Canal Belt Nightlife, Amsterdam (Self Guided)

A major cosmopolitan city with an absolutely electrifying nightlife scene, Amsterdam offers a variety of entertainment, from live music to underground house music, including ultra-chic to casual hangouts. Amsterdam is also home to variety of bars and clubs located inside historic buildings, allowing some of these former establishments to live on thematically, including the industrial chic of a former printing house, the heavenly theme of a converted church with large stained glass windows still intact, and more. Take this Nightlife Tour of Amsterdam's Canal Belt and discover what this great city is all about.
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Canal Belt Nightlife Map

Guide Name: Canal Belt Nightlife
Guide Location: Netherlands » Amsterdam (See other walking tours in Amsterdam)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km
Author: Xena

1) Paradiso

Located on de Weteringschans, adjacent to Leidseplein, a center for tourism and nightlife in the city, Paradiso is converted from a 19th century church. Opening its doors in 1968, Paradiso has become one of Amsterdam's most popular concert venues, boasting a large stage equipped with two balconies and three large lighted church windows. In addition to being a concert venue, Paradiso also hosts DJ gigs equipped with plenty of dance floor and bars throughout the club. Two smaller stages are located in the basement and on the upper level of the club. The main hall holds a capacity of 1500 occupants while a smaller hall can hold up to 250 guests.

Operation Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7 pm – 3 am
Club Up

2) Club Up

Set apart from the touristy crowds of nearby Leidseplein, this discreet club is sponsored by the De Kring society of artists. Normally closed to non-members, on particular nights Club Up opens its doors to the general public and the venue hosts guest DJs on its two floors that play a blend of underground hip-hop, deep house and soul to go along with the laid-back and intimate feel of this small club. Hosting parties with an artistic edge, Club Up regularly attracts a hip and eccentric crowd, including fashionable and trend-setting crowds of all ages. This venue also hosts after parties for major events such as the Fringe Festival and the Amsterdam Dance Event.

Operation Hours: Thursday – Friday: 11 pm – 4 am, Saturday: 11 pm – 5.30 am
Chicago Social Club

3) Chicago Social Club

A hip little venue offering both a club experience as well as a trendy bar scene, the Chicago Social club features a diverse lineup of entertainment from techno to hip hop. Located in the center of Amsterdam’s Leidsesquare the Chicago Social Club has become a notable hangout for many locals since its opening in 2011. If you’re looking for the intimacy of a bar, the Chicago Social Club can be a good low-key place to drink with friends, as well as the only place around to buy a drink any day of the week until 4 AM. Its two floors offer and balcony area feature lots of cozy corners with couches to relax on.

Operation Hours: Monday – Thursday: 8 pm – 4 am; Friday – Saturday: 8 pm – 5 am; Sunday: 8 pm – 4 am
Jimmy Woo

4) Jimmy Woo

Offering an international allure, Jimmy Woo opened up in 2003 and is the place one might spot a celebrity or two. Offering two floors with distinguished decor, upstairs features an Asian style bar complete with Indonesian tables and Japanese screens. Jimmy Woo's stunning blend of traditional and modern design cues give it a certain distinction not found in many other Amsterdam nightclubs. Downstairs offers another bar as well as a spacious dance floor. The ceiling is adorned with over 11,000 bulbs that that synch in various patterns to the music. Although the requirements for getting into this exclusive club are not well-known, Jimmy Woo enforces a strict door policy.

Operation Hours: Thursday: 11 pm – 3 am; Friday – Saturday: 11 pm - 4 am; Sunday: 8 pm - 1 am
Sugar Factory

5) Sugar Factory

Labeling itself as a “cutting-edge multi-disciplinary night theatre”, the Sugar Factory blurs the boundaries between clubbing and performance art. Situated in the center of the city near Leidseplein, the Sugar Factory holds a capacity of 550 guests and usually features performance artists alongside its assortment of guest DJs. These elements add a unique air to this great nightclub. Located inside a former theater, it is equipped with a large stage looking over the main dancefloor which features enticingly-dressed dancers to get the crowd going. Weekly parties are sponsored by Wicked Jazz Sounds and include DJs, live musicians, and improv actors. Electronation night features some of Amsterdam’s most promising talent, including the sounds of Max Cooper and Mason providing regular entertainment. Other entertainment comes in a variety of sounds including an eclectic blend of local talent.

Operation Hours: Thursday and Sunday: 9 pm — 4 am; Friday – Saturday: 9 pm — 5 am

6) Melkweg

Nearby Leidseplein in the center of Amsterdam, Melkweg, which translates into Milky Way, is one of most popular nightclubs in the city. Open since the 70s, Melkweg was converted from a dairy factory to include a number of multi-purpose rooms. The bottom floor features two performances spaces. The Max holds a capacity of 1500 occupants and the Oude Zaal holds up to 700 guests. The club also includes a gallery and a restaurant. Upstairs features several smaller rooms including two theaters. Opened in 2009, the Rabozaal features large-scale theater performances throughout the year. Offering events involving music, dance, theater, film, photograph, and multimedia art, Melkweg has become a cultural center for Amsterdam and the surrounding region since its birth out of the 1960s counterculture movement. Melkweg is also a popular place for both locals and tourists to go dancing, attracting a young and eclectic crowd.

