Amsterdam Travel: The Best Things to Do in Amsterdam at Night
UPDATE: Before you plan your trip to Amsterdam make sure you read about the most up to date details about what's open to tourists and what restrictions there may be in the day and at night in Amsterdam. These currently include 1.5 metre distancing and limited capacities on tours and in museums, restaurants, bars, as well as on public transport. You must also wear a mask in busy areas of central Amsterdam an on all public transport in Amsterdam.
You will also need to book ALL museum and attraction visits, and tours in advance so be sure to check websites and the latest details before planning a trip to Amsterdam this summer. Even if you have an Iamsterdam City Card (which I highly recommend) you will need to book a date and time slot for each museum or attraction (you can do this without paying any extra charge). Nightclubs and dance venues are closed, and bars and restaurants are subject to strict social distancing rules. You should also note that gatherings of groups of people outside must all adhere to social distancing.
In all cases where social distancing is required, you could get an on the spot fine if you are not maintaining a 1.5 metre distance, likewise if you're not wearing a mask when required to (i.e. on public transport).
What to do in Amsterdam at Night
While I'm the first to admit the best place for me in Amsterdam at night is my bed (preferably alone and with a good book) I am aware that many people come to this city just to sample Amsterdam nightlife. I may have even got a few emails from people (who obviously don't know I'm the mother of two young children, bless them!) asking what are the best things do to in Amsterdam at night and while I've often felt stumped to answer this, I realised that I was doing my readers a disservice by not even trying to remember what it's like to go out in Amsterdam at night and that of course, there are lots of great things to do after dark in Amsterdam... And I'm not just talking about the predictable nighttime activities you have in mind, you filthy animals!
What's Amsterdam at Night Really Like?
Honestly, Amsterdam at night is almost like another city. While it loses the colours and light of the daytime - and there is a surprising amount of both thanks to its varied architecture and low skyline - at night Amsterdam is just as museum-like but it also has a special cosy almost villagey feel to it in many areas.
Amsterdam at night is as beautiful as you can possibly imagine thanks to the traditional streetlamps lit up lining the canals and the way the water reflects the lights which light up its bridges, and also, believe it or not, in places, nocturnal Amsterdam is also surprisingly calm and quiet. This is thanks to Amsterdam's oldest and prettiest canals not being thoroughfare for traffic and the crowds tend to all gather in a handful of places rather than filling all of the city streets, many of which remain residential despite Amsterdam's over-tourism problems.
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As a bustling cultural hub, there is also much to do and enjoy in Amsterdam at night from sampling Dutch or international food at dinner (or even in a cooking class - see below!) and drinking the night away in a wine bar or traditional Brown Bar, through to squeezing in typically tourist activities like special late night openings for museums and attractions or sampling one of many special nighttime Amsterdam canal boat tours. Amsterdam is also home to many fantastic nightclubs too, so if you landed here because you want to party the night away until the hours, I will share a great tip for how to do this for very little money with a special Amsterdam Nightlife Card.
While I haven't tried everything on this list, after living here for over six years - and once upon a time that was me as a child-free young woman who loved a night out in Amsterdam! - I do know what is worth spending your money and time on when visiting Amsterdam so I hope you like my round-up of the best things to do in Amsterdam at night below.
The Best Things to do in Amsterdam at Night
It's hard to really pick the best things about Amsterdam nightlife when you think about all the many different types of people who come here and what they're looking for. Some come to party, party, party, others are just night owls who like to see as much of the city as they can at night. And then there are all the people who fall somewhere in between.
So, I've done my best to cover as many different bases and tastes of a first-time visitor while also giving you some of my favourite things to do in Amsterdam at night as a local. The first few are very bars and drinking (alcohol) focused but if this isn't for you, do scroll down and find many other alternatives that have nothing to do with booze! Also I encourage you to check out this list of free things to do in Amsterdam as it has many suggestions for alcohol-free and indeed money-free fun for nighttime as much as daytime, and there's also this list of 50+ things to do in a sort of Amsterdam Bucket List!
1. Go Bar Hopping or Bar Crawling... Basically Spend a Night in Amsterdam Getting Drunk!
If you've landed here because you asked Google how you can basically spend a night in Amsterdam getting drunk or how you can make the most of Amsterdam's nightlife, then let's just get your party started with some suggestions for bar crawls and drinking in Amsterdam at night.
