Walking toursThe centre of Amsterdam is relatively small: most distances are walkable, and walking is pleasurable, giving the best chance to appreciate the Amsterdam architecture. As you walk the streets, you cannot help but feel the rich history of the city in everything around you.
As you can see on a map, the Amsterdam was built as a crescent. In the middle you have the old centre bounded by the canal called the Singel. It contains the Red Light District around the Oude Kerk, the Nes theatre street, a quaint maze of small streets and quiet canals, and the Royal Palace at the Dam, with pedestrian shopping streets Nieuwendijk and Kalverstraat going north and south.
Surrounding the old centre, you have the three concentric ring canals Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht, together called Grachtengordel (Canal area). All four canals (with the Singel) are nice to walk along. The Herengracht is the grandest, especially along the 'Golden Bend' to the east of the Leidsestraat. The Prinsengracht is perhaps the friendliest with its houseboats and many restaurants, cafés and pubs. The streets that connect the ring canals, especially the area called 'The Nine Streets' in the section between the Brouwersgracht and the Leidsestraat shouldn't be missed for their lovely individual shops.
To the west of the ring canals, in the area on the map where the streets all run at an angle to the canals, is the Jordaan, a lovely area to walk, with quiet canals, and tiny streets, and many unusual shops. You'll find a lot of the better restaurants and more interesting bars there too.