Ah De Wallen - the district of Red Lights, wild nightlife, and tons of coffee shops. This quaint village has everything you could possibly need in a capital city. They’ve got old churches, romantic bridges over the UNESCO Heritage canals, classic Dutch architecture, and world-class museums. Anything you’re looking for is right around the corner in De Wallen. You don’t even need to leave the neighbourhood! De Wallen is the most popular and busiest part of Amsterdam, but gets its popularity for a reason! Start your Amsterdam trip in the heart of the city and explore all of its wonders.
As one of the oldest sections of Amsterdam, the De Wallen neighbourhood is packed with history. Plus, it’s the Red Light District. This place is known for its hype. Broaden your horizons or just vibe in the liveliest district of Amsterdam. For the most curious travellers, check out Red Light Secrets or Hash and Marijuana Museum. Might as well learn about the open and green city while you’re here! If you like your museums with a side of something tasty, we highly recommend Tony’s Chocolonely Superstore. Not only will you get educated on the ethical Dutch chocolate company and their history, but you also get to try all of their chocolate bar flavours from a giant vending machine. What could possibly be better than that?
The best thing about being in the city centre of Amsterdam? You’ve got some seriously great options for food and drinks! If you’re looking for a quick bite, stop by the infamous hole in the wall of a frites stand. Yup, Vleminckx dates back to 1887 and has stuck around for a reason. Some say it’s the best fries in all of the Netherlands. But who are we to judge? Go find out for yourself! For traditional Dutch food, there’s no better spot than Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs - a small and cosy pancake restaurant in a classic Dutch home.
The Red Light District is known for its nightlife. This Dutch city never sleeps, and if you’re looking for a place to go out you’ll be happy to find places around every corner. Some of the locals’ favourites include Excalibur Cafe, Drink n Sink, and Cafe Old Sailor.
Pretty much every Amsterdam neighbourhood has its own outdoor market - De Wallen is no different. Nieuwmarkt Farmer’s Market is held every weekend, even on Sundays! (Not so common in Amsterdam). Saturday mornings focus on organic produce, where you can find locals stocking up on their groceries. Sundays are for antiques, clothing, and other goods.
Our bookworms will love to hear about the two excellent shopping options for your next read. The Book Exchange is a massive secondhand bookstore stretching across three floors. Language shouldn’t be an issue here, as they’ve got one of the largest selections of English books. If you want to be let in on a secret hidden gem, go to the Oudemanhuispoort Book Market. Follow the simple sign down an outdoor alley and step into the cutest outdoor book market! They’ve also got posters, CDs, and artwork on display. Plus, there’s an outdoor green square where you can cosy up with your new book. Truly a book nerd’s dream.
Is there anything more fun than an arcade? What about an arcade that’s also a bar? Yeah, we thought so. Welcome to Tonton Club - your most fun night out in Amsterdam. Whether you’re planning a date, meeting up with friends, or just feel like going on a competitive adventure, this is the place for you. They’ve got classic arcade games in an 80’s aesthetic. Pair that with a delicious Japanese inspired menu and specialty cocktails, and you won’t want to leave, even after its ‘game over!’
Feel like sticking around for longer? There’s plenty of places to stay in the Red Light District, but there’s one spot we highly recommend for sustainable travellers. Ecomamama is conveniently located near the centre. It may be a hostel, but it’s got super cosy vibes and the staff are phenomenal. The space features a shared lounge, bar, outdoor garden, and eclectic decorations of Barbie dolls - yeah, you read that right. Plus if you need a bike, they’ve got you covered with rentals. Extend your Amsterdam stay at Ecomama!
Curious about what lies beyond the city centre? Check out all of our other Amsterdam neighbourhood guides!