Amsterdam

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 Th
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
Beyond the smoke and red-lighted windows, Amsterdam is a city teeming with music, dance, theater, and art, which has giv

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. Alto

    Leidseplein | Bars/Pubs

    Hear top notch local ensembles in the jam-packed and ultraintimate environment of one of Amsterdam's oldest jazz joints. A little Latin can...Read More

  • 2. Bourbon Street Jazz & Blues Club

    Leidseplein | Music Clubs

    Mainstream blues and jazz are served up to a largely out-of-town clientele, but it does the job—and a late one at that, open until 5 in the...Read More

  • 3. Café de Koe

    Leidseplein | Cafes–Nightlife

    Hardly bovine in any sense, the Cow's Café is still a fine place to chew the cud or graze a little, and it's a special favorite of local musicians...Read More

  • 4. Café de Spuyt

    Leidseplein | Bars/Pubs

    One of the few authentic pubs around Leidseplein has a genuinely friendly staff, an extensive beer list, and acoustic music sessions, all of...Read More

  • 5. Club Church

    Leidseplein | Dance Clubs

    Three floors of play-and-dance space offer changing theme nights six times a week. If you're looking to cruise, this is a good bet. ...Read More

  • 6. Club Up

    Leidseplein | Dance Clubs

    An intimate little shoebox of a venue shares some of its amenities with members-only artists' society De Kring. As a result, arty house parties...Read More

  • 7. De Balie

    Leidseplein | Cafes–Nightlife

    Eyeglasses peek over books and tablets as a well-read and socially conscious crowd fill the café-bar of this center for culture and politics...Read More

  • 8. De Zotte

    Leidseplein | Bars/Pubs

    The name of this little pub off the Leidseplein translates as "the drunk" in Flemish, and with around 100 Belgian beers available, the place...Read More

  • 9. Jimmy Woo's

    Leidseplein | Dance Clubs

    Thursday through Sunday, this is probably the hottest club in town for the rich and famous and their wannabes. The urban grooves are funky,...Read More

  • 10. Lux

    Leidseplein | Cafes–Nightlife

    A fantastic 1960s look and an attractive young crowd keep it lively at this Marnixstraat club and its next-door sister, Weber. ...Read More

  • 11. Melkweg

    Leidseplein | Music Clubs

    The legendary "Milk Way" features live bands and DJs covering everything from punk to dance to world music. A former milk factory, this space...Read More

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  • 12. Paradiso

    Leidseplein | Music Clubs

    This former church—vaulted ceilings and stained glass still intact—has become the country's most famous "pop temple," an epic venue for legends...Read More

  • 13. Sugar Factory

    Leidseplein | Music Clubs

    Self-styled as a "night theater," the Factory takes Amsterdam clubbing into the 21st century and beyond. An average evening may involve DJs...Read More

  • 14. De Rokerij

    Leidseplein | Cafes–Nightlife

    For over a decade, this coffee shop has managed to maintain a magical-grotto aura that, ironically enough, requires no extra indulgences to...Read More

  • 15. Habibi Ana

    Leidseplein | Bars/Pubs

    Meaning "my sweetheart" in Arabic, Habibi Ana is a one-of-a-kind experience in Amsterdam and, quite possibly, the world over. Founded by the...Read More

  • 16. Thermos Sauna

    Leidseplein | Bars/Pubs

    Men interested in more than just a little dip into the city's gay scene might consider taking the plunge at Amsterdam's most luxurious sauna...Read More

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