Amsterdam is one of the most exciting cities to visit in Europe and always a popular destination for first-time and returning travelers. Although Amsterdam is a relatively small city that’s easy to get around, it is still divided up into several districts. It’s a smart idea to choose an area of Amsterdam based on if you want to be close to everything in the city center, if you’re on a tight budget, or if you’re traveling with kids. Depending on what you want to see and do in Amsterdam, we’ve broken down the best places to stay in Amsterdam.

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Old Centre The Basilica of Saint Nicholas is located in the Old Centre district of Amsterdam
The Basilica of Saint Nicholas is located in the Old Centre district of Amsterdam

Old Centre

Why Stay Here: Convenience for sightseeing and budget-friendly hotels.
Top Hotels: Radisson Blu Hotel, Amsterdam City Center | Ambassade Hotel

If you want to do a lot of sightseeing in Amsterdam, this is a great area to stay in to be close to everything. The Old Centre is a historic part of town with lots of touristy things to do. If you don’t have much time to spend in the city, this location is ideal because you don’t have to venture far out to see a lot. There are a good number of cheap hotels in the Old Centre area, so look in this area first if you’re on a tight budget. Just be mindful that the Red Light District isn’t very far away in case you’re looking to avoid that area.

Canal Belt Renovated mansions at Amsterdam ancient canal belt
Renovated mansions at Amsterdam ancient canal belt

Canal Belt

Why Stay Here: A romantic vibe and picturesque views.
Top Hotels: Hotel Estherea | Banks Mansion

Couples love staying in the Canal Belt area of Amsterdam because of the lovely views and opportunities for scenic strolls with the one you love. This is the most picturesque area of Amsterdam and a perfect spot for photographers and travelers who want to slow down the pace of their trip and relax. The Canal Belt is recommended for all types of travelers to Amsterdam, as well as canal cruises to really embrace the atmosphere. Check out the Museum of the Canals, KattenKabinet, and the Museum of Bags and Purses while you’re here.

Weesperzijde Traditional Dutch facades located on Weesperzijde Street
Traditional Dutch facades located on Weesperzijde Street

Weesperzijde

Why Stay Here: Great restaurants and a family-friendly atmosphere.
Top Hotels: Volkshotel | The Student Hotel Amsterdam City

Weesperzijde is a neighborhood in Amsterdam-Oost and is a trendy part of town. This is where the stylish Volkshotel is located, as well as some great restaurants, bars, and cafes. It’s east of the Amstel River and known for its great hangout spots. Weesperzijde is also a popular area to stay for families. You can also walk to Amsterdam Central Station in under five minutes from this neighborhood.

The Jordaan The Jordaan Amsterdam houses
The Jordaan Amsterdam houses

The Jordaan

Why Stay Here: Charming residential area that’s peaceful for tourists.
Top Hotels: Mr. Jordaan Hotel | Amsterdam Wiechmann Hotel

If you’re visiting Amsterdam for the first time, consider staying in Jordaan. This is a great place for both tourists and young professionals because there are lots of shops, restaurants, and scenic bridges. It feels like a tiny village within the larger village of Amsterdam. This is a charming residential area that is more relaxed and peaceful than other busier parts of town. Come here for a quiet getaway where you can still enjoy easy access to top attractions, like Dam Square and the Anne Frank House. It’s very possible to book accommodations here with canal views for a great Amsterdam experience. Jordaan is a very pretty neighborhood to stay in but be aware that to get to some popular spots you’ll have a 15-minute walk ahead of you. Don’t miss the nearby Lindengracht Market for specialty foods and produce and the Homomonument dedicated to LGBT people who died in the Holocaust.

De Wallen Damrak canal waterfront in De Wallen district
Damrak canal waterfront in De Wallen district

De Wallen

Why Stay Here: Fun for groups of friends and curious travelers.
Top Hotels: NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky | Hotel Luxer

Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District is called De Wallen and a must-see for many curious travelers. This is where you’ll find the sex shops and coffeeshops selling marijuana products, and it’s a fun place to check out with groups of adventurous friends. Come here for your bachelor and bachelorette party weekends and sneak peeks at scantily-clad prostitutes – just don’t take photos! However, this is not an ideal area to stay in if you are traveling with kids. Also, keep an eye on your valuables because pick-pockets are known to roam the streets in this area that’s known for being filled with inebriated tourists.

Westerpark Westerpark, with the Westergasfabriek in the background.
Westerpark, with the Westergasfabriek in the background.

Westerpark

Why Stay Here: A great park for kids and a posh neighborhood vibe.
Top Hotels: Hotel Sebastian’s | The Toren

There is a large park in the center of this neighborhood, which is on the western end of the Canal Belt and near the docklands of Amsterdam. Here you’ll find Dutch architecture, amazing restaurants, and a posh vibe. Other neighborhoods in this western region of town are Bos en Lomber, which is a prime spot for diverse shops and food, Oud West with its outdoor cafes, and De Baarsjes with its shopping streets. Because of the large park here and easy access to cultural venues, this is a good place in town to stay with kids. Definitely make a point to check out Westergasfabriek, which is a pavilion filled with music venues, arcade, restaurants, and cinema.

Oud-Zuid/Museum District Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh Museum

Oud-Zuid/Museum District

Why Stay Here: Easy airport access and lots of museums.
Top Hotels: Hotel JL No76 | Flying Pig Uptown

Mature travelers in town love staying in the Oud-Zuid neighborhood. It offers easy access from the airport and regional train, so it’s also a good spot to stay if you are here for a layover or just have limited time to spend in the city. The houses here are picturesque, making it an attractive place for local residents to live. You’ll also find lots of boutique shops and museums, such as the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, the Van Gogh Museum, and Rijksmuseum. You can spend summer days in Vondelpark and try the authentic foods at traditional Dutch market stalls. The Museum area has some good hotels, but be aware that this area is often filled with traffic and it doesn’t offer the canal access that other parts of town do.

De Pijp Albert Cuyp Market
Albert Cuyp Market

De Pijp

Why Stay Here: An authentic city experience for returning visitors.
Top Hotels: Hotel Okura Amsterdam | Sir Albert Hotel

Travelers who love getting an authentic local experience will enjoy staying in the De Pijp area of Amsterdam. Come here for the best brunch restaurants and weekend hangout spots. There are lots of bars that are open late for your nightlife scene, as well as some great hotel options in De Pijp. This is an ideal place for artists and eclectic travelers who have perhaps been to Amsterdam before and want to experience a different version of the city.

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