There are bars and places to drink in Amsterdam all over the city, but if you came to party in the centre of the city and want to meet like-minded people doing the same - not necessarily locals or Dutchies - then there are some places worth knowing for bar hopping. Rembrandtplein, the Red Light District (basically along Oudezijdsburgwaal and connecting streets), and Leidseplein are the most touristy of squares that have a high bar to building ratio in the centre of town.
Utrechtsestraat in the east, and Harlemeerstraat in the west are good streets for just wandering along and finding bars beginning close to the centre of town. And Noordermarkt area and Lindengracht, along with close-ish Elandsgracht have a good collection of places to drink, including some cosy Brown Bars (see below.)
Leaving the centre of Amsterdam, De Pijp is a neighbourhood just outside the main ring canals that also has several bars all close to the famous daily Albert Cuyp market you can find there. In Amsterdam South (Zuid) there are a number of places to drink on and off Willemsparkweg, Cornelis Schuytstraat, and Valeriusstraat, and in Amsterdam East (Oost) there are a number of good bars on streets surrounding Oosterpark, in the Watergraafsmeer area as well as some cool warehouse bars in the Indische Buurt and Zeedijk.
In Oud West, the best bars are on the streets between Overtoom and Kinkerstraat, although these are also good places to start! Sadly, I don't know much about bar-hopping in Amsterdam Noord but I would happily get a boat over to NDSM Werf just to spend an evening at Pllek or in the cafe-bar at EYE Film Institute alone as both offer great views across the water to Amsterdam!
There are organised bar crawls you can go on which I think would be a great idea if you have limited time to party in Amsterdam or if you're travelling solo. There's this epic 6-hour Amsterdam bar crawl or a more localised party pub crawl in Leidseplein.
2. Stay Put in an Amsterdam Bar With a Good View...
As with all cities, not all bars in Amsterdam are equal and some come with some special extra features like GOOD VIEWS! It's true that Amsterdam doesn't have the skyline of its sister city Rotterdam, but it is still a city that looks beautiful from above and there are a number of bars where you can enjoy this view plus some excellent drinks.
If in doubt, head to one of Amsterdam's tall hotels and check out their rooftop bars. VOLKSHotel, Hotel Okura, DoubleTree Hilton, W Hotel, and QO Hotel all have top floor bars that are worth checking out and they each offer different views across the city.
Other places I like having a drink while enjoying a good view of Amsterdam is the rooftop eating, drinking and also working area of Zoku, a building that is actually home to serviced apartments. I've also heard good things about the view at A'DAM Toren though I"m yet to get there myself.
3. ...Or in an Amsterdam Bar With Live Music
If you want to spend your night in Amsterdam enjoying good drinks and good music, there are a number of spots worth knowing about so you can do just this.
Close to the centre of the city, Bourbon Street is a popular whiskey bar where live jazz and blues music is a near nightly fixture. Staggering distance from this is The Waterhole which also has daily live music or club nights. If you're after a piano bar then Piano Bar Maxim is arguably Amsterdam's most well-known. Maloe Melo is a very popular - but very small! - blues music bar and venue, and in the Jordaan, Cafe Soundgarden describes itself as "a music-focused pub" but reviewers have described it as a "grunge bar" so head there if you want to find out which is true.
One live music venue you're unlikely to see many tourists at is Pompstation in Indische Buurt. Housed in an old water pumping station funnily enough, has regular live music nights (Thurs - Sunday nights when I last checked) and it comes recommended as a great place to have dinner too. And to have a really Dutch experience, you can enjoy live music by local artists on many nights a week at Cafe Lowietje, a traditional Brown Bar (see below for more about Brown Bars!)
Pasta e Basta in the Spiegelkwartier is an interesting concept that combines Italian food with live singing... by the wait staff. It's not to everyone's liking but it's a good laugh and the staff are surprisingly good at singing (and indeed the service would suggest that they are more hired to sing than anything else!).
4. Or, go Brown Bar-Hopping around Amsterdam's Best Brown Bars...
If you want to have a greater chance of meeting local residents or you fancy getting your drink on in a truly Dutch setting then you should think about visiting one or two or more of the so-called Brown Bars. Called that because of their mostly wood interiors and sometimes exteriors, Brown Bars are the Dutch equivalent of the famous British pub, and they can be just as cosy, just as friendly to visitors (or maybe not which can be just as authentic an experience!), and just as fun to sample without the rowdy pub crawl crowd.
You will find Brown Bars scattered all over Amsterdam, and arguably the better ones are those off the beaten track, so off busy main roads, and on the corner of residential streets. But if you want some ideas of where to go that I know personally to be Brown Bars worth popping into then look up the following ones.
