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How to Live Like a Local During Your Stay in Amsterdam

Sven | Dec 7, 2021

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Written by Jessica Thiefels

Amsterdam was our favorite city. On a 3-week tour of Europe, that included Paris, Munich, Luxembourg and Stockholm, my husband and I fell in love with this interesting city. It’s beauty is impossible to miss as you stroll along the many canals and browse sidewalk used book stores—and experiencing it like a local is the only way to do this city justice.

Keep these tips in mind whenever you get the chance to visit this incredible city. You won’t be disappointed when you experience the XXX city like a local. 

Dig Into Local Fare

Every meal we ate in Amsterdam consisted of a three main things: Sausage, potatoes and some sort of roasted vegetable. This is traditional Amsterdam fare, with their most popular rendition of this being the stamppot: mashed potatoes with vegetables and stew. While you can get a fresh salad (one of the few places on our trip that we actually found salads!), plan to indulge at least a few times, testing different sausages and traditional styles each time.

Note that Amsterdam locals tend to eat dinner between 6 and 7pm., topped off with a coffee or espresso around 8pm. If you plan to adventure around the city, or into the Red Light District after dinner, this pick-me-up will be necessary to shake off your heavy—but incredibly delicious—meal.



Rent a Bike

Amsterdam is one of the 29 most affordable European cities that love bikes—and for good reason: it’s a mobile city and much of the population has traded their cars for two wheels and a backpack. In fact, 70 percent of all journeys are made on bike in this city and other popular regions of the Netherlands.




To live like a local during your stay, rent your own bike and cycle your way around the city. Before you hop on and pedal out for a day of exploring, keep these tips in mind:


  • People in Amsterdam cycle fast, know where you’re going and don’t stop in the middle of the bike lane when others are behind you.
  • Watch for traffic; bikes and cars travel side by side, but crossing the street and taking turns can be confusing.
  • Adhere to all traffic lights. Cyclists are one in the same with vehicles.
  • Use front and back lights when cycling at night; it’s the law in Amsterdam.


Don’t Use Yelp to Find Food and Bars


Don’t rely on reviews to find a good place to eat or drink. Amsterdam is full of inconspicuous alley ways that lead to some of the best local spots in the city.


 off the beaten path 

When you want a beer or meal, start walking. You’ll find that each alleyway takes you to what feels like a completely different part of the city, with a different look and feel. Let the city guide you and you won’t be disappointed.


Stay With a Local


There are plenty of expensive 5-star hotels in this European city, but that’s not where you want to stay: “While all these establishments offer comfortable digs for a range of budgets, they’re all commercial establishments that cater to tourists, where you’ll share a lobby with folks just like yourself—clueless about the city beyond what you’ve possibly gleaned from a kind concierge,” suggests Unclogged in Amsterdam.


Instead, stay with a local or book a room through a local using a service like Airbnb. Many Amsterdam homes and apartments are old, with winding staircases that you don’t find in modern homes. Staying with a local gives you a chance to experience these unique architectural features that you don’t see anywhere else.


When you stay with locals, you’ll get tips and advice from their perspective, as most hosts are happy to give ideas and suggestions for your stay. The person who we rented from even owned a boat and was able take us through the canals (must-do during your stay!). Rather than having to take a commercial tour boat filled with tourists, we enjoyed the canals at sunset with a few baguettes, local cheese and dips and plenty of beer.


 boat ride 

Go Enjoy Amsterdam

This amazing city captured our hearts from the moment we stepped foot off the train. Don’t miss your chance to have the most authentic Amsterdam experience. Rent a bike, take a few tips from locals, and explore on bike and foot every chance you get. The city will surprise and impress you at every twist and turn.

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