Amsterdam, Netherlands

Coolstuff Team
May 17, 2024

In many ways, Amsterdam is the perfect city to be the first official guide in our new international travel vertical. After all, “New York” used to be “New Amsterdam” and we have the Dutch to thank for many words in our daily vocabulary – not least among them “stoop” and “bowery.” 

Another way Amsterdam is similar to New York is that at first viewing many people get it wrong. That’s why in true coolstuff fashion, our guide to Amsterdam is a mix of old, new, and undiscovered with very little of the “expected” angles to the town (sorry if you wanted the ultimate party guide.) So read on! We have all the best things to eat, drink, do, and more in our favorite slice of the Netherlands.


The Hoxton, Amsterdam

While Amsterdam may be known for its hostel culture, if you’re going all the way to the Netherlands from the city, it’s well worth the modest upgrade in investment to stay somewhere great. We love the Hoxton’s central, canal-front location on Herengracht and the fact that the lobby is truly a place to be (and be seen.) Being able to wake up to the shimmering reflections of sunlight on the canal lends a great sense of place. 

PS. If your vibe is more “very cool but off the beaten path” The Hoxton, Lloyd in Amsterdam’s Eastern Docklands might be the perfect fit for you.



Located in the lobby of The Hoxton Amsterdam central, this all-day cafe was a savior during our time in Amsterdam. From a jet-lag-preventing cortado upon arrival, to a nightcap, and an inspired dinner in between, we found ourselves at Lotti’s three times over as many days (none of which were planned.) Grab a deck of cards, and a good drink, then settle in – extra points if you can snag a seat by the cozy fireplace.

The Pantry

In such a global city, you can easily forget that regional delicacies abound in the Netherlands. One place we recommend getting a taste is The Pantry – perhaps best known for serving hutspot (mashed potatoes mixed with stewed beef, carrots, and onions) alongside sausages. Grab a plate – and a beer – and get ready for a fun meal where, in all honesty, you probably will not be the only tourist.

Cafe Loetje

If you’re the type of person who fantasizes about favorite meals you’ve had before, let us introduce a new daydream: the steak & frites at Cafe Loetje. There isn’t much more to say because you just have to experience it for yourself.

De Kas

Restaurant De Kas, a Michelin-starred mostly-vegetable-based restaurant located within a converted greenhouse in Frankendael Park, is a meal for a lifetime. While not exactly cheap, we think that €79 for five courses (plus many snacks) all grown locally – many within the greenhouse – is well worth its value. Between the food, the service, and the impeccable natural wine, De Kas was hands down our favorite meal in Amsterdam and is better than 99% of restaurants in New York…we said it!! 

Ms. Chelin

Maybe Michelin Stars aren’t your thing: enter Ms.Chelin. The intentional play on words isn’t just a gimmick – they want flavor to beat out fanciness. It’s all evidenced by a decidedly free flowing menu where you could order a pastrami sandwich, pasta, and cod with saffron risotto all at the same time. 

Banketbakkerij Het Koekemannetje

Calling all chocolate chip cookie fanatics…THIS is the spot for the sweetest bite to indulge in after all of your savory affairs. Who doesn’t love a cookie shop that asks if you want it warmed up before you go?

Hans Egstorf

When you think of sweets & Amsterdam, you think of stroopwafels. For those of you who don’t know…it’s a thin, round, and waffle-like cookie with a sweet syrup filling. Hans Egstorf is the oldest bakery in Amsterdam and their legendary stroopwafels show you why they’ve stayed around so long.


To get your pastry & sourdough bread sammie fix…stop by Louf. Their deli uses all of their freshly baked in-house breads and features local ingredients from in and around Amsterdam. Don’t miss their small bookstore in the cafe on your way out!


Rum Baba Coffee Roasters

On Jordaan’s main drag, Elandsgracht, lies an outpost of ams-based coffee roaster, Rum Baba. Of all the coffee we had, this is the one for the espresso nerd in your life. 

Nu Koffie & delicatessen

In Dutch, Nu translates to, “now” and that’s a principle which guides this gem of a cafe. The small light-filled spot is unpretentious and cool – serving high-quality coffee alongside zany sandwiches like the “Bolo Toastie” which is essentially a panini filled with ragu bolognese and served with ketchup. It shouldn’t work but it does, and Nu was a repeat for us throughout our visit. Leaving the cafe hours before our flight out the owner said to us, “see you when I see you” and we hope to see him (and Nu) sooner rather than later.

Papeneiland Café

This place is a bar with wonderful drinks – including local spirit, jenever, but the real draw here is the amazing applie pie. Settle in with a shot of the juniper-laced, gin-adjacent local spirit and a glass of beer to enjoy in true Dutch style.

Monks Coffee Roasters

Located in Oud West, Monks sources and roasts all of their beans and even offer training to the barista-curious among us. Stop in for a solid cup on your way through the neighborhood.

