Amsterdam is divided into 8 stadsdelen (boroughs), each with their own history, culture and atmosphere. Some of the more popular boroughs and neighbourhoods for tourists to stay are:
Often referred to as the Old Centre, the borough covers everything within the outer canal (Singelgracht) of the horseshoe shaped city centre. Centre is usually divided into two parts; Centrum-West and Centrum-Oost and all together consists of a total of 14 neighbourhoods. This is where most of the typical step gabled houses houses are found and where most of the action takes place for tourists.
Within the Centre, around the Oude Zijde (Old Side) the famous Amsterdam red light district (called De Wallen) is located. An area dedicated to the oldest profession of the world in the oldest part of the city. The red light district is very vibrant and also a lot of bars, restaurants and hostels are located here.
The southern part of Centrum-Oost is home to some of Amsterdam’s major nightlife hotspots, especially in and around Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein. Besides restaurants and bars, there are lots of cultural facilities, such as theatres, clubs and entertainment venues.
In Centrum-West you’ll find one of the most famous neighbourhoods of Amsterdam, De Jordaan. Originally a working-class neighbourhood, the Jordaan has become one of the most expensive, upscale locations in the Netherlands. It is home to many art galleries, particularly for modern art, and filled with speciality shops and restaurants. Also located in Centrum-West is the Artis Zoo.
Located directly south of the Old Centre you’ll find the borrough simply called Zuid (South). While not being part of the bustling centre it is still an interesting are to stay. Well connected to the public transport network of Amsterdam with a subway line and a couple of tram lines. The Zuidas business district, the Royal Concertgebouw, the Olympic Stadium, Vondelpark and the RAI Amsterdam convention centre are all located within this borough. Two of the more popular neighbourhoods in this are are De Pijp and Oud-Zuid.
De Pijp literally translates to The Pipe and is transformed in the last 30 years from a vulnerable neighbourhood to a vibrant area with a diverse population of long-term residents, immigrants, students and yuppies. It is home to the busiest street market of the Netherlands, the Albert Cuyp Market. It is open six days per week and attracts a lot of tourists. The top tourist attraction to be found in De Pijp is the Heineken Experience, An interactive, semi-guided, and immersive attraction located in the old Heineken brewery.
Oud-Zuid is known as one of the wealthiest parts of the city. Major attractions in the area include exclusive shopping street P.C. Hooftstraat, the large Vondelpark and the famous museums around Museumplein. One of the museums is the Rijksmuseum, the national museum of The Netherlands dedicated to Dutch art and history. The most famous art piece to be found there is the enormous painting done by Rembrandt, De Nachtwacht (The Night Watch). Also located at Museumplein are the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum.
Another borough close by to the old centre is the borough of West. Most of the neighbourhoods within this Amsterdam borough were built between the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20st century. Some of the areas had their share of inner city problems, but most of them have been redeveloped in the last decades.
The most interesting neighbourhood for tourists to stay in this area is Westerpark, home to the eponymous park, which combines expansive greenery with a lot of cultural activity going on in Westergas. Westerpark is home to a varied mix of independent shops, old-school street markets, fancy restaurants and traditional brown cafés.
Oud-West (Old West) is a neighbourhood which is bordered by the largest city park of Amsterdam, the Vondelpark. The area is known for its many top-notch restaurants, stylish boutiques and trendy bars. One of the more recent developments is De Hallen, a cultural centre dedicated to food, film, fashion, crafts, retail and architecture housed in a former tram depot. Oud-West is one of the most densely populated parts of Amsterdam, so there are few green spaces. Nevertheless people who live in Oud-West are generally the most satisfied residents in the city.