Amsterdam, and with that The Red Light District, is one of the most visited cities in Europe. We understand why, this city is amazing. After writing a guide on The Jordaan and De Pijp, it was time to show you the best things to do in The Red Light District in Amsterdam.
About the Red Light District
The Rosse Buurt, The Wallen or simply the Red Light District. Whatever name you give it, we all mean the same area in the city. It is the part where the Rock and Roll image of the city comes to life. The Red Light District lies between Amsterdam West and the City Center. Here people from all over the world come together to celebrate the freedom of the city. The area is full of restaurants, bars, coffeeshops, specialty stores and adult entertainment, with this it is the absolute heart of the Amsterdam nightlife.
In the area you will also find the Warmoestraat, a quirky shopping street with a variety of shops and bars that you must visit during your stay in the city. It can be a bit crowded, but for a reason this street is one of the oldest in the city, dating back to the 13th-century. Right next to the Red Light District you will also find the Amsterdam Chinatown with some great Asian restaurants, Asian supermarkets and other affiliated shops and cafes.
Things to do in The Red Light District
Besides the bars, prostitution, food and drinks there are also other things to see and do in the area. Visit the beautiful Oude Kerk or De Waag (here they serve food and drinks too!) that is convienently located at the Nieuwmarkt. The Nieuwmarkt itself is also an area full of life, here you find cafés, restaurants and coffee shops . In the mood for something more cultural? At the prostitute information center you can take a walking tour that will tell you more about the history of this part of town.
The “Day” in this part of town starts late. So begin with a late lunch before you take this walking tour that will take you through all the highlights. After that you can visit the Allard Pierson Museum, Museum Our Lord in the Attic, Museum of Prostitution or Erotic Museum. A peep-show is also a must-see for those who are willing, at the Casa Rosso (the venue has “Sex Palace” in neon across the entrance) you can view this live sex show for €2,- per two minutes.
Where to eat and drink in The Red Light District
Nieuwebrugsteeg 24, Amsterdam
Omelegg is the place to be for all-day breakfast. Here you can get your eggs exactly how you want them.
De Laatste Kruimel
Langebrugsteeg 4, Amsterdam
The name of this place says it all. “To the last crumb” makes tasty pastries and savory sandwiches that you want to eat to the last crumb… . It is the perfect place to lunch while exploring the area. With a very long list of sandwiches to choose from and finger-licking-good brownies there is always something to snack.
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 177, Amsterdam
Oriental City serves one of the best dim-sum in the city.
Beursplein 5, Amsterdam
Cut Throat is a bit of a unique spot. This is a barbershop, coffee corner, cocktail bar and food place all-in-one. So whichever of these things you want, this is the place to visit in the area.
Oudezijds Achterburgwal 99
Surrounded by the red lights and rich history, this restaurant located in an attractive courtyard offers delicious and inspiring seasonal dishes and the best wine. Chef and owner Daan Olthuis and his team make dishes that you will be talking about for a long time!
Oude Hoogstraat 2, Amsterdam
This restaurant might seem like just another fast food bar in the Red Light District, but Burgerzaken’s offerings of burgers are really anything but ordinary. It is the go-to burger place in the area and they are open until 3am!
Nes 59, Amsterdam
Mappa serves the fine people of Amsterdam pure, no-nonsense Italian comfort food. Here everything is prepared in their own unique and renown style.
Pijlsteeg 31, Amsterdam
The Wynand Fockink Proeflokaal (Dutch for tasting tavern) is the perfect spot to start your night. Here you can try some great spirits at their stand-only tasting tavern. Drink anything you like? You can buy a bottle to take home in their shop!
What you need to know
Some people feel a bit uneasy with visiting this specific area. There is absolutely no need though, Amsterdam is generally a safe city! However The Red Light District does come with some rules you should follow to have a good experience.
- No photographs of the women. No matter how excited you are to show people at home you where here, photographing the girls is not allowed. Don’t be surprised if someone swings your phone in the water when you do, people in the area do not like to be put in Instagram.
- No public drinking or intoxication. The area might suggest otherwise but drinking and being drunk and disorderly is not allowed. People live and work here, when you get a bit to rowdy the local police can interfere. Enjoy your drinks in the bar and try to keep it down when you walk around the streets.
The Red Light District is an amazing part of Amsterdam, we highly recommend you visiting the area during your stay in the city. Please check out our other Best of Amsterdams, for more great things to do during your stay.