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Where to Stay in Amsterdam | Best Areas & Hotels

Where to Stay in Amsterdam | Best Areas & Hotels

Knowing where to stay in Amsterdam can make or break your trip. Here are the city’s best neighborhoods and hotels, whether you’re looking for exciting nightlife, gorgeous canals, or a glimpse at culture and history that shaped the world.

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

Image for a guide titled Where to Stay in Amsterdam featuring a gorgeous shot of flowers in front of a cityscape

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Amsterdam, sometimes known as “Venice to the North,” is the capital city of the Netherlands. Now the most important city in one of Europe’s smallest yet most prosperous countries, it was once the center of a vast trading network and global empire.

Amsterdam was founded in the 12th century, but it really blossomed in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age. During this time, Holland was one of the most important centers of global trade and finance.

The vast wealth that poured into the city helped build many of the famous monuments, including the iconic row houses, that you see today. Amsterdam’s wealth helped make the city an international center of arts and culture.

Famous artists from Rembrandt Van Rijn to Vincent Van Gogh passed through town. Today, you can see their work and many other masterpieces at one of the city’s many museums.

Today, Amsterdam’s historic architecture and rich art scene stand side-by-side with the city’s reputation as a thumping modern, permissive paradise. Tourists and residents alike enjoy the legalized cannabis coffee shops, red light district, and bumping night club scene.

Amsterdam may not be sprawling in size, but it has so many attractions packed into one city that where you stay can determine the tone of your trip. Decide what you’re looking for in your visit and plan where to stay in Amsterdam accordingly.

The 5 Best Areas of the Country

Amsterdam illustrated map showing the best places to stay in Amsterdam

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Amsterdam is divided into seven main districts and many different neighborhoods, although many of these areas are more residential than touristy. We’ll cover the 5 best parts of town that past visitors have enjoyed.

  1. Centrum: Best for proximity to attractions
  2. Jordaan: Best for couples
  3. Plantage: Best for families 
  4. Oud-West: Best for a quieter stay
  5. De Pijp: Best for nightlife, even on a budget

Amsterdam’s Best Parts of Town

These are some of the best neighborhoods in Amsterdam to stay, whether you’re a first-time visitor or someone looking to discover something new in a city you already know well. 

1. Centrum

Centrum, a top pick for where to stay in Amsterdam

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Centrum, also known as the Old Center, is Amsterdam’s historic core. This winding set of streets curves around Amsterdam’s Centraal station and its major historic monuments, including Dam Square. It’s encircled by Amsterdam’s famous canal belt.

Centrum has plenty of historic attractions. Imposing structures dating from the Dutch Golden Age, such as the Royal Palace and Dam Square, line the streets. Centrum is also where some of the city’s most famous museums are located, including the Anne Frank House.

There is something to see on almost every corner, all within walking distance, which is why Centrum is a great place to stay if you’re visiting Amsterdam for the first time and want to see everything.

In just a few minutes, you can traverse centuries of history. Even your walk will be amazing as you take in the romantic canals and historic buildings.

Centrum may be where Amsterdam’s most famous historical landmarks are located, but that doesn’t mean that the area is stuck in the past. Centrum is also home to Amsterdam’s infamous Red-Light District, a libertine stretch of sex shops and brothels (prostitution is legal in Amsterdam).

The district is worth a visit just to see sights that are nearly impossible to witness anywhere else. Centrum is also home to some of the city’s busiest nightlife. Many tourists stay here, and bars and clubs popped up in the center to cater to them.

While this makes it a great neighborhood to stay in if you’re a young 20-something on a budget (accommodation in the center is surprisingly affordable), families or those in search of a quieter place to rest their head should probably check out another neighborhood.

