West is the best

Marloes Tervoort, Monday, May 27, 2013

I admit, it’s a fair distance from where I live, past the Scheepvaartmuseum and Central Station and down Haarlemmerstraat, but it’s worth the ride every time. Sometimes I go there for a picnic on the Westerpark fields and on other occasions I’ll have some scones and coffee at the ‘Bakkerswinkel’ before heading off in the dark to see a movie at the snug ‘Ketelhuis’ cinema.

Cultuurpark Westerpark, called Westergasterrein by locals, didn’t always have so many cultural provisions. When I was still a student and partied a lot, the Westergasterrein was mainly a place for festivals, with huge parties in the ‘Gashouder’ which confused you more and more the later it became. Where was the exit again? Well, you try finding out where you are when you’ve had a few drinks in a crowded, circular room with music and disco lights.

Bar/restaurant Pacific Parc then became a favourite. They start off the evening with great food and then move the tables to make room for a DJ and some relaxed tunes. Ideal if you don’t want to have to find a place to dance after dinner and lose half your party because they can’t be bothered and decide to go home (a real risk in a group of thirty something people)... Ideal also for this thirty-something youngster: Pacific Parc draws a mixed crowd, both in terms of age, style and background.

As far as I’m concerned, the best newcomer in the park is the North Sea Jazz Club where you can enjoy live acts every Thursday to Saturday. On Fridays and Saturdays they serve dinner too. Check the event calendar for up-to-date event information, from the funky Sunday Market to open air concerts and festivals such as the Amsterdam Fashion Week in July and kids cinema festival Cinekid in October. Oh, and if you don't like cycling, there's a tram stop nearby.

Cultuurpark Westerpark, Polonceaukade 27, Amsterdam