Beyond the smoke and red-lighted windows, Amsterdam is a city teeming with music, dance, theater, and art, which has given it the epithet "nightlife capital of the world." Think outside the box—even outside the Grachtengordel—and you'll be amazed at what this city that (almost) never sleeps has to offer.

Many people know that The Night Watch is the name of Rembrandt’s most famous painting, but not everyone remembers that, back in the early 2000s, it was also the nickname of a bunch of "Night Mayors." This group of cultural leaders saw their role as fighters against the frumpiness that had cast a shadow over Amsterdam’s night scene since the city fathers cleared away the "squats"—the deserted buildings that were the settings for city’s wildest nighttime events and raves. Now, 15 years later, Amsterdam has happily reclaimed its reputation as a true nightlife capital. The city is a must-stop on the international DJ circuit, and new pop-up clubs and dance venues, plus a plethora of homegrown festivals, keep all walks of life shaking until the wee hours of the morning. The city is rich with inspired folk who are willing to organize a video-arts festival in a cruise-ship terminal, a gentle Bach recital on a canal, an arts festival in an abandoned factory, a house party in a football stadium, or some heart-stopping spectacle in a park. So get ready to savor Amsterdam’s giant cultural wallop through its numerous venues—from former churches and industrial monuments to the acoustical supremacy of the legendary hall of the Concertgebouw.

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  • 1. Café Bloemers

    De Pijp | Cafés

    This popular neighborhood café is warm and kitschy inside with a fabulous corner terrace outside. Tasty food and snacks and a welcoming staff...Read More

  • 2. Café Mazzeltof

    De Pijp | Bars/Pubs

    This nacht café, or night café, is the place where the revelry continues after other haunts have closed. It fills up with partiers from all...Read More

  • 3. Chocolate Bar

    De Pijp | Cafés

    The 1970s-inspired decor—think flowered lamps and patterned wallpaper—makes this übertrendy bar a standout on a street chock-full of watering...Read More

  • 4. Het Paardje

    De Pijp | Cafés

    On a corner square right off the Albert Cuyp market is this bistro/bar that packs them in so tight it makes walking through the market look...Read More

  • 5. Katsu Coffeeshop and Gallery

    De Pijp | Cafés

    This De Pijp mainstay, steps from the Albert Cuyp market, is known for its quality weed, homey feel, and, believe it or not, coffee and vegan...Read More

  • 6. Kingfisher

    De Pijp | Cafés

    For a taste of the neighborhood's regentrified café culture, check out this favorite corner bar that fills up most nights with parched Pijpers...Read More

  • 7. O'Donnells Irish Pub

    De Pijp | Bars/Pubs

    If you're still craving beer after a visit to the Heineken Brewery, this full-service Irish pub a stone's throw away is just the place. An ample...Read More

  • 8. Yo-Yo

    De Pijp | Cafés

    This recently renovated, quintessential friendly neighborhood coffeeshop is in the heart of the multicultural Pijp. They have a patio where...Read More

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