Jordaan is a popular and quirky neighborhood in Amsterdam, located in the borough of Amsterdam-Centrum. It lies southwest of the main train station. Surrounding Jordaan is four canals known as Prisengracht, LijLijnbaansgracht, Passeerdersgracht, and Brouwersgracht.

History of Jordaan district

This neighborhood was constructed around the 17th century and consisted of mainly the working class. Amsterdam was expensive to live in, and Jordaan was one of the cheapest areas to live in. Therefore, many refugees, emigrants, and low-paid workers lived in Jordaan due to the affordable rents.

Thus, many people choose to live there, and often a large number of families would be living there in one go. Similarly, it would attract budding artists to live there, and famous figures like the painter Rembrandt Van Rijn would come to live.

After a while, Jordaan turned into a ghetto, with open canals, sewers, and no running water. It also got neglected during World War II. However, after the war, it was revived in the 1970s into a happening hotspot.

Today, many artists live in Jordaan, and it’s become a vibrant district full of creatives, now becoming one of Amsterdam’s most desired and expensive neighborhoods.

How to get to Jordaan

If you’re in Amsterdam, it’s not hard to reach Jordaan by multiple forms of transport. One of the easiest ways is to reach the district on foot from the Amsterdam Centraal trains station or Dam Square. Accessing this district from these two points takes around 21 minutes to get on average by foot.

If you want to get the tram from Amsterdam Centraal, you will need to take either tram lines 13 or 17 to get off at Westermarkt in the middle of the Jordaan district, which should take around 11 minutes.

You can also stay on a bit longer on the tram 17 for a few more stops and get off at Elandsgracht on the south side. Similarly, if you have a cycle, it will take on average 7 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal via Singegal and is around 1.7 km.

What to do in Jordaan Amsterdam

Now you know what Jordaan is and how to get there, we feel it’s essential you know why you should visit there. As mentioned before, Jordaan is a happening hotspot. To get involved in the coolness, here are 19 things to do:

1. Walk and explore the canals

The first recommendation, above all, is to simply take a leisurely stroll along the beautiful Jordaan canals. They are lined with picturesque bridges, traditional Dutch houses and some charming cafes. This makes it a perfect reason to start your Jordaan visit by strolling by its canals and start breathing some of the neighborhood's architecture and history.

2. Go on a tour of Anne Frank’s House

Yes, we did mention it before, but no trip to Amsterdam would be complete without going to Anne Frank’s house. If you’re not aware already, Anne Frank was a Jewish teenager who lived in the Holocaust and hid out from the Nazis in her home with her family in Amsterdam.

During, the Holocaust Anne kept a diary documenting her experience. While diarying, Anne hid in a secret annex of her house for 761 days. In 1957, her house became a historical landmark and has been preserved since.

Today, it serves as a museum running self or audio-guided tours narrating her story. You can visit; however, it’s one of Amsterdam's most popular attractions. Tickets are only available by purchasing online through the attraction’s website and booking a specific slot.

3. Visit Lindengracht Market

Lindengracht used to be a former canal, and now every Saturday has one of Amsterdam’s most popular markets! This market has a bit of history, as it’s been running every Saturday in Amsterdam since 1895 with over 232 stalls. If you want to see local life at its finest, then definitely visit here.

Lindegracht market has various fruits, fish, cheese, meats, and gorgeous bouquets. Alongside this, many artisans are selling stunning handcraft items. If you want to see local life, try local food and invest in local artisans, then visit Lindengracht on a Saturday.

4. Check out Amsterdam Tulip Museum

Yellow-red tulips by the lawn of the Tulips Museum in Amsterdam.
Yellow-red tulips by the lawn of the Tulips Museum in Amsterdam. [Report image]

If you like museums, another one to visit is the Amsterdam Tulip Museum in Prinsengracht. Tulips are the Netherlands' national flower and were first introduced to the country in the 16th century. This is a small and private museum around 2,200 square feet, showcasing the history of the tulip.

Likewise, local artists have stunning exhibits showing different aspects and perspectives on Deutsch’s favorite flower. There is also an attached shop where you can choose to purchase a range of Deutsch flowers. Admission to the shop is free; however, you will have to pay around €5 for adults, €3 for students, and €10 for families for the museum.

5. Go shopping on Westerstraat

One of Jordaan’s most famous streets, Westerstraat, operates an excellent market every Monday. On this street, there are over 200 stalls, and is full of vintage gems. If you want to find a bargain that suits your budget, we recommend visiting Westerstraat.

6. Visit Woonbootmuseum

Located in the area of Elandsgracht, the Woonbootmuseum is worth visiting in Jordaan. It’s not an ordinary museum, though; it functions out of a cargo ship built in 1914. When visiting this museum, you get an idea of what it’s like to live on a houseboat in Amsterdam.

