This is a guest post by David from Hello Amsterdam on the best things to do in Amsterdam at night, including everything you need to know to plan your visit. See below the post for a few of my Amsterdam travel tips!
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The Best Things to Do in Amsterdam at Night
With its curvy canals, stunning architecture, and world-famous museums, Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
Whether you wish to explore the city’s colorful neighborhoods and picturesque parks on a bicycle, hop on a canal cruise and admire the city’s best attractions from a unique perspective, or sample local food delicacies such as stroopwafels and bitterballen, there are plenty of activities in Amsterdam to keep you entertained for at least a couple of weeks.
Although the Dutch capital is a fun place to explore at any hour, there is something magical about Amsterdam when darkness falls upon its streets. From visiting the world’s most famous Red Light District where you can enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife to admiring artwork at Museumplein, here is our list of the best things to do at Amsterdam at night.
Enjoy Foods at Foodhallen
Foodies visiting Amsterdam will want to pay a visit to the amazing Foodhalen. Situated inside an old building that once served as a train depot, Foodhalen is one of the best places in the city to go for dinner and sample both local and international cuisine.
Make sure to try Dutch foods like stroopwafels and herring sandwiches, as well as international favorites such as American burgers, dim sum, and Greek meze.
Keep in mind that this place can get crowded on the weekends at night, so it’s best to arrive early in the evening to enjoy mouthwatering foods and refreshing drinks here at the Foodhallen.
Cruise the Canals
Going on a canal boat cruise is without a doubt one of the best ways to experience Amsterdam from a unique perspective. Apart from daytime canal tours that are plentiful and range from family-friendly canal trips to cruises that focus on architecture and history, Amsterdam also offers many extraordinary evening cruises.
Whether you wish to enjoy a romantic candle-lit canal boat tour with that special someone or hop on a cruise that focuses on some of the city’s best attractions, there are many nighttime canal tours to choose from. Most of these trips last for about an hour and allow travelers to admire thousands of city lights that illuminate the canals.
Explore the Red Light District
No visit to Amsterdam is complete without checking out the city’s infamous Red Light District at night.
Also known as Rosse Buurt, this designed district for legalized prostitution is dotted with adult shops, adult-themed museums, brothels, coffee shops, and bars.
History buffs will be happy to hear that De Wallen is one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam with attractions like the Oude Kerk church which dates back to the 14th century.
If you are traveling solo and wish to visit the area late at night, there are many organized guided tours of the Red Light District that you can join.
Keep in mind that taking photos of the workers is not allowed here in the Red Light District.
Catch a Movie at FilmHallen
Wish to see a movie while staying in Amsterdam? Forget all about those mainstream American cinemas and check out an authentic Dutch movie theatre called FilmHallen.
With 9 screens, this is one of the largest cinemas in the city where you can enjoy everything from short and independent movies to Hollywood blockbusters, award-winning European movies, and documentaries.
Many of these movies come with Dutch subtitles. The authentic art deco interior makes an ideal setting for watching a late-night movie with friends and family.
A visit to the FilmHallen is a great way to experience Dutch culture and if you purchase the Cineville pass for about 20 euros per month, you can visit this Dutch cinema as often as you want.
Enjoy Exceptional Acoustics at Concertgebouw
A visit to Concertgebouw promises to be a highly enjoyable experience. One of the world’s best concert halls and home to the Royal Orchestra, Concertgebouw is designed in a beautiful neoclassical style and hosts elegant performances ranging from jazz sets to vocalist performances and orchestras.
Originally opened in the 19th century, the hall boasts incredible sound quality and is regarded as one of the best Dutch national treasures. Since Concertgebouw is an extremely popular venue, it is recommended to book tickets for performances well in advance.
Dance the Night Away at Melkweg and Paradiso
Amsterdam is home to many excellent music venues where travelers can go out in the evening to listen to both up and coming performers and world-famous bands.
Although there are hundreds of places where you can dance the night away, the two most popular venues that stand out are Melkweg and Paradiso.
Situated inside a former church, Paradiso boasts stained glass windows and two large balconies that provide an amazing setting for an unforgettable night out in the city. There is also a smaller venue upstairs where independent acts perform throughout the week.
As for Melkweg, it is housed inside a former dairy factory and has been putting on shows since 1973. Expect to find 4 separate music halls, as well as a gallery exhibition space, cinema, and an on-site restaurant.
Experience Culture at Museumplein
Many of Amsterdam’s world-renowned museums are located at Museumplein. The good news is that some of the museums in the city are open late, which means you can avoid large crowds of fellow tourists and admire art when it gets dark and there are fewer people around.
Culture vultures can explore the fabulous Van Gogh Museum and see some of the artist’s most famous works.
If you are more of a modern art fan, make sure to visit the Stedelijk Museum. Both museums are open until 10 pm on Fridays.
There is also the lovely Eye Film Museum that is open late on the weekends.
However, the best time to visit Amsterdam’s best museums is on the first Saturday in November when more than 50 museums are open until 2 am. On Museum Night, many museums offer workshops, special tours, and even concerts.
Rent a Private Boat
Like I mentioned before, going on a canal cruise in the evening is one of the best experiences a person can have in Amsterdam. However, if you wish to have a more intimate experience, I recommend renting a private boat.
