In the buzzing borough of Amsterdam-Noord, shipyards have become cultural playgrounds and wide-open spaces beckon young families, artists, brewers and entrepreneurs. Hop on the free ferry from Centraal Station, in the opposite direction to most international visitors, to reach NDSM Wharf: the centre of Amsterdam's street art scene and home to Europe's largest monthly flea market at IJ-Hallen (these days with increased stall spacing and one-way route markers).
On this side of the River IJ, Noord's young creatives have built a flourishing community of multi-concept businesses, like the cinema-slash-waterfront restaurant at FC Hyena (now with added drive-in theatre), SkateCafe – where you can take a break from the half-pipe for a meal and a glass of natural wine – and the urban beach at Pllek, with its airy organic restaurant built from old shipping containers.
The angular Eye Filmmuseum, Noord's most iconic modern building, lies just a short bike ride from traditional villages lined with gabled wooden homes. Then, for a dose of adrenalin (plus an awesome view of the entire neighbourhood and the rest of Amsterdam beyond), brave Europe's highest swing, perched atop A'DAM Tower.–Christina Newberry