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Where to Stay in Amsterdam in 2024 – 6 Best Areas

Uncover the best places to stay in Amsterdam with insights on the city's most charming neighborhoods. Find your ideal base in the heart of Amsterdam.
Where to Stay in Amsterdam

Amsterdam truly shines when you stay within its inner canal ring, the heart of the city. This area envelops you in the quintessence of its charm and history. Yet, there’s more to explore beyond this central zone that is equally fascinating and deserves your attention.

Be aware, staying in Amsterdam can be pricey, often without the best value for money. It’s among the more expensive European cities for accommodation.

To navigate this, I’d recommend booking your hotel as early as possible. It’s a strategy that has served me well, helping secure quality lodgings without breaking the bank.

This way, you’ll enjoy the wonders of Amsterdam with a little more peace of mind and a lot less strain on your wallet.

1. Dam Square - Binnenstad, best area to stay in Amsterdam for first time

Dam Square
Dam Square

Dam Square sits at the very pulse of Amsterdam, nestled in the Binnenstad neighborhood of Centrum.

This vibrant hub is a treasure trove of key attractions, including the majestic Royal Palace, the historic Nieuwe Kerk, and the ancient Oude Kerk, not to mention it’s just a stone’s throw from Amsterdam Central Station.

The square is also a hotspot for nightlife and shopping. You’re literally at the epicenter of everything exciting!

It’s the most central location you could choose for your stay, making it super convenient for sightseeing. However, this prime spot means that hotel, restaurant, and bar prices are at their peak here.

Right on the square, you’ll find some of the city’s most luxurious hotels. Venture a little further down the surrounding streets, though, and you’ll discover more wallet-friendly options.

A personal tip: I’d steer clear of staying near the Red Light District. It’s notoriously noisy and might detract from the charm of your Amsterdam experience.

Oude Kerk
Oude Kerk

Top Attractions Near Dam Square:

  • Royal Palace
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Oude Kerk (Old Church)
  • Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)
  • Amsterdam Central Station

Pros

  • Central Location
  • Nightlife
  • Proximity to Attractions
  • Near Central Station

Cons

  • Crowds
  • Higher Accommodation Costs
  • Avoid the Red Light District

Best Hotels in Dam Square - Binnenstad

2. Grachtengordel/Canal Belt - De 9 Straatjes, a charming area in Amsterdam

Grachtengordel

The Canal Belt, or Grachtengordel as it’s known locally, is a delightful neighborhood in Amsterdam’s Centrum, encircling the Binnenstad and featuring the city’s four main canals: Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht.

This area is one of my personal favorites in Amsterdam. It’s simply enchanting with its intertwining canals, quaint bridges, and bicycles tied along the banks. There’s a timeless charm here that captures the essence of the city.

You’ll also find the famous Negen Straatjes, or Nine Streets, nestled within. This network of lanes has been a buzzing hub since the 90s and is celebrated as part of the UNESCO heritage. It’s a vibrant spot for those who cherish both history and lively street scenes.

Staying in the Canal Belt is a fantastic choice if you’re visiting Amsterdam. It’s not only centrally located, offering easy access to all major sights by foot, but it’s also one of the cleanest and most serene neighborhoods in the city center.

Plus, the area is dotted with excellent dining options, adding to its appeal as a prime spot to explore and enjoy.

Top Attractions in the Canal Belt

  • Anne Frank House
  • Amsterdam Tulip Museum
  • De 9 Straatjes (The 9 Streets)
  • Amsterdam Canal Museum
Amsterdam Canals

Pros

  • Very Central Location
  • Nightlife
  • Close to Most Attractions

Cons

  • Attracts Many People
  • More Expensive Area

Best Hotels in Grachtengordel

3. Leidseplein, where to stay in Amsterdam for nightlife

Leidseplein is a bustling square that never sleeps, renowned for its vibrant array of bars, clubs, and even a casino—the Holland Casino. It’s a magnet for crowds, both day and night, and absolutely pulsates with energy.

This area is the ultimate party district. If your idea of a good time involves hopping from one lively bar to another or dancing the night away, Leidseplein is the spot for you.

It’s packed with a variety of dining options from sit-down restaurants to quick fast food joints, ensuring there’s something for every taste and craving.

Although there are plenty of other places in the city where you can enjoy a drink, Leidseplein stands out for its accessibility and the sheer volume of entertainment options. It’s easy to slip into a club or a pub here and have a fantastic time—trust me on this.

