Whether it's the city's come-as-you-are mentality or its wonderfully liberal nature, when the sun sets, there's nowhere quite like Amsterdam. There's something for everyone. From laidback cocktails and exquisite wine bars to live music venues and some of the best clubs in the world, get ready for a nightlife experience you'll remember forever.
Where to go in Amsterdam at night
Where to start. If you're a newcomer to Amsterdam and unfamiliar with its nightlife, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. With so much variety and appealing spots everywhere, choosing just a few ways to spend your time can be tough. Let’s take a look at some of the best nightlife around, so you can plan out your time in the Dutch capital and make the most out of your visit.
Let's start in central Amsterdam, where most of the best nightlife can be found in two areas. One of these is Leidseplein, a buzzing hub centred around Leidseplein Square. Before you step foot inside a bar or club, you’ll be entertained by a variety of street performers doing their thing outside. From dancing to jazz, there’s always something to see, so stop and take a look before you head inside.
Bars and large terraces line the square, making Leidseplein an excellent choice for drinks at any time of the day or night. Famous music venues nearby include Melkweg and Paradiso. At the same time, lots of Irish pubs and independent clubs can be found on the streets which radiate out from the square. If you’re looking for something a little more sophisticated, Stadsschouwburg Municipal Theatre is in Leidseplein, opposite the tram stop.
Rembrandtplein is one of the busiest squares in the city, and it’s easy to see why. Most of the most popular clubs in central Amsterdam can be found in and around Rembrandtplein.
The square itself is home to Club Rain and Escape, both of which are ideal choices if you feel like dressing up and dancing into the night. For a more casual experience, try Studio 80 or Club Smokey across the square.
Close to Rembrandtplein, Regiliersdwarsstraat is Amsterdam's most famous street for LGBTQ+ clubbing. Since the opening of Café Mac Donald, the very first gay bar on the street, the area has grown into an exciting destination where everybody is welcome, and nobody is judged. Head here for a taste of Amsterdam’s easygoing attitude.
This part of Amsterdam sits in the south-east and is mostly residential. It’s home to some of the biggest venues in the city, making it a must if you’re looking to party in the Dutch capital. Join in with the locals and see things from a new perspective when you explore the ever-vibrant Zuidoost.
The area is home to the Ziggo Dome, Johan Cruijff ArenA, and AFAS Live. Check out what’s on during your visit and head there for a night you’ll never forget.
The Best Clubs in Amsterdam
If you're looking for a one-stop venue to satisfy your nightlife needs, check out one of the best clubs in Amsterdam. Our list includes a variety of spots, so you can choose one that suits your taste and mood.
This industrial club is in the city's Nieuw-West area. It's a haven for techno-lovers and serious clubbers, with a 24-house licence which means the party is often non-stop. Go here if you’re looking for a big night out, and be ready to dance!
Claire is in Rembrandtplein, but it’s tucked away between a restaurant and another club, not so easy to find unless you know what to look for. It’s one of the most exciting clubs in the city, and a favourite among locals for its intimate setting and world-class house and techno bookings.
If you're used to clubbing in Berlin, you'll feel right at home when you visit Shelter. Tucked in the basement of the A'DAM Tower, this one isn’t for the faint-hearted. But if you’re looking for a night of quality dance music, this could be the best spot for you.
Named after the Greek goddess of the night, NYX is set inside a converted four-storey carriage house. Today, it’s a colourful nightspot known for its excellent drag performances and LGBTQ+ parties. If you’re looking for a fun night in Amsterdam, choose NYX.
A vast complex with a restaurant, café, club, gallery, and even a gym, De School occupies a converted school building in Amsterdam West. There’s always something great happening here. When it comes to nightlife, De School is famous among Amsterdammers and clued-up visitors alike. Head here for a night to remember.
The Best Bars in Amsterdam
Whether you’re warming up for the night or enjoying a few laid-back drinks with friends, there are plenty of great bars in Amsterdam. These are some of our favourites, but do explore and discover gems to call your own!
Brouwerij ’t IJ
If you’re looking for something unique, head to Brouwerij ’t IJ. This Amsterdam-favourite independent brewery is nestled in Oost, in the shadow of the tallest windmill in the city. The canal-side beer garden is an ideal spot to enjoy a signature beer.
Another beautiful waterfront spot, Hannekes Boom, is a perfect place for drinks in the sun. Head there in summer and join locals for drinks and even swimming if you’re feeling brave. During the colder months, gather around the fire and enjoy a memorable evening in this Amsterdam gem.
Distillery ’t Nieuwe Diep
This unique jenever distillery can be found in the green oasis of Flevopark. It’s a pretty lakeside spot that’s great for drinks at any time of day. Sprawl out on the terrace in summer or inside the cosy tasting room if the weather’s cooler. Never heard of jenever? It’s a Dutch spirit similar to gin, and there are lots of flavour variations to try here.
Translated to ‘Three Little Bottles’, this atmospheric spot is a must-visit while you’re in Amsterdam. Established in 1650, it’s the oldest tasting house in the city. Discover an ever-changing variety of Dutch seasonal beers on tap and a selection of locally-brewed jenevers. This spot closes at 08:30, so try to get there early for a quick drink you’ll remember forever.
Hiding in Plain Sight
This sleek speakeasy-style bar is easy to miss, as the name suggests. Close to the centre of Amsterdam but off the tourist trail, Hiding in Plain Sight boasts a menu of inventive cocktails, skilled bartenders, and comfortable lounge seating. It’s an excellent choice for a few delicious drinks, anytime.
Getting around Amsterdam
The way you travel around Amsterdam will depend on who you are and what you’re looking for. If you’re interested in experiencing the city like a local, hire a bike to ride around. Bike hire is very cheap in Amsterdam, easy-to-navigate cycle lanes mean you can get wherever you’re going in safety.
Or, get your walking shoes on and explore on foot. There’s no better way to discover new parts of the city.
Public transport in Amsterdam
If you have a little further to go or you want to save your energy for fun and excitement, use Amsterdam's quick and convenient public transport to get around. There are lots of busses, trams, and Metros in the city, and the routes couldn’t be easier to navigate.
To make things even more straightforward, we recommend you pick up a travel pass to use throughout your time in Amsterdam. Choose the I Amsterdam City Card for a period of 24, 48, or 72 hours, and swipe onto any type of transport you like.
The easiest way to find the right stations and services is with an Amsterdam transport app, like the official one from GVP. Simply enter your destination, and let the smart app do the rest, telling you when the next service is due and where to alight. If you’d prefer to speak to a human, just head into your nearest tram or Metro station and find a friendly advisor.
When does Amsterdam public transport run?
The trams, busses, and Metros in Amsterdam run from 06:00 to 00:30. If you need to get somewhere outside those hours, you can use the night bus service or grab a taxi in no time. That means you can enjoy the city’s incredible nightlife until the very last moment, then make your way home without any stress.
Travelling to Amsterdam by train
Taking the train to Amsterdam is one of the easiest and quickest ways to travel from many major destinations across Europe. Modern high-speed trains are ready to whisk you from one city to another, and some of the most popular train journeys include Paris to Amsterdam (taking 3h 12m), Brussels to Amsterdam (taking just 1h 45m) and London to Amsterdam (taking 4h 2m).
On your way home you'll also enjoy quick journey time including, Amsterdam to Paris (3h 13m), Amsterdam to Brussels (1h 46m) and Amsterdam to London (5h 11m - although a new quicker direct route is launching later this year).
Feeling inspired to take the train? Why not find out more about travelling around the Netherlands by train in our trains in the Netherlands guide.