Visiting a jazz club or music bar is always a good way to round off your day.
Jazz & Blues
Jazz, Dixieland, and blues may be American musical forms, but Europeans -- and certainly the Dutch -- have adopted them with gusto. July is the best month for jazz lovers in Europe: Three major festivals are scheduled almost back-to-back in France, Switzerland, and Holland, including the 3-day North Sea Jazz Festival (www.northseajazz.com), held at Rotterdam's Ahoy (tel. 010/293-3300; www.ahoy.nl). The festival convenes the international jazz world's biggest names with more than 100 concerts involving more than 600 artists.
Rock & Pop
Nothing changes faster in Holland -- or exhibits more variety -- than the pop music scene, whether the latest craze is rock, reggae, new wave, or whatever. Performers en route to world-class stardom always seem to turn up in Amsterdam, and few of their shows have difficulty selling out. Big stars and large-scale productions are occasionally featured at Koninklijk Theater Carré. Rock stars strut their stuff at the giant Amsterdam ArenA, ArenA Boulevard, Amsterdam Zuidoost (tel. 020/311-1313; www.amsterdamarena.nl; Metro: Bijlmer/ArenA), the Ajax soccer club's stadium in the southeastern suburbs, which has a sliding roof to keep out the ubiquitous Dutch rain.
Near Amsterdam ArenA, the smaller Heineken Music Hall, ArenA Boulevard 590 (tel. 0900/687-4242; www.heineken-music-hall.nl; Metro: Bijlmer/ArenA), hosts more intimate concerts by well-known international performers.
For ticket info, go to Mojo Concerts (tel. 015/212-1980; www.mojo.nl), and (online only) to Livenation (www.livenation.nl).
For local residents, the Amsterdam club scene is generally a members-only situation. But as a tourist, you can simply show up and, so long as your attire and behavior suit management's sensibilities, you shouldn't have problems getting past the bouncer. Drinks can be expensive -- a beer or Coke averages 5€, and a whiskey or cocktail 8€ -- but you can nurse just one drink while you dance the night away, or down a quick beer and move on if the crowd or the music mix isn't your style. The places listed below are some of the most popular at press time, and, in Amsterdam, the nightclub hierarchy doesn't change very quickly. But don't hesitate to ask around for new places once you get here.
Leather & Lash
When it comes to getting past the "doorbitch" into Amsterdam's twice-yearly Wasteland (www.wasteland.nl) fetish-glam rave -- a monster bash attended by thousands of fetishistas from around the world -- be sure to suit up with outlandish leather or kinky latex, uniforms, plastic, rubber, and metal. What larks! Bring your S&M toys. No less an authority than Penthouse called the extravaganza "Probably the wildest party on earth." Check the website for location details and dates. Cover is around 50€.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.