Piet Heinkade 3, Eastern Harbor, 020.788.2188
The Draw: Catch a concert in an architectural showpiece and sneak a peek at the future of jazz.
The Scene: Designed by Danish firm 3xNielsen, the gorgeous, waterfront Bimhuis is one of Europe’s premier spots to hear the freshest developments in jazz and world music. A selection of mainstream music is also on the agenda, however Amsterdam’s sophisticated jazz cognoscenti demand the challenging stuff, and Bimhuis delivers nightly.
Hot Tip: Choose your concerts wisely or come with an open mind—sometimes the future is edgy.
Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 115, Canal Belt, 020.626.3249
The Draw: Amsterdam’s oldest jazz joint is home to nightly jams that showcase local and visiting artists.
The Scene: Top mainstream musicians play to a mixed crowd of locals and those just visiting. The friendly vibe and intimate setting are everything a neighborhood jazz bar should be. The opportunity to catch outstanding performers elevates Alto’s reputation to that of Amsterdam’s most reliable jazz spot.
Hot Tip: Go on a Wednesday to catch local sax legend Hans Dulfer.
The Redlight District
The Draw: Tacky, loud, neon-lit, and touristy doesn’t sound doesn’t sound attractive, but be honest—you know you’re gonna peek, so make sure to come at night.
The Scene: Take away the red neon lights and the bikini-clad women standing in windows, and Amsterdam’s legendary Red Light District would be hard to distinguish from any other part of the city. The crowds here are eclectic and include everyone from couples to families with teens in tow. Sure, there are plenty of tourists who head here for more than just sightseeing, however the vast majority of visitors look without touching.
Hot Tip: Make an evening of it by visiting some of the area’s other attractions. Try the Erotic Museum, the Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum, or the Theater Casa Rosso, one of the premier venues for the district’s infamous live-sex shows.