Luuk’s Coffee Vijzelgracht

With two locations in central Amsterdam, Luuk’s is a fun, contemporary cafe. The type where you could easily meet a friend to chat, then stay behind and pretend to work on your laptop over another latte.

Screaming Beans

This cafe has an Australian feel to it, and that’s only evidenced further by the ability to get a perfectly executed flat white. The street can become a bit busy due to a famous ahem frites shack across the way, but that makes Screaming Beans’s relaxed cafe all the more enticing.

Bocca Coffee

For over twenty years, Bocca has been bringing specialty coffee to Amsterdam, and their commitment to considered coffee is clear when you look around and see that the space is just as dedicated to brewing fresh coffee as it is to teaching. A special place, that we think you’ll love.

Café Hoppe

Founded in 1670 (SIXTEEN SEVENTY!!!!), this bar is a place we could enjoy going to every day for the rest of our lives. Le Dive on the outside, McSoreley’s on the inside, Bar Hoppe has something for everyone. Our recommendation is to grab a hip mag from Athenaeum (more below), grab a drink, and take in a Dutch spring day at a covered outdoor cafe table. 


All New Yorkers reading this in search of your dose of natural wine on this trip…look no further. Glouglou is a natty wine cafe & bottle shop with one of the most fun wine selections in Amsterdam. Just next store is their sister spot, Bar Centraal, with a little bit more than wine.


Wildschut Antiques & Interiors

We stumbled upon this gem of a spot in Jordaan and are so happy we did. Wildschut Antiques is a treasure trove of Venetian chandeliers, chic candles and more curated oddities. Step inside this jewel box after you’ve paid a visit to Rum Babs.

Kramer Kunst & Antiek

For those looking for a bit more of the classic Dutch antique-style pieces, head to Kramer Kunst. Here you can find hand-painted delft tiles categorized by subject matter, vintage jewelry, and other very very old, very very beautiful, & very very breakable things. 

Prinsheerlijk Antiques

This antique store feels like you’ve stepped back in time into someone's perfectly cluttered and storied home. The shop goes back and back for what seems like forever and is filled with antique furniture, lighting & everything in between. 

Hay House

As New Yorkers, we innately love this Danish furniture design store…and Amsterdam has their very own “Hay House” filled to the brim with all of the colorful pieces you can look at online - under one roof.

Anthenaeum Boekhandel

Think of this as the epicenter for every cool magazine & design book & zine you can imagine. Spend an hour in this multi-floor shop with all the titles you know and all the titles you don’t. And don’t worry, while there are a lot of books here sold in Dutch, the majority of the magazines and plenty of novels are ready for your sweet little English eyes.

Tony’s Chocolonely Super Store

It’s no secret that we love Tony’s Chocolonely – we had customized bars of the Amsterdam-based socially-motivated chocolatier at our 200th newsletter party. Well, if you visit Amsterdam, you too can have a custom bar made at the Super Store. Choose your flavors, pick a color of wrapping, and customize the text on the side! The best part of this souvenir is that if you eat it on the way home, you can slap the wrapper on a new bar from the bodega.

Gallery Varekamp

Amsterdam-based artist Eddy Varekamp houses his amazing lithographs in this shop & gallery space for lucky shoppers to peruse. We love that there is such a great price range with pricier large pieces and small take-home works. 

Vlieger Papier

One of our favorite souvenirs to snag while traveling is art supplies & this fun paper shop has all the kinds of goodies we’re always on the hunt for. Get inspired by their patterned paper or take home some of their curated pens & pencils. 

Misc Store

This is another great art supply stop, with the addition of fun notebooks, desk knick-knacks, and all the coolest new pens.


If Hay is your vibe, you’ll also love FEST. Head here for design inspiration from modern coffee tables, sleek chairs, and comfy couches.


Van Gogh Museum

Step into the mind of Amsterdam’s great Van Gogh at his namesake museum. It’s amazing to see a big concentration on his work in one place, displayed in such specific categorized ways - let us know what your new favorite piece is after you go? 


If you came to Amsterdam for classic Dutch culture (which, of course, we all do at - least a little!), the Rijksmuseum is a must. Explore the world of hand-painted ceramics, and works by great master painters, and step into the museum's amazing halls during an afternoon in the city. 

Stedelijk Museum

We always love to balance classic & modern design. After you’ve paid a visit to the Rijksmuseum, head over to Stedelijk Museum for an amazing curation of modern and contemporary works, with special limited-run exhibits running each season.

Canal Boat Tour

Sometimes you need a voice to tell you to do one touristy thing. Let us be that guide in saying that seeing Amsterdam by canal is an experience not worth missing. A big part of making this a good experience is choosing the right operator, and we can attest to having a lovely time on Flagship’s wine and cheese cruise. It doesn’t hurt that the pours are bottomless – including a unique Dutch wine called “Heineken” ;-)