The ultimate guide to Amsterdam North: What to see, do, and eat

Amsterdam's coolest neighbourhood 😎

Amsterdam North is not just a welcome escape from the busy city centre; it’s also a vibrant and trendy neighbourhood that offers a unique mix of culture, art, and entertainment. 

Dubbed one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world, you definitely want to make sure to check out Noord when in Amsterdam. But what are the things you absolutely can’t miss while there? 

I took a trip to Amsterdam North to find out — and my ultimate guide tells you all about it.👇

Things to do in Amsterdam North

Made your way across the pond (the IJ) and ready for some action? Let’s dive right in!

🖼️ Check out urban art at the NDSM Wharf

Art as far as the eye can see. Image: Lyna Meyrer/Supplied

Amsterdam North is probably best known for the NDSM Wharf. It’s a former shipyard turned creative hub, renowned for its quirky urban art. 

The space is covered in colourful murals and graffiti, making it a paradise for art lovers and photographers (and Instagram models 😉). The pier also hosts various cultural events, festivals, and markets throughout the year, so there’s always something exciting happening.

📍 Location: NDSM-Plein, 1033 WB Amsterdam
💶 Price: Free

👗 Scour the goods at Europe’s biggest flea market 

“I’m gonna pop some tags…” 🎶 Image: Lyna Meyrer/Supplied

If you’re anything like the Dutch and can’t say nee to a good bargain, I have great news: The IJ-Hallen, the biggest flea market in Europe, is held monthly at the NDSM Wharf in Amsterdam North. 

READ MORE | 33 best things to do in Amsterdam in 2024 [UPDATED]

Here, you can browse hundreds of stalls selling everything from vintage clothing to antique furniture. It’s a great place to find yourself that unique Amsterdam souvenir!

📍 Location: NDSM-Plein 28, 1033 WB Amsterdam
💶 Price: €5 entry fee

☘️ Get a taste of Amsterdam culture at Coffeeshop Noord

That’s probably now what you imagine when you think of a coffeeshop! Image: Supplied

Sure, you’ve escaped the centre of the city, but you’re still in the cannabis capital of the world. Embrace the opportunity and smoke it up! (It might even make the following activities even more fun. 😉)

READ MORE | 17 best coffeeshops in Amsterdam: the best spots to smoke in 2024

The perfect place to get weed (or maybe hash or edibles?) in Amsterdam Noord is the renowned Coffeeshop Noord — a sleek, modern shop with knowledgeable staff and high-quality goods.

📍 Location: Ooievaarsweg 10, 1021 GZ Amsterdam
💶 Price: Between €7 and €20 per gram of weed; €5 and €12 for a joint; €5 and €15 for an edible

Like any substance, weed needs to be consumed responsibly and with care. Consume in moderation, and have a good trip! 🍀

🤩 Get the best views of the city at the A’DAM LOOKOUT

The most exciting swing you’ll ever go on. Image: Depositphotos

Now that you’re high, it’s time to get even higher (literally) — at the famous A’DAM LOOKOUT tower. This tower is nearly 100 metres high and offers some of the best panoramic views of the Dutch capital. 

After taking an elevator to the top, you can enjoy a drink at the rooftop bar or even experience the thrill of Europe’s highest swing. 

📍 Location: Overhoeksplein 1, 1031 KS Amsterdam
💶 Price: €12.50 for adults, €6.50 for children (including a digital photo)

🏃‍♂️‍➡️ Let your inner kid run wild at the WONDR Experience

Need a break from adulting? The WONDR Experience gets it. It’s an immersive pop-up experience with colourful, interactive installations and Instagram-worthy rooms. 

Each room is filled to the brim with all kinds of things to play around with, from bouncy castles to karaoke machines. This is a place with no limits — you can touch, jump, and sing with absolutely everything you see. It’s the perfect place to let loose. 🕺

📍 Location: Meeuwenlaan 88, 1021 JK Amsterdam
💶 Price: €25.95 for adults, €17.95 for children (Tip: save €2 by booking your tickets online!)

🌳 Escape the hustle and bustle at Noorderpark

The perfect place to enjoy a sunny day. Image: Depositphotos

Between Amsterdam North’s street art, museums, and restaurants, you’ll find the Noorderpark. This park is your perfect spot for a green escape, whether it’s a leisurely stroll or a picnic on a sunny day.

With heaps of space, playgrounds, and community events, the Noorderpark connects the neighbourhoods and the residents of Amsterdam Noord. It’s the perfect place to unwind and reset after a busy day of exploring.

