Amsterdam is a city that comes alive at night. When the stars come out, make sure you get out and explore all that the magical Amsterdam nightlife has to offer!
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the most interesting things you can do at night in Amsterdam!
1. See the city light up
Amsterdam is beautiful by day, but at night, when the sun goes down, the magic really starts to happen. Stroll along the city’s cobbled canal-side streets, lit up with romantic street lights, and soak in the romance of it all. If you’re lucky, the Amsterdam Light Festival might be in town too. During the city’s darkest days, a host of innovative light installations brighten up the canals and streets. Check out the website for all the routes you can take.
2. Soak up some culture
Amsterdam’s famous ‘Concertgebouw’ is internationally renowned for its exceptional acoustics, making it one of the city’s great prides. The concert hall, designed by A.L van Gendt, first opened in 1881 and has been sympathetically renovated over the years. Even if you’re not a music aficionado, it’s worth going along to experience a night of top quality performances in a stunning setting. Bear in mind that The Concertbouw is one of the most-visited concert halls in the world, so it’s best to book in advance if you’re planning on going.
Coming to the city with friends? Read our guide ’10 ridiculously fun things to do with your friends in Amsterdam!’
3. Dance Dance Dance!
It’s no secret that Amsterdam is the place to be for EDM. If dance music is your thing then there’s no better place to dance the night away. You’ll find many of the world’s top DJ’s (many of whom are Dutch) busting out tune after tune at mega clubs open until the sun comes up. With a host of venues on offer – from Club Hartje to Melkweg – you’ll never be short of choice on where to spend your night.
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4. Get lost in the Red Light District
Everyone has their own ideas about what to expect when they visit the Red Light District (and it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea!) but if you’re in Amsterdam, it’s definitely worth an evening visit. When it gets dark, the neon lights come up, illuminating ladies in street-side windows, plying their trade. The atmosphere feels more carnival-like than seedy though, with crowded bars, clubs and ‘adults only shops. To escape the rabble, you can always duck down a side street and into one of the city’s many Asian restaurants.
5. Catch some Live Music
Whilst Amsterdam is probably more well-known for its EDM scene, there’s some incredible live music venues where you can catch a well-known act or an up and coming band. Paradiso is a former church-tuned music venue. With its big stained glass windows behind the band and two balconies overlooking the crowds below, it’s an amazing setting to soak in the sounds of some great music. Make sure to also check out the smaller room upstairs which hosts up and coming or independent acts. Melkweg (meaning ‘Milkyway’) is another live music favourite. Once a dairy factory, the venue was taken over by a theatre collective in 1970. Now, you’ll find two concert halls where rock, reggae and hip-hop acts (although anything goes!) along with a cafe, cinema, photography gallery and theatre.
6. Indulge in the spirits at Cafe de Dokter
If you’re looking to experience a little of the history of Amsterdam without traipsing around too many museums, then head to Café de Dokter. This minuscule bar was founded in 1798 by a Dutch surgeon who worked at the former Binnengasthuis hospital nearby. For good quality spirits, it’s one of the best places in central Amsterdam. With the vintage interior still in tact and classic jazz played all day long, you can feel the city’s past in every corner of Café de Dokter.
7. Seek out a secret bar
On first inspection, Amsterdam may seem like a city that hasn’t got many secrets left. However, if you know where to look then you’ll be lucky enough to discover some of the city’s little known watering holes. To escape the crowds, head to the sophisticated Door 74, one of Holland’s first speakeasy-style bars. ‘The Butcher’ has a few venues across the city, offering some mighty fine burgers. However, dig a little deeper, and you’ll find their ‘secret kitchen’ in their Albert Cuyp premises, in the trendy area of De Pijp. Book in advance, give the password, and you’ll be whisked off behind a silver door into a grown up world of plush velvet leather and cocktails, where you can also tuck into their special dinner menu.
8. Take in the views at A’DAM Tower
Twinkle twinkle little star, where will you find Amsterdam’s highest bar? Up the A’DAM Tower of course! Just next to ClinkNOORD, MA’DAM sky bar, is the place to head for panoramic views of the city after dark. Grab a cocktail and watch the lights sparkle across the city. The bar operates a no-reservations policy and their only rule if you want to swing by for drinks? Show up thirsty!
9. Visit the city’s museums by night
If culture by night is your thing, then you should take advantage of the fact that quite a few of Amsterdam’s museums and galleries stay open late at the weekend. The Van Gogh Museum and The Stedelijk Museum are open until 10pm on Friday. The Eye Film Museum (just one minutes’ walk from ClinkNOOORD) is open until 11pm on Friday and Saturday. If you happen to be visiting in November, Amsterdam really ups the cultural ante with ‘Museum Night.’ On the first Saturday of the month, around 50 museums open their doors from 7pm – 2am. With special events, concerts, tours and performances it’s a night not to be missed. Oh and there’s plenty of delicious food and drinks to keep you going all night long!