Nobody accuses Amsterdam of being a city that never sleeps. Instead, that title goes to New York, the city once known as New Amsterdam. However, that doesn't mean that the capital of the Netherlands gets quiet when the sun goes down. Quite the opposite. Amsterdam nightlife is famous throughout Europe and beyond for its rowdy and permissive atmosphere.
From the famous red light district and its coffee shops to the concert halls and the world-renowned museums, you won't find yourself short of activities to keep you going into the early hours. Plus, visiting Amsterdam means you'll be close to some of the best restaurants in the entire country. So whether you like to dance the night away to electronic dance music at an exclusive nightclub, take in live music at a historic concert hall, or just enjoy a delicious meal, you'll find plenty of things to do in Amsterdam at night.
Of course, enjoying the best of Amsterdam nightlife means choosing the right area to explore. Those looking for a raucous party atmosphere won't be disappointed, but you can also find quieter places to stay in this diverse city. Check out our Amsterdam ultimate neighborhood guide so that you know where to go and what to do when you get there.
Of course, traveling is always easier when you don't bring more than you need to. Use one of our luggage storage spots in Amsterdam and explore all the fun things there are to do in Amsterdam at night without being weighed down. However you like to have fun when darkness falls, chances are good you'll find it here.
Amsterdam is justifiably famous for its many museums, making it an exceptional place to visit for history buffs. If the adult shops and city lights of the red light district aren't your cup of tea, you can instead spend a cultured evening getting to grips with some of the best museums in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam's Museum Night takes place on the first Saturday of every month. Many of the city's top museums and galleries, including the Anne Frank House, the Amsterdam Hermitage, the Rijksmuseum, and Nemo Science Museum throw open their doors on this special night from 7 PM to 2 AM. Along with their regular collections, the museums host special events, concerts, and performances, making this a fantastic way to experience Amsterdam.
Whether you're looking to enjoy the best of contemporary art, learn more about Amsterdam's history, or just enjoy live music in the amazing setting of the city's unique art galleries, this is the time and place to do it. Also, you'll find plenty of food options at and near the museums, including some of the city's best food trucks. For more on that, check out our guide to the best street food in Amsterdam.
Dutch National Opera
As the capital city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is home to the Dutch National Opera. Located in a stunning building on the waterfront not far from Amsterdam Centraal Station, this is the place to come to see some of the world's best classical musicians and enjoy the exceptional acoustics of this modern building.
For more classical music, visit the beautiful Concertgebouw to catch one of the many performances of the Dutch Royal Orchestra. Without a doubt, this is one of the best cultural things to do in Amsterdam at night, and these musical organizations put on a variety of performances through the year to entertain visitors and locals alike.
Amsterdam's canals are an iconic feature of the city, and this ancient port owes its existence and historic significance to these many waterways. Therefore, there are few better ways to see the city than with a canal cruise. Amsterdam's canal cruises run the gamut from boozy parties to cultural excursions, and run both day and night. A sunset cruise is a great way to enjoy the unique architecture of the city and see it at its best as the city lights begin to come on.
If you're after more of a party atmosphere, the Amsterdam Booze Cruise takes you on a 90-minute journey along the waterways with unlimited drinks included. Either way, you'll get to enjoy one of the most iconic features of the city and have a good night doing it.
The Heineken Experience
Heineken is one of the best-known and best-loved beer brands in the entire world, and its story began right in Amsterdam. The Heineken Experience takes you on a journey through the world of Dutch brewing and explains how Heineken got started and why it became the ubiquitous worldwide brand it is today.
Located close to the city center, the Heineken experience allows you to tour an old brewery to learn everything you ever wanted to know about how Heineken beer is made. Best of all, you'll get to taste some of this local product, making it a great way to kick off your evening and one of the best things to do in Amsterdam at night.
Red Light District
Along with its museums and canals, Amsterdam is famous for its red light district. After all, the city has been a major port for centuries, and where there are sailors, you'll often find vice. Combined with the Netherlands' famously permissive attitude toward drugs and sex, Amsterdam has become known throughout the world as a party city and a place to indulge in activities that might be illegal elsewhere.
