Many people view Amsterdam as a city unparalleled for a variety of reasons. High among those reasons, if not at the top, is the city’s abundant list of nighttime activities. Whether you are aiming to dance until you drop or take in some local theatre, Amsterdam has plenty to offer you when it comes to having a serious amount of fun as night falls.
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1. Hang out at the De Nieuwe Anita
This nightspot is located in the trendy Oud-West neighborhood, and may give you a flashback to a certain time in your life. Why? Well, first you have to ring a bell in order to enter. As you walk in, the front room resembles a fully fledged living room, with a stocked bar off to the side and even some lamps that seem to have been lifted from a 70’s sitcom set. The back room is where patrons go to hear a variety of live music, from folk to experimental electronica.
De Nieuwe Anita
Address: Frederik Hendrikstraat 111, 1052HN Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: from 9 USD
Opening Hours: 8pm - 1am. 8pm - 2am Saturday.
Duration: visitors spend 3 hours here.
Access: 17 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal.
Contact: +31 207744922
Website: De Nieuwe Anita (in Dutch)
2. Catch a show at the Het Muziektheater
Het Muziektheater, or the Dutch National Opera and Ballet, is a cherished activity to engage in on a visit to Amsterdam. Situated in a striking building overlooking the Amstel River and not too far from the Museum Het Rembrandhuis, the Het Muziektheater has up to three productions held there yearly. In addition, there are other avant-garde productions that are held in the theater. Visitors will marvel at the sweeping balconies, and the eclectic pieces of art positioned throughout the complex.
Address: Amstel 3, 1011 PN Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: from 29 USD
Opening Hours: 12pm onwards.
Duration: around 3 hours required.
Access: 5 minutes via transit from Amsterdam Centraal
Contact: +31 205518117
Website: Het Muziektheater
3. Enjoy a Jazz show at the Bimhuis
The Netherlands has always been a haven for jazz music and all of its fans for decades. In Bimhuis, that haven is akin to a shrine. Perched on the waterfront, the Bimhuis was first conceptualized and built in 1974 as a place where Dutch and international musicians could convene and put on shows to enliven and enlighten audiences. The present day structure was completed in 2005 on the same grounds, to allow for more seating space and added technological improvements. The result is a building that takes on the form of a sleek black box, where concertgoers can take in shows with great acoustics and possibly hear broadcasts of the Europe Jazz Network being held on-site (Bimhuis is a founding member of the network).
Address: Piet Heinkade 3, 1019 BR Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: from 21 USD
Opening Hours: from 11am - close.
Duration: visitors can spend 3.5 hours here.
Access: 10 minutes via transit and walking from Amsterdam Centraal.
Contact: +31 207882150
Near by Food: Hannekes Boom
4. Sip a cocktail at the Vesper (and check out the James Bond memorabilia)
One of my favorite memories from Amsterdam—we were walking around with time to kill before dinner, found ourselves at this James Bond–themed bar and snagged seats during the pre-dinner lull. Who knew Amsterdam had such an incredible craft cocktail scene? 🥃🍸🍹💥 #tleditors #tlpicks #vscocam #vscotravel #amsterdam #vesperbar #cocktails #jamesbond @vesper_amsterdam
If you’re someone who likes a smooth retro environment to be in as they sip on a cocktail, Vesper just might be the choice for you. Located in the Jordaan neighborhood, Vesper has gained a following since arriving on the scene in 2010. The bar space is intimate, with mahogany and copper elements as part of a speakeasy vibe. The drinks come with clever names and potent mixes, such as the “Leap Of Faith”. There’s even a taste scale that is provided by bartenders to find a beverage to suit your palate. Another attractive factor is the James Bond memorabilia dotting the walls. Bear in mind that if you’re part of a large group, the place may be too cozy for the party - unless you sign up for one of their cocktail making workshops.
Address: Vinkenstraat 57, 1013 JM Amsterdam, Netherlands
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Thursday 8pm - 1am. Friday & Saturday 5pm - 3am. Closed Sunday & Monday.
Duration: patrons can spend 2.5 hours here.
Access: 5 minutes via taxi from Centraal Station.
Contact: +31 687244056
Near by Food: Tazzina
5. Head out for the Ultimate Amsterdam Pub Crawl
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There are those that say that one keen way to dive into the energy of a city is to spend time in its pubs. Those that follow that logic will want to check out the Ultimate Amsterdam Pub Crawl. The pub crawl has about 5 different versions to choose from, and gets you into six of Amsterdam’s most electric club venues. There are options on two of the crawls to grab a meal to fuel your mission, and all are led by a tour guide who’ll be a veritable gatekeeper to the city as they point out different points of interest along the way.
Ultimate Amsterdam Pub Crawl
Address: Leidsekruisstraat 35, 1017 RG Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: from 21 USD
Opening Hours: Monday 12pm - 6pm. Tuesday - Friday 10am - 6pm. Closed on Saturdays & Sundays.
