Favorite areas and parks
Amsterdam you have my heart. Honestly one of the nicest cities I have ever visited. It had such a homely feel (maybe because of the water and all the bicycles?). We stayed in Amsterdam-West which, personally, is my favorite area of the city. Lots of young people, students etc. live here and the atmosphere is just really nice. Great area for restaurants and bars as well. Other than that I really enjoyed the more central area around the channels. Especially Prinsengracht, Herengracht and Keizergracht. Definitely consider going on a canal tour to see the city from the water. It truly is a special experience (but try to avoid the most touristy ones). Vondelpark and Oosterpark are great for a stroll or consider renting a bike (you can do that all over the city) and bike around the parks. De Pijp is another area worth a visit. It is a very new, upcoming area but the vibe is really nice and there are some great shopping possibilities around there as well.
Favorite restaurants and cafés
You can’t go to Amsterdam without visiting Dignita. Hands down one of the best brunch spots I have ever tried (and I have tried a lot over time). They have an overwhelming amount of options (which leads to over ordering) including coconut yoghurt, pancakes, croissants and a lot of (other) vegetarian/vegan options too. For lunch I highly recommend Café George. They literally have everything on the menu and most of it very budget friendly. If you find yourself in Oosterpark around lunchtime the restaurant right by Hotel Arena serve up some amazing tartines (think a mountain of avocado on crunchy sourdough bread). The chain café SLA is also a great option if you are craving something healthy. They serve up some amazing salads and they aren’t bland at all. If you don’t fancy a burger for dinner try to look up Libertine Café Café on Wolvenstraat. Otherwise try to book a table in the popular restaurant Bar Spek in Amsterdam-West.
Favorite stores for fashion, books and interior
Amsterdam is a brilliant shopping destination as well. Personally I’m not a big fan of overly crowded shopping streets (if you’re like me try to avoid the pedestrian streets around the Dam Square) instead I prefer the small boutiques and shops in the side streets. You will find a good selection if you just walk along the canals. It’s mostly independent small boutiques but occasionally you will find larger stores such as Cos, Samsøe & Samsøe, Brandy Melville etc. Some of my favorites were OU and RUM for clothing, DR Vonen for furniture and Mendo if you are into really beautiful coffee table books. If you are looking for some high end shopping try to head to the museum district. Around PC Hoftstraat you will find all of the most luxurious fashion houses. Don’t miss the amazing Shoebaloo if you love shoes. It’s tough to go out from there empty handed.