Nothing beats a cool drink on a nice terrace on a sunny day – and the Dutch really do love a terrace! Amsterdam may be a small city, but it has plenty to offer when it comes to outdoor dining (and drinking) space, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful and atmospheric surroundings of the city while you clink glasses with your friends or family.
The best terraces in AmsterdamWhether you’re a new arrival and are unfamiliar with the Dutch capital, or are merely getting a little tired of your local and looking to mix things up a little bit, here are a few of the bars, restaurants and cafes in Amsterdam with the best outdoor terraces that are perfect for whenever the weather is warm and the sun is shining.
1. Parkzuid Located in the former Film Museum in the heart of the lusciously green Vondelpark, Parkzuid is a great choice for people who might like to combine their trip to a terrace with a leisurely stroll or cycle ride through the park. Whether you’ve taken your dog out for a walk and are now feeling peckish, or just want to relax in the sunshine with a beverage, Parkzuid is a great option, and their massive outdoor terrace means you have a solid chance of getting a table.
2. IJverFor those located north of the IJ or wanting to explore another part of the city, IJver on the NDSM Wharf is the ideal hangout. It’s not as famous as its neighbour Pllek, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a visit. The spacious bar and restaurant has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating options, as well as a cool industrial vibe that goes hand-in-hand with the wide range of beer on offer.
3. TolhuistuinAnother nice spot north of the IJ is Tolhuistuin, which lies directly opposite Amsterdam Centraal and is just a short (and free) boat ride away from the centre of the city. In addition to an array of concerts, shows, club nights, and talks, this cultural centre also has a lovely restaurant with – you guessed it – a large terrace offering great views of the IJ.
4. WaterkantWhen picturing a lovely sunny terrace in Amsterdam, many likely picture a quaint cafe or bar alongside the banks of a canal. While Waterkant isn’t exactly quaint, it definitely offers plenty of canalside views. Situated in Amsterdam West on the Singelgracht, this bar is inspired by the hustle and bustle of De Waterkant in the heart of Paramaribo, and so offers a taste of the culture and music of Suriname right in the heart of Amsterdam.
5. AmstelhavenContinuing the theme of waterside dining (and drinking), Amstelhaven, as the name suggests, is on the banks of the River Amstel and is on the edge of Amsterdam East. Its laid back vibes make it the perfect spot for a hot summer’s day, and its location makes it easy for those passing by on boats to stop and grab some food or drinks to take away and enjoy as they cruise the canals.
6. Lion NoirLion Noir is the place to go if you’re looking for a more refined dining experience. The hidden terrace located in the restaurant’s garden combined with contemporary French cuisine makes this restaurant the perfect date spot or destination for special occasions with loved ones. While the interior is dark and dramatic, the terrace is light and breezy – perfect for long nights, tasty food, and sparkling cocktails.
7. De Neef van FredIn a cosy spot on the banks of the Admiralegracht in Amsterdam West, you’ll find De Neef van Fred: a classic Dutch brown café but with a modern twist. Owned and managed by the Goudvisch family, this is the perfect spot for last-minute Friday night meet-ups with friends where you can sit for hours and talk and laugh over a couple of drinks and a plate of bitterballen.
8. De PlantageHeading back into Amsterdam East, De Plantage offers delicious Mediterranean dishes on the edge of ARTIS Zoo. While you could pop by for just a coffee or a glass of wine, enjoying a meal on this restaurant’s magical terrace (or, if the weather isn’t so great, inside the light-filled greenhouse-like structure) is definitely recommended!
9. Café de SluyswachtThis canalside terrace has got to be one of the most famous (and most photographed) ones in Amsterdam. The slightly crooked Dutch cafe is perched – as the name suggests – next to a sluijs, or a lock, which means it has lovely views of not one but two canals. The menu is simple and traditional, making Café de Sluyswacht the perfect place to stop off when you’re roaming through the streets of the city and find yourself in need of a pitstop.
10. Café de JarenCafé de Jaren is another fairly casual spot in the city centre, with the large windows and high ceilings ensuring a light and breezy atmosphere inside. Outside, the cafe’s terrace is situated directly on the Amstel, so you can watch the boats go by as you enjoy a bite to eat or a drink – or, if you’re on one of the boats, you can easily stop off to grab something to-go. There are plenty of seating options indoors and on one of the two outdoor terraces – but Café de Jaren’s location and popularity mean you might have to fight for a table!
11. Gent aan de SchinkelUnless you live locally, Gent aan de Schinkel is probably a bar you aren’t at all familiar with. Located near the southwest entrance to the Vondelpark and in a largely residential area, the bar has a terrace along the Sloterkade and the canal, and serves an array of Belgian beers. The casual atmosphere and sunny terrace mean there really is a lot to love about Gent aan de Schinkel – and make it worth visiting even if you don’t live in the area.
12. Het Bosch Waterfront Kitchen The clue is really in the name with this one. Located – you guessed it – on the edge of the Amsterdamse Bos and on the banks of the Nieuwe Meer lake, Het Bosch Waterfront Kitchen is a self-proclaimed chic spot for summertime dining. The restaurant boasts a tasty and creative menu, as well as an extensive selection of wines, making it the perfect spot to escape the noise and crowds of the city centre without having to travel very far.
13. De BelhamelRight up at the opposite end of the city, you’ll find De Belhamel: a classic and romantic restaurant offering Parisian-style dining in the Jordaan neighborhood of Amsterdam. Inside, the restaurant is quaint and cosy, but the outdoor terrace presents diners with magical views of both the Brouwersgracht and the Herengracht.
14. Restaurant NomadsReturning to Amsterdam East, a little further outside of the heart of Amsterdam’s historic centre is Restaurant Nomads. This “travelling restaurant” with its modern and colourful interiors has a menu that changes twice a year, inspired by the travels of owners Jaap and Thomas. While the menu alone is reason enough to give Nomads a visit, the restaurant’s large waterside terrace only adds to its appeal!
15. Hotel BuitenIn Sloterpark, nestled along the Sloterplas lake you’ll find Hotel Buiten – not a hotel, but a uniquely-shaped cafe-restaurant with a menu (and logo) that changes with the seasons. It really is a little oasis of calm just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of the city, offering diners and drinkers the chance to sit back in nature after an active day at the nearby beach or in the city. It’s also a great place for families and kids, with a fun and relaxed atmosphere all year round.
16. Hannekes BoomLast but not least is a bit of a cult classic among Amsterdammers: Hannekes Boom. Once non-native speakers figure out how to pronounce its name, they’ll inevitably fall in love with this little hidden gem burrowed next to Amsterdam Centraal and underneath the railway tracks. While this might not sound like the most beautiful setting, we promise Hannekes Boom offers everything you could want from a relaxed waterside terrace!
Take a seat at an Amsterdam terraceThere are plenty of outdoor bars (or indoor bars with outdoor seating and beer gardens) across Amsterdam. After more inspiration for where to head with friends and family on those rare sunny days? Check out our picks for the best roof terraces in Amsterdam and the great city beaches that can be found not just in the Dutch capital but in cities across the Netherlands.
Thumb: Dutchmen Photography via Shutterstock.com.