Whether you are traveling with your partner and wish to rent a small boat or you are visiting Amsterdam with a large group of friends and need a more decked out boat, there are many different options to choose from. To make the whole canal cruise experience even better, customized offers are available, as well as exclusive deals and surprising packages.
Enjoy Artisan Cocktails at the Vesper
The Dutch capital is not short on cool cocktail bars and one of the must-visit spots when bar-hopping in Amsterdam at night is the almighty Vesper. Located in the picturesque Jordaan neighborhood, Vesper boasts a smooth retro interior with awesome James Bond memorabilia hanging on the walls and a speakeasy vibe.
The artisan cocktails they serve here are extremely tasty with signature drinks such as the Leap of Faith. If you are not sure what to order, the friendly bartenders can offer you a taste scale so you can suit your palate. Visitors who wish to learn how to make cool cocktails will be happy to hear that Vesper hosts cocktail-making workshops occasionally.
Bike Amsterdam by Night
For those who don’t know, Amsterdam is one of the world’s most bicycle-friendly destinations. Thanks to its well-maintained bike paths, the Dutch capital is packed with both locals and tourists cycling around the city.
Cycling is the best way to experience the city and visit most of the attractions in a short period. Whether you wish to reconnect with nature at Vondelpark, visit world-renowned museums, or venture outside the city gates and explore the countryside, cycling in Amsterdam can be a memorable adventure.
However, the best time to hop on a bicycle is at night when there are fewer cyclists around. Once the sun goes down, create your bike itinerary and visit all those cool spots that get overcrowded with tourists during the daytime.
Enjoy Magnificent Views from the A’DAM Tower
Looking for the best panoramic views of the city at night? Climb up the famous A’DAM Tower, a 22-story high observation deck that offers spectacular views of Amsterdam’s finest attractions.
You will have an opportunity to admire the beauty of cute historical houses and tiny canals below. In case you get thirsty, visit the MA’DAM sky bar and unwind with a refreshing cocktail or two. Want to hear more good news? After 9 pm, it’s free to go to the top of the A’DAM Tower.
Pre-Dinner Drinks at Hannekes Boom
Located just a short walk from the Centraal Station, Hannekes Boom is one of those hidden cafes in Amsterdam that many tourists don’t know about.
Their waterside terrace offers magnificent views of the canals and attracts a large number of visitors in summer. The café is known to hosts a variety of events including blues-themed nights and DJ themed parties.
I recommend paying a visit to this lovely café later in the afternoon to enjoy spectacular sunset views while sipping on cocktails.
Explore the Jordaan District
If you wish to escape from all the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam’s city center and find a peaceful place, make sure to spend an afternoon at the colorful Jordaan district.
Life at Jordaan District is slow-paced and much quitter to other areas in the city including popular places such as the Red Light District, Museumplein, and Vondelpark.
Expect to find dozens of unique art galleries, as well as several small bars and restaurants. Don’t forget to stop by the iconic Westerkirk church and visit the Flower Canal where you can admire the sheer beauty of floral arrangements.
Enjoy a game of Laser Tag Battle
Adrenaline junkies looking for evening activities in Amsterdam can enjoy a game of laser tag battle. Step inside a 450-square meter arena where you and your friends can experience the laser tagging adrenaline rush while wearing those cool LED vests.
The venue can accommodate up to 20 players at a time and unlike paintball, the laser tag battle doesn’t leave you with a bunch of bruises. This is also a great nighttime activity for team building events.
Listen to Jazz Music at Bimhuis
Wish to hear some live jazz music while staying in Amsterdam? Look no further than Bimhuis, one of the best jazz venues in the city.
Perched on the waterfront, this amazing jazz club is situated inside a building that looks like a sleek black box and hosts more than 300 live music performances each year including both Dutch and international acts taking the stage.
Tuesday nights are reserved for workshops and sessions. If you are a fan of jazz music, a visit to Amsterdam’s Bimhuis should be included in your travel itinerary.
Thank you to David van Brakel from Hello Amsterdam for sharing these wonderful suggestions for what to do in Amsterdam at night! See below for my own Amsterdam travel tips!
5 Things to Pack for Your Trip to Amsterdam
The Lonely Planet Amsterdam guidebook. It can be kind of a pain to find the major guidebooks once you land, or you’ll find them overpriced. I always like to pick mine up ahead of time.
An Unlocked Cell Phone so that you can use a Dutch sim card while here to help navigate public transportation and when you’re on the road.
Backup Charging Bank for your cell phone since you’ll be using it as a camera, GPS, and general travel genie.
A Great Day Bag so you can carry what you need with you (like your camera, snacks, water, sunscreen, cash, etc). My current favorite is the Pacsafe Citysafe, which is especially great for Amsterdam because it has many anti-theft features designed to deter pickpockets. It also transitions to a night bag more easily and won’t embarrass you if you go to dinner directly after sightseeing all day.
More Amsterdam Travel Resources
Amsterdam is a great shopping city, so don’t forget to pick up some lovely Amsterdam souvenirs while you’re here!
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
Before you leave for Amsterdam make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’ll be hanging out in cities like Amsterdam where tourists can easily become the targets of pickpockets.
I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for three years, and I happily recommend them. If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what’s stolen or broken.
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