Amsterdam Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Amsterdam gay travel guide to the best hotels, gay bars, clubs & things to do.
The Gay Travel Experience: Amsterdam, Netherlands
One of the most progressive cities in the world, Amsterdam has a thriving gay scene and is well-known for being gay-friendly.
There’s so much for gay travelers to experience in Amsterdam, from storybook-like streets along over 160 canals, an epic art scene, tons of gay bars and clubs, and stunningly beautiful architecture.
I only spent a few days in Amsterdam, but definitely made the most of it! The city truly has a unique feel to it, much different than other northern European cities like Copenhagen or Stockholm. As you explore the city (and read this guide), you’ll quickly learn how amazingly different Amsterdam is.
Below I’ll fill you in on all the best hotels for LGBT travelers, fun places to visit, the Amsterdam gay area, and a bunch of gay nightlife venues.
Gay Amsterdam: Hotels & Where to Stay
The entirety of Amsterdam is LGBT-friendly, so gay travelers will feel comfortable staying in any part of the city. Below are a few areas of the city that I particularly recommend, followed by some awesome hotels for gay tourists.
Grachtengordel (Canal Belt) Hotels
Grachtengordel is the Canal Belt area of Amsterdam that wraps around the south and west of the city’s core.
The neighborhood is a UNESCO World Heritage List designated area and is full of fantastic hotels, gay nightlife, and gorgeous architecture. You can’t go wrong with Canal Belt hotels.
Many popular gay hotels are in this district along the Amstel, which is the canal and waterfront promenade that wraps around Rembrandt Square. Here are some of my top recommendations.
Eden Hotel Amsterdam
Eden Hotel is located directly on the Amstel River in the heart of the city’s traditional gay area. Their rooms have a variety of unique themes, from traditional to sexy. Some of them have beautiful views of the canal, too.
The entire hotel is modern, but the hotel’s lounge and restaurant are particularly stunning with dim, inviting lighting.
Banks Mansion is also in the Amstel Area, just south of Rembrandt Square and the area’s local gay bars. They’re a luxury gay friendly hotel with a traditional yet modern feel. Highly rated for impeccable hospitality, you can expect ab unforgettably comfortable stay here.
Albus Hotel offers a bit more affordability in the Amstel/Rembrandt Square area without compromising style. Rooms are minimal, elegant, and modern. They also have a fantastic restaurant serving modern European cuisine.
Amistad has long been known as Amsterdam’s gay friendly hotel. While the property’s management changed, they are still proudly welcoming to all guests and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
With 9 rooms, Amistad has a cozy bed & breakfast vibe—and breakfast is always included with your stay. Their single rooms are perfect for solo travelers.
Binnenstad (Old Centre) Hotels
Binnenstad is the traditional Old Centre of Amsterdam, which includes the famous Red Light District.
It’s naturally one of the most popular places to stay in Amsterdam for its central location. There’s quick access to many of the city’s gay bars as well as plenty of restaurants and attractions.
Art’otel Amsterdam is a stunning upscale Radisson Hotels property located in a bustling area of Amsterdam’s Old Centre. Considering their central location, gorgeous interior design, and decently affordable rates, there’s no wonder gay travelers love this hotel.
With a fitness center, solarium, library, indoor pool, bar, restaurant, and plenty of lounge space, you’ll certainly be comfortable staying at Art’otel. All the city center gay bars are within a 10-minute walk too!
The Amsterdam Marriott will be perfect if you’re a fan of gay-friendly hotel chains. They’re located just across the Canal Belt, less than a 15-minute walk to Amsterdam’s popular Amstel gay area.
Room interiors have a relaxing, grey-colored minimalist feel, while the hotel’s restaurant and other amenities pop with gorgeous colors. This Marriott offers a full gym, sauna, restaurant, bar, and lounge. It all comes at a decent price, too.
Hotel CC is an affordable LGBT welcoming hotel in the Old Centre of Amsterdam. It’s pretty difficult to find hotels of this quality for such a low rate in such an unbeatable location in the heart of Amsterdam (especially if you book well in advance).
Minimal, modern rooms provide all the essential comforts. Rooms come in six different setups including a triple room with three twin beds and a quadruple room, which is ideal for groups of friends or families.
Their standard single rooms are the smallest, but super cozy with a bedside view of the picturesque Damrak Waterfront.