📍 Location: Floraparkweg 1, 1012 AA Amsterdam
💶 Price: Free

🎥 Learn about cinema at the EYE Film Institute

An architectural masterpiece! Image: Eye Presskit/Corinne de Korver

Cinema lovers, this one’s for you. The EYE Film Institute is the museum for film in the Netherlands. And, of course, it’s beautifully located on Amsterdam North’s waterfront!

The institute is home to an extensive collection of films, film posters, and other cinematic artefacts. Even better, it offers regular screenings of classic and contemporary films and interactive exhibits to explore the history and art of filmmaking. 🍿

📍 Location: IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT Amsterdam
💶 Price: €12.50 for film showings, €15 for the exhibitions

Where to eat and drink in Amsterdam North

Now you know some of the best things to do in Amsterdam North — that means it’s time to recharge with some food. 

These are some of the neighbourhood’s food hotspots. 🍽️

🌮 Bacalar

Taco Tuesday, anyone? Image: Depositphotos

Bacalar is a cosy taqueria offering authentic Mexican cuisine with a modern twist. It’s a true hidden gem, popular for its delicious tacos and vibrant atmosphere. 

They also have vegan dishes, delicious cocktails, and hyper-attentive staff. A must-visit for foodies!

📍 Location: Chrysantenstraat 4, 1031 HT Amsterdam
💶 Price: €9-13 per taco dish

🍻 Café De Ceuvel

Waterside views? Check. Funky artwork? Check. Tasty food, beer, and coffee? Triple check. Café De Ceuvel is a sustainable café in a former shipyard, offering a menu filled with organic and locally sourced ingredients. 

The eco-friendly setting and relaxed vibe make it a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, and a bustling atmosphere is guaranteed all week long.

📍 Location: Korte Papaverweg 4, 1032 KB Amsterdam
💶 Price: €10-15 per (small) dish

🍕 Euro Pizza

Euro Pizza serves up some of the best pizzas in Amsterdam North. Each pizza is topped with uniquely creative toppings and cooked to perfection.

But that’s not all: they also serve a variety of unique snacks and delicious wines, all focused on local produce. Its welcoming atmosphere makes it a great place to enjoy a casual meal.

📍 Location: Gedempt Hamerkanaal 79, 1021 KP Amsterdam
💶 Price: €15-20 per dish

🛹 Skatecafé

Skater or not, everyone is welcome at Skatecafé. Image: Depositphotos

Skatecafé is a popular bistro that combines dining with a unique indoor skate park and a club. The industrial space serves delicious food and drinks and is a favourite hangout spot for many.

If you’re looking for a good party in Amsterdam North, this is your spot. On club nights, the establishment transforms into a 21+ club where the energy is unmatched. 

📍 Location: Gedempt Hamerkanaal 42, 1021 KM Amsterdam
💶 Price: €15-20 per dish

🥦 Pllek

Pllek is the biggest green restaurant in Amsterdam, and it perfectly embodies the Amsterdam North aura. 

It’s a waterfront restaurant built from shipping containers, offering organic dishes and stunning views of the IJ River. It also offers frequent live music events and even yoga lessons — making it a perfect spot for relaxation.

📍 Location: T.T. Neveritaweg 59, 1033 WB Amsterdam
💶 Price: €15-20 per dish

✨ Noorderlicht

The place to be on a sunny day. Image: Depositphotos

Noorderlicht, meaning “Northern Light,” is a bohemian café inside a greenhouse at the NDSM wharf. It offers a diverse menu with seasonal foods, a great terrace and a laid-back atmosphere. 

On top of that, Noorderlicht also regularly offers its stage to musicians, artists and cultural events.

📍 Location: NDSM-Plein 102, 1033 WB Amsterdam
💶 Price: €10-20 per dish

Where to stay in Amsterdam North

Have you fallen in love with the idea of Amsterdam North and want to make it your home base on your Amsterdam trip? We get it.

READ MORE | 10 of the best hotels for an epic stay in Amsterdam

So, let’s talk about some of the most highly-rated stays in the neighbourhood, from campings to hostels to luxurious hotels.

🏨 Sir Adam Hotel

Sir Adam has the best views. Image: Dreamstime

Feel like treating yourself? You deserve it — and the Sir Adam Hotel is your place to be. Located inside the iconic A’DAM Tower, this 4-star hotel offers all that your heart may desire: a gym, a bar, and even a rooftop with some of the best 360-degree views of Amsterdam.

With its luxurious rooms and suites, Sir Adam Hotel is guaranteed to give you the most relaxing city break you can imagine.

📍 Location: Overhoeksplein 7, 1031 KS Amsterdam
💶 Price: Starting at €139 per night

🛏️ ClinkNOORD Youth Hostel

Right in the heart of Amsterdam North, you’ll find ClinkNOORD, a youth hostel located in a stunning 1920s Art Deco building. Surrounded by bars, clubs, and cafes, ClinkNOORD is a great option for the social traveller on a budget.