Papeneiland on the corner at the very start of Prinsengracht is a great place to get apple pie (it's a close second to what I and many believe is the best apple pie in Amsterdam) and it has a very interesting history (which I found out doing an Eating Europe Food Tour). Further along Prinsengracht (which is well worth a nighttime stroll) is Cafe 't Smalle on the Egelantiersgracht.
Further along the Prinsengracht still, you'll find the more modern-looking Het Molenpad, which has a canal-side terrace for warmer summer evenings (which yes, do happen!), and is still considered a Brown Bar because it has been there for so long and is a great place to get a "borrel", a typically Dutch end of work or end of the day drinks with Dutch snacks like bitterballen.
Close to Centraal Station on Zeedijk, which is where the port of Amsterdam originated, you'll find one of Amsterdam's most famous Brown Bars, In 't Aepjen, which is well known and well-loved for many reasons. Firstly, it's one of the oldest Brown Bars in Amsterdam, secondly the interior is brilliantly elegant, detailed and almost museum-like in how much there is to see (and still brown!) and thirdly, it's housed inside one of only a few wooden buildings that are still standing.
Also close to Centraal Station, in between Damrak and Spui is another great Amsterdam Brown Bar, especially if you're serious about what you're drinking. 'In De Wildeman, a "proeflokaal" (tasting room for beers) that was once a distillery. Again the interior looks like it hasn't changed in over 100 years, but the beers on tap definitely do as they always have an impressive selection for you to try.
Towards the east of central Amsterdam, along Utrechtsestraat, there are several much-loved (and thus busy!) Brown Bars like Onder de Ooievaar, Cafe Krom, and Cafe Bouwman.
Good areas to just wander around and find some are Jordaan, Oud West, Hermitage, Spaarndammerbuurt, Utrechtsestraat and Westerpark neighbourhoods, and also the Red Light District in between all the newer bars and more tourist-trap like places
5. Eat a Delicious Dinner at one of Amsterdam's Best Restaurants (in my Opinion!)
And now we come to food, which for me should probably come first before all that drinking, but I suspect most people wanting this article were looking for Amsterdam at night recommendations that involved drinking. But anyway, let's talk dinner.
There are more restaurants in Amsterdam than I can even count, and more and more are opening all the time. My number one resource for seeking out the best restaurants in Amsterdam depending on where I'm going to be and what I want to eat is Amsterdam Foodie, so head there to find a restaurant that will suit your tastes, budget and location.
Now for my favourite restaurants in Amsterdam. Well, again there are nearly too many to write but these are the ones I think worth mentioning as they will offer a really special evening in Amsterdam. De Kas is the ultimate farm to fork experience with the food coming from as close to Amsterdam as possible (including the greenhouse next door to the restaurant). Arles is my favourite restaurant in De Pijp, offering up French food with a bit of a modern twist (and the wine pairing is 100% worth it!).
For a super fancy night out in the ultimate location, head to Rijks Restaurant just nextdoor to the Rijksmuseum. On the other end of the scale, if you like steak and want a relaxed and unfussy atmosphere, look up a Loetje near you. This Dutch chain is the best place to get steak in the city, and beyond. If you are vegan I highly recommend going to Meatless District in West or De Pijp as that's my favourite vegan restaurant in Amsterdam. And for more of the best vegan restaurants, cafes, shops and more, here's a super comprehensive vegan Amsterdam guide.
For hearty Dutch food with a quirky twist, try to get a table at Moeders (and take a photo of your mum - you'll understand when you get there), or head to Hemelse Modder where you should absolutely make room for dessert as their signature dish, called Hemelse Modder - which translates brilliantly as Heavenly Mud - is so worth having if you like chocolate mousse.
ALL these restaurants and many, many more will often require a reservation, especially if you want a table on a weekend evening, or during a busy season (e.g. Christmas). You can use The Fork to make a reservation and also find last minute dinner options if you forgot to do just that!
6. Get Your Smoke (or Spacecake!) on at a Coffee Shop
The last time I spent a night in an Amsterdam coffee shop (the kind that is not famous for it's caffeine-based products) it was legal to drink alcohol in there (I'll save you the Google search; it was before 2007 when they changed the laws). I wasn't smoking myself as I don't really enjoy it, but I was drinking and had a great night out. However, things have changed.