The area also boasts a wide range of hotels, conveniently located near Museumplein and the central canals. However, as expected in such a prime location, the prices here mirror the high rates found throughout central Amsterdam.

Attractions Near Leidseplein:

  • Rijksmuseum: The National Museum of the Netherlands
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Moco Museum
Leidseplein

Pros

  • Very Central Location
  • Best Nightlife
  • Close to Museumplein

Cons

  • Attracts Crowds Day and Night
  • Expensive Accommodations

Best Hotels in Leidseplein

4. Jordaan, where to stay in Amsterdam for a local experience

Jordaan

The Jordaan district skirts the western edge of Amsterdam’s Canal Belt and is just a 10-15 minute walk from Dam Square. It borders the southern side of the lively Leidseplein.

I find Jordaan to be one of Amsterdam’s most enchanting neighborhoods. It’s got a bohemian vibe that artists and creatives flock to, lined with unique boutiques, art galleries, and some truly standout cafés and restaurants.

One of its gems is Noordermarkt, a square teeming with cozy cafés and dining spots where a lively market also takes place. It’s a great place to experience local life and enjoy some people-watching.

If it’s your first visit to Amsterdam, you might prefer to stay somewhere more central—I get that. But Jordaan is well worth dedicating some time to explore. It’s a spot that often captures the hearts of those who wander its quaint streets.

Attractions Near Jordaan:

  • Noordermarkt: A lively market square with cafes and restaurants.
  • Anne Frank House
  • Amsterdam Tulip Museum
  • Houseboat Museum: Offers a peek into life aboard a traditional Amsterdam houseboat.

Pros

  • Charming and Bohemian Area
  • Close to the Center and Central Station
  • Excellent Cafes and Restaurants

Cons

  • No Parking Available
  • Relatively Expensive Accommodations

Best Hotels in Jordaan

5. Museumplein, best area to stay in Amsterdam for families and kids

Museumplein
Museumplein

Museumplein, or the Museum District, is where you’ll find the famed Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. It’s easily one of the best spots to stay in Amsterdam if you ask me.

This area boasts a refined and tranquil setting, perfectly nestled near the city’s iconic canal ring and just a short stroll from the bustling Leidseplein. Here, you can enjoy the serene side of Amsterdam.

The peaceful vibe of Museumplein, combined with its proximity to major museums, makes it particularly appealing if you’re traveling with kids. It saves you from the all-too-familiar grumbles of lengthy walks to visit attractions.

The neighborhood offers a range of hotel options, from upscale to more moderately priced establishments. Securing a place to stay here is a decision you won’t regret. In my view, it’s one of the prime locations in Amsterdam to base your visit.

Attractions Near Museumplein:

  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Rijksmuseum (National Museum of the Netherlands)
  • Amsterdam City Museum
  • Moco Museum
Van Gogh Museum

Pros

  • Hosts Multiple Museums
  • Quiet Area, Ideal for Children
  • Good Connectivity to Other Areas

Cons

  • Further from the City Center
  • Limited Accommodation Options

Best Hotels in Museumplein

6. De Pijp, a modern area with vibrant nightlife in Amsterdam

Sarphatipark
Sarphatipark

De Pijp is a stellar choice for staying in Amsterdam. Nestled southeast of the Canal Belt and adjacent to Museumplein, it’s a trendy, bustling neighborhood that perfectly blends modern vibes with cozy living.

Here, you’re slightly removed from the thick of the tourist crowds, although it’s not completely off the tourist radar—just less frequented.

De Pijp is primarily residential, giving it a quieter feel with less tourist traffic. Securing a hotel in the southern part of the neighborhood places you within easy reach of Museumplein and Leidseplein, putting you close to some of the city’s main cultural hotspots.

You won’t miss out on fun in De Pijp either. The area is alive with nightlife, featuring lively bars and DJ sets that cater to a youthful crowd. It’s a place that effortlessly maintains a vibrant atmosphere, perfect for those who enjoy evenings out as much as peaceful days.

Attractions Near De Pijp:

  • Heineken Experience: Interactive brewery tour showcasing Heineken’s history.
  • Museums at Museumplein
  • Sarphatipark: A peaceful green space ideal for relaxation.
  • Albert Cuyp Market: Famous street market with a variety of vendors.
Heineken Experience
Heineken Experience

Pros

  • Youthful Atmosphere
  • Quieter Area with Fewer Tourists
  • International Cuisine

Cons

  • Further from the City Center
  • Thirty-Minute Walk to Dam Square

Best Hotels in De Pijp

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