Things to Do

  • Visit plenty of historic museums such as the Amsterdam Museum
  • Take in Golden Age-era sights, such as Dam Square
  • Take the kids to the innovative NEMO Science Museum, which is full of hands-on exhibits
  • Walk through the libertine Red-Light District (and try not to stare)

Where to Eat

  • Try high-end takes on Dutch history and cuisine at Jansz
  • Try traditional spirits and bar food at De Drie Fleschjes, the city’s oldest tasting room
  • Check out some of the best Chinese food in Amsterdam’s Chinatown at New King
  • Take a breather from the crowds at Koffie Cultuur Centrum

Amsterdam Centrum Budget Hotels

  • Hotel InternationalThis affordable hotel is just a few minutes away from Amsterdam Centraal and centrally located in relation to all the major attractions. It has everything you want from a hotel and a charming maritime bar.
  • Hotel PrinsenhofThis simple yet stately hotel is located right near the center and boasts comfortable, minimalist rooms with exposed beams for a historical touch.

Amsterdam Centrum Mid-Range Hotels

  • Hotel Sebastians. Hotel Sebastians is a converted canal house turned into a stylish boutique hotel. Amenities include an elegant bar and a convenient location near the center but removed from some of the crowds.
  • Eden Hotel AmsterdamTrue to its name, the Eden Hotel is a paradise located just around the corner from Rembrandt Square. Amenities include ticket services, flat-screen TVs, and a gorgeous view.

Amsterdam Centrum Luxury Hotels

  • Hotel De L’Europe. When it comes to luxury in the center of the city, it doesn’t get much better than Hotel De L’Europe. The 5-star hotel has a pool, wellness facility, luxurious suites with Dutch Master replicas, and a waterside terrace to sip your morning coffee canal-side.
  • Hotel TwentySeven. This small but mighty hotel offers personalized touches if you’re lucky enough to book one of their 27 suites. Enjoy bespoke design in the suites, soundproof windows and doors, and an on-site restaurant and bar.

2. Jordaan

Street view of Jordaan, one of the best places to stay in Amsterdam

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Bucolic canals, historic row houses, trendy coffee shops, and boutiques packed with stylish locals—these are probably the stereotypical mental images that you picture when you think of life in Amsterdam.

Nowhere gets closer to the romanticized vision of Amsterdam than Jordaan, one of the best places to stay in the city for couples and those looking for a quiet getaway.

Jordaan is technically part of Amsterdam’s center, but it feels like a region of its own. The neighborhood used to be a working-class enclave that has long-since gentrified and become one of the most upscale areas in town.

However, the old radical working-class history is still present in Jordaan, particularly in some of the rowdier dive bars. As you walk through the streets of the neighborhood, you might feel as if you dipped out of Amsterdam to visit a scenic nearby village.

Take some time and wander, stopping in some of the many bespoke galleries, boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, and more. Some of the best things to take in here are not landmarks, but the small quirks of the city.

Just because Jordaan is trendy and artsy doesn’t mean that it is quiet. The neighborhood is one of the centers of alternative culture in Amsterdam, and you can check out some of the many dive bars and live venues around the deceptively quiet streets to see how the cool kids of Amsterdam party.

Gentrification has made Jordaan a desirable place to be, but it also priced many of the old locals out—and made the place prohibitively expensive for tourists as well.

Budget travelers may not find much in the way of accommodation in this neighborhood, although you can always stay in nearby Centrum and spend as much time in Jordaan as possible.

Things to Do

  • Visit the world-famous Anne Frank House and pay respect to the victims of the Holocaust
  • Visit one of the neighborhood’s quirkier museums such as the Electric Ladyland, a basement museum dedicated to fluorescent things
  • Shop for everything from produce to vintage purses at Noordermarkt
  • Check out the nightlife, starting with the cocktail bar Oldenhof

Where to Eat

Jordaan Budget Hotels

  • Mr. Jordaan. This stylish little hotel is conveniently located near several major attractions. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, elegant brick interiors, and a 24-hour front desk.
  • Bridge Inn. This simple, quaint bed and breakfast is a great place to have a romantic getaway even if you’re on a budget. Amenities include cable TV, coffee and tea facilities, and a friendly front desk.

Jordaan Mid-Range Hotels

  • Hotel Il FioreHotel Il Fiore is as stylish as the rest of Jordaan, with neutral linens and exposed brick walls. Amenities include great views, free toiletries, and bicycles for rent.
  • Linden HotelThe bright, stylish Linden Hotel packs modern amenities into a centuries-old building. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, continental breakfast, and a great location.