It’s the westernmost neighborhood of central Amsterdam and has plenty of street art, shops, and lovely cafes. You’ll get quite an authentic vibe here. Plus, it’s only a 15-minute walk to the center of the city.
Mr. Jordaan Hotel
Mr. Jordaan is one of the few impeccably gorgeous, well-priced gay-friendly hotels in the Jordaan district.
I love the hotel’s design so much and definitely want to stay here the next time I visit Amsterdam. It completely captures the feeling of staying in a house in Jordaan while providing all the luxuries of a hotel.
Hotel rooms here have a chic industrial design, all the essentials, and blackout curtains—useful for sleeping in after a late night out. Mr. Jordaan even has an elevator, so you don’t have to worry about bringing luggage up any flights of stairs.
On the main level, there’s a cozy café with exposed brick and rich black subway tile. And if you need to get some work done, there’s plenty of space to spread out.
Homestays & Rentals in Jordaan
If you’ve fallen in love with staying in Jordaan, booking a VRBO rental is the way to go. You’ll find hundreds of homestay options here—more than any other district of Amsterdam since Jordaan is largely residential and doesn’t have many hotels.
Not only will you be able to experience staying in a local Amsterdam apartment or house, but you’ll also get a bunch more space than any hotel around.
Staying in an Amsterdam houseboat rental is another totally epic option. You’ll find them all over the city, not just in Jordaan!
De Pijp & Oost Hotels
The De Pijp neighborhood is one of the hipster areas of Amsterdam and it’s a fabulous location for foodies to book a place to stay.
Hotels in De Pijp will be a tad bit further from central Amsterdam but everything is still easily accessible via public transportation—or even by foot.
Amsterdam-Oost is an ideal area to stay in the city if you’re traveling on a limited budget. This is the neighborhood just southeast of central Amsterdam, but if you stay in the northern part of this area, it’ll feel just like you’re staying near the center.
Sir Albert Hotel Amsterdam
Sir Albert is a gay-friendly hotel in the De Pijp neighborhood with an urban, masculine design. A few highlights of Sir Albert are high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and luxurious bed linens.
The hotel features a relaxing study, full gym, bar & lounge, terrace, and a traditional Japanese restaurant. You’ll love the area around Sir Albert as well, with a ton of unique local restaurant options.
Generator Amsterdam is technically a hostel, but honestly feels more like an upscale hotel! This massive 168-room property nestled alongside the serene Oosterpark has something for every type of traveler.
Backpackers and single travelers can score a bed in a shared room for around only 20 Euro, but plenty of inexpensive traditional 1 to 2-person rooms are available as well.
With grand suites that cost less than 200 Euro, Generator has to be one of the best places for groups of friends to stay while visiting Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Gay Travel Experiences
Stroll Amsterdam’s Gorgeous Canals
Walking along the city’s picturesque canals is a classic activity for Amsterdam travelers, especially on a gorgeous sunny day. Take in the beautiful flower plantings, check out the awesome houseboats, and peruse cute cafés and shops!
Negen Straatjes is the most famous area of the Canal Belt to explore. I also loved strolling along the smaller canals in central Jordaan and then walking southward along Prinsengracht. It’s also fun to just get lost and wander along the canals wherever your feet take you.
If you want to see as many of the canals as possible without walking too much, take in the views on a relaxing canal tour.
An evening canal tour with a bar on board is another great idea, especially for a romantic couple’s evening.
Keep an Eye Out for “XXX” Markings
All throughout the city, as well as on Amsterdam’s flag/coat of arms, you’ll see three crosses marked on all sorts of things. They can be on anything from street bollards to building facades to flags.
There are actually various theories about what these X’s historically mean, from connections to St. Andrew to links to the noble Persijn family.
Visit the Homomonument
A powerfully symbolic memorial, the Homomonument commemorates all the persecuted gays, lesbians, and other members of the LGBTQ+ community throughout history.
Three pink triangles made of granite serve as a reminder of those of the community who were killed during the Second World War and is now a place used to bring people together.
See the City from A’DAM Lookout
The A’DAM Lookout is one of the tallest buildings in Amsterdam and the views of the city’s skyline from the top are spectacular. If you’re brave enough, try out the tower’s epic over-the-edge swing. It’s definitely a thrilling experience.
