What is there to do when the sun goes down in Amsterdam? Here we have a list of great activities including our top 10, free things to do, and open-late museums and restaurants.
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO
With so many options, what do you choose? Here is our list of the top 10 things to do at night to help you narrow it down.
Other popular Amsterdam posts include:
Several of the items and activities listed below are also included in one or another tourist attraction discount pass.
TIP: Check out our monthly posts which include other activities that are not included here
(1) Sightseeing Tours
Amsterdam is a breathtaking city with architecture steeped in history and a unique culture.
We recommend you see as much of the city as possible, and the most efficient way to do that is with a sightseeing tour!
- Of course, we offer pay-what-you-like walking tours of the city during the day, as well as some paid tours with a more specific focus that start early in the evening.
- Hop-on-hop-off bus tours are a popular option to see more of the city with a knowledgeable guide.
- Evening canal tours give you a chance to see the lit-up buildings and bridges from the water.
- Those fascinated by the Red Light District can take a professionally-guided tour of the neighborhood.
(2) Concerts and Theatre Venues
In clubs and venues of all sizes, Amsterdam is home to the music of all genres, so there is something for everyone. From jazz and opera to electronic dance - finding great music is always a great way to spend your nights.
We have a few more venues listed below in our late-night attractions section.
Find modern music at Melkweg, which is famous for being a top nightlife spot and dance venue. They have live music as well as DJs and multiple bars around the dancefloor.
For a more upscale night, try a concert from the Royal Symphony at Concertgebouw. This gorgeous venue has perfect acoustics and hosts many performances from classical musicians and orchestras.
Note: If you want to get into as many clubs as possible in a few nights at a big discount, try the Amsterdam Nightlife Ticket.
(3) Open-Late Museums
Several of Amsterdam’s museums say open late on Friday nights, such as the Van Gogh Museum and Eye Film Museum.
If you want to see a world-class collection of modern and contemporary art and design, head on over to the Stedelijk Museum. You can find paintings, sculptures, and other interesting displays.
If you will be going to several museums, you may find that the Amsterdam Museum Pass will save you a fair amount of money. Even if you are only going to one or two museums, other discount tourist passes are very budget-friendly.
For a longer list of open-late museums, check out the section below.
Widely known as Cannabis dispensaries and not just a place to get coffee, most visitors want to experience at least one coffee shop.
A guided coffee shop tour is a good way to meet other people while learning about what you are smoking.
You can read about various Coffeeshop tours on our blog post here.
Below we list a few of Amsterdam's best coffee shops.
- The Bulldog is the longest-operating coffeeshop in Amsterdam.
- Barney’s Coffeeshop is one of the most popular spots.
- Grey Area is where many American celebrities have been spotted in the last decade.
- Green House has an aquarium for a floor and is popular for its eclectic vibe.
We have a section below for even more Amsterdam dining options at night.
(5) Explore the Heineken Experience
The famous Heineken brewery was established in Amsterdam in 1864. One of their now-closed factories is home to the Heineken Experience.
On this tour, you will see how the beer is brewed and get a lesson in proper pouring techniques. Attendees 18 years old and up will get a small tasting.
(6) Rent a Bicycle
Cycling is the most popular mode of transportation besides walking in Amsterdam, and the city has miles of bike paths to ride without worrying about car traffic.
Get a taste of the local culture and ride like you live here!
For small children, you can rent a bakfiet tag-along cart for them to ride in while the adult pedals.
There are many bike rental shops throughout the city - they all have the Dutch word for bike (fiet) in the name. All you have to do is pay the rental fee, a security deposit, and optional insurance against theft.
(7) Enjoy the Jazz Scene
Amsterdam witnessed many innovative black American jazz musicians move through the city who introduced the locals to this new genre of music.
Thanks to those traveling soldiers during World War II, jazz is now a big part of the city.
The Cotton Club in Nieuwmarkt has been around since the 40s and is still standing and offering live jazz on Saturday evenings.
The Bimhuis restaurant and bar has been one of the most popular jazz venues since the 70s. Their Tuesday night jazz jam sessions are popular and held every week at 10:00 pm.
Many of these jazz concerts are free! Find more free things to do in the section below.
(8) See the Red Light District
Tourists have been fascinated by the Red Light District - and The Netherlands’ progressive legislature on prostitution - for years.
You can wander through the historic district and see the workers in their red-lit windows.
But that isn’t all there is to the District. The historic neighborhood is full of interesting architecture, museums focusing on art and education, and plenty of great restaurants.
For our full post on things to do in the Red Light District, click here.
(9) Get a Panoramic View at the Public Library
Amsterdam’s Central Library Branch is one of the best libraries in Europe! It is seven stories tall and fills that space with over 1.5 million books and CDs as well as art installations, a cafe, and an observation deck.