Now it's not possible to purchase or consume alcohol on the premises of a coffee shop. That said, many Amsterdam coffee shops have got around this by having bars very, very close by so don't feel like you have to be sober to walk into either (and the chances are you won't be and you certainly won't walk out of either sober).
What I'm saying is that I'm no expert on coffeeshops, but I do have my ear to the ground and I have it on good authority that the best coffeeshops in Amsterdam for actually hanging out in at night include the following (which are all handily close to areas with lots of bars!). Here's a list of over 25 great coffeeshops in Amsterdam, but below are some other recommendations.
There's the collection of Barney's establishments including Coffeeshop, Lounge and Bar on Harlemeerstraat, an Amsterdam institution that serves decent food as well as cannabis products. Boerejongens on Utrechtsestraat is arguably the most upmarket coffee shop in the city as you'll be served by men wearing bow-ties and bowler hats.
Paradox in Jordaan is close to many pretty canals (see below) that would make for a nice evening stroll destination and it's also one of the city's best places for space cake. The Bulldog's coffeeshops are indeed an Amsterdam institution and will be jolly fun and sociable places to spend an evening in Amsterdam BUT they're mostly if not exclusively frequented by tourists so be sure to expect that kind of experience more than anything else.
7. Walk the Amsterdam's Canals at Night
I'm not sure why I didn't put this Amsterdam nighttime activity at the top of the list because it really is my favourite thing to do in Amsterdam at night.
Just slowly wandering around the canals on a clear night is arguably the best thing about Amsterdam at night. While the canals are beautiful and much more photograph-able (did I just make up a word!?) during the day, the canals at night are just as pretty and also have a very different atmosphere. They are considerably calmer and quieter even.
This is because there is much less vehicle traffic on the streets, somewhat fewer bikes and often far fewer pedestrians too so you sort of feel you have the city to yourself on some corners as you gaze down a canal and see the bridges all lit up like make-up mirrors with those bulbs along the arches. My favourite canals to wander down - day or night - are Brouwersgracht, Reguliersgracht and Leidsegracht, but really you can't go wrong if you find yourself within or on any of the three main ring canals.
8. Go to a Concert or Gig
Aside from the world renowned Amsterdam Dance Event in October which you can read more about in this guide to Amsterdam in autumn, the city isn't exactly renowned for its music scene, at least not more than any major capital city but that doesn't mean it's lacking in great music venues or performances by the best of the best musical talent from all over the world.
Amsterdam is also home to the Concertgebouw (concert building) which happens to be in the top 5 of musical theatres in the world (which I learned on a very interesting tour of the Concertgebouw) and it hosts classical music and modern performers too. Truly, if you are a lover of music and have an opportunity to go to an event there I highly, highly recommend it.
I have also been to several pop music gigs in the city at large, medium-sized and small venues. I have seen Madonna at Ziggo Dome, Chromeo at Paradiso (arguably my favourite Amsterdam live music venue after Concertgebouw) and Bahamas at Bitterzoet, just to give you some examples. The best place to check out listings for gigs are the venues themselves and you can find them listed on this page. You should also know that if you find listings for gigs at Tivoli in Utrecht - another great live music venue - it's also really easy to get there and back on the train.
9. Check out some Jazz or Blues
If you specifically want to see some live jazz or blues, it's worth knowing some specific venues. As mentioned above, Bourbon Street is possibly the one to head to if you want a bar-like atmosphere, and Jazz Alto is more inline with your typical underground jazz club, but you should definitely also check out what's coming up at Bimhuis, a very impressive concert hall famous for its jazz music performances.
10. Drink Jenever, a Dutch Traditional Liqueur!
Annnnnd we're back to drinking again! Now we're talking a specific Dutch alcoholic drink jenever.
Often described as a distant relative to the more famous gin, jenever - or genever as it's called in the English-speaking world - is only distilled from grains so it has a smoother more nutty or buttery taste, and it also has a slightly lower alcohol level so some people like to drink it straight but if that puts you off, don't worry as you can simply supplement it for whatever gin-based drink is your favourite. The best places to drink jenever are the Dutch Brown Bars as listed above, but there are some distilleries that will give you tasting opportunities and a lot more information - just look for the word "proeflokaal".
The House of Bols is one of the most well-known jenever proeflokaals and has become popular with tourists as it's something of a museum really with a free drink included in your ticket - and it stays open until late - but there are more traditional jenever distilleries like Wynand Fockink Proeflokaal, Proeflokaal de Ooievaar, and Proeflokaal A. van Wees.
