A Tour of Amsterdam’s Best Outdoor Spots This Winter

A fresh, fun and inspiring journey through Amsterdam’s al fresco scene to get you through the remaining winter months.

Text: Jack Dolan
Photography: Margot van der Kogt
 
Of all the city breaks out there, Amsterdam is perhaps the most atmospheric and charming in winter, particularly at night time with its glistening lights and winding canals. The Dutch even have their own word for it ‘gezellig’ which doesn’t have a direct translation but is somewhere between friendly, cosy and laid back. This is what Amsterdam is all about at the beginning of the year.
 
Amsterdam is smaller than Europe’s other capitals like Paris and London, but it squeezes a lot in. The weather is famously changeable but you’re never far from a cosy café or bar and you’re likely to get some crisp, clear days. The city is also almost tailor made for cycling – with all the special lanes and spaces. And if you’re really lucky, every few years the canals freeze over and you can go ice skating around the city.
 
Tropical Culture, Plants and Animals
 
Amsterdam has a huge amount on offer in terms of museums, galleries and other cultural spaces.
 
Tropenmuseum
A stone’s throw from the Amsterdam Generator is the Tropenmuseum and in May there launches a hugely anticipated Rhythm and Roots exhibition, which traces the history of African American music from Blues through to Hip-Hop. While you’re there, be sure to check out the simulated flight to Morocco too - it might be intended for kids, but it’s also a lot of fun for your inner child.
 
Amsterdam Royal Zoo
Artis, the Amsterdam Royal Zoo,  also has a fantastic restaurant where you can enjoy some gourmet food whilst looking out at the flamingos and elephants.
 
Plantage
From there it’s a short stroll over to the Plantage area of the city where you can find the zoo and the botanical gardens. Both are set in ornate historic buildings surrounded by sprawling gardens and greenhouses filled with monkeys, tropical birds and colourful plant life.
 


 
The Real Oost Neighbourhood
 
Javastraat
A short walk west of the Generator is Javastraat; bustling street market by day, bouncing bar and restaurant strip by night. It’s the perfect spot to get off the tourist trail and experience the sights and smells of Amsterdam as the locals know it; vibrant, multicultural and full of character.
 
Bar Botanique and Basquiat
Check out the newly opened and beautifully decked out Bar Botanique for a cocktail or head to hip local spot Basquiat. There’s also a bunch of great restaurants from Indonesian and Surinamese to pizza places and gourmet burgers.
 


Brouwerij ’t IJ
Trek a little north of Javastraat and you’ll find the unpronounceable but thoroughly enjoyable Brouwerij ’t IJ, a world famous brewery housed inside an old bath house. Situated right next to Holland’s tallest wooden windmill, the De Gooyer, not only are the craft beers here second to none, but the experience of sipping a cold one in the shadow of a huge windmill cannot be beat. For those that like to kill two birds with one stone, the brewery even sits at the junction of three canals, ticking off a couple of Dutch sightseeing boxes for the traveller on the go. Who knows, with a bit of Dutch courage you may even be ready to try pronouncing the name.
 
Al Fresco Brunch
 
Brunch culture in Amsterdam is, just as important as the night out that precedes it.
 
Little Collins and Bakers & Roasters
De Pijp has a few great spots like the Australian run Little Collins or Bakers & Roasters. Both offer countless delicious variations on an eggy breakfast alongside great coffee and a fierce Bloody Mary.



 
Albert Cuyp Markt
Here you can find all the Dutch delicacies you desire,  as well as souvenirs, and that plug adapter you forgot to bring with you. De Pijp also has a great selection of vintage clothing stores and boutiques and even more great bars dotted amongst its traditional Dutch townhouses.
 
Sarphatipark
Just around the corner, you can escape the crowds and take a winter stroll through the Sarphatipark, which looks particularly beautiful on a frosty afternoon. The perfect lasy Saturday.
 
Mooching in the 9 Streets
 
The Negen Straatjes (or Nine Streets) is where you find all of high end boutiques in Amsterdam. Independent up and comers sit alongside international brands and local institutions. It’s one of the most picturesque parts of town but before you splash the cash on exclusive high fashion, or just have a good old window shop, wander the many canals of the Nine Streets for an experience like no other.
 
From the Nine Streets it’s a short walk up to the Jordaan, the oldest and swishest part of the city. Famed for its jumble of wooden houses squeezed together along the network of waterways.
 
Noordermarkt
For the true foodie, a Saturday trip to the Jordaan will allow you to check out the farmers market on the Noordermarkt for even more culinary treats.



 
Winkel 43
Winkel 43 has the best apple pie in the world – you can quote us on that.
 
 


 

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 Now that you've got a taste for some of the best outdoor spots in Amsterdam, check them out for yourself!