The sweeping view at the top of the building is peaceful and breathtaking. Why not stay up there and have a meal on the cafe’s terrace?
The library itself is open until 10:00 pm. This should give you plenty of time to browse the paintings and sculptures as well as seeing the city lights from above.
(10) Tourist Passes
One of the best ways to take advantage of all that Amsterdam nights have to offer is through tourist passes.
With the purchase of a city pass, you can get bulk discounts to attractions and even some free entry as well as skip-the-ticket-queue privileges.
If you’re into the nightlife scene, the Amsterdam Nightlife Ticket will get you into over 20 clubs, bars, casinos, and other attractions for a low price.
Some of the attractions in the Nightlife Ticket include:
- Club John Doe
- Holland Casino
- Hard Rock Cafe
- Powerzone Bowling
Honorable Mention: Self-Guided Exploration Games
If you're looking for an alternative to the traditional walking tour, these self-guided games give you the opportunity to solve a mystery using clues which will take you to some of the most historic sites in the city.
There are currently three games to choose from in Amsterdam, and all of them can be played after dark.
FREE THINGS TO DO
You don’t need a big budget to enjoy Amsterdam’s nightlife! Here is our list of free things to do in Amsterdam.
For a more comprehensive list, check out our full post of free activities.
Walk the Canals
Amsterdam is famous for its canals. Visitors flock to the city for glimpses of the bridges over water and picturesque buildings lining the streets. And while the canals are pretty during the day, you’ll get a much more dramatic view at night.
Several of the bridges are lit up after dark, which lets the light reflect off the water. It can be romantic - or a great opportunity to test out your photography skills.
Note: In December and January, Amsterdam has a light festival - which means even more buildings are lit up.
See the Red Light District
Interested in the famous Red Light District? Many people are. It is located in the historic De Wallen area of the city, which means there are plenty of historically significant churches, buildings, and businesses that have been around for generations.
In addition to that, there are museums covering the history of Cannabis. To learn more about the Red Light District and what you can do there, take a look at our post here.
Tuesday Evening Jazz
Head over to Bimhuis on Tuesday evenings for a taste of Dutch jazz music. Performances start at 10:00 pm and are held every Tuesday except for during July and August. The Music Conservatory of Amsterdam partners with the jazz bar for this popular jam session.
Admission to this event is free!
Learn all about Cannabis at the free Cannabis College in Amsterdam. They offer free advice on both medical and recreational uses of the plant, as well as an overview of the history.
The center is involved with supporting Cannabis legislation reform around the world and is supported by donations.
It is free to enter and open until 7:00 pm every night.
Experience the Friday Night Skate
If you happen to travel with your roller skates, taking part in the Friday Night Skate at Vondelpark will be a highlight of your trip.
The group skate starts right at 8:30 pm - and the best part is it’s free!
Their Facebook page has updated information.
In our Top 10 list, we mentioned renting bicycles and catching a soccer match.
There are still plenty more family-friendly activities in Amsterdam after dark.
Take a Night Cruise
When most people think of Amsterdam, they envision the canals, bridges, and picturesque buildings lining the waterways. Since the canals are a defining feature of the city, there are a multitude of evening cruises to choose from in Amsterdam.
- Do you want dinner served? Options can include burgers, pizza, or fancier cheese plates.
- Keep the focus on the merchant houses and local hotspots with a Canal Belt cruise.
- Other cruises provide cocktails as you glide down the canals.
Madame Tussauds is internationally recognized, and rightfully so. This wax museum has celebrities and sets for you and your kids to play on. In the Amsterdam location, you can find music stars like Ariana Grande and Zayn Malik, as well as a fashion room with a catwalk where you can strut your stuff.
Note: Madame Tussauds is included in some Amsterdam City Passes.
Attend a Concert
The Concertgebouw is a breathtaking venue where the Royal Orchestra performs. You can find classical music, jazz performances, and film scores played. You might even see a popular movie like Harry Potter or Star Wars in concert, and really understand how music brings those films to life.
They have a summer concert series in July and August which is popular, but performances happen year-round.
If you prefer to get an in-depth view of the concert hall itself, you can find early evening tours available.
Play Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf
Powerzone is a fun, late-night games venue that everyone in the family should love!
The glow-in-the-dark golf is pirate-themed and provides plenty of nautical obstacles to aim your golf ball around.
If mini-golf is a bit slow for you, there is also some high-energy laser tag available!
See the View at the Public Library
The OBA Central Library in Amsterdam is the second largest library in Europe with seven floors of books, art installations, a cafe, and a viewing deck.
They are open until 10:00 pm at night - and what is a better family outing than seeing some art in a peaceful library before taking in a panoramic view of the city?
