Little-known fact: the most intoxicating part of Amsterdam is... its incredible club scene. It’s home to some of Europe’s best nightspots, parties, and events -- and wherever you are in town, we’ve got the lowdown on the best dance-dens you should hit up (and the ones you should really not).
The scene: This is the main square where memories are made/lost. The streets'll hop until well after the 5am weekend closing time.
Skip: Any club that actively recruits you to come inside is just for the (lesser) tourists. Posh picks like Jimmy Woo and Bungalow 8 generally have more attitude than actual fun.
Hit up: Former factory the Melkweg and the awesome ex-church Paradiso rule the concert and clubbing scene here, while DJ fave the Sugarfactory is best known for its Sunday Wicked Jazz Parties. However, the slightly more intimate Club Up and Chicago Social Club are more and more where the local kids play.
The scene: If anyone’s gonna give Leidseplein some competition for the party crown, it’ll be this square.
Skip: Do not follow the crowds of tourists and out-of-towners into the mega-club Escape...
Hit up: ... Instead, get in the potentially even longer line for the smaller entrance next door to dance Mecca Studio 80. If you want more scene, and have plenty of bank, head across the square to pose with the pretties at Club AIR or the brand new Club ABE. Techno freaks should head straight for the other newbie: BARKODE.
The scene: Although these two clubs are pretty isolated, they’re boss enough to make this one of Amsterdam’s most important party zones.
Skip: You can’t go wrong with either option.
Hit up: Basement party pad Doka takes over for rooftop club Canvas while that’s fixed up, swapping the restaurant and indie scene for straight-up dance parties. Across the street, Trouw is not only the city’s best club, it was the first to get a 24hr license. On weekends, the party literally never stops... until it shuts up shop in 2015, anyway. So... get on it.
The scene: It's one of the city's main gay streets, but the party's good enough to draw a crowd of every orientation under the sun.
Skip: Any judgment... what happens on Reguliersdwars stays on Reguliersdwars.
Hit up: Any of the epic street parties. Any other day, try the always-friendly Club SoHo (especially when their ridiculous happy hour specials are on). The newest hotspot for mixed crowds is Club NYX, rising out of the ashes of the the legendary club Exit.
The Medieval Center
The scene: More known for its beer and café scene, and... other entertainment, the Medieval Center also offers some scattered dance spots.
Skip: The over-priced and unevenly produced Supperclub and super-dive San Francisco (unless you’re really, really inebriated).
Hit up: Brand-spankin’-new hip-kid club Disco Dolly. Tourists and locals mix at Winston Kingdom for grungy fun, especially for the Cheeky Monday drum ‘n’ bass parties. Club NL is also a safe bet on quiet Monday nights. Otherwise, the hottest dance floor in the area is Bitterzoet’s. Indie-rock lovers should look out for their regular Kill All Hipsters parties.
Along ‘t IJ
The scene: Dance spots with a watery view.
Skip: Historic club Panama’s best days may be behind it...
Hit up: Indoor/outdoor club Roest is worth finding in the maze of the eastern docklands for its parties and canal-side beach. A short ferry ride across the IJ is temporary hotspot Club Toren, proud possessor of a 24hr liquor license... until its June 2014 closing (so, definitely get on that). In the summer, this is also where you’ll find the Tolhuistuin’s surreal (now 24hr) outdoor parties.
The scene: This industrial area turned park offers awesome weekends and epic indoor/outdoor summer festivals.
Skip: Uh, don’t skip, stay longer... and start out at one of the delicious, mostly organic/locavore restos on site.
Hit up: If you have tickets to an event, the Westergasfabriek and WesterUnie are pretty freaking good. If not, you’ll probably end up dancing to rockabilly music with half the city at Pacific Parc, which is no bad thing.
Rest of the West
The scene: Amsterdam’s most alternative (and affordable) clubbing is scattered around this giant ‘hood.
Skip: Heading anywhere without a specific party in mind. These are destination clubs, and the parties can get a little weird...
Hit up: Many of this area’s multi-purpose clubs are (former) squats, like OT301 and OCCII, where you will find different entertainment every night of the week. De Nieuwe Anita might have anything on from bands to films to haircuts, while Club Lite offers barefoot partying and tantric dance.
The scene: The farthest district from the center throws the most epic parties.
Skip: Don’t expect to find a party if you don’t already have tickets, and be warned that the restaurant selection here is surprisingly lacking.
Hit up: This ‘hood’s most famous party is Sensation White, held every July in the Amsterdam ArenA. However, only slightly more modest DJ fests are held regularly at concert venues Heineken Music Hall and the new Ziggo Dome.