The STRAAT Museum & Buiksloterham
The STRAAT Museum is an absolute must for street art lovers. This is Amsterdam’s popular street art and graffiti museum.
They have some awesome, larger-than-life installments in a huge warehouse space. Most of the art is produced right here in the museum. Grab your tickets on GetYourGuide.
It’s also interesting to explore the pathways that wind around the privately-rented artist workspaces. These areas are a work of art in themselves.
The surrounding Buiksloterham neighborhood is also super cool. Formerly an industrial park, this waterfront area has turned into an artsy district with lots of nightlife venues.
Pilek is a popular restaurant in Buiksloterham I absolutely adored having lunch at. The elegant industrial vibes and waterfront location are amazing.
Visit Delta Works
Truly an engineering feat, Delta Works is the largest storm surge barrier in the world. Located about 90 minutes by car outside of Amsterdam, it’s an interesting day trip experience. I’d recommend stopping by especially if you’ll be heading to South Holland to explore Rotterdam or The Hague.
Visitors can follow the corridor through one end of the site for an up-close view of the actual barrier with water rushing over it. And on your way over, you’ll get some epic views of the massive nearby windmills.
There’s an interesting indoor exhibit that shows all the details of how this immense barrier was constructed. Some might find this a little nerdy, but I loved it!
Private full-day Delta Works tours are also an option, although they tend to be on the expensive side. Prices for tours are typical though, considering the driving time to Delta Works and places like Rotterdam.
Explore Amsterdam’s Secret Village
Amsterdam’s Secret Village is one of my favorite places in the city. It may seem like a typical narrow street, but the ambiance here is incredible, especially in the evening.
The Secret Village is essentially the area to the west of Amsterdam’s Amstel gay area. You’ll see rainbow flags, gay bars, and gay-friendly establishments all around.
Some of Amsterdam’s best gay bars are here, which I’ll mention below!
Amsterdam Gay Bars & Clubs
Amsterdam gay bars are generally located in two different areas of the city’s Centrum district. One cluster is directly in the center of Amsterdam in the Binnenstad neighborhood, not far from the central train station.
Most of the other gay bars are just a 15-minute walk southward in the Grachtengordel neighborhood along a notable street called Reguliersdwarsstraat.
Here are all the best gay bars to visit during your trip!
Bar Blend is my favorite gay bar in Amsterdam. I had an absolute blast watching a hilarious drag show, enjoying the upbeat pop music, and meeting some friendly gay locals. Closely spaced tables in Bar Blend’s outdoor seating area make it super easy to meet new friends.
The space is incredibly modern and has a long, spacious bar, a balcony level, and a DJ booth. The TV screens in the urinals were entertaining, too! This place is definitely my top recommendation.
Taboo is another popular gay bar that’s just a few steps away from Bar Blend on the main drag, Reguliersdwarsstraat.
They have a similar streetside seating setup, which you can enjoy well into the fall season with plenty of heat lamps. Drinks are affordable and the evening drag shows are excellent.
Weekend evenings are a perfect time to head to SOHO Amsterdam, a third gay bar clustered in Amsterdam’s Secret village.
The busiest time at SOHO is usually just after midnight. Expect a fun mix of music and affordable drink prices. And as I’ll mention later in the gay travel tips section, don’t forget to keep a bit of cash on hand to use the restroom!
The Queen’s Head
The Queen’s Head is a classic local gay bar that’s been around for over 20 years! They have affordable drink prices, upbeat drag shows, and weekday events like bingo and karaoke.
Expect more of a mixed crowd here compared to some of the other gay nightlife venues in Amsterdam. The bar takes pride in being open and inclusive of all genders, races, and ages.
Open for over 40 years, Café Montmarte is one of the oldest gay bars in Amsterdam. It’s a cozy, dimly-lit spot known for friendly bartenders. They have plenty of high-top seating to enjoy daily happy hours and live performances on Sundays.
Dirty Dick’s is Amsterdam’s gay fetish bar that’s known for its cruisy vibe. With dim lighting and porn playing on the tv screens, this place definitely has a sexy vibe. I thought the music was great, too.
Each month, Dirty Dick’s hosts a handful of extreme fetish events including Fist Factory, Golden Shower, and Naked Dark Cruising night. Every Friday and Saturday, the bar’s Man Cave is open for everyone to explore from 8 PM to 4 AM.