On this boat, you’ll find yourself learning about Amsterdam’s cold canal system and the history surrounding it. Woonbootmuseum is open from Thursday-Sunday between the hours of 10:00 am-5:00 pm. Prices vary from free to €4.50. For more information, you can check out their website here.

7. Go to Electric Ladyland

Visit the world’s first museum of electric art, and you can even create your art! Electric Ladyland has something called participatory art, where you can add to the museum’s masterpieces.

As well as getting a guided tour of many collections of fluorescent minerals gathered from across the world. Electric Ladyland is only available to visit by appointment only, and you can book here.

8. Dine at The Pancake Bakery

You can’t visit the Netherlands without having pancakes! If you don’t know it already, the Dutch have their style of own pancakes, a larger and thinner pancake than American pancakes.

One of the best places to try pancakes in Amsterdam is The Pancake Bakery in Jordaan. Located in Prisengracht, this bakery has been a hotspot for foodies since the 1970s. Plus, it has stunning views while you eat, overlooking the Prince’s canal. Here they serve local favorites alongside international dishes.

9. Grab something local at Moeders

If you’re looking for local Dutch food, then you’ll want to head to Moeders. This restaurant, located in Rozengracht, has been open since 1990 by its owner Jurriaan, who you can still meet in the restaurant today.

The restaurant’s name means "mothers" and was named that, so the environment can be homely and welcoming to women to a comfortable atmosphere. Inside the restaurant, there are photos, utensils, and antiques to make it feel like home. On the menu, there are typical dutch dishes.

10. Reserve a table at Cinema Paradiso

If you’re a foodie, Amsterdam also has a range of different cuisines to sample. One of the great places to eat in Jordaan is Cinema Paradiso. This Italians based in Westerstraat is one of the most popular sites for locals and tourists alike.

Inside the interior is a fusion of chic and urban, drawing a classy dining crowd. When visiting, you can choose to feast on Italian dishes, consisting of parma ham, pizza, pasta, tiramisu, and many other authentic Italian dishes.

11. Feast at Winkel 43

Located on the Noordermarket is Winkel 43. If you want to experience local dishes at an affordable rate, we recommend you visit here. The reason being is that this food hotspot serves a big fat tasty Deutch apple pie (appeltaart).

This place is cozy and cute, as it sits inside a traditional house. The wooden beams inside definitely add to the homely feel of Winkel 43. If you’re not a pie lover, you can also try some different dishes while you’re there. On average, a dish costs less than €10 and is affordable for many people.

12. Chill out at Paradox Coffee Shop

When you’re in Amsterdam, you may find yourself tired from seeing all of its beautiful sights. One great place to chill out and relax in the center of Jordaan is Paradox Coffee Shop.

If you’re looking for a great cup of Deutsch coffee, then this place is popular between the locals and tourists. Paradox Coffee Shop also serves marijuana, juices, tea, and snacks. It’s a great place to chill out and relax away from the crowd.

13. Watch a Coqtales show

If you’re after a bit of Dutch eye candy, then you’ll want to attend a Coqtales show. Think of Magic Mike but the Dutch version! This is a male strip show, which caters to females and bachelorette parties. To attend a Coqtales show, you have to book in advance for dinner, performance, and the after-party. For more information, you can visit here.

14. Try cheese at the Amsterdam Cheese museum

The showcase window of the Amsterdam Cheese Deli by De Mannen - Van Kaas.
The showcase window of the Amsterdam Cheese Deli by De Mannen - Van Kaas. [Report image]

Amsterdam has many museums to visit, but one important museum to check out is the cheese museum. Unique to the Netherlands is the Dutch cheese, a tradition for over 600 years now.

Located nearby Anne Frank’s house is the Amsterdam Cheese museum in Prinsengracht. When visiting here, you get to see the ground floor where you get to try many different varieties of cheeses such as the Dutch Gouda.

Visiting the museum is also educational as you learn through different text, videos, and demonstrations about the history of Dutch cheese. You can even know first hand from the employees, who give you a guided tour around the museum.

You can visit this museum any day of the week. It’s open 9:00 am -9:00 pm. Plus, the entry is free of charge!

15. Visit Noorderkerk

A usual and different activity to do in Jordaan is to visit Noorderkerk. This is a 17th-century protestant church that has stunning architecture. This specific type of church is unique to the Netherlands and is also available in the Hague, Hoom, and Kampen.

16. Explore the Geelvinck Pianola Museum

Jordaan also is home to one of Amerstams smallest museums, the Geelvinck. What’s unique about this museum is that it features automatic pianos!

These pianos were invented in the 19th century and could be played by hand. Similarly, they have also recorded a pianist playing and automatically playing back the music. If you’re interested in music, this is a place you should check out.

