Amsterdam Noord is like no other part of the city. Home to all the best street art and hipster cafes, as well as some awesome landmarks that are often overlooked by visitors, north of the river is hands down one of the most underrated neighbourhoods in Amsterdam. Getting there is incredibly easy as well as being totally free and pretty novel if you’re not from somewhere that requires waterborne transport to get there. Walk or wheel your bike onto one of the ferries behind Central Station, and be carried across the river IJ to Amsterdam North for no cost at all. Our local Amsterdam expert Keith Wallace has all the insider information on the best things to do in Amsterdam Noord, his favourite area of the city, that will easily fill a day or two of your itinerary.
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1. A’Dam Lookout
One of the first attractions you’ll spot on your way across the river is the 100 metre tower right near the water’s edge. The A’Dam Lookout is an observatory, a restaurant, a bar and home to the highest swing in Europe, so whether you want the panoramic views, adrenaline rush or a cocktail, there are multiple reasons to visit. Restaurant Moon is one of the for great views and fine dining, located on the 19th floor of the tower and revolving while you eat. There for the thrills? Head right to the open top and let your feet dangle 100 metres above the ground on the tower’s Over the Edge swing.
2. Eye Filmmuseum
The big, white, angular building by the river is called the Eye Filmmuseum, where movie fanatics can visit and unearth the collection of moving film in the Netherlands and across the world. Sift through the film archives, visit the temporary exhibitions and sit in one of the museum’s four cinemas to watch new art house films as well as old classics. If you’re a big fan of the production side of films, or you simply appreciate great directing and cinematography, you’ll really enjoy exploring all the ins and outs of the Eye Filmmuseum. Plus the views from their outdoor terrace are pretty spectacular, especially if you visit at sunset and stay for an evening screening.
3. Oedipus Brewing
Stop by Oedipus for a cold beer straight from the brewery. This local microbrewery in Noord is a must-visit if you’re a lover of a golden brew. Run by four friends with a shared beer obsession, you can both pop in for a pint or drop by for a while and experience their tasting room followed by a burger in the restaurant. The range of beers on tap here changes regularly, but there are always both the easy Sunday lunchtime brews as well as the way more potent stuff that will send you on your way. The interiors match the whole Amsterdam North vibe - industrial and quirky with super friendly staff who are always happy to help you pick a beer.
Hidden away in one of the many warehouses in north Amsterdam is the very first skateboard cafe to open in the Netherlands. Skate Cafe was designed and built from scratch by Colin, and now it’s one of the best skater’s hangouts in the city. Whether you’re there to get on your board or you just want to sit back with a beer or a coffee and enjoy the atmosphere, everybody is welcome at Colin’s cafe. Plus they host skate lessons every Wednesday, so if you’re feeling inspired you can have a go for yourself. Usually, Skate Cafe is the place to be on a Friday night when they get DJs in and throw huge parties, although it might be a little while until it can reopen for these again.
5. Cafe de Ceuvel
The plant-based menu, homemade soft drinks and CO2-friendly coffee is just one of the ways in which this Amsterdam Noord cafe puts sustainability at the forefront of its ethos. The entire place was built to provide a place for people to eat, drink and engage in how we can all have an impact on our surroundings. It’s made entirely from upcycled materials and the plants are all chosen to help purify the oil-sodden soil leftover from the ships that would dock here. Cafe de Ceuvel is also home to creative workshops, rental spaces and a bed and breakfast on the water, and it’s all powered by clean technology. The place is a playground for creativity and innovation, focussing not only on sustainability but art and community, too.
6. NDSM Wharf
You can’t visit Amsterdam Noord without exploring the industrial area of NDSM Wharf. The former shipyard has become a huge urban hotspot, plastered in incredible graffiti and with a variety of cultural cafes and bars nearby. NDSM has surprises around every corner, from the Crane Hotel to the bizarrely shaped buildings, and don’t be afraid to look around inside the enormous warehouses as you might get to see artists at work. Pllek is one of the coolest hangouts in Amsterdam. It’s a bar built inside a bunch of old shipping containers right on the edge of the river with a man made beach and deck chairs in summer. If you’re lucky enough to be around when the IJHallen market is set up, you can pick up a whole load of vintage treasures.
7. Street art museum
NDSM is covered in it from head to toe, but when it reopens as soon as it’s safe to do so, STRAAT Museum is well worth having a good look around. Whether you’re big into art or not really, you’re bound to see pieces here that will blow you away. Located inside one of the warehouses at NDSM Wharf, the collection of street art here is enormous, some large enough to take over an entire wall. Each piece was completed on-site by urban artists from across the world with information on each one so you can get to know the stories behind them. Once you visit STRAAT, you’ll never look at graffiti the same way again.
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