From the arts (Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh are past luminaries) to historic architecture, bicycles and picturesque waterways, it's a beautiful place to explore. Here's my ultimate guide to sipping, supping and stepping your way through this hip canal city.
Top 3 cocktail bars
Located within the DoubleTree Hotel next to Central Station, SkyLounge is the best place to discover the city from above. The outdoor roof terrace offers 360-degree views of historic Amsterdam, making it perfect for sunset drinks or après dinner cocktails.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Amsterdam Centraal Station, Oosterdoksstraat 4, 1011 DK Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 530 0875
2. The Harbour Club
Set on the IJ River in Amsterdam's north, this chic cocktail bar was a former wine terminal, which explains the industrial-style décor. DJs play late into the evening, while guests sup on sensational sushi, seafood and steaks courtesy of the restaurant.
Cruquiusweg 67, 1019 AT Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 767 0421
3. Door 74
Door 74 recreates the atmosphere of an underground American speakeasy during the Prohibition era. Once inside, an intimate atmosphere of vintage cocktails, bow-tied bartenders and antique barware awaits ready to entertain.
Reguliersdwarsstraat 74I, 1017 BN Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 6 34045122
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Top 3 restaurants
1. Izakaya Restaurant
Izakaya takes Japanese cuisine to the next level. Using a traditional Japanese Robata grill, guests watch Izakaya's chefs work their culinary magic turning top-notch ingredients into spectacular Asian-fusion food.
Albert Cuypstraat 2-6 1072 CT Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 (0) 20 305 3090
2. MOMO Restaurant, Bar & Lounge
Located near beautiful Vondelpark, MOMO is the place to see and be seen. The menu offers a wide selection from small tasting plates through to large, extravagant share plates. Open for lunch though late evening, it's a must-do.
Hobbemastraat 1, 1071 XZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 671 7474
3. Restaurant RED
Not your average surf and turf, Restaurant Red serves just two options - steak and lobster - making ordering a breeze. Overlooking one of Amsterdam's most picturesque canals, the Keizersgracht, add to itinerary for old world charm meets delicious dining.
Keizersgracht 594, 1017 EN Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 320 1824
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Top 3 cafés
1. Café George
Cafe George is a New York-style brasserie located a short walk from Vondelpark. Known for serving a sublime champagne brunch, Café George is where the chic people meet to eat, drink and enjoy Amsterdam.
Leidsegracht 84, 1016 CR Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 626 0802
2. Blauwe Theehuis
A walk or bike ride around Amsterdam's Vondelpark is a must. After working up a thirst, stop by Blauwe Theehuis, a sweet, circular teahouse, where you will find refreshing beverages to enjoy while watching the world go by.
Vondelpark 5, 1071 AA Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 662 0254
3. Café de Prins
Café de Prins is the perfect relaxing locale to stop for a red wine, bitterballen (a savoury Dutch meat-ball snack), slice of cheese and choice charcuterie.
Prinsengracht 124, 1015 EA Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 624 9382
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Top 3 market eats
Located inside the Noordermarkt, Winkel 43 famously does Amsterdam's best-in-apple-pie.
Noordermarkt 43, 1015 NA Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 623 0223
Got a Sunday to spare? Do as the local cool kids do and head to Finch for great food and good vibes.
Noordermarkt 5 H, 1015 MV Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 626 2461
From the locals to the tourists, Proust makes everyone feel at home with its relaxed eclectic atmosphere, good eats and drinks.
Noordermarkt 4, 1015 MV Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 623 9145
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Top 3 bars
1. Bar Oldenhof
Bar Oldenhof oozes discreet old-fashioned charm inside and out. The blacked-out entrance beckons you in with the merest whisper from a small yellow BAR sign. Once inside, step back in time to a club-style bar filled with cigars and cocktails.
Elandsgracht 84, 1016 TZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 751 3273
2. Mata Hari
Located in Amsterdam's red light district, Mata Hari does cosy chic with vintage interiors and comfortable lounges. Drop in for sustainable, fair trade food while sipping on local craft beer.
Oudezijds Achterburgwal 22, 1012 DM Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 205 0919
3. Café Belgique
This small venue packs a punch. Specialising in Belgian beers, eight on tap and 50 bottled varieties, it's beer aficionado heaven. The décor doesn't disappoint: 17th century Dutch meets graffiti street art.
Gravenstraat 2, 1012 NM Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 625 1974
Top 3 districts to explore
Elandsgracht is a swish shopping street in the upscale Jordaan district. It leads onto the Prinsengracht, which is one of the three major canals in Amsterdam. This picturesque area is home to boutique shops, the Anne Frank house and pretty places to nibble. When evening comes, head to Bar Oldenhof for a pre-dinner aperitif then over to Balthazars Keuken for a casual dinner.
Balthazars Keuken (closed Aug 5 - Aug 19)
Elandsgracht 108, 1016 VA Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 420 2114
Take a wander up Utrechtsestraat where you can shop for just about anything that tickles your fancy: fashion, interiors, food, it's all here. Stop in at simple, stylish Bar Moustache, the whitewash brick interiors and lively atmosphere make it the perfect lunch or dinner location.
Utrechtsestraat 141 HS, 1017 VM Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 428 1074
3. Dam Square
Just a five-minute walk down the Damrak from Centraal Station brings you to this jam-packed square, bustling with locals and tourists day and night. During the sixties, the square was renowned for its hippies and today the laidback relaxed character of this pigeon-populated square lives on. The square houses tourist gems including the Royal Palace, Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum, and The National Monument. Collect a cup of mulled wine from the gypsies and sip while you sightsee.