Duration: around 5 hours required.
Access: 17 minutes via transit from Centraal Station.
Contact: +31 207767888
Website: Ultimate Amsterdam Pub Crawl
6. Be captivated by the Melkweg (Milky Way)
Melkweg (Milky Way) has been a cornerstone of the entertainment world in Amsterdam for over four decades. Situated on the Lijnbaansgracht near one of the prime centers of nightlife in the city, Melkweg is a massive venue that was once a milk factory back in the 19th Century. After being established as a concert hall in 1973, Melkweg has now grown to have four separate music halls inside as well as a restaurant, a private cinema, and a gallery exhibition space. Depending on the performers, you can see quite a line heading into the venue over the diminutive canal that sits in front.
Address: Lijnbaansgracht 234A, 1017 PH Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: visitors will spend 3 - 4 hours here.
Access: 16 minutes via transit from Amsterdam Centraal.
Contact: +31 205318181
Near by Food: Trattoria Fantasia
7. Pop by the Red Light District
No list is complete without a mention of the Red Light District. Known as Rosse Buurt, it’s composed of three areas: De Wallen, Ruysdaelkade, and Singelgebied. The Red Light District is essentially a cornucopia of vice, which dates back to the 1300s when women of the evening would carry red lanterns to attract customers. The streets here are dotted with windows of brothels where sex workers are on display for customers in addition to adult shops and a slew of coffeehouses. Mixed in among these lurid sights are some interesting points of interest like the Oude Kerk, a church that dates back to the 1400s making it the city’s oldest building. Going through the district takes you right into Zeedjik, which is Amsterdam’s Chinatown.
Red Light District
Opening Hours: open 24 hours.
Duration: visitors can spend up to 3 hours here.
Contact: 8 minute walk from Centraal Station.
Near by Food: The Grasshopper
8. Grab a drink at the Cafe de Dokter
Café de Dokter to many, represents a key part of Amsterdam’s history. No small wonder since it first opened its doors in 1798, after being founded by a surgeon who was working at the former Binnengasthuis hospital nearby. From that point, this quaint bar located at the end of Rozenboomsteeg alley has greeted anyone who enjoys quality spirits. Every inch of Café de Dokter carries history in it – the owners have kept a lot of the vintage décor intact, and it is enhanced by a soundtrack of classic jazz played during the day. It’s also in close proximity to a couple of Amsterdam’s most popular sights such as the Amsterdam Museum and the Amsterdam Dungeon.
Cafe de Dokter
Address: Rozenboomsteeg 4, 1012 PR Amsterdam, Netherlands
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Friday 4pm - 1am. Closed on weekends and Mondays.
Duration: around 1.5 hours required.
Access: 7 minutes from Centraal Station via transit.
Contact: +31 206264427
Near by Food: Oriental City
Website: Cafe de Dokter (in Dutch)
9. Sit back and listen at the Cafe Sound Garden
Cafe Sound Garden gives visitors a very mellow and sometimes raucous vibe and has positioned itself as an oasis for all, united by good beer and good music. Located on the edge of the Jordaan neighborhood, Cafe Sound Garden is buoyed by a constant flow of music be it through live DJ sets or acoustic bands taking center stage. Many come to grab a drink and a seat on the garden terrace, which overlooks one of the many grand canals that make Amsterdam positively wonderful.
Cafe Sound Garden
Address: Marnixstraat 164-166, 1016 TG Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: from 7 USD
Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday 1pm - 1am. Friday 1pm - 3am. Weekends 3pm - 3am.
Access: 11 minutes taxi ride from Leiedsplein
Contact: +31 206202853
Website: Cafe Sound Garden
10. Chill at the Hannekes Boom
Hannekes Boom is a cafe for those who know their way around a funky music festival or two. Minutes away from Centraal Station, the cafe which is styled like a beach shack sits right on the waterfront. It takes inspiration from the old system of guard posts that were first on the same grounds back in the mid 1600s. The outdoor space is lined with gaily colored benches and is essentially atop a pontoon deck, and you might even see people pull up and stop in for a beverage or two before sailing off again. Hannekes Boom was constructed with salvaged materials, giving the place a hip, rustic look. The place is a good spot to get away from the massive crowds one will often find in the Amsterdam streets.
Address: Dijksgracht 4, 1019 BS Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: from 7 USD
Opening Hours: 11am - 1am Sunday - Thursday. Friday and Saturday 11am - 3am.
Duration: visitors can spend 2.5 hours here
Access: 14 minutes via transit from Amsterdam Centraal.
Contact: +31 204199820
Website: Hannekes Boom (in Dutch)
Another few words on the magic of Amsterdam
The city of Amsterdam holds so many treasures for those who want a truly magical jaunt through its winding blocks. No matter your mood or your interests, there’s numerous places for you to get into the rich and heady vibe that this city emits.
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