11. Sample Amsterdam's Nightlife by going Clubbing! (As in Night Clubbing!)
It's fair to say my clubbing days are long over, but when I first moved here I did still have the energy and the interest in clubbing so I got to know some of the nightclubs in Amsterdam the problem is I can't really remember them all, or tell which ones are good today because, yep it was all some time ago.
But here is what I do know about nightclubs in Amsterdam; you can pretty much find whatever you are looking for in this city, if you do a little research in advance.
Another way to experience many different clubs is by getting an Amsterdam Nightlife card. This seems an astonishing deal whereby you pay just €10,00 to get free entry to over 30 Amsterdam nightclubs for a 48 hour period. Alternatively, you can spend €20,00 and get the same deal for seven days. Now before you assume that only the less desirable clubs are included in this offer, think again. I've checked out the list and can confidently say that all of my favourites are there (Melkweg, Paradiso, and Club Up) and many of them will also throw in a free shot when you arrive.
Essentially, with the Amsterdam Nightlife card you get to try out multiple different clubs in one night so it doesn't matter if you go somewhere and don't like the music, you can just hit up the next one on your list. The ticket also includes a boat club experience and entrance to a few Amsterdam festivals if you time your visit really well. There are also additional extras like discounts on taxi rides and attraction admissions that are well worth knowing about.
Find out more information and get your Amsterdam Nightlife card here.
12. Laugh out Loud at a Comedy Night (in English!)
With nearly all Dutch people speaking fluent English and Amsterdam being a hub of international residents, it's no surprise that there's a wealth of English-speaking entertainment available and one of these option are comedy nights. There are a number of regular comedy nights at Amsterdam's comedy clubs including English improv comedy at BOOM Chicago comedy club.
The Comedy Cafe also has international comedians, and you can find a site listing all English-speaking comedy listings in Amsterdam here (but please note I do not control the content on this site so it may not always be complete).
You can even combine a comedy show with a canal boat tour!
13. Sing Some Karoke!
Amsterdam may not be Seoul or Tokyo (or even New York or London) when it comes to karoke but it does exist and you can find it and enjoy an absolute cracking night singing. Here's a list of some of the best karoke bars in Amsterdam that are worth checking out at night, but you can also combine sight-seeing with karoke on this special karoke canal tour if you aren't afraid to exercise your vocal chords during the day!
14. Go on a Canal Tour
And that karoke boat tour leads us nicely into saying that of course, you can go on a normal canal tour in the evening or night, and there are many reasons why you should. The canals will be quieter (with fewer other boats), the views will be different but just as good, and in many ways, you get to see a very different side to Amsterdam.
Below I go on to list some special evening and night canal tours with dinner, drinks or entertainment, but for just a normal and very affordable 1-1.5 hour canal tour I can recommend this one. (P.S. Don't forget you get a free canal tour if you buy an I amsterdam City Card which gets you free public transport and entry to museums.)
If you're coming to Amsterdam in December or January, a night canal cruise is absolutely essential as you then get to see the Amsterdam Light Festival!
15. Enjoy a Canal Tour AND Dinner
As mentioned above, if you want to combine dinner with a canal tour, this is a great idea! There are multiple different options for eating on a canal cruise, but I would definitely recommend booking in advance so you can make sure you eat what you want, when you want! This is easy to do online, so take your pick from burgers and drinks, a tour with pizza, pancakes, a romantic candlelit dinner and cruise, or even a slap-up 4-course meal and drinks for under €100! There is even the option to go on a vegan dinner cruise.
16. Enjoy a Canal Tour AND Drinks!
If you'd rather eat dinner on dry land, but you're quite happy with the idea of enjoying a few drinks while also cruising around the canals of nighttime Amsterdam, then of course, you can just opt for a canal tour with drinks. Many companies offer "all-you-can-drink" style options, but again you'd do well to book in advance so you can plan your trip and day around this relaxing way to see Amsterdam at night. This cocktail cruise looks fantastic!
17. Late Night Shopping in Amsterdam
It's not to everyone's taste but as a big city, of course you can spend an evening in Amsterdam shopping. Thursday is the night you need to remember for late night shopping in Amsterdam as across the city's main shopping streets - including 9 Streets and Kalverstraat - you'll find shops staying open until 9pm. In general, on other days, shops close anytime between 6-8pm (it's always a good idea to check!).
