The 19 Reasons To Visit Amsterdam. Now.

There’s so much more to Amsterdam than the obvious. Sure, you can roam the Red Light district on a fascinating tour of the city’s sex industry (incidentally, did you know that XXX has been the city’s symbol for 500 years and has nothing to do with porn?), or head into one of their *ahem* liberal cafes for a good ‘ol smoke. It’s easy to forget the beauty, quaint charm, and incredible culture that it also represents.
Make like a local and pedal along the canal (there’s a reason it’s known as the Venice of the North), marvel at the paintings of the Dutch masters, go to a gig at Trouw, and shop for tulips at the floating flower market. Then, by all means, head into The Grasshopper and do what you will. Just a warning: Dutch pancakes may look even more appealing than usual afterwards…
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Photo: Courtesy of Tenue de Nimes.
Tenue de Nimes
The revered art of denim is one that Tenue de Nimes hold very dear. It’s clear in their jeans palace of a boutique that blue is the only colour. Carrying premium brands from Acne to A.P.C, its offerings run the gamut of jean fantasies, peppered with well-curated jewellery and accessories with a Scandi-cool twist.

Tenue de Nimes, Elandsgracht 60, 1016 TX Amsterdam; +31 203 204 012.
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Photo: Courtesy of Aan de Amstel.
Aan de Amstel
Placed right on the Amstel, this cosy Dutch restaurant focuses on seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients to create a small but perfectly formed menu. It also constantly changes (no harm in a few nice surprises every now and then!) but, you can expect things like smoked wild goose salad, dry-aged rib eye, and vanilla eclairs with salted caramel ice cream. AND they make pretty much everything on site.

Aan de Amstel, Weesperzijde 42a, 1091 Amsterdam; +31 206 080 077.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Dylan.
The Dylan
Placed on the Keizersgracht, one of Amsterdam’s most famous canals (and bang smack in the middle of one of the best shopping districts in the city), The Dylan is a boutique hotel set around the courtyard of an 18th-Century mansion house. Originally a theatre, then a Catholic poorhouse, and bakery, its latest guise is beautifully designed with sleek, contemporary finishes and even houses a Michelin-starred restaurant, Vinkeles. So fabulous, in fact, it might be a struggle to make it out to explore the city at all.

The Dylan, Keizersgracht 384, 1016 Amsterdam; +31 205 302 010.
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Photo: Courtesy of Door 74.
Door 74
The omnipresent speakeasy-style bar has seemingly spread its seductive appeal across the channel and now set up shop in The Dam. Door 74 is the first of its kind in The Netherlands: Think prerequisite hidden door, dim lighting, bartenders who love nothing more than to mix you a deceptively potent cocktail, and then watch as you fall off your barstool. Okay. Maybe the last one was just me. But, the bartenders here are exceptional mixologists and the atmosphere is luxe and sexy. Seems almost a shame that one of their house rules on their website is "No hitting on other guests." Then: "staff excluded." Well, if you insist…

Door 74, Address is on a need-to-know basis (but it’s near Rembrandtsquare; +31 634 045 122.
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Photo: Courtesy of Noordermarkt.
Held every Saturday on a picturesque square, which is overlooked by the tower of Noorderkerk (a 17th-Century church), this historical market was once the old stomping ground of Rembrandt. We’re sure he came for the vast array of antiques, curios, and knickknacks. Or maybe just to people watch. Either way, these days you can find a vastly diverse, infinitely intriguing pile of things you never knew you always wanted. And you can finish your shopping off with a pit stop at the bio-food farmer’s market next door – deservedly famous, too.

Noordermarkt, 1015 MV Amsterdam; no number.
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Photo: Courtesy of Rijksmuseum.
As much as we love to stuff ourselves with poffertjes, poke around the Red Light district, and rave it up in Paradiso, we’d also like to think of ourselves as an erstwhile highbrow lot as well. And it would certainly be a great shame to come to Amsterdam and leave without seeing any of the Dutch masters’, well, masterpieces, in the flesh. Newly renovated and pretty swish, the Rijksmuseum hosts an impressive number of works by Rembrandt and Vermeer among others. Leave feeling rather more cultured than when you arrived.

Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1, 1071 Amsterdam; +31 206 747 000.
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Photo: Courtesy of Paradiso.
A former 18th-Century church, Paradiso has been reincarnated as one of the most famous clubs and music venues in Amsterdam. It’s played host to everyone from Grace Jones to Lady Gaga, as well as holding acid nights, literature festivals, and modern dance performances. It's safe to say eclectic is its middle name. Go on a Wednesday when the music reflects this with aplomb – they play everything from '50s to '90s classics that are sure to get you moving.

Paradiso, Weteringschans 6-8; +31 206 264 521.
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Photo: Courtesy of Amstel Amsterdam.
Amstel Amsterdam
Looking for a regal touch on your trip to Amsterdam? Well, why wouldn’t you? Luxuriate at the Amstel Amsterdam – the epitome of grand, aristocratic digs. Nothing says five stars like sweeping staircases, ornate chandeliers, and impeccable service – and in addition it’s in a beautiful canal-front setting and houses both the Michelin-starred Riva and sleek cocktail and DJ spot A Bar.

Amstel Amsterdam, Professor Tulpplein 1, 1018 Amsterdam; +31 206 226 060.
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Photo: Courtesy of Legend the Grand.
Legend the Grand
This exquisite hotel is luxury and history rolled into one very grand ball – apt, then, that it’s called Legend the Grand. It started out life as a convent in the 15th Century, then was transformed into the city hall. Now Sofitel have given it a lease of life in the most magnificent of ways. Sit in the oasis-like courtyard and enjoy delicacies from the adjacent Bridges’ Raw Bar or head to the Library (inspired by the colours of Amsterdam’s flower market) to sink into an armchair and warm up with a coffee.

