Hop on the free ferry from behind Central Station to NDSM Wharf, and before you know it you'll be basking on the grassy banks of Noorderlicht; one of Amsterdam's most unique bars. Essentially a huge greenhouse draped in fairy lights and festival bunting, this magical venue comes into its own in the sunshine thanks to its large waterside beer garden, regular live music on the open-air stage and large campfire for cosy summer nights.
Noorderlicht // tt. Neveritaweg 33, NDSM Wharf
Royal Theatre Carré
This historic venue dedicated to the performing arts has one of the best kept secrets in the Plantage neighbourhood, just east of the city centre: a fantastic waterside terrace. Right on the banks of the River Amstel, the spacious open air deck is open throughout the day until sunset and is the ideal spot to enjoy a few drinks or grab a bite to eat prior to catching a show or musical. Relax in the deckchairs on the small city beach and soak up the colourful summer atmosphere.
Royal Theatre Carre // Amstel 115-125, De Plantage
With its huge, waterside terrace that enjoys full sunshine, colourful Surinamese café bar Waterkant attracts an arty crowd of locals and in-the-know visitors. The perfect spot for sunny weather, yet also cosy when the temperature drops, Waterkant exudes tropical vibes in the heart of Amsterdam, just on the edge of the canal ring. Order yourself a beer and some spit-roasted chicken and join the fun.
Waterkant // Marnixstraat 246, Centrum
Just 10 minutes’ walk from Central Station, yet blissfully located off the beaten track on the banks of Oosterdok, this vibrant waterside shack makes for a charmingly eclectic hangout. Built entirely from salvaged materials, Hannekes Boom exudes a quirky vibe and boasts one of Amsterdam’s best beer gardens. Locals and savvy visitors gather on sunny days to enjoy the funky vibes, good music and home-cooked BBQ food.
Hannekes Boom // Dijksgracht 4, Centrum
At the western end of the Westergas cultural complex in Westerpark, Pacific is a lively restaurant, bar and late night rock ’n’ roll club which just so happens to have one of the best terraces in Amsterdam. The colourful beer garden has a mish-mash of outdoor furniture made from reclaimed materials, fire pits to keep you warm after sundown and enough space for everyone to enjoy the great outdoors.
Pacific // Polonceaukade 23, Westerpark
‘t Blauwe Theehuis
There’s no better place to kick back when the sun is shining than in one of Amsterdam’s many beautiful parks and you’ll find terraces galore amongst the trees in Vondelpark. Right in the centre, ‘t Blauwe Theehuis is a striking modernist pavilion that resembles a giant teacup crossed with a spaceship. With a large ground floor garden surrounding the building plus a panoramic balcony terrace upstairs, this iconic bar has outdoor seating for more than 700 people. It’s also run by the Brouwerij ’t IJ Brewery, so there’s a fantastic selection of local beers to sample on the menu.
‘t Blauwe Theehuis // Vondelpark 5, Vondelpark
Cafe Restaurant De Plantage
Situated on a beautifully-developed square in the middle of Artis Zoo, Cafe-Restaurant de Plantage is a magical setting to wine and dine on a warm summer’s evening. The elegant conservatory restaurant sprawls out onto a lantern-lit terrace surrounded by sycamore trees and overlooking the zoo’s flamingos enclosure. The menu fuses Mediterranean and Levantine flavours and is accompanied by an extensive but reasonably priced wine list.
Café-restaurant De Plantage // Plantage Kerklaan 36, De Plantage
Located in Het Sieraad, one of the most iconic monuments of the Amsterdam School movement, this canteen-style café restaurant enjoys one of the most beautiful terraces in Amsterdam. Right on the water, wrapping around two sides of the beautiful building, the terrace makes a wonderful spot for brunch, lunch, dinner or just drinks. Just don't tell too many people about it.
Edel by Dennis // Postjesweg 1, De Baarsjes
The sprawling terrace of this multicultural theatre is positioned on one of the sunniest corners of Bos en Lommer. It’s the perfect spot to grab a glass of wine before catching a midweek theatre or dance performance or simply just to sit in the morning light with a coffee reading the paper. At weekends the terrace comes alive with a great mix of students and locals as plates upon plates of Turkish brunch delicacies are served in the sun.
Podium Mozaïek // Bos en Lommerweg 191, Bos en Lommer
This tropical-themed garden bar offers an all-day jungle adventure in the centre of De Pijp. The terrace, complete with its very own swings, stretches out across Marie Heinekenplein.In the daytime the family-friendly restaurant serves coffees and excellent lunch options with everything from vegetarian tasting boards to sticky ribs. But as the sun starts to set, the party atmosphere picks up with regular live music events including weekly Latin parties and open-mic nights hosted here.
De Tulp // Marie Heinekenplein 33, De Pijp
In de Waag
Housed in a 15th-century city gatehouse, In de Waag is a centrally located venue boasting a heady mix of historical charm, fantastic food and drink, and that all-important terrace. Nestled between the turrets of this landmark building, a vast outdoor seating area offers one of the finest spots for al fresco dining in Amsterdam, as well as ample people watching opportunities on Nieuwmarkt.
