Every city has one. This is Amsterdam’s take on the concept.
- Raïnaraï — Algerian cuisine by the plate. The owner is a jolly fella.
- The Lebanese Sajeria — Great wraps for on the go
- Chocolatl — Great collection of chocolates, very knowledgeable owner and the best hot chocolate I have had in my life.
While there is no shortage of great shopping spots in Amsterdam, the few that I would recommend because of their unique collection are the following:
- Didato — Great collection of brands including Maison Margiela, Versace, Moncler etc.
- Concrete — Streetwear with style including amazing stuff from the UK brand Maharishi
- Tenue de Nîmes — Go here for the Denim collection
- Prjct AMS — Unique material for everyday wear with style
- Mascolori — Shoes with unique patterns.
We loved every moment in Amsterdam. So much so that we are actively thinking of making it the layover city on our frequent trips to India. Maybe one day we might even move there, if we can learn to love with the sun for most of the year.