The hostel has private rooms and mixed-gender and female-only dorms, so pick one and let’s get this party started!

📍 Location: Badhuiskade 3, 1031 KV Amsterdam
💶 Price: Starting at €56 per night

⛺️ Camping Vliegenbos

If you want to experience big city life while staying connected to nature, Camping Vliegenbos should be at the top of your list.

Located in the heart of a forest, Camping Vliegenbos has something for everyone, from spots for tents and caravans to glamping huts. Prices are affordable, and the free ferry to the city centre is just a 15-minute walk away.

📍 Location: Meeuwenlaan 138, 1022 AM Amsterdam
💶 Price: Starting at €26 per night

How much time do you need to explore Amsterdam North?

How much time you should put aside to visit Amsterdam North depends on what you want to see and how quickly you want to move from one place to the next.

One day is typically enough to see the most interesting sights in Amsterdam North — and you can make it worth your while even more if you rent a bike

Ready to explore? Image: Depositphotos

For example, you could start your day with a lekker brunch at the NDSM wharf and check out the nearby IJ-Hallen. The afternoon can be spent at a museum or the WONDR experience, before heading to a restaurant for a nice dinner and some live music.

READ MORE | How to see the Red Light District in Amsterdam [2024 Guide]

Of course, if you’re looking for a refreshing change of scenery from the bustling city centre, you can stay in Noord longer, or even make it your base during your Amsterdam trip.

Whether you’re visiting the urban art at NDSM Wharf or enjoying the views from the A’DAM Tower, Amsterdam North provides a memorable experience — no matter how much time you give it.

Getting to Amsterdam North

As you know, Amsterdam North is located on the other side of the IJ River — so how can you get there? (Swimming is not recommended. 😉)

⛴️ By ferry

The most scenic way to reach Amsterdam North is by taking the ferry. And the best part? It’s FREE!

All aboard! Image: Depositphotos

Yup, gratis ferries run frequently from behind Amsterdam Central Station, taking you across the IJ River in just a few minutes. There are three separate routes you can take:

  • To Buiksloterweg, dropping you right next to the EYE Film Institute and the A’DAM Tower,
  • To NDSM, taking you to the NDSM neighbourhood and
  • To IJplein, which is a little further east.

🚲 By bike

Prefer to bike to Amsterdam North? You can (sort of). 

The only thing to keep in mind is that there is no bike path connecting both sides of the IJ River, so you have to take your bike on the ferry. The good news is that the ferry is also completely free for bikes — and there’s plenty of space.

🚈 By public transport

Amsterdam’s public transport system is very efficient and well-connected, making it easy to reach Noord by bus or metro. 

The North-South metro line (number 52) is particularly convenient. It departs every eight minutes from several key points in the city centre, such as Amsterdam Central Station, Rokin, and De Pijp. 

See this sign? That means you’re close to a metro stop. Image: Depositphotos

The history of Amsterdam North

Amsterdam North has a history as colourful as the murals at NDSM. 

In its early days (AKA the Middle Ages), it was no more than a muddy swamp area, cut off from the main city by the IJ River.

With the construction of the North Sea Canal at the end of the 19th century, the district began to grow rapidly. For the first time, Amsterdam’s ports became accessible for steamboats, and Noord developed into the city’s most important industrial area.

The Buiksloterweg ferry back in the day. Image: Stadsarchief Amsterdam

Dotted with shipyards, the industrial boom brought a wave of workers to Noord, who spent their days working on the ships and their cargo.

READ MORE | Where to live in Amsterdam: the 2024 neighbourhood guide

Fast forward to the late 20th century, when the shipbuilding industry declined. The area faced a period of uncertainty, and that’s when the abandoned shipyards began to be a canvas for street artists. 

Slowly but surely, the area transformed into the vibrant hub of creativity that it is today.

With great food, a vibrant culture, and colourful art, Noord has something to offer to anyone — and it’s just waiting to be explored.

So, hop on that ferry and offer all that Amsterdam’s coolest neighbourhood has to offer.

Have you ever been to Amsterdam North? Share your experience in the comments!

Feature Image:Dreamstime
Lyna Meyrer 🇱🇺
Lyna Meyrer 🇱🇺
Say 'hoi' to Lyna, our Senior Writer at DutchReview! Fueled by a love for writing, social media, and all things Dutch, she joined the DR family in 2022. Since making the Netherlands her home in 2018, she has collected a BA in English Literature & Society (Hons.) and an RMA in Arts, Literature and Media (Hons.). Even though she grew up just a few hours away from the Netherlands, Lyna remains captivated by the guttural language, quirky culture, and questionable foods that make the Netherlands so wonderfully Dutch.

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