Operation Hours: Open till 5 am

7) OT301

Located in an old building that was previously used for squatting by a group of artists, as well as the headquarters for the environmental group European Youth for Action, OT301 is now considered a cultural center in the city. Hosting parties, concerts, and even film nights, as this location also once served as a film school, OT301 also houses De Peper, a vegan restaurant. OT301 is also hosts art workshops and houses music studios and a small non-profit shop. Playing a mix of underground sounds, guests will be entertained a by a mix of drum and bass, acid house, and dubstep music. Drink prices are affordable and the décor is decidedly anarchic, as its roots have helped to define.

Operation Hours: Monday – Thursday: 6 pm – 1 am; Friday – Saturday: 6 pm – 3 am; Sunday: 6 pm – 1 am

Walking Tours in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Create Your Own Walk in Amsterdam

Create Your Own Walk in Amsterdam

Creating your own self-guided walk in Amsterdam is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

It would be a pity to leave Amsterdam without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Amsterdam, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.4 km
Jordaan Walking Tour

Jordaan Walking Tour

The Jordaan is a district of the city of Amsterdam. It was originally a working class neighborhood, but in recent years it has become quite upscale and home to many museums and art galleries, particularly those focused on modern art. The district is also dotted with specialty shops, markets and restaurants. This tour is a perfect opportunity to see the main attractions of the district of Jordaan.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 1

Souvenir Shopping Part 1

It would be a pity to leave Amsterdam without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Amsterdam, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 km
Museum Quarter Walk

Museum Quarter Walk

The museums of Amsterdam are among the main tourist attractions of the city. Some of its museums are quite small, but nevertheless important, and some, like the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum are world famous and should not be missed. This tour gives you an opportunity to visit Amsterdam's most renowned museums and learn more about history, art and even the world of diamonds.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 km
Old Center Museums Walk

Old Center Museums Walk

Amsterdam is home to more than 50 museums and galleries reflecting the city's cultural diversity and appealing to a wide range of visitors. This self-guided tour is the perfect opportunity to visit some of the most attractive museums located in Amsterdam's Old Center, such as the Maritime Museum and the NEMO science center.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km
Western Canal Belt Walking Tour

Western Canal Belt Walking Tour

The Western Canal Belt is one of the most scenic parts of Amsterdam, it is where the web of historic canals is most tranquil. Various attractions are found here, from tiny shops and cafes to churches, museums and galleries. Take this tour and see the best sites of the Western Canal Belt.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Amsterdam for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Amsterdam has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Amsterdam's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the I Amsterdam City Card, Amsterdam City Pass, Amsterdam City Pass Plus, or Amsterdam Pass (by Stromma).

A city pass combines all or multiple Amsterdam' top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Amsterdam hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, Hotel TwentySeven, Swissôtel Amsterdam.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Amsterdam, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Amsterdam typically costs from around US$25 up to US$40 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off sightseeing boat calling at all of Amsterdam's major attractions, museums and shopping centers. En route, you can listen in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages and get on and off at any of the stops along the way as often as you like.

- Discover Amsterdam with the taste of beer on a relaxing 75-minute canal cruise gliding past beautiful bridges, buildings and houseboats, calling at the former Heineken brewery for an ultimate cultural experience and a free pint to enjoy.

- Pedal your way around Amsterdam's quirky quarters and picturesque waterways on a guided city bike tour. In the course of 3 hours you will visit the city's eclectic sights stopping at the most notable of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the city from an informative group leader.

- Take a morning walk around Amsterdam with a knowledgeable guide for an insider view of Holland's most fascinating city. This tour will take you along Amsterdam's enchanting canals to its must-see attractions away from tourist crowds. A complete overview of Amsterdam from the ground up!

- Treat yourself to some of the best Dutch and international delicacies Amsterdam has to offer on a 3-hour food journey across the city visiting, among other locations, a typical local market, beer garden, and a family-run restaurant.

- Step back in time to the dark years of the German occupation of Holland during World War II on a 2-hour historical walking tour of Amsterdam. Feel what it was like, learn the story of Anne Frank, visit the Jewish Quarter and other memorable places.

- Visit the infamous Red Light District, once the most dangerous part of Amsterdam, now synonymous with the city itself. See how the area has transformed, over the years, from the dark “gutter” with shady dens of vice to the lively district with welcoming pubs and restaurants.

Day Trips

If you have a day to spare whilst in Amsterdam, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Giethoorn, Bruges, Zaanse Schans, Keukenhof, and Holland’s countryside. For as little as US$50+ to US$180+ per person you will get a chance to discover “Venice of The Netherlands” and the Garden of Europe, visit one of the most captivating cities in Belgium, explore the charming Dutch villages with eye-catching windmills and picturesque canals, acquaint yourself with the traditional Dutch crafts (clog- and cheese making), taste the local pancakes and cheeses, and so much more! For any of these tours you may be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Amsterdam, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or minivan to the destination of your choice and back again.