Amsterdam is one of the world's best hangouts, a canny blend of old and new: radical squatter art installations hang off 17th-century eaves; BMWs give way to bicycles; and triple-strength monk-made beer is drunk in gleaming, minimalist cafes.
The city seems to thrive on its mix and, despite hordes of tourists, still manages to feel quintessentially Dutch. The old crooked houses, the cobbled streets, the tree-lined canals and the generous parks all contribute to the atmosphere.
Amsterdam's centre is enjoyably small-scale, though finding your way around the canal belt can be confusing. The old city is contained within the ring of concentric canals dating from the 17th century that form the crescent-shaped canal belt bordered by the Singelgracht. Think of it as half a bicycle wheel: the medieval city around Centraal Station is the hub, and several main roads, minor canals and the Amstel River function as spokes.
Dam Square, five minutes' walk south of the station, is the centre of town, but there are several other happening 'centres', all within walking distance: Leidseplein, with much of the city's cultural life and nightlife, Rembrandtplein (nightlife), Spui ('intellectual' life) and Museumplein (culture) are just some of the focal points that make the city a joy to explore on foot or by bicycle.
Centraal Station, the central train and bus station, lies on the south bank of the IJ. The airport at Schiphol is 18km (11mi) southwest of the city centre.
-- from the Lonely Planet
Here are a few links about Amsterdam from a tourist's perspective
A necessity in Amsterdam...we STRONGLY recommend that you rent one for your stay here. Here are the reasons why: The metro and the tram are a 10-15 minute walk from the fields. They cost 1.80 EUR per trip. They stop running at midnight, after that an infrequent night bus. Bikes on the other hand give you complete freedom of mobility and timing...a definite if you plan on staying out past midnight for the party! Biking is convenient, safe, and a lot of fun. Bicycle paths are everywhere, it is a major part of Amsterdam lifestyle.
Bikes generally cost around 18 EUR to rent for three days. You could even be like the Dutch and use one bike for two people. Almost convinced you say? Worried about getting lost? Have no fear, we have secured very detailed maps of Amsterdam for you. So, bikes it is! It’s the number one method of transport in Amsterdam.
Phone +31 20 620 09 85
3 Rental Locations :
How to get there: reached by tram nr. 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 and 10; (stop Leidseplein)
MacBike Mr. Visserplein
Mr. Visserplein 2, 1011 RD Amsterdam
How to get there: reached by tram 9, 14, 20 or metro (stop Waterlooplein)
MacBike Central Station Eastpoint
Stationsplein 12, 1012 AB Amsterdam
How to get there: located next to the Central Station and can be reached by train, metro & most trams.
On Friday night there is only limited food at the fields for sale, so better if you fend for yourself in the big bad jungle of Amsterdam, to help we are including this list of some good places to eat in the Nieuwmarkt Area. You will find the restaurant name, street address and cuisine. To get to Nieuwmarkt use the metro map from the directions page.
A fancy mix of Thai, Chinese, French, Italian and International restaurants alongside the Red Light District makes this area of Amsterdam perfect for a relaxing yet spicy evening of eats and eye candy for all ages.
Il Mare Restaurant
Zeedijk 56 Italian
Zeedijk 74 Thai
Zeedijk 103 Chinese
Klovniers Burgwal 14 Thai
Nong Ying Snackbar
Binnenbantammerstraat 1 Thai
Peperstraat 23 French
Soup en Zo
Jodenbreestraat 94a Internationaal
Geldersekade 29 French
Schippersgracht 6 Fish
Nyonya Malaysia Express
Kloveniersburgwal 38 Malasian
Geldersekade 23 Indian
Krua Thai Classic
Staalstraat 22 Thai
Markenplein 30 Mediterraan
Reguliersdwars Straat - Map: J7
One of Amsterdam's more 'pink' streets, you can find a bunch of good places for a team to eat. In particular try Rose's Cantina for the best Mexican in town, also, the Caribbean restaurant across the street has good eats.
T'Gasthuis, Grimburgwal - Map: J7
Very Dutch with large cheap meals...a favorite of students, and the fat black cat that lives there.
Saow Thai Cafe, Oudezijds Achterburgwal - Map: J6-7
This Thai cafe is know for its waitstaff of dubious sexuality and their Saturday night cabaret show. Great girly cocktail house to listen to while enjoying quality thai. located at the edge of the red light district so you can walk off your meal to a little eyefood.
Bazar, Albert Cuypstraat - Map: J8
Turkish food served in a large old synagogue. Interesting.
Gent, Bockstraat - Map: F8
UberDutch eetcafe. Great patio, good food, slightly pricy, off the beaten path and a close BIKERIDE to the fields. Also near the Vondelpark for an evening peoplewatch.
Zouk, Eerste Constantin Huygensstraat - Map: G7
Trendy Dutch eetcafe/cocktail bar. Tasty yet pretentious treats. Also a nice place to observe the local booty.
Again, best bet is to eat near Nieuwmarkt on friday so that you can hop and skip to the party afterwards. Remember, if your not on a bike, your not in Amsterdam.