Across the IJ lies Amsterdam Noord, or North Amsterdam. Accessible easily by a free, short ferry ride behind Central Station, the area has become a creative hub with a distinctly funky, artistic vibe.
One of the most popular destinations in the area is the NDSM-Werf, located in a former shipyard. On my second day in the city, I hopped aboard one of the ferries and headed over to wander around. I wish I was able to explore more of the neighborhood, but you really need a bike to move around. Although, what I did see was filled with street art so I left happy. I also stopped by Plleck, a restaurant made out of old shipping containers with a beachfront for hanging out, for a drink and people watching before heading back to the center.
The next time I'm in Amsterdam, I'd like to rent a vintage bike from Velox Classic Bikes, visit the EYE Film Museum and try out a few more restaurants like Cafe De Ceuval and THT. There's also a huge monthly flea market held here, but I was a weekend too late. I highly recommend adding this off-the-beaten path area to your Amsterdam itinerary.