Amstel 54 may look like a regular cafe during the day, but this gay bar truly comes to life at night. Its name comes from the bar’s address, which is significant because the area along the Amstel River is the traditional Amsterdam gay area.
The bar is welcoming to all and very comfortable with plush booths and a huge chandelier. Weekly events include drag race viewing parties and plenty of evening drag performances.
The Web is the perfect gay bar in central Amsterdam to meet fellow fetish and leather enthusiasts. This neighborhood hangout is popular with bears, the fetish community, and anyone who’s interested in exploring the dark room. The clothing check is always open!
They occasionally host orgy parties featuring sexy porn stars in their darkroom space. Other more frequent events include Sunday Social, Bear Social, and Singalong Fridays.
The Cuckoo’s Nest
The Cuckoo’s Nest is a small but noteworthy gay cruising bar with a darkroom downstairs. You’ll usually find gay locals hanging out here, and during the day there’s more of an older crowd.
The overall vibe is quite casual, so it’s a great gay spot to grab an afternoon drink. If you’re coming for the darkroom, try Cuckoo’s nest later in the evening.
Eagle Amsterdam is unquestionably the best gay dance club in the city. A three-story club with a cruising area, this venue is bigger than most other Eagle leather bars around the world.
And while Eagle Amsterdam is technically branded as a leather bar (and surely hosts leather and kink-oriented events), you can find all types of guys here. Drag queens, too!
PRIK is one of the most highly-rated gay bars in Amsterdam. An award-winning, pink-themed cocktail bar and restaurant, everyone loves spending an afternoon or evening here.
Their streetside terrace seating is perfect for warmer months, where you can take in the vibes of the city.
I absolutely need to mention Pamela for their delicious food and cocktails. Pamela is a queer bar and restaurant with relaxed, friendly vibes. Their outdoor seating is super cute, too! On weekdays from 10 AM to 5 PM, the restaurant functions as a queer workspace.
Amsterdam Gay Parties
3xnyx at Club NYX
Each of the club’s three unique floors has a distinct vibe and plays music different genres of music. There’s even a DJ booth in the bathroom. Take an afternoon power nap because parties at Club NYX go all night long, often until 8 AM or 9 AM the next morning!
Bear-Necessity is exactly the type of gay party you think it is—an attitude-free event for the bear community as well as their admirers. Everyone is welcome and you definitely see a diverse crowd.
This gay party is massive, held at a local club called Panama Amsterdam. Expect sexy dancers, a sea of handsome men, and epic music. And if you’re looking for a party to show off your sexy harness, this is definitely it.
Furball is an epic, sexy, Amsterdam-based gay party for bears and butch guys. It’s essentially a gay cruising party where everyone checks their clothes for a social and sexy night.
The party is held bi-monthly at Club Church, which was recently renovated. Tickets are pretty cheap too—often about 13 euros. Be sure to buy them online in advance
Amsterdam Travel Tips
Keep Some Cash Handy
If you’ll be spending a night out exploring Amsterdam’s gay nightlife, keep a little cash handy because many venues charge to use the restroom! It can be pretty frustrating when you’ve really got to go and have no way to pay!
The Central Ferry is Free!
Amsterdam has a convenient network of ferries operated by GVB that connect the north and south parts of the city across the IJ River. And the best part—all these local ferries are free!
Even if you don’t end up needing to use the ferry to get to your hotel or other attractions, taking a ferry ride is a great way to see some of the city.
Don’t Lug Your Baggage Around
Carrying your luggage around is no fun, especially along the narrow and busy streets of Amsterdam. I distinctly remember how unpleasant it was getting my roller suitcases just from the central train station to my accommodation.
Drop your bags at an Amsterdam luggage locker to leave the weight behind whenever your accommodations can’t hold your stuff.
Finding Groceries & Healthy Snacks
As someone who often stays in VRBO and Airbnb apartments, I always stop by a local market to grab some snacks and breakfast food. I quickly realized though, that this isn’t the easiest thing to do in Amsterdam.
You’ll notice that the majority of corner stores and shops largely sell candy and other sweet treats, which makes sense given Cannabis is legal for personal use, making those who partake crave snack food.
I’d recommend planning out a convenient trip to an actual grocery store. Otherwise, you might waste time on your fabulous trip going from candy shop to candy shop!