Is it worth staying in the city centre (downtown) **?

** City centre = downtown: the commercial, cultural and often the historical, political and geographic heart of a city.

The term downtown is most commonly used in North America. The term city centre is most commonly used in the United Kingdom. Both terms are used interchangeably in Canada.

There are many advantages of staying downtown. You are close to everything a city has to offer (restaurants, entertainment, etc…). There is no need to worry about transportation: your own legs and a sturdy pair of shoes can get you everywhere. Seriously, walkabout is the smartest way to learn, enjoy and immerse a new culture.

Amsterdam City Centre
Amsterdam City Centre

However, there is always a catch or two. A reasonable accommodation in the middle of the city is more expensive than the comparable one on the outskirts. This is not as straightforward as it seems though. You have to add the cost of transportation, convenience, and the amount of time you are going to lose on a daily basis if you are planning to spend most of your time downtown.

While I wholeheartedly enjoy the city life, there is one important thing I became very aware of: noise. Any city is loud – that’s a given. Tourist season makes it real madhouse: more traffic, street musicians (with some of them haven’t mastered their craft yet), festivals, protests… Here is a good illustration: recently, hundreds of bikers were passing by. I like motorcycles, but their combined roar and fumes of gasoline and burnt tires is not something even mildly enjoyable.

When the night comes it’s not getting better: drunken revelers will be outside until the wee hours. Been on vacation or on short term visit is one thing, but trying to concentrate while get work done on a daily basis can become too taxing. I can attest that after three months of listening to this cacophony I had enough. Personally, one month is about the limit that I would not mind staying downtown.

Every person tolerates noise differently: some are more sensitive than others. Nevertheless, everybody is affected by it, so it is the important point to address if you consider staying in the middle of the city.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Don’t miss the fun!
Subscribe to Traveling Bytes updates.