17. Have a drink a Bar Olaf

Located in Elandsgracht is a hip bar you should check out if you like to drink. When you enter the bar, it’s like an old fashioned bar serving epic cocktails, sweet & savory snacks, and great coffee or tea.

18. Eat at SLA

If you’re around Westerstraat, you should check out SLA for lunch. This is a cafe which serves a salad bar and a restaurant. Inside, the cafe has a minimalistic vibe and has organic, sustainable, and fresh food.

The great thing about SLA is that it works with local suppliers to make a range of different dishes suitable for people and the planet.

19. Dine at La Olivia

Are you looking for something different from Deutsch food? There is a fantastic Northern Spanish restaurant in Jordaan known as La Olivia. The restaurant is not hard to find as it’s located right in the center of Jordaan, Egelantiersstraat. Here you will find many classics such as tuna, duck liver, Pancetta, crostini, or tartlets.

20. Eat at Balthazar’s Keuken

Located on Elandsgracht is the wonderful Balthazar’s Keuken. This is a great dining experience, as you can watch the chefs cook your food while you wait. Balthazar’s Keuken serves many different European dishes and has a new menu each week.

Typical dishes include harissa hummus, anchovies, chestnut risotto, caramel butter, pistachio mascarpone, and more.

Well, there you have it. Jordaan is a fantastic place to visit, and we highly recommend you do so. Plus, if you have more time, we recommend exploring other areas of Amsterdam too!

Where to stay in Jordaan

Depending on your budget, there is a range of properties where you can stay in Jordaan. Here are a few we recommend:

Villa 360

If you want to stay in the center of Jordaan, you may wish to choose to stay in Villa 360. This accommodation is located in Egelantiersgracht. Its accommodation is on a cozy 1700s canal house. The rooms in Villa 360 overlook the canal or its garden. If you want somewhere which is not a hotel but a boutique form of accommodation, Villa 360 maybe cozier for you.

Shelter Jordan Amsterdam Hostel

If you’re not wanting to splash your cash but have somewhere to stay for a reasonable price and maybe make new friends, then Shelter Jordan Amsterdam Hostel may be for you.

This hostel is located in Bloemstraat and is only a 5-minute walk away from a bus station which takes you to the airport. They offer single-sex dorms with 4, 5,6,8, and 16-bed dormitories with a bathroom on every floor. Similarly, they also have mixed private rooms for couples, friends, and families.

Amsterdam Wiechmann Hotel

If you want a stunning vista of Amsterdam’s canals, then you will want to stay at the Amsterdam Wiechmann Hotel. This hotel has been popular with Rick Stein, Time Out Magazine, Lonely Planet, and more.

This cozy hotel doubles up as bed and breakfast and is traditionally Deutsch with homely interiors. They offer free wifi and hot drinks too. For more information about the Amsterdam Wiechmann Hotel, you can visit here.

Other things to do in Amsterdam outside of Jordaan

21. Visit ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo

Amsterdam is home to the Netherlands’ oldest zoo, the ARTIS. There are African elephants, penguins, giant turtles, gorillas, lions, butterflies, sloths, and many more animals in this zoo.

It has around 700 different species of animals and 200 species of trees. The zoo prices vary up to €21.50; however, it is free if you have an Amsterdam City Card.

22. Ride around Vondel Park

If you like greenery and open spaces, then you HAVE to check out Vondel Park. This urban park covers 47 hectares of land and is free to visit. In the park, there are theater performances. Plus, if you want to take a break, it has many cafes to relax.

24. Visit Madame Tussauds

The plaza and facade of the Madame Tussaud building.
The plaza and facade of the Madame Tussaud building. [Report image]

Get a photo with look-alike waxwork of a celebrity, musician, or a world leader. Located in Dam Square, Madame Tussauds is an attraction for all. To visit, you should book tickets in advance through their website here.

25. Explore the Van Gogh Museum

If you’re visiting Amsterdam and looking for a museum to explore, you should see the Van Gogh Museum. This museum shows the life works of Vincent Van Gogh and is located in Dam Square. Similar to the Anne Franke museum, to explore this museum, you must reserve your ticket online with the requested time slot to visit.

26. Go to Hortus Botanicus

Visit one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world! Hortus Botanicus has been operating since the 16th century! Back then, it used to serve as a herb garden used by doctors in Amsterdam.

However, today, the garden has more than 6000 plants, and some are up to 2000 years old! There is also a shop where you can buy flowers, plants, and seeds.

The entry fees to Hortus Botanicus can vary from €5-€9, and opening times can change depending on the season. For more information about Hortus Botanicus, visit their website here.

27. Check out the Royal Palace

In the center of Amsterdam is one of its main tourist attractions, the Royal Palace. This is only one of the three places in Amsterdam which are at the disposal of the Monarch. Moreover, this palace has had King Louis Napolean live there and many members of the Deutsch Royal Family. You can also visit the Royal Palace; however, you need to book in advance and reserve a slot. You can do this here.

