Amsterdam by night; there are few places more thrilling. Walkable, safe, bustling, buzzing and diverse, an evening out in the Venice of the North is worthy of a place on any traveller’s bucket list. Looking for a raucous affair? The ‘Dam has go you covered. Fancy something more sedate? ‘Geen probleem’, as the Dutch like to say.
Should you be seeking inspiration for your activities in the city as the sun sets and day turns to night, then read on; our 5 ideas for the IDEAL evening out in Amsterdam.
LISTEN AND RELAX
If you like live music, then you’ll find Amsterdam to be accommodating to all tastes. Well-known concert halls such as the Melkweg, Paradiso or the Bitterzoet offer you the latest in pop, rock and basically every style of music you can think of, every night of the week, with heavy hitters and emerging talents playing in the Dutch capital regularly. For international stars, the larger gig venues such as the AFAS LIVE or the Ziggodome are the place to be.
Should you prefer smaller and more cosy environments, then the city’s many excellent coffee shops can provide the backdrop to an evening of live music and laughter. Amsterdam’s beloved Hunters Coffeeshop chain showcases up and coming local talent regularly, and the vibe inside is laid back and welcoming; ideal for those looking to enjoy one of those chilled out evenings which the city does so well.
ARE YOU READY FOR THE FLOOR?
If you prefer to hit the dance floor, the best place to enjoy yourself are the entertainment areas around Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein. Trendy clubs such as Jimmy Woo and the Escape always guarantee a proper, ‘out out’ night out, with the best DJs (and atmosphere) in the world regularly gracing the hallowed booths and floors.
Amsterdam also hosts some of the world’s most respected dance festivals. In mid-April, annually, the DGTL Festival takes place, and is a huge spectacle. And in late June, the Awakening Festival pops up all over the city, with household names in the DJ world playing both intimate and internationally renowned venues across town. Amazing!
EAT THE CITY AFTER DARK
From the famous waffle and pancake houses to a vibrant Indonesian restaurant culture, and of course plenty of street around the Leidseplein or Rembrandtplein, Amsterdam boasts a thriving food scene we just love.
Although ‘street food’ usually calls to mind stools in South East Asia or scooping up delicious curries with freshly baked bread in the Indian subcontinent, it’s can be a big deal in Europe, too. And hungry souls will be pleased to hear that Amsterdam has a great variety of popular ‘street’ dishes for you to get stuck into. A big thing in Amsterdam is the raw herring, and a must try if you are visiting, as well as chips with all manner of toppings and sauces!
If you’re not full, consider a longer, more immersive experience at Foodhallen. Set in the old tram depot in Amsterdam’s cool Oud-West neighbourhood and inspired by Torvehallerne in Copenhagen, Foodhallen is the first indoor food market of it’s kind in the Netherlands; a great introduction to the food of the city, we think.
We love the food scene here so much, in fact, we’ve written a whole other article on it. Check out our 7 IDEAL tips for foodies in Amsterdam, but be careful if you’re reading on an empty stomach!
EXPLORE LGBTQIA AMSTERDAM
An inclusive, open minded city if ever there was one, Amsterdam boasts the largest concentration of gay bars in Europe, and an LGBTQIA scene proud to call itself one of the world’s largest. In fact, the Netherland’s was the first country in the world to legalise same sex marriage (in 2001) and continues to be a welcoming, progressive place to visit. Well, it would be rude not to check out some of the gay bars while you’re here, don’t you think?
For perhaps the most popular and happening gay friendly districts, head to Amstel for its ubiquitous Dutch ‘Brown Bars’ featuring local beer and traditional dress, or for nightlife, Kerkstraat and Reguliersdwarsstraat offer gay hotels and bars. For something a little more fetish, Warmoesstraat gets down and dirty until the sun comes up.
ENJOY THE SCENIC CANAL BELT
An evening out in Amsterdam needn’t mean carousing, quaffing and consuming. Indeed, you can indulge in something low and languid and it still be incredibly special. There are a total of 165 canals that circle the city of Amsterdam, providing a natural border to the Pjjp, the Jordaan and the Museum Quarter – making the entire city picturesque and in its own way, peaceful. As the sun sets and shimmers off the water, there’s nowhere we’d rather be.
On any trip around the canals, you’ll find an eclectic mix of fantastic cafes, shops and galleries, ideal for an evening stroll simply to take in the scenery. The most attractive canal is the Prinsengracht which you will find lined with trees and quirky houseboats; visually stunning and wonderfully quaint for an inner city experience. There are also a whole host of smaller canals that are well worth a visit, such as Brouwersgracht, one of the best residential areas in the city.