Jordaan Luxury Hotels

  • Hotel MercierThe elegant, expertly designed rooms at the Hotel Mercier will be your perfect oasis away from the busy city. Amenities include luggage storage and a 24-hour front desk.
  • 2 Houseboat Suites. Why not enjoy a truly unique Amsterdam experience and stay on board a houseboat thanks to 2 Houseboat Suites? With amenities including gorgeous rooms, a private bathroom, and Wi-Fi, you certainly won’t compromise on the quality of the stay.

3. Plantage

River in Plantage, one of our top picks for where to stay in Amsterdam

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The quiet Plantage neighborhood is located just east of Amsterdam’s city center, making it the perfect base for exploring if you want somewhere quieter.

It’s close enough to the center that you can reach most of the major attractions on foot or with public transport but removed from some of the frustrations of staying in Centrum, such as the crowds and loud clubs.

De Plantage is packed with attractions that kids in particular will enjoy. Whether you take your family on an outing to Artis Zoo, gawk at De Gooyer Windmill, or wander Hortus Botanicus, the world’s oldest botanical garden, you’ll have a great time.

De Plantage is also one of Amsterdam’s greenest areas, a welcome respite in a city that often feels cramped. Let the kids run freely in one of the many parks.

Just because Plantage is a family-friendly area doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything for adults to do. Take in a show at the Dutch National Opera and Ballet or get a taste for art at the Hermitage Amsterdam.

Plantage is a great neighborhood for those looking for a quieter Amsterdam experience, but if you came to the city looking for the nightlife experience, you should probably stay elsewhere.

Things to Do

  • Visit the world’s oldest botanical garden, Hortus Botanicus
  • Say hello to the animals at Artis Zoo
  • Take in a show at the Dutch National Opera and Ballet, or see a movie at Kriterion Cinema
  • Shop like the locals at Waterlooplein Market, which has everything from food to used bicycles

Where to Eat

Plantage Budget Hotels

  • Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam—City HallFor reliable budget accommodation, trust the Holiday Inn chain. The bright rooms and welcoming staff are very family friendly.
  • Hotel Arena. Hotel Arena is on the further side from the center, but it makes up for the distance with gorgeous views, bike rentals, friendly hosts, all in a historic building.

Plantage Mid-Range Hotels

  • Monet Garden Hotel AmsterdamThis boutique hotel is a great place to stay for a quiet getaway. Amenities include a free fitness center, fireplace, and breakfast including fresh waffles.
  • The Hendrick’s HotelThe lovely Hendrick’s Hotel is a little outside of De Plantage, closer to the center, but is still tucked away in a quiet location. Amenities include a full English breakfast and a fireplace in the common lounge.

Plantage Luxury Hotels

  • Wittenberg by Cove. If you really want to make yourself at home in Amsterdam, then the Wittenberg by Cove is one of the best places for a short-term stay. Each apartment is fully equipped with appliances, including a washing machine, and housekeeping services.
  • Hyatt Regency Amsterdam. For true luxury anywhere in the world, you can’t go wrong with the Hyatt Regency. Amenities include bike rental, room service, floor-to-ceiling windows, and more, all in an award-winning sustainable hotel. 

4. Oud-West

Canals in Oud West Amsterdam, one of the best places to visit there

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If you want to take life at a quieter pace while visiting Amsterdam, then staying in Oud-West is a great idea. This quiet, green neighborhood is located just to the west of Amsterdam’s center and has the perfect mix of residential and business streets.

Oud-West has plenty of attractions, including the nearby Museum Quarter (while technically outside of the neighborhood, all the famous museums are just a short walk away). If you want to check out any of the further attractions in the center, just hop on a tram line.

Oud-West is also a great place to relax from the hustle and bustle of the city center. Stroll down one of the picturesque streets lined with old houses, explore the canals, or walk through one of the neighborhood’s many parks such as Vondelpark.

Oud-West is a great choice for travelers looking for a quieter pace, whether due to a more mature travel style or because you want to sleep at night.