1. MelkwegLijnbaansgracht 234A, Amsterdam
2. ParadisoWeteringschans 6-8, Amsterdam
3. SugarfactoryLijnbaansgracht 238, Amsterdam
4. Club UpKorte Leidsedwarsstraat 26-1, Amsterdam
5. Chicago Social ClubLeidseplein 12, Amsterdam
6. Studio 80Rembrandtplein 17, Amsterdam
7. AIRAmstelstraat 16, Amsterdam
8. Club ABEAmstelstraat 30, Amsterdam
9. BARKODEWagenstraat 3, Amsterdam
10. DokaWibautstraat 150, Amsterdam
11. CanvasWibautstraat 150, Amsterdam
12. TrouwWibautstraat 127, Amsterdam
13. Club SoHoReguliersdwarsstraat 36, Amsterdam
14. Club NYXReguliersdwarsstraat 42, Amsterdam
15. Disco DollyHandboogstraat 11, Amsterdam
16. Winston KingdomWarmoesstraat 131, Amsterdam
17. Club NLNieuwezijds Voorburgwal 169A, Amsterdam
18. BitterzoetSpuistraat 2, Amsterdam
19. Amsterdam Roest213 Czaar Peterstraat, Amsterdam
20. TolhuistuinTolhuisweg 5, Amsterdam
21. WestergasfabriekGosschalklaan, Amsterdam
22. WesterUnieKlönneplein 4-6, Amsterdam
23. Pacific ParcPolonceaukade 23, Amsterdam
24. OT301Overtoom 301, Amsterdam
25. OCCIIAmstelveenseweg 134, Amsterdam
26. De Nieuwe AnitaFrederik Hendrikstraat 111-115, Amsterdam
27. Club LiteJan van Galenstraat 24, Amsterdam
28. Amsterdam ArenAArena Boulevard 1, Amsterdam
29. Heineken Music HallArena Blvd 590, Amsterdam
30. Ziggo DomeDe Passage 100, Amsterdam
This former factory is now one of Amsterdam's most famous clubs, and not only can you come and rock out to live music, this place also serves as a theater, dance venue, and art/photo gallery.
This former church now holds a different kind of congregation. They may attend services religiously, but that consists of a lot of loud music, plenty of dancing, and a sweaty night of frivolity.
Although this isn't an actual sugar factory, it's still pretty sweet. It's a dynamic and fascinating place where club, live music, and theater all come together in one super-fun venue.
This Leidseplein club knows how to show its patrons a good time. If you're 18 or older, hit them up for a night (or three) of high-energy dancing and bass-pounding music.
The Chicago Social Club is one part nightclub, one part comedy club (Boom Chicago, located in the back), with a distinctly international vibe. Once the laughs end, the music and dancing begins.
Practically a dance Mecca, Studio 80 rocks contemporary electronic dance music on most nights. And they're always tinkering with their concepts, so don't be surprised to see showcases for regular dance music developments including DJs and other live acts.
The name might be very unassuming, but you'll probably find that there's not much air inside the this award-winning club, only because it's one of the hottest (i.e. most popular) clubs in all of Amsterdam.
This high-end club is not for those expecting a cheap, quiet evening. Prepare for a pricey, but quality time at this music venue that also features a spectacular bar and lounge area.
This Rembrandtplein club's motto is "Back to basics", which apparently means that they focus exclusively on techno, deep house, and tech-house tunes.
Located in the basement of the Volkskrant building, this Wibautstraat club is always cycling through an endless list of the hottest DJs providing the back drop for a seriously good time in Amsterdam.
Canvas is a pleasant and relaxing scene, overlooking the city from the roof deck of the Volkskrant building and serving drinks and food for a perfect evening.
Often touted as one of the best clubs in the city, Trouw was the first venue of its kind to get a 24hr license to operate 'round the clock. That means on the weekends, the party literally doesn't stop.
SoHo can offer up a few different scenes, depending on the time of week. Stop by for a more quiet after-work drink during the week, or hit them up on a weekend to enjoy DJs spinning and an electric atmosphere.
This unique party spot features three levels of action, with each floor representing a different style of music. Not digging the tunes on the third floor? Hop down to the other two. These options basically ensure you'll have a good time no matter what.
You never quite know what to expect at this Medieval Center nightclub. They feature DJs, live music, exhibitions, dance, rock, and even opera (?!), so you're pretty much guaranteed and eclectic time.
The Winston Kingdom is owned by The Winston Hotel, and is a club and bar featuring live music throughout the week.
Located in the heart of Amsterdam, this stylish and modern club is open six nights a week and always features the hottest DJs the city has to offer.
This multifaceted club is more than a space with music and drinks. They draw large crowds through a number of exhibitions, projects, concerts, and shows other than their club nights.
This events space features its own bar with food and drink, and it's also the home of the 2013 Cannabis Cup. There's a good selection of cheap beer here as well, but make sure you go on a sunny day since the majority of the space is outdoors.
Tolhuistuin is a popular garden and performing arts venue located on the on the IJ'.
This cultural hot spot is multidimensional, featuring various galleries, shops, restaurants, a cinema, and a theater.
Located in the Westerpark, this industrial club space is full of concrete, steel, and a crazy-fun nightlife.
This bar/club/bistro offers plenty to do, whether you want to drop by and lounge on the sunny terrace, grab a casual dinner, or rock out to their superior DJs at night.
This multipurpose event venue is a jack of all trades... well three trades, acting as a music venue, movie theater, and vegetarian/vegan resto.
OCCII is an independent and alternative music spot in Amsterdam, which features various live shows throughout the week and weekend.
Here at De Nieuwe Anita, you might find anything from live bands rocking out, to barbers offering haircuts. Seriously. Head there and prepare for the mystery.
This western Amsterdam club is a bit of a free spirit, offering folks the opportunity to party barefoot and partake in tantric dance. Yep.
This massive stadium plays host to sports (soccer), concerts, and other events needing a large venue format.
Opened in 2001, this concert and events venue draws more than 600,000 visitors a year who drop by for various live shows and music.