How to Experience Amsterdam Like a Local

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Amsterdam is the capital of Netherlands. It is one of the most populous cities in the country and attracts millions of tourists every year! As a bonafide tourist attraction, Amsterdam features a bevy of landmarks including the Anne Frank’s House and the Van Gogh Museum. But if you really want to see Amsterdam at its finest, ditch your itinerary and experience the city like a local! In today’s post, we are listing down ways to experience Amsterdam like a local:


Because Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, you can expect dozens of upscale hotels and resorts in the city. But if you really want to experience Amsterdam like a local, then you’d have to sleep like a local! That includes trading swanky 5-star hotels for hostel and bed and breakfast inns. The good news is, Amsterdam is a backpackers’ paradise so you are bound to find a variety of affordable accommodations all over the city. These accommodations come in a variety of budgets too, so there is something for everyone. You can take your experience up a notch by renting an apartment or a room via Air B&B!


If you want to eat like a local, you can prep your meals with a couchsurfing host in your hostel or via your rental apartment. If you want to prep your own meals, buy fresh ingredients at neighboring markets like Dappermarkt in the Oost or the Albert Cuyp in de Pijp. If you want all-organic ingredients, you can always go to Pure Markt, a farmer’s market held every Sunday at different spots all over the city. For super affordable ingredients, we recommend heading to an Albert Heijn, Dirk or Aldi market near you. Because Amsterdammers love their herring, you are sure to come across shops that sell good fish any day of the week!

As for local eats, several street food stalls offer fast, affordable meals to locals. If you are craving for warm kibbeling, head to Vishandel Centrum. Sample cured slivers of herring served with onions and pickles at any food stand throughout Amsterdam. We also recommend eating at FEBO for a delectable feast of local dishes.


Some of the most tourist-heavy shopping hubs in Amsterdam are Kalverstraat and Leidsestraat. These streets feature a range of fashion and cosmetics items, ranging from clothing to skin care. Because these streets are lined with boutiques and stores, expect thick crowds.

If you want to shop like a local, you’d have to stay away from these very popular spots and head to Negen Stratjes and Hazenstraat to shop for curios, souvenirs, clothes, shoes, artworks, antiques, and other interesting items. These streets feature pop-up stores and unique boutiques that are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. You can also head to Nieuwe Spiegelstraat near Vondelpark or Haarlemmerstraat and Haarlemmerdijk near the Central Station to hunt for cool artworks and paintings.


If you are done spending a chunk of your vacation visiting iconic landmarks in Amsterdam, then it is time to head away from the beaten and into unique sights. Amsterdam is teeming with activities that will appeal to everyone, including those who love hiking, photography, nature lovers, and adrenaline junkies.

You can go to the Openbare Bibliotheek or OBA to enjoy the sights as a local, attend film showing or game events. You can also attend lectures, and readings to rub elbows with the locals.