18. A Tour of Amsterdam's LGBTQI-friendly Bars
While I can point you in the general direction of where you can find the traditional heart of gay and queer nightlife in Amsterdam (hint, find Reguliersdwarsstraat on the map!) I am no expert in what the scene is like or what the LGBTQI history is in Amsterdam so I strongly recommend you go on this special gay tour of Amsterdam so you can discover exactly that, and handily it takes in a few of the city's best gay bars too.
19. Eat ALL THE FOOD at Foodhallen
When the Foodhallen first opened a few years ago it was absolutely the place to go, eat and be merry, especially at night. This indoor food market housed in a beautifully restored 19th century building - an old tram warehouse, no less - is full of little stalls selling street food style dishes from all over the world. Many of the stalls are from bigger restaurants or shops in the city so if you find something you enjoy you can maybe check out their other restaurant for a meal on another evening.
There are also a number of bars and drinking spots inside or just next to Foodhallen, including a gin bar, so don't worry you will not go thirsty! Foodhallen stays open until 11 o'clock at night and I recommend going early in the evening to ensure you get a good spot to sit at while trying all the different foods you want.
19. Go see a Movie in a Very Cool Cinema
In the same converted building as Foodhallen you will find a cinema (De Hallen) and all across Amsterdam there are many other great places to go and see a movie. From the stunning art deco cinema of Pathe Tuchinski in the centre of town which will show all the latest Hollywood releases, to other smaller cinemas like Rialto and The Movies where you can catch some of world cinema's finest films, going to the cinema may turn into an Amsterdam night you won't forget.
Going to see a movie in Amsterdam is also a great idea because they typically won't dub English-language films unless they're for children. But remember if a film is in Dutch you won't have subtitles in English, and if the film is in another language you will have subtitles in Dutch - just something to remember!
20. Have a Night Out at the Theatre, Opera or Ballet - oh, Fancy!
Now we're really heading into the most cultural Amsterdam night activities, but if you love going to the theatre, watching opera or a ballet, then Amsterdam has some great places for you to go. I've been lucky enough to see shows at the National Opera & Ballet Theatre as well as at Carre Theatre and both are fantastic venues so be sure to find out what the listings are there during your visit.
21. Go to a Museum - Yes, Really!
Did you know that most of Amsterdam's main museums have weekly late night opening hours on Fridays? Embarrassingly I didn't know this until quite recently, but now I know I will be recommending it to all when they ask for Amsterdam nighttime suggestions.
My top picks for great museums to visit - and they will all almost certainly be quieter in the evening - are The Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Modern Art Museum, Van Gogh Museum, The Museum of Bags & Handbags, Moco Modern Art Museum, the Versetzmuseum (Museum of Resistance), Rembrandtsuis Museum and FOAM Photography Museum. All of these, plus many more, are open until 9 o'clock on a Friday evening and they are also free entry when you get an I amsterdam city card (which is totally worth it in my opinion!).
22. Enjoy an Amsterdam Sunset
I know I've mentioned some great Amsterdam bars with views for enjoying the sunset, but you don't have to be drinking to enjoy the sun going down on a beautiful city. In fact, I honestly prefer being outside for it, especially if it's summer and the weather is good (two thing that don't always align in the Netherlands!). My favourite spot for catching the sunset are along the banks of the River Amstel, but if you do want to have something to drink in your hand, I know lots of people like to watch it from the north side of Amsterdam opposite the train station so maybe think about going to Pllek or Hannekes Boom, especially if it's a summer evening and the temperature is warm enough to be outside. Needless to say rooftop bars will also be a good place to watch the sunset and enjoy some sundowners.
23. Go on a Nighttime Bike Ride
I feel a bit silly saying this all the way down the page, because of course cycling around Amsterdam at night is a great idea! We often do it just because it's so pretty, especially in the summertime, but we also loved cycling the Amsterdam Light Festival route in the winter. However, there's a reason I held back recommending this. It's because it's not for everybody. Cycling in Amsterdam is hard work, even for those who are used to cycling cities, and at nighttime, after dark, there are potentially more risks and obstacles; I'm talking as much about drunk locals and high tourists as I am anything else. But of course, if you're feeling brave, and preferably sober enough, then a nighttime bike ride around the streets of Amsterdam is a great idea.
If you'd like some, here are my tips and advice to help you feel more confident cycling in Amsterdam. And also you could consider going on a private bike tour at night in Amsterdam so you wouldn't have to worry about where you're going and at the same time you'd also be getting lots of information about what there is to see.
24. Go on a Night Walking Tour
If the idea of doing a walking tour of Amsterdam at night has piqued your interest but you're not keen on the idea of cycling, then panic not, there is the possibility to go on a private guided tour of Amsterdam after dark.
