When the sun sets over the Dutch capital, Amsterdam undergoes a remarkable transformation. The city’s wide range of nocturnal offerings ensures that there’s something for everyone, whether you’re seeking romantic moments by the canals or thrilling adventures in vibrant neighborhoods.
In this comprehensive travel guide, we’ll unveil the 16 best things to do in Amsterdam at night. For cultural enthusiasts, you may want to attend a concert at the Concertgebouw or head to one of the museums with extended hours. Or, if you’d like to experience the city’s nightlife, we recommend going on a pub crawl or listening to live music at Paradiso.
We also review hidden gems in Amsterdam at night, like secret speakeasies and places to eat. So, without further ado, join us as we delve into the heart of “the Venice of the North” and everything it has to offer after dark!
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Walk through the famous Red Light District
A nighttime stroll through the iconic Red Light District is an experience like no other and easily ranks among the best things to do at night in Amsterdam. This historic neighborhood, known locally as De Wallen, comes alive in the evening. In fact, it’s famous for its labyrinthine alleyways, coffee shops, and the distinctive red-lit windows that beckon curious onlookers.
For those yearning to delve deeper into the district’s compelling history, consider taking a guided walking tour. These two-hour tours offer profound insights into the Red Light District’s rich past and shed light on the women who work behind those renowned windows.
This neighborhood is a must-see if it’s your first time visiting Amsterdam. After all, it stands as a testament to the city’s unique ability to interweave culture and a hint of the unconventional. However, it’s essential to remember that capturing photographs of the workers here is strictly prohibited! Please respect the privacy and dignity of those who call this district home.
Take an evening canal cruise
If you’re wondering what to do in Amsterdam at night, canal cruises undoubtedly rank among the most fun things to do here. As the sun sets and the city lights up, these picturesque canals transform into a mesmerizing wonderland.
Certain boat tours even include wine and cheese, elevating your experience to a delightful level of sophistication! In particular, we highly suggest this evening canal cruise. Drifting along the serene canals, you’ll pass by historical attractions such as the Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum, and Hermitage Amsterdam.
After your one-hour boat ride, you should be much more familiar with the city’s landmarks. Plus, these tours tend to be capped at 30 people. So, they’re often an excellent way to escape the crowds! Note that if you’re traveling in a large group, you can actually book a private boat.
See a concert at the Concertgebouw
Home to the world-renowned Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, this illustrious venue is ranked among the finest concert halls in the world. You can actually find three different concert halls here, two of which are highly famous. The Grote Zaal seats 1974 people, while the Kleine Zaal has 427 seats.
With a rich history dating back to 1888, the Concertgebouw has hosted legendary conductors and artists like Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, and Bernard Haitink. Acts like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and The Who have also performed here, adding a rock ‘n’ roll touch to its classical repertoire. Today, it continues to be a hub of musical excellence, with more than 700 concerts each year.
Thanks to all of these events, the Concertgebouw receives around 700,000 visitors annually. Whether you’re a fan of classical compositions, jazz, or contemporary music, the Concertgebouw promises an unforgettable night! Take a look at the official concert schedule to see what’s on during your visit to Amsterdam.
Visit museums that are open late
Exploring Amsterdam’s rich cultural heritage takes on a unique charm when you visit museums that keep their doors open late. While many museums typically close early, there are exceptional opportunities for night owls and culture enthusiasts.
The Van Gogh Museum, for instance, usually closes at 6 p.m. However, on the last Friday evening of each month, it extends its hours from 7 to 11 p.m. for “Vincent on Friday.” You can visit the Eye Film Museum until 7 pm. Meanwhile, the Red Light Secrets Museum is always open late, closing its doors at 10 p.m.
Plus, if you’d like to beat the crowds, you can visit the Anne Frank House until 10 p.m. Just remember to book tickets beforehand! Tickets become available six weeks in advance.
If you happen to be in Amsterdam in November, don’t miss “Museumnacht”! Participating museums stay open from 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. the following day during this event. Participants not only gain access to multiple museums, they also get to see concerts and other performances.
Live music at Paradiso or the Melkweg
For an unforgettable night of live music in Amsterdam, look no further than the iconic venues of Paradiso and the Melkweg. These music temples and cultural hubs, both conveniently located close to Leidseplein, offer an electric atmosphere that’s unrivaled.
Paradiso, with its origins as a nineteenth-century church, has earned a reputation as the most famous rock venue in the Netherlands. It’s hosted a dazzling array of artists, including the Arctic Monkeys, Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga, and Snarky Puppy.
