Once a place where convicts were hung, then a working class district for shipyard laborers, Amsterdam-Noord has evolved into a multicultural community with a creative vibe and numerous restaurants, nightclubs and cultural attractions. Officially incorporated into Amsterdam in 1981, the bucolic district is one of the city’s largest, with 87.000+ inhabitants. Get there via the free ferry from NDSM Wharf, behind Central Station. Along with commuting Dutchies, you'll chug from the station to the north bank of the Ij River on a 20-minute ride that provides a nice view of the Amsterdam skyline.
With its futuristic design, the EYE Film Institute is an immediate eye-catcher—well worth a visit if you're into international cinema. Watch a film in one of four cinemas, explore exhibits honoring cinematic masters and get interactive in the basement, where the digitized collection is housed. Pick up a film memorabilia souvenir in the museum shop and enjoy a stunning view of the waterfront at the eye-popping restaurant, offering Dutch classics like bitterballen, apple pie and Heineken beer.
Other activity options in what has become a mecca for artists and creative types include Flea Market Ij-Hallen and artist studio tours. Old shipping containers have been transformed into trendy restaurants and nightclubs like Pllek, Noorderlicht and IJ-Kantine—all great for a waterfront drink, snack or meal in an historic setting that harks back to the days when the area was a busy port.