Soon laws will restrict the number of private tours of the Red Light District so if you want to see this at night with a guide then I would highly recommend booking this as soon as you can. This one is even with a former sex worker who promises to answer all your questions.
25. Enjoy Some Cheese Tasting
Let's go back to thinking about food shall we? The following few suggestions don't have to happen at night in Amsterdam, of course, but they're undeniably lovely ways to spend an evening in the city.
The first is possibly my favourite as it was a bit of a surprise to me that you could actually do a really good cheese tasting night in Amsterdam as I suspected it was a bit of a tourist trap activity (although I've had lots of people tell me that there is a very authentic Dutch cheese tasting option with a long time cheese maker and the tasting sessions there are a lot of fun!). There's also the option to try a little port with your cheese at this tasting session that books up fast.
You can also do a cheese and wine tasting canal cruise!
26. Enjoy a Little Wine Tasting
If you're one of the kind of people who can't do cheese tasting without a bit of wine tasting (well, frankly I don't blame you) then the good news is that you can absolutely do both a wine and cheese tasting as a great way to spend a night in Amsterdam. I especially love the idea of going to a local Dutch chef and foodie's home to experience some cheese and wine pairing.
Alternatively if you're only interested in some wine tasting, then of course Amsterdam can still deliver on that front. There are lots of lovely little wine bars that will happily let you try before you buy wine by the bottle or glass. Two of my favourites are both in De Pijp Amsterdam area - Glou Glou and Paulus Wijn Bar - and my other recommendation is for 4850 in East Amsterdam which is also worth remembering for the morning after as they have the best coffee too. You could also do a special wine tasting tour (with cheese too!) that features Dutch wines - I've enjoyed many Dutch wines in my time living in the Netherlands so I'm confident it would surprise you!
You may also be surprised to know that Amsterdam has its own urban winery! It's sadly not a nighttime thing to do in Amsterdam but it is an option for a Saturday afternoon to go wine tasting in their "chateau".
My friend Simon also does special dinner with wine pairing experience so if you fancy doing something quite different at a local's apartment, this could be a great way to spend an evening in Amsterdam. I warn you, they are EXCELLENT company!
27. And if Cheese and Wine Don't Do it For You - BEER!
Amsterdam is very much a thriving hub of craft breweries, not to mention home to one of the world's most well-known and popular brewing power house - Heineken - so of course you can easily spend an evening doing some beer tasting in Amsterdam. Again, you can pick your brewery and head there to ask for tasting samples - Brouwerij 't IJ, Brouwerij Prael and Troost are some of the most popular ones - but there are other places you can go for an organised tasting in the evening. Cafe Delirium is a heaven for craft beer lovers and they run regular evening tastings, just be sure to book in advance.
Alternatively sign up to a beer tasting tour (price includes three drinks and a snack)
P.S. The Heineken Experience closes at 18:30 each night so sadly not an option for what to do in Amsterdam at night, but you should definitely consider it if you enjoy the beer, but I would recommend buying your ticket online and going earlier in the day rather than later.
28. Enjoy an Indonesian Cooking Class
And now we head into the slightly more unusual things to do in Amsterdam at night, but I happen to think some of these are the very best things to do! This one in particular is quite an unusual thing to do because until I moved to Amsterdam, I didn't know how much the Dutch loved Indonesian food. It's sort of like the Brits with their Indian curries. So yes, go and get a Rijsttaffel (traditional spread of Indonesian dishes that translates to rice table) while you're here but maybe you could also learn how to make one too. That's what you'll learn in this Indonesian Cooking Class with a Dutch-Indonesian chef which can be organised for an evening in Amsterdam during your stay.
29. Glow in the Dark Mini Golf
It's true I had to check with a number of sources if this was really a real thing, but yes it is. You can play neon mini golf slap bang in the middle of the city centre, just around the corner from Centraal Station, in fact. I've not tried it yet but I am tempted! If you run out of nights in Amsterdam, don't worry! This one can be done in the day too!
30. Go Friday Night Roller-Skating with Locals
Another nighttime thing to do in Amsterdam which you won't hear about from everyone is roller-skating on a Friday night. What used to be a regular Friday evening skate around Amsterdam's principal park, Vondelpark, now seems to switch up where they skate, but if you happen to have your rollerskates or blades with you while in Amsterdam then it's well worth checking out the website to find out when they are going next.