However, if you want easy access to Amsterdam’s clubbing scene, choose a different neighborhood because Oud-West gets pretty quiet at night. The accommodation is also fairly expensive unless you’re willing to stay in a hostel.

Things to Do

  • Walk over to the Museum District and take in some culture at the Rijksmuseum or Van Gogh Museum
  • Shop local boutiques along the Overtoom street
  • Take a break from city living in the Vondelpark
  • Explore the canals via kayak, paddleboard, or boat rental

Where to Eat

Oud-West Budget Hotels

  • Alp HotelThis intimate hotel is close to the boundaries between the Oud-West and Jordaan neighborhoods. Amenities include quirky décor, free hot drinks, and even a fruit bar.
  • Hotel Heye 130Hotel Heye 130 is simple yet charming. Amenities include concierge services, free Wi-Fi, and organized tours.

Oud-West Mid-Range Hotels

  • Hotel LarendeThe independent Hotel Larende is a stone’s throw away from the De Hallen food hall, but soundproof windows mean you’re isolated from the hustle and bustle. Other amenities include boutique décor, daily continental breakfast, and ticket services.
  • Conscious Hotel The Tire Station. True to its name, the Conscious Hotel The Tire Station is a completely eco-friendly hotel, complete with an in-house eco pastry shop.

Oud-West Luxury Hotels

  • Owl Hotel. If you want to feel like a rich trader from old Amsterdam, stay in the Owl Hotel, located in a converted historical building in the Museum Quarter.
  • Pillows Luxury Boutique Hotel. This small but mighty luxury hotel has stately rooms with large windows, fine linen, and an in-house restaurant, all in a converted historic building.

5. De Pijp

De pijp Amsterdam, one of the best places to stay in the country

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Hipster central De Pijp is a favorite for art-lovers and young people in search of a good time. This rollicking neighborhood outside of the center is a great place to stay if you want to experience the real Amsterdam.

De Pijp is sometimes called Amsterdam’s Latin Quarter thanks to the extensive student population and Bohemian vibe. The neighborhood is full of quirky bars, clubs, and restaurants. One of the best things to do is just walk around the streets and people-watch.

De Pijp is also one of Amsterdam’s liveliest neighborhoods at night. This area has some of the best clubbing and nightlife, especially if you’re on a budget and want to avoid the sometimes-extortionate drink prices in the center.

De Pijp’s relatively remote location means that it might not be the best place to stay if you’re a first-time visitor and want to see all the main tourist attractions. This neighborhood can also get noisy at night, so avoid it if you’re traveling with a family (or with anyone who values their sleep).

Things to Do

  • Visit Albert Cuyp market, one of the city’s best markets
  • Grab a coffee and pastry to go, then sit in Sarphatipark and people-watch
  • Check out the Heineken Experience Amsterdam for a behind-the-scenes look at Dutch beer culture
  • Go clubbing and hit iconic spots such as Oostheim Bro’s

Where to Eat

De Pijp Budget Hotels

De Pijp Mid-Range Hotels

  • The Arcade Hotel Amsterdam. The whimsical Arcade Hotel is perfect for the young and the young at heart. Enjoy retro consoles in each room, an arcade hall, comics library, and organized game nights for guests.
  • Bicycle Hotel AmsterdamHonor the Netherlands’ favorite pastime by staying at the eco-friendly Bicycle Hotel. Amenities include bicycle rentals, free breakfast, and solar powered everything.

De Pijp Luxury Hotels

  • Sir AlbertIf you think the Sir Albert is fit for royalty, you’re not far off—the hotel is in a former diamond factory. Amenities include a private bar in each room, luxuriously appointed spaces, iPad rental, and a study complete with a fireplace.
  • Pestana Amsterdam Riverside. Feel like a celebrity when you stay at the Pestana Amsterdam Riverside. Amenities at this luxurious hotel include a fitness center, spa, luxurious rooms, and more, all in a former town hall.

So, Where Should You Stay in Amsterdam?

With world-class art museums such as the Rijksmuseum, historic canal houses, and a thriving youth culture, Amsterdam truly has something for everyone.

Whether you stay in the busy, exciting center or pick a quieter destination such as Oud-West, you’re bound to have a good time!