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Discover Amsterdam
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Live, Work and Study

Things to do in Oud-West

Just outside Amsterdam’s canal ring, Oud-West combines classic Amsterdam charm with the energy of modern city life – a major reason it's become one of the city's most desirable neighbourhoods. Along with a range of fantastic concept stores and artisanal markets, you’ll find a host of cultural centres, cinemas and exhibition spaces to explore while the leafy neighbourhood parks and canals offer a lush green escape. Between the café culture, booming restaurant scene and thronging Foodhallen, expect Oud-West to enchant and enthral.

Check out the newest hotspots on Jan Pieter Heijestraat

Gitane restaurant exterior and terrace
Image from Nina Slagmolen

In 1899, nine poorly built houses collapsed on this then-impoverished street, but thankfully, things have greatly improved since. Today, this hipster Valhalla sets the trends. You’ll find the latest women’s fashion at Following Lucy, designer drinks at J&B Craft Drinks, vintage furniture finds at Dolores Del Dia and ice cream with funky ‘fun cones’ and ‘special effects’ at Jan Pieter IJsje. Hungry from all that shopping? Head to Warna Baru for contemporary Indonesian cuisine, Abyssinia for authentic Ethiopian food or Gitane for moreish Med-led bites and natural wine.

Paddle the canals

Canal SUP Amsterdam Stand Up Paddleboard Sup Supping
Image from Canal SUP Amsterdam

The canals in Oud-West are some of the most beautiful stretches in the city, much quieter than in the centre and great fun to explore with a kayak, boat rental or on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). This relaxing activity is a brilliant way to see Amsterdam’s historic waterways, houseboats and bridges from an alternative perspective. Canal SUP provides board rentals for anywhere between 1 to 8 hours. Their handy location along the Sloterkade gives you access to numerous scenic routes in Oud-West, and you are just a few paddle strokes away from the city centre.

Explore an emerging LGBTQI+ neighbourhood

Pamela, queer bar in Oud-West.
Image from Tom Flanagan

A relative newcomer to the queer scene, the Van Lennepbuurt corner of Oud-West is booming with venues that cater to a diverse and alternative crowd. Cut by canals and an array of sunspots and terraces, Van Lennepbuurt makes for a lovely day-to-night neighbourhood. Start at PAMELA for a range of small plates, cocktails and a buzzy crowd before wandering around the corner to Bar Bario, which brings some Latin energy alongside excellent mojitos. When it gets late, on Sunday, De Trut, just up the road, is a queer-run volunteer disco that draws in partygoers looking for an alternative spot to dance come the end of the week. 

Sample Dutch delicacies along the Ten Katemarkt

Ten Katemarkt street market herring haring stand kibbeling
Image from Koen Smilde

The bustling Ten Katemarkt street market is a firm favourite with locals. Alongside the various stalls selling flowers, cheese, wine, fabric, fruit and veg, you’ll also find a range of food trucks serving typical Dutch snacks and deep-fried delicacies. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to sample kibbeling (battered cod bites served with herby mayo), loempia (Indonesian spring roll) or a broodje haring (a raw herring sandwich), check out the vendors here and have a read of this guide to Dutch foods to try in Amsterdam for additional pointers.

Do as the locals do in Vondelpark

Vondeltuin people on the terrace
Image from MAZHO

This iconic city park occupies a special place in the heart of almost every Amsterdammer and visitor. On a sunny day, the paths are packed with skaters, joggers, dog walkers and commuters taking the scenic cycle route home, whilst groups of friends chill on the lawns by the pond and parents catch up outside the playgrounds. Inside the park, you’ll find several great restaurants and cafes, including the Blauwe Theehuis or Vondeltuin, an open-air theatre, fitness areas, and a beautiful rose garden.

Meet the makers at the Maker Market

24H West 2017 De Hallen Maker Market shopping
Image from Merijn Roubroeks

De Hallen, a cultural centre in Oud-West comprising not just shops but a hotel, cinema and food hall, invites Amsterdam artisans to the Maker Market, where they present their wares once per month to those looking for unique, made-in-Amsterdam items. Wander the halls of De Hallen to discover stands and displays of clothing and accessories, bicycles and furniture, books and other knick-knacks and trinkets to gift or keep for yourself. If you missed the Maker Market, you can still visit various other boutiques and the Maker Store from Tuesday through Sunday to browse their collection.

Munch your way through the Foodhallen

Dim Sum Thing restaurant in De Foodhallen.
Image from Winnie Verswijvel

De Hallen’s food court is packed with so many pop-up eateries and well-established favourites that a tour through here really needs to be classified as an activity in itself. You can’t go wrong with the range of classic toppings at Renato's, a lively pizzeria that also dishes up calzones, burrata-stuffed paninis and mouth-watering antipasti boards. Order a selection of tacos stuffed with everything from jackfruit, spicy tuna, or traditional Mexican al pastor pulled pork at Taqueria Lima. If that doesn’t take your fancy, you’ll find options for dim sum, bao buns, hot dogs, burgers, sushi, fried chicken, pho, and Spanish charcuterie in this dazzling indoor food market.

Veg out (literally) for the day

People sitting on terrace eating burgers at Vegan Junk Food bar
Image from Winnie Verswijvel

With so many new vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Amsterdam reinventing the way plant-based food looks and tastes, a growing number of Amsterdammers have been handing in their steak knives. Oud-West has become a veg-lovers heaven, with restaurants and cafés ditching boring salads and tofu-everything to offer delicious dishes that happen to be vegetarian. Give your body a day of plant-based nutrition with breakfast or lunch at Meatless District, ending the day with your choice of burger at Soil or the Vegan Junk Food Bar.

Scoop up some gelato after catching a movie

Massimo gelato ice cream shop
Image from Alex Cheuk

After catching a movie at De Filmhallen or Lab111, a favourite activity among locals is to stroll through the neighbourhood, savouring some of the many standout ice creams on offer. On a warm evening, the line outside Massimo Gelato is a testament to its status as one of the best gelaterias in the city. The flavour choices are straight-to-the-point and exquisite, with milk procured from an organic farm, chocolate from Venezuela and lemons for those zingy sorbets shipped in from Sicily. For a funkier alternative with slightly more neon signage, La-La-IJs is just around the corner. It sells over 20 flavours of ice cream handcrafted on its solar-powered machine, along with delicious milkshakes and sorbets.

Explore the tree-lined streets of the Helmersbuurt

Bosboom Toussaintstraat Helmersbuurt tree lined street
Image from Koen Smilde

Built in the late 19th and early 20th century as a much-needed expansion to the ever-growing city, Helmersbuurt has become a unique neighbourhood, filled with lush, towering trees, quiet residential areas and some of the city's prettiest streets. Once the home of many artists and writers, Helmersbuurt has creativity on every corner – you’ll have to wander around to find it. When you’re feeling suitably inspired, rest your feet at one of the area's many quirky cafes and coffee joints. This guide to the best food and drink spots in Oud-West has got you covered.