Famed for its wild nightlife, Amsterdam offers visitors something quite unique when the sun goes down. Pubs, clubs, soft drugs and the sex trade feature among the options.
The Red Light District is a major drawcard, with many tourists choosing to simply wander through and see women posing in shop windows, and hear insistent touts push sex shows. Safety is not an issue, though visitors should be wary of pickpockets and other petty criminals. Travellers should also understand that De Wallen (as locals call the Red Light District) is a nightlife hub aside from the sex trade.
Amsterdam is famously tolerant of marijuana use. Visitors can purchase a variety of strains in some coffeeshops, and smoke at these establishments. Tourists should note that while marijuana use is tolerated, it's not strictly speaking legal. Some caution is necessary.
The city's mainstream nightlife centres around Leidseplein, where visitors will find the most popular bars, clubs and restaurants. Amsterdam also has a fondness for live music, particularly jazz, as many of the world's jazz legends have settled here. Music lovers can enjoy performances at fun jazz clubs, or catch world-class rock and pop acts at many venues. Bigger concerts take place at the Koninklijk Theater Carré, Heineken Music Hall, and the huge Amsterdam Arena.
For a more cultured night out, visitors can purchase tickets to a number of highly-regarded orchestras. Or, they can watch the National Ballet and Netherlands Opera. Many theatres produce shows in both Dutch and English, including De Balie, Felix Meritis, Theater Frascati, and the Vondelpark Open-Air Theater.
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