Experience the Dutch National Opera & Ballet
More than just a concert, the world-class ballerinas and singers perform classic and well-loved operas and ballets throughout the year.
If you’re looking for a chance to appreciate culture and performances as a family or have a budding ballerina in your group, this is the perfect opportunity.
RESTAURANTS AND FOOD
Amsterdam is full of great dining experiences - some of which are the reason many visitors come to the city.
Here we have listed some of the best coffee shops, brown cafes, and restaurants.
Known for being Cannabis Dispensaries, coffee shops are quite popular for visitors and a part of the fabric of Amsterdam.
Feel free to ask the staff any question about finding the right Cannabis for you - and don’t forget the excellent coffee and pastries.
- The Bulldog is Amsterdam’s oldest operating coffee shop and has a living room atmosphere.
- Barney’s is the winner of a “High Times Cup” award and has a sophisticated vibe.
- La Tertulia is a quirky and cozy place and might be a bit less crowded with tourists.
- 420 Cafe is a great location to experience your first coffeeshop. They have high-quality Cannabis and crowd-pleasing milkshakes.
Brown Cafes are traditional Dutch Pubs. They get their names from the dark wood interiors and are a perfect place to find some local food and culture.
- The Golden Brown Bar is very popular for its cozy decor and beer selection. There is also Thai cuisine on the menu.
- Cafe De Dokter is where you want to go to see a quirky, multi-level Dutch pub with a vast beer selection.
- Cafe De Pieper is full of locals and keeps the clientele coming back with theme nights and pub quizzes.
- Cafe Hoppe is one of the oldest Brown Cafes, decorates with gin barrels, and is still popular with locals.
There are a variety of cuisines that are available in Amsterdam, from Dutch to Asian. Here are our picks for the best dining options in the city.
- Bazar Amsterdam is a Middle Eastern restaurant located in a former church and offers both vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare.
- Wok to Walk is a made-to-order fast food stir fry restaurant. There is limited seating, but perfect for a post-clubbing snack.
- Los Pilones offers Mexican cuisine and is the perfect place to eat when the weather is nice, as they have outdoor seating.
- Ron Gastrobar Oriental is a more upscale option providing tapas and cocktails.
- Brouwerij de Prael is a microbrewery with a vibrant atmosphere and popular with the student and traveler crowds.
- Cocotte is known for breakfast and brunch, but they provide excellent French crepes until 9:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS
It seems like half the city of Amsterdam stays up late, so you'll never get bored after the sun goes down.
On most nights of the week, you can find museums, clubs, and entertainment venues open after dark.
Museums Open Late on Fridays
Many of the Red Light District museums are open late every night of the week.
Some of Amsterdam’s cultural attractions extend their hours on the weekends. This includes multiple museums on most Fridays. If you happen to be in the city on the first Saturday of each month, which is known as Museum Night, over 50 museums will be open from 7:00 pm - 2:00 am.
Museums Open Late on Fridays or Saturdays:
- Van Gogh Museum
- Madame Tussauds
- Stedelijk Museum
- Eye Film Museum
- Red Light Secrets
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not
- Anne Frank House
- Hash & Hemp Museum
See a Movie in an Art Deco Theater
Tuschinski Theater was built in 1921 as the perfect cinema in the Art Deco style. The outer facade and the inner decoration are extravagant and preserved as they were originally built.
You can walk into the 1920s when you see the lights, curtains, and enjoy the comfortable seating.
If you don’t want to sit through a full movie in the evening, come back during the day for an audio tour of the theater itself.
Love to dance? Love live music? You can find a club with almost any type of music you’re looking for in Amsterdam. Find trance, dubstep, hip-hop, deep house, or techno to party to.
If you want to make the most of your time to experience as much nightlife as possible, try the Amsterdam Nightlife Ticket, which will get you into 25+ clubs for 2 days and just 10 Euros.
- AIR Amsterdam is a large, modern club playing electronic dance music. They’re one of the most popular clubs because of the multi-level dance floor.
- Suzy Wong is a slightly more laid back cocktail lounge and club. The service is excellent and the music isn’t so loud that you can’t talk to your companions.
- Paradiso is a former church building that has live music booked every night of the week from hip-hop to soul or dance.
If you’ve ever enjoyed a Bond film, you might want to spend an evening at Vesper. This cocktail bar is elegant and decorated with a multitude of James Bond memorabilia.
It is quite cozy inside as it isn’t a large venue, but the expertly crafted cocktails more than make up for a small interior.
The TonTon Club Centre
This unique venue is called a barcade since it functions as both a bar and a games arcade. Find your favorite arcade game - such as air hockey - or even a video or board game.
The atmosphere is enthusiastic, even late into the night. And they serve craft beer and cocktails as well as pizza and pasta to fuel your gameplay.