In de Waag // Nieuwmarkt 4, Centrum
Exceptionally easy to reach and with one of the best terraces in Amsterdam, Tolhuistuin is a funky bar, restaurant and cultural venue with a bohemian vibe and sweeping views of Amsterdam from across the IJ. With a huge beer garden out front and a secret garden, which often hosts live events at the back, Tolhuistuin is one of the most colourful spots to enjoy a sunny day in Amsterdam. The free ferry from behind Central Station will drop you off outside the door in just three minutes.
Tolhuistuin // IJpromenade 2, Noord
De Neef van Fred
This trendy neighbourhood cafe enjoys a covetable canalside location as one of the few places in De Baarsjes where you can sit directly along the Admiralengracht. Watch the world go by with a coffee and breakfast or enjoy lunch and after-work drinks in picturesque surroundings. There’s a great selection of local beers to try before tucking into some dinner in the sunshine, choosing from the all-day bistro menu.
De Neef van Fred // Jan Evertsenstraat 41, De Baarsjes
Café de Jaren
A popular meeting spot on the banks of the Amstel, Café De Jaren is an elegant café, restaurant and bar with a casual Italian-inspired menu and a buzzy, continental ambience. A vast riverside terrace at the café’s rear and large balcony overlooking the water make De Jaren one of central Amsterdam’s most popular summertime hangouts – so be prepared to wait for a table.
Café de Jaren // Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20, Centrum
Time to take a rest from a day of boating? This riverside bar boasts one of the largest terraces built over the water in the city. You can moor your boat directly outside the restaurant and pop in for a quick bite to eat. The menu is frequently changed up with a great selection of burgers and sandwiches, light bites and soups on offer. In the evening, the atmosphere gets livelier with drinks and music, so you may decide to stay for quite a few hours.
Amstelhaven // Mauritskade 1, Oost
Brouwerij ’t IJ
In the trendy east of the city, the independent brewery bar Brouwerij ‘T IJ, nestled underneath an authentic Dutch windmill, is a firm favourite among locals and beer-loving visitors alike. The bar serves an impressive selection of home brewed, organic beers, best enjoyed on a warm day out on the huge terrace. An outdoor barbecue serves up tasty morsels during the summer months; ideal for soaking up all that delicious beer.
Brouwerij ’t IJ // Funenkade 7, Oost
No list of Amsterdam’s best terraces would be complete without a mention of Pllek, the hip, industrial hangout on the banks of the IJ. Located across the water in Amsterdam Noord, Pllek’s al fresco watering hole isn’t so much a terrace as an entire beach – which becomes awash with Amsterdam’s trendy young things as soon as the sun rears its head. Catch the free ferry headed from behind Amsterdam Central and then take a short stroll along the waterfront.
Pllek // tt. Neveritaweg 59, NDSM Wharf
It’s hard to miss NEMO - the giant green structure rising like the hull of a cruise liner from the Oosterdok (just east of Central Station). The building houses an interactive science museum – definitely a great thing to do with kids in Amsterdam – but if you’re looking for somewhere to bask in the sun then head straight to the building’s top-deck roof terrace, where you can enjoy beachy vibes with magnificent city views. Access is free and you can even take your own picnic.
NEMO Science Museum // Oosterdok 2, Centrum
Situated in a former tram depot in the south-west of the city, this chic restaurant has a spacious terrace dotted with plenty of greenery and surrounded by 100-year-old industrial architecture. The restaurant forms part of the boutique Hotel de Hallen complex, but it welcomes non-residents for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails. Attracting a good mix of locals and visitors, this hidden oasis at one of Amsterdam’s hotspots is the perfect place to escape the crowds and soak up some lovely sun.
Remise 47 // Bellamyplein, Oud-West
Accessed by a tunnel of reclaimed windows and mirrors, Meneer Nieges is a colourful waterfront world serving wonderful food and drinks all day long. The Hannekes Boom team are behind this hotspot in Amsterdam West, and its large terrace has kitsch country-garden furnishings, fire pits to huddle around when the temperatures dip and splendid views across the IJ.
Meneer Nieges // Westerdoksdijk 40, West
De Vergulden Eenhoorn
Not your typical bustling inner-city café terrace, De Vergulden Eenhoorn used to be a city farm, and that’s still very much what the vibe is like. Despite the easily accessible location near Amstel station, being here feels like the middle of nowhere – in a good way. The lovely garden features deckchairs, chirping birds and a playing area for jeu de boules, plus a fireplace for the evening hours.
De Vergulden Eenhoorn | Ringdijk 58, Oost
Tonton Club West
There are plenty of fantastic terrace bars in Westerpark, but only one of them has retro arcade games, pinball machines and a special room dedicated to Dance Dance Revolution. Step into a world of neon at Tonton Club West, where American and Japanese cultures collide. This exciting retro gaming paradise is spread across indoor and outdoor areas including a large semi-covered terrace that’s perfect for drinks all year round. Highlights on the fusion menu include ramen burgers, takoyaki, dumplings and alcoholic milkshakes.
Tonton Club West // Polonceau-kade 27, Westerpark