Why not Centre (Dam Square, Centraal Station, Red Light District)
By staying in some of the areas mentioned in this post, you'll be able to save money by having access to cheaper food, more supermarkets, laundromats, and most other conveniences that you would expect in any neighborhood.
One of traveling anywhere is exploring neighborhoods that are very distinct from each other, seeing how people actually live (not how it's packaged to tourists), and scouting out the local favorites. I specially picked neighborhoods a short walking/biking distance from the major sights to make it easier to see the big attractions.
Although some areas have a higher concentration of hotels (like the Jordaan), a lot of the areas mentioned aren't as touristic, so you'll have better luck looking on Airbnb for a reasonable room. In terms of transport, it's typically fastest to bike anywhere, so I suggest renting a bike. For the record, almost everyone here in Amsterdam speaks English, so you'll have no problems.
For quintessential Amsterdam, the Jordaan is far from a well-kept secret as it is picturesque and close to the Anne Frank House. Despite many tourists passing through, it's still quiet, residential, and charming.
Best Streets to wander: Willemstraat and Lindengracht.
Things to see:
For Indonesian in the Jordaan: "Manis" or Eethuis Pondok Indah allows you to pick from what seems like a million different options to make a memorable meal that I love to bring visitors to. Winkel 43 has the best apple pie in Amsterdam.
Haarlemmerstraat (between Prinsengracht and Westergasfabriek)
For drinks, Two for Joy is where to go for a cup of coffee. For a more wild night, visit the Soviet-inspired Checkpoint Charlie.
Best Street: Ferdinand Bolstraat
- IJHallen Monthly Flea Market on weekends. It's mostly clothes, books, and furniture, but you never know! For beer lovers, Oedipus Brewery is a great place to listen to live music and try some interesting local brews. Pllek is a cafe made out of shipping containers with a great view. Noorderlicht Cafe has a nice beer selection and great food. In September, you can visit Sunflower Maze to get lost in rows of sunflowers.
Old West (north of Vondelpark/da Costabuurt)
Best Streets: De Clerqstraat and Bilderdijkstraat
Food/Drinks: For lots of great options, the FoodHallen will allow you try Dutch food, International Food, and drinks from many stalls within one building. For Authentic Greek food, visit To Ouzeri and watch the owners cook. For tapas Slavic-style, go to Foodism for a surprising meal. For Moroccan food, Biladi is a steal with huge portions in a nice setting.
My favorite place to relax in Amsterdam is Bridge Schaakcafe "2 Klaveren" where you can play board games while drinking beer. Rotisserie is my go-to for interesting/delicious Gin & Tonics.
My favorite Surinamese food to date is Lalla Rookh, with African-Surinamese food that is cash only.
Best Street: Linnaeusstraat.