Legend the Grand, Oudezijds Voorburgwal 197, 1012 Amsterdam; +31 205 553 111.
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Photo: Courtesy of MacBike.
Rent a bike with Mac Bike
Aside from the kamikaze trams, tulips, coffee shops, and clogs, there’s one thing that The Dam has in abundance: bicycles. Given that Holland is a cyclist’s dream (i.e. as flat as a Dutch pancake), what better way is there to explore than by their equivalent to the Boris bike – available to hire from MacBike at various locations around the city. Grab yourself a tour brochure and pedal along the scenic canals, down to see the windmills and around the historic Jewish quarter. They even have tandems which pleases our inner 7 year old very much.

Various locations; +31 20 620 0985.
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Photo: Courtesy of On the water studio.
On the water studio
Fully embrace the Dutch way of living, at least for a few days, by eschewing the classic brick ‘n mortar bolt-hole and instead opting for a houseboat. It’s not quite life on the high seas, but the infinite charm of staying on the canal with pretty vistas all around you, never runs thin. This adorable one bedroom example sleeps two people, is located a stone’s throw from the museum square and flower market, and boasts a quaint, flower-filled terrace.

On the water studio, Off Raamgracht Canal; 01865 312 342.
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Photo: Courtesy of Lion Noir.
Lion Noir
From the too-cool-for-school crew behind Jimmy Woo, Lion Noir is the latest hipster in Amsterdam’s nightlife scene. That’s not to say you couldn’t pay a visit for lunch, however. But it does, as the name suggests, have a certain after-dark appeal. Currently on the menu? Oysters and caviars (why not, eh? You’re on holiday), marinated salmon rouleau with horseradish mayo, and roasted venison with pumpkin gnocchi. They also do a very fine line in cocktails. A real treat.

Lion Noir, Reguliersdwarsstraat 28, 1017 Amsterdam; +31 206 276 603.
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Photo: Courtesy of Precinct 5.
Precinct 5
If cool urban streetwear’s your thing, you’ve come to the right place. This truly unique store is set in a classic Amsterdam Canal House, which also used to be the old police station and is managed by well-known DJ Mr Wix. In-the-know sneaker brands such as Enplus, Stussy, and Patta also call it home. Consider it a sleek collaboration between the great and good of Amsterdam’s music and fashion scene.

Precinct 5, Singel 459, 1012 WP Amsterdam; +31 203 301 270.
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Photo: Courtesy of 717.
Stately yet home-y at the same time, The 717 is a period canal-side mansion house decked out in inimitable Dutch style. There’s no restaurants or swish state-of-the-art gyms to be found here, but the staff are wonderfully attentive yet discrete. What you pay is all-inclusive (and that includes afternoon tea laid out in the library and a few glasses of wine among other things). Oh, and all the rooms are named after famous figures in classical literature and music. An extra touch of class.

717, Prinsengracht 717, 1017 Amsterdam; +31 204 270 717.
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Photo: Courtesy of Jimmy Woo.
Jimmy Woo
No chic trip to Amsterdam is complete without paying a visit to Mr. Woo’s not-so-humble abode. This famed nightclub is intimate, buzzy, and affords a view of Jimmy’s bedroom through the glass door at the entrance. Doll yourself up, then proceed to see and be seen here.

Jimmy Woo, Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 18, 1017 Amsterdam; +31 20626 3150.
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Photo: Courtesy of Wilde Zwijnen.
Wilde Zwijnen
Translated as Wild Boar, Wilde Zwijnen is as much of a mouthful to say (well, for the uninitiated), as the dishes it serves on a plate for you. A masterful Italian-Dutch mashup (sauerkraut-stuffed ravioli, roast veal with bacon, potato and herring croquettes), it also serves game caught in the local countryside. Also of note: the hip exposed brickwork and stripped-back furniture. Very cool indeed.

Wilde Zwijnen, Javaplein 23 hs, 1095 CJ Amsterdam; 020 463 3043.
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Photo: Courtesy of Mazzo.
Traditional Italian fare and an ultra-hip industrial environment might not sound like likely bedfellows but, at Mazzo they find a certain synergy. Circus-style lightbulbs and exposed ceiling vents clash with stripped wooden detailing and a rustic assortment of ingredients on display, all culminating in a relaxed feel. Go for the smoothies and scrambled eggs at breakfast, the hearty, mozzarella-filled paninis at lunch, and the authentic pizzas at dinner. Belissima!

Mazzo, Rozengracht 114; +31 20344 6402.
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Photo: Courtesy of Chicago Social Club.
Chicago Social Club
Mixing up hip-hop and techno, Amsterdam’s confusingly-named Chicago Social Club is equal parts nightclub, bar, and comedy venue. Split over two levels, it’s slick yet cosy, laidback when it needs to be and raucous the rest of the time. It also plays host to the city’s beautiful people until 4am – what could be better than that? Go and join them for a drink – we’ll see you in there, most likely propping up the bar. You party animal.

Chicago Social Club, Leidseplein 12, 1017 PT Amsterdam; +31 20 760 1171.
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Photo: Courtesy of Trouw.
Being housed in an old newspaper printing works would be enough to give Trouw that sought-after sheen of cool that revellers love so much but, luckily for them, they’ve also got the substance to back up their style. Not only an industrial club, it’s also a gig venue, event space, and restaurant (complete with verdant vertical garden). Want to know where the hipster locals hang out? You’ve found it. Worth the hype.

Trouw, Wibaustraat 127; +31 20 463 7788.