Shannon McAllister

Shannon Wilson McAllister lives in the Oud Zuid (Old South) neighborhood of Amsterdam, just steps away from the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum. She never tires of wandering through Amsterdam's mesmerizing canal belt, loves riding her bike down the Reguliersgracht at sunset and takes her yellow Lab Miles with her on almost all her Amsterdam adventures.


Since relocating from Boulder, Colorado, to Amsterdam as an expatriate, Shannon has had the unique opportunity to transform from visitor to resident, giving her a rare combination of perspectives. She's not only in tune with the needs of the typical Amsterdam visitor, but also qualified to offer insider views on the best Amsterdam has to offer.

Shannon began her travel-writing career eight years ago, creating marketing and custom-itinerary material for an international sports tour company, a position that took her to Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden. Since then, she has contributed to online travel guides such as and has expanded her freelance portfolio with business and technology writing, as well as copy editing.

Shannon's insatiable travel bug has also led her to most of Western and Central Europe, the U.K., the Caribbean and Southern Africa. She thinks it's fate to be living life in Amsterdam again, a place she's grown to love.


Shannon graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Communication Studies.

Shannon McAllister

The Dutch use the word gezellig to describe a feeling of coziness or a good vibe, most often when referring to the ambience of a place (like a restaurant) or a gathering. It's hard to explain, but the feeling is important to the Dutch, and it's partially responsible for the cozy, comfortable vibe Amsterdam visitors get from the city.

But I think the feeling comes unexpectedly for most visitors, who arrive having heard more about the city's reputation for certain alternative lifestyles and behaviors that are legal here. True, the city has an infamous live-and-let-live attitude, but it only punctuates the sense of welcome that travelers feel here.

Amsterdam feels like a village; it's (surprisingly, to some) not very geographically large, but has all the perks of a metropolitan city. I want to share with you its community character, the magic of its watery roads and its rich cultural and artistic history, all of which make Amsterdam a can't-miss destination.

Read more from Shannon McAllister