28. Dine at a rotating bar Moon

Moon is a rotating bar and restaurant which boasts some remarkable 360-degree views of Amsterdam. This fine-dining restaurant is situated on the 19th floor of the ADAM tower and serves a range of food. Inside the restaurant, there is iron artwork and a full glass bar. Plus, the restaurant does a full rotation every hour.

29. Visit a museum full of microbes, Micropia!

If you like science, then Micropia may be the place for you. This museum covers information about how microbes are distributed and about diseases. It aims to bridge the gap between biology and the general public. It’s said that this museum is the first of its kind in the world.

30. Undergo the Heineken Experience

Go on a tour of one of the world’s most renowned beers and traditional to Amsterdam, Heineken! The tour takes place in the historic brewery, and you get to witness multimedia exhibits, artifacts, 4D ride, and enjoy a tasting!

This is an extremely popular exhibit, so you can only visit by booking a timeslot online and enjoy the best Heineken.

31. Walk down the red light district (18+)

A Red Light District sign made of red neon on a brick wall.
A Red Light District sign made of red neon on a brick wall. [Report image]

Unique and famous (or infamous) to Amsterdam is the red light district. The best time for a curiosity walk around the area is around 11 pm, where the neon red lights from the windows light the streets, and the light bounces off the canals.

32. Visit Herengracht

Amsterdam is no short of beautiful canals, but one stunning waterway to visit is Herengracht. This is the first of the four main canals in Amsterdam and is UNESCO listed.

This place used to be where the aristocrats of Amsterdam would live, with grand houses and shops. Just walking past it, you will be amazed at how gorgeous it is and worth taking a photo of.

33. Go to Dam Square

Dam Square is the center of Amsterdam with a famous monument with a lot of history surrounding it. In the 13th century, Amstell River was dammed here, and a regular market was held here in medieval times.

Whenever there have been major protests such as those against the Vietnam war or anything else, it’s always held at Dam Square.

34. Visit the EYE Film Institute

If you’re a fan of the movies, you may want to get the free ferry here to explore. The Eye Film Institute opened in 2012 and shows exhibits, history, and screenings on independent cinema. Plus, the architecture is spectacular, with glass floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing views of Centraal station.

35. Enjoy food at Foodhallen

If you want to check out a range of food, we recommend going to Foodhallen. This is a converted tram depot in the Oud-West neighborhood. Enjoy a range of pop up restaurants and sample more than 20 different types of cuisine!

You can choose to eat between Greek, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, tapas, and much more. If you’re visiting on the weekend, Friday and Saturday night are peak times for Foodhallen.

36. Get a tour of Johan Cruyff

Home to the AFC Ajax is the Johan Cruyff Arena. This stadium has a whopping 55,000 seats and has a fully retractable roof! A typical tour gives you access to dressing rooms, the tunnel, the pitch, the chairs, the press conference room, the hall of fame, and more. For more information, you can visit their website here.

37. Visit Brouwerij’ t IJ

If you want a more low-key local brewery experience, we recommend checking out Brouwerij’ tIJ. This brewery has been operating since 1985 and has eight different beers to try out and sample. Plus, they also have local snacks to eat with beers like raw sausage and boiled eggs.

38. Go to Bloemenmarkt

Flowers at the Amsterdam flower market.
Flowers at the Amsterdam flower market. [Report image]

Amsterdam has the world’s only floating flower market! Bloemenmarkt has been operating since 1862, where local traders have been selling cut flowers and bulbs from their houseboats! You can visit this market at any time of the year; however, if you’re after tulips, the season tends to be between April-May.

39. Go to Fashion For Good

Visit the world’s first fashion museum dedicated to sustainable fashion. This museum has jaw-dropping installations made out of sustainable materials, showing exactly how much rubbish gets sent to landfills. It also shows how blockchain technology is chaining fashion.

40. Visit Moco Museum

Opened in 2016, this boutique art museum has housed exhibits with the likes of Banksy and Roy Lichenstein. The owner’s Lionel and Kim Logchies, have shown some mesmerizing private collections that have not been readily accessible to the public.

41. Explore the Netherlands Scheepvaartmuseum

If you like marine life, then you may want to visit this museum. It’s located on an artificial island in Amsterdam’s harbor and has many maps and exhibits.

42. Go clubbing at Westergasfabriek

If you’re the nightclub type, Amsterdam knows how to do parties. The Westergasfabriek is also a gas holder from the late 19th century. It’s so big and famous it fits up to 3,500 people in one go for parties.

Every year, world-renowned Dj’s come to play here for Amsterdam Dance Event. When not music, there are also film nights and food markets hosted here too.