On the other hand, the Melkweg, meaning “Milky Way” in Dutch, is a former milk factory turned music oasis, boasting four distinct music halls. With a history of performances by iconic acts like U2, Nirvana, and Prince, the Melkweg promises an eclectic lineup that caters to diverse tastes.
Both music venues host a mix of high-profile artists as well as up-and-coming acts. So, whether you’re into rock, pop, indie, or electronic beats, you won’t want to miss the chance to catch a live show.
Grab cocktails at a speakeasy
Amsterdam’s nightlife has a secret worth uncovering–its enchanting speakeasy scene. Tucked away behind unassuming facades, bars like Door 74, Bar Oldenhof, and Hiding in Plain Sight transport you to a bygone era of clandestine indulgence.
The allure of these speakeasies lies in their intimate ambiance, masterful mixologists, and carefully crafted cocktail menus. Door 74, for example, is a well-known gem, requiring a reservation to access its creative concoctions. This prohibition-era-style speakeasy has earned a place on The World’s 50 Best Bar list twice.
Meanwhile, Bar Oldenhof is another excellent option, evoking the charm of a traditional gentlemen’s club with its dim lighting and high-end cocktails. Last but not least, Hiding in Plain Sight is a must-visit for those who enjoy mixology.
Bike through Amsterdam
Discovering Amsterdam by cycling through its bike-friendly streets is undeniably one of the best night activities the city has to offer. Renting a bike in the city center is a breeze, with numerous bike shops to choose from. Our top suggestions are Bike City in Jordaan or MacBike, near Amsterdam Central Station.
While a deposit and a minor fee might be required, it’s a small price to pay for the freedom to explore this charming city on two wheels. After all, Amsterdam boasts an extensive network of bike paths. Just don’t forget to lock your bike securely when not in use!
You can typically only find guided bike tours during the daytime. However, many tourists choose to cycle on their own. Remember: the sun sets late during the summer here, so you’ll have daylight even into the evening in Amsterdam. As for your cycling destination, we highly recommend Vondelpark.
See a movie at Pathé Tuschinski
For a cinematic experience like no other, catching a film at Pathé Tuchinski near Rembrandtplein ranks among the best Amsterdam evening activities. This famous movie theater, dating back to 1921, is a stunning example of art deco architecture.
Most films are shown in English with Dutch subtitles, ensuring a welcoming experience for international visitors. However, the true charm of Tuschinski lies in its grandeur! If you want to see a movie in the most famous theater room, choose a showtime in the Grote Zaal, also called Zaal 1.
Tickets on the first balcony offer the best views of the stunning auditorium. You’ll have to pay a little more to sit in this section; however, you’ll also receive a complimentary drink and snack in your ticket price.
Take a tour of the Heineken Experience
Located at Heineken’s oldest brewery, this interactive journey offers a captivating insight into one of the most famous Dutch beer brands worldwide. The former brewery has been tastefully transformed into a museum filled with fascinating exhibits, making it a must-visit destination.
While the Heineken Experience is primarily self-guided, knowledgeable guides are strategically placed at critical points to enrich your understanding. Here, you can delve into the brewing process and customize your Heineken bottle or glass.
As the tour concludes, the tasting room awaits, where you can exchange tokens for Heineken drinks of your choice from the tap. However, if you prefer a more serene setting, consider paying extra for the ticket that includes the rooftop bar!
Please note that the last entry is at 6:45 p.m., and the experience closes at 9 p.m. So, plan accordingly to savor every moment of this immersive beer journey.
Watch the sunset from A’DAM Tower
Perched 22 stories high, the A’dam Lookout offers an unrivaled panoramic view of this picturesque city, from its historic center to the bustling port and iconic canals. You can choose to explore an interactive exhibition here and enjoy a free audio tour.
Or, thrill-seekers can take a daring ride on “Over The Edge,” Europe’s highest swing, dangling 100 meters above the ground with the city beneath their feet. Another option is to experience the Amsterdam VR ride, a virtual reality rollercoaster through the city.
Nonetheless, our favorite thing to do here has to be the Sky Deck. This area hosts daily DJ sessions during the summertime, making it the perfect place to enjoy music and elevate your Amsterdam experience.
You can reach A’dam Tower via the free ferry F3 from behind Amsterdam Central Station. However, please note that the last admission is at 9 p.m., and this attraction closes at 10 p.m.
Watch a Dutch National Opera & Ballet performance
Attending a Dutch National Opera & Ballet performance is a cultural experience that shouldn’t be missed. Located by the waterfront in the iconic Stopera building (also called Het Muziektheater), this venue offers world-class performances in both opera and ballet.