Amsterdam Area Map
Amsterdam is a web of canals – the city itself is about 20 percent water – which can pose difficult to maneuver. At the center of the city is an area called Centrum, in which the Royal Palace of Amsterdam rises as if to orient tourists. The verdant Canal Belt area – which refers to the Herengracht, the Keizersgracht and the Prinsengracht canals, as well as the thin stretches of land found amongst them – forms a half-circle around Centrum. To the southwest, you'll find Museumplein and farther south De Pijp. Jordaan lies to the west and Jodenbuurt and Plantage to the east.
Accessible via Trams 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 13, 16, 17, 18, 21, 24 and 26.
The Centrum (center) is located in central Amsterdam and comprises Oude Zijd (Old Side), Nieuwe Zijd (New Side) and the Red Light District. Containing Amsterdam's oldest building, aptly named Oude Kerk (Old Church), the Medieval Center also holds the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), an old convent called Begijnhof, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam and Amsterdams Historisch Museum (Amsterdam Historical Museum).
Just east of the central Royal Palace of Amsterdam, the brazen yet legal temptations of the Red Light District beckon. The area is heavily policed, but women travelers should be wary of touring the area alone late at night. Also, visitors traveling with children should probably book accommodations elsewhere.
Accessible via Trams 1, 2, 5, 7 and 10.
Located southeast of Centrum, Leidseplein prickles with excitement. Plentiful coffeehouses and other more traditional nightlife venues fill the area, including the Melkweg concert venue, the Jimmy Woo nightclub and the Stadsschouwburg theater house.
Accessible via Trams 4, 9 and 14.
A bronze statue of famous Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn rises in the popular grassy square in Rembrandtplein, located just about a mile southwest of the city center. The area is rife with cafes, bars and nightlife opportunities. Hugging the square to the south and west is Reguliersdwarsstraat, a street along which many gay bars and clubs cluster.
Accessible via Trams 3, 10, 13, 14 and 17.
Along the lush canals of the northern gentrified neighborhood, Jordaan, streets are lined with galleries, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and historical homes, making for a pleasant walk through this posh neighborhood.
Accessible via Trams 1, 2, 5, 10, 13, 14 and 17.
Known as one of the most delightful areas in Amsterdam, the Canal Belt, which is a series of canals which wrap around the city center, is a lovely even languorous place to spend an entire day. Touring the Anne Frank House, people-watching at the many cafes, boutique-hopping in Nine Little Streets, dining on traditional Amsterdam fare, or simply strolling hand-in-hand along the romantic tree- and lamp-lined canals should take an entire day, if you do it right.
Museumplein & Vondelpark
Accessible via Trams 2, 3, 5, 12, 16 and 24.
Crowded by day and emptied out by nightfall, Museumplein and the surrounding area, located southwest of the city center, is filled with museums: the Rijksmuseum (State Museum); the Van Gogh Museum; and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (or National Museum of Modern Art), to name a few. Adjacent is the expansive Vondelpark, an enormous city green, perfect for whiling away an afternoon.
Accessible via Trams 3, 4, 12, 16 and 24.
De Pijp, located about a mile south of central Amsterdam, contains the Heineken Experience, a four-level interactive museum located in the former Heineken Brewery. Visitors can also stroll through the chic Ferdinand Bolstraat shopping street, popping into pubs and cafes along the way, haggling with the market vendors at Albert Cuyp Market and enjoying some of the many ethnic restaurants that have assembled in this interesting enclave.
Jodenbuurt & Plantage
Accessible via Trams 9 and 14.
Since the 17th century, the Jodenbuurt (or Jewish Quarter) housed much of the city's Jewish population. Sadly, after World War II the Jewish population in the city dwindled to only a tenth of its former numbers. Today, the area houses a handful of museums and memorials dedicated to Jewish and Dutch resistance, as well as the Nationale Opera & Ballet and Museum het Rembrandthuis (Rembrandt House Museum).
Plantage, located east of Jodenbuurt, is a sprawling area that contains a number of natural attractions, including the Hortus Botanicus (Botanical Garden); Artis Zoo Magistra (Artis Royal Zoo), which also contains an aquarium, a botanical garden, a zoological museum, a geography museum and a planetarium; and Wertheimpark, as well as several historical museums.