Amsterdam's red light district isn't as seedy as it used to be. During the day, it's a perfectly pleasant place where you can wander along the canals and visit relaxing coffee shops. However, at night, the red lights begin to glow and the legal prostitutes ply their trade, making it very much a place only for adults. Still, it's a fascinating district, and there's no denying that the red light district is part of what has made Amsterdam what it is today.
To get the best out of Amsterdam at night, consider taking one of the more unusual city tours of the red light district. The tours will explain the history of what is the oldest part of the city and the fascinating stories that have shaped it. A walking tour helps you stay safe and see the most interesting parts of town while getting a deep insight into the real nature of the Amsterdam sex trade. You'll also get the chance to visit a coffee shop and learn how to roll a joint, if you don't already know.
Amsterdam Pub Crawl
Amsterdam's status as a party town is unquestioned throughout Europe, and you'll see why the moment the sun goes down, if not before. People travel to the city from around the world to enjoy the lively nightlife, both in the red light district and in other parts of the city. To get a handle on the best things to do in Amsterdam at night, a pub crawl can be a great way to learn about the city's hotspots. Additionally, you'll meet other travelers looking for a good time, so these pub crawls can often become lively affairs. If nothing else, they'll provide a good base of knowledge so you can explore on your own the following night.
Different crawls focus on different aspects of the city's nightlife. Some include delicious food to keep you fueled up and partying. Others will get you access to some of Amsterdam's hottest clubs where you can dance the night away to hip hop, house, electronic dance music, and whatever else the DJs feel like playing. If you're looking to see the rowdy side of Amsterdam at night, this is the way to do it.
In case you didn't know, Amsterdam's coffee shops aren't just places to get coffee. Instead, this euphemism is used to describe the city's many legal cannabis dispensaries. You'll find coffee shops all over Amsterdam, but especially in the city center, with the highest concentration in the notorious red light district.
Amsterdam decriminalized the use of cannabis decades before other municipalities got in on the act. As a result, the city has a well-established cannabis culture that is worth experiencing during a visit, even if you're not a big smoker. Grab a seat in one of these relaxed coffee shops and peruse the menu of different strains of weed from around the world, and you'll be giving yourself a truly Amsterdam experience.
If you're not lucky enough to be in the city at the right time to experience Museum Night, you may be glad to hear that doesn't mean you can't still experience culture when the sun goes down. Both the van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk museum stay open on Fridays until 10 PM.
Visiting these museums at night offers a quieter and much more relaxing way to encounter great art, and you may find you have a much more satisfying experience with time to yourself in the galleries.
Additionally, Eye Film Museum stays open until 11, and is one of the best things to do in Amsterdam for cinema lovers. This specialist museum celebrates both blockbuster and independent movies, with a special emphasis on the Dutch movie scene.
Amsterdam may be known around the world for its electronic dance music scene, but that doesn't mean it isn't also a great place to see live performances from both local and internationally renowned musicians. Check out Paradiso, which hosts well-known acts in its impressive main space and smaller local bands in other more intimate rooms.
Melkweg is another iconic music venue in the city, where you'll find two concert halls along with a cinema, a theater, and a photo gallery. The acts that play here run the gamut from rock to rap to reggae, and you'll even find the occasional jazz music performance to keep visitors entertained.
If you're looking to enjoy a cocktail with stunning views over the city of Amsterdam, the A'DAM Tower is the place to go. Home of the Ma'Dam Skybar, this city tower is the perfect place to see the lights come on all over the Dutch capital. The tower is a great place to visit during the day, but it's even more impressive at night thanks to its light show, bar, and over-the-edge swing that is a must-try for daredevils looking for exciting things to do in Amsterdam at night.
As you can see from the above list, it's not exactly a challenge to find interesting things to do in Amsterdam at night. Whether you want to see the quieter side of the van Gogh Museum, celebrate award-winning European movies, indulge your passion for modern art, or enjoy the lively atmosphere of the many cafes, bars, and clubs the city has to offer, you'll find no shortage of things to do in this notoriously exciting city. In fact, there's so much to do here that the hardest part might be deciding what to leave out.
The easiest way to explore what Amsterdam has to offer at night is simply to immerse yourself in it. And the easiest way to do that is to drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in this famous city. By not carrying heavy bags, you'll free yourself up to explore all the different options there are for things to do at night in Amsterdam. Before you know it, the sun will be coming up, and you still won't have scratched the surface of everything the city has to offer.