Even if you don't any skates - or like me, the ability to rollerskate - this could well be worth checking out as a spectator. You'll certainly not see it every evening in Amsterdam.
31. Chill Out at the Ice Bar
If you have never been to an ice bar then why not go to one in Amsterdam? I've done a few in other cities and they're kind of fun, but also kind of weird if like me you don't really like to get cold. But hey, it's certainly a memorable thing to do at night in Amsterdam. Here's where you can find out more and book your tickets.
32. Re-live your 80s Childhood (even if you were born in the 90s) with some Arcade Games Fun
Located in the middle of the Red Light District, some Amsterdammers have a love-hate relationship with TonTon Club, an arcade hall venue where you can play all the retro arcade games from your youth (or your parents' youth if you're that young!). It took away many of the local sex workers' windows and was one of the first business to be established as part of considerable gentrification efforts by local stakeholders, something the sex workers and some local residents have resisted against.
But that aside, it's fair to say that an evening at TonTon Club really is the "Game Paradise for Adults" and arcade bar (because yes, they serve alcohol, and food too!) that it promises to be because not only can you play arcade games of various sorts but you can also take your pick from a wide selection of board games. (There are also two other locations in Amsterdam if you were staying in Amsterdam West or near Westerpark.
33. Wander Around the Red Light District... Respectfully!
Sure, of course visiting the Red Light District of Amsterdam at night is something of a Amsterdam visitor's rite of passage, and needless to say that although it has changed considerably in the last decade thanks to efforts to "clean it up" and gentrify the area, there is of course lots of things to see and marvel at.
That said, I would like to add that you need to remember that the area is home to many Amsterdam residents and it's also hundreds of people's place of work. You are prohibited from taking photographs of sex workers - and there are always plain clothes police around watching for this - and it's kindly asked that you don't stand around and prevent people who are working from going about their business.
Further to this, you should also be aware that this part of Amsterdam is busy, noisy and chaotic at night. There will be lots of people drunk or high bustling around and it's safe to say their manners aren't going to be the best (and that's me trying to put it politely!). So keep this in mind as it's going to be highly unlikely that you will enjoy a quiet stroll around the area if that's what you had in mind!
34. Go Watch a Magic Show
Well, I honestly didn't think I'd be including this in a list of things to do in Amsterdam at night, but apparently, there really are some great magic shows to watch in the city. To guarantee a seat watching one at an English-speaking performance check out this listing and book some tickets online.
35. Go on a Night Tour of Johan Cruijff ArenA
This one is for the football fans! You can visit and do a tour of Cruijff ArenA during the day but this legendary home to Ajax Football Club will be fun to explore at night too. It's easy to book tickets online for an evening tour, and getting there is super simple and quick too on the Metro. Please note: This special night tour is only available during the winter holidays and includes a special light show, so please be sure to check your travel dates to see if it's possible for you to go.
36. Release Your Inner Model on a Photo Shoot
You may have heard of services where you find a local photographer while travelling to take some beautiful photos of beautiful you in a beautiful location, and I'm all for it. However, you don't offer hear about this service being available at night but because I think Amsterdam at night is so very pretty, I would say it's well worth thinking about organising a night photoshoot for one evening in Amsterdam during your stay.
I've been playing around with photography for nearly ten years but I still can't get my night photographs quite right so I think this is an excellent idea to get some really beautiful photos of Amsterdam at night, and you will happen to be in them too, this making them an excellent Amsterdam souvenir too!
37. Dance Like Nobody's Listening at a Silent Disco Club
It's quite possible that I've saved the best one for last with this silent disco club. If you've never done a silent disco before, I highly recommend giving it a go at Amsterdam's Silent Disco Club; it's basically clubbing for introverts! You choose what you listen to - and how loud - by wearing headphones that play music, and everyone dances together on the same dance floor. Usually your headphones will have a few channels to listen to so you can choose what kind of music to listen to - and find others listening to the same tracks - and then you can all dance together. For an extra giggle, every now and then take your headphones off and look around at everyone dancing to near silence - it'll make you giggle for sure, and for that reason I can't think of a better way to spend a random night in Amsterdam!
And that's a wrap! When I find out about more cool things to do in Amsterdam at night I will be sure to add them to this list, but I think this is more than enough to get anyone planning some fun evenings in the city during their trip. For more advice and tips about Amsterdam travel, please see this page with my full listings of Amsterdam travel advice posts, and if you want to save or share this post, there are some share buttons below these images which you can pin.
Frances M. Thompson
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