Best terraces across Amsterdam
Soaking up the sun with a drink in hand is one of the most popular summer pastimes in Amsterdam. There are excellent terrace bars to be found in every neighbourhood, but we’ve picked out some of the very best to enjoy across the entire city.
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.
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 pop-up 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. Please note that this terrace is not open all year round. For exact opening hours, check the Carré website.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
TonTon Club West
There are plenty of fantastic terrace bars in Westerpark, but only one of them has retro arcade games and pinball machines. Step into a world of neon at TonTon Club West, an exciting retro gaming paradise with a large semi-covered terrace that’s perfect for drinks all year round. Highlights on the fusion menu include fried chicken, dumplings and delicious cocktails.