Let's be honest, the majority of tourists aren't necessarily coming to Amsterdam to walk along the canals and go to museums. Oh sure, that element is there for those who seek it. But the real fun kicks in after the sun goes down. Repeat this mantra a few times: "Amsterdam nightlife...Amsterdam nightlife...." Want a cup of coffee and a joint? Want to cruise the Red Light District and say hello to the "window girls"? Want to smoke a joint and THEN go visit the window girls? You came to the right place. Amsterdam nightlife is where it's at! But of course there are cool clubs and pubs and dance venues as well.
But let's cut to the chase. Even if you get no farther than casually strolling down the streets of the Red Light District to "window shop", at least do it correctly. This isn't New York City or Rome, that's for sure. The women are warming themselves on street-corner fires, or casually knocking on your window to see if you're a legitimate trick or an undercover cop. Nope. Amsterdam nightlife is actually refreshing in a way because what you see is what you get.
The Red Light District is amazingly well-kept. No dirty old men in raincoats and dark glasses stumbling over each other. Under neon lights, visitors can admire the latest vibrators in the same way other boutiques showcase furs and shoes in their display windows.
Amsterdam nightlife boasts some unique entertainment: an erotic museum showcases five floors of erotica, videos, photo's and more. Street-corner PR reps do their best to convince passers-by to check out live sex shows. And the women. Gorgeous women wearing lingerie and a lot less pose behind glass doors and offer a menu goods and services you sure won't find in a Chinese restaurant. Amsterdam nightlife. Nothing like it.
You'll know you're at the red light District when you see the "Grasshopper". I'll leave it at that. If you need to ask directions, just ask 'can you show me the way to the Grasshopper?" and they'll know where you're going. Think you need to wait until after-hours to come to this part of town? Think again. Business is good 24 hours a day. If you want to satisfy the voyeur in you, check out the Theater Casa Rosso. It has what many consider to be the "best" live sex show in town. But for the same 25 euro cover charge you can partake in your own live sex show in the Red Light District - if you're really looking for unique live entertainment.
In general - and mind you I'm not speaking from experience (ahem) I'm just an informed shopper - if a building has two stories of windows, the more attractive and more expensive girls will be found on the second floor. Prices for a quarter hour can range from 25 to100 euros depending on the services offered.
If you see windows covered by a curtain; guess what - there's a "transaction" taking place. Better to go back later. The rule of thumb is, don't argue, don't be obnoxious, don't try to take pictures and don't try to not pay.
There really are Amsterdam nightclubs in and around the city. It's not just prostitutes and hemp bars. It's just that Amsterdam night clubs sort of pale in comparison to the "de-militarized zone" of the city center. I can't think of too many places where you can smoke a joint, have a cappuccino and enjoy oral sex all for less than 50 euro. McDonald's should offer such deals!