Rotterdam has all kinds of nightlife, but the dance club scene leads the way -- pack your clubbing duds to wear among Holland's hottest dance venues.
The Performing Arts
The world-class Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra plays at the concert hall (and convention center) De Doelen, at Kruisstraat 2 (tel. 010/217-1717; www.dedoelen.nl; Metro: Centraal Station), which opened in 1966 and also hosts jazz, world music, and other concerts.
Jazz cats should make their way to Dizzy, 's Gravendijkwal 127 (tel. 010/477-3014; www.dizzy.nl), an informal, long-established cafe where live music is the name of the game. If you want to see a global pop star or a sports event, take a ride to Ahoy, Ahoyweg 10 (www.ahoy.nl/en). Megastars perform here to capacity audiences of 10,000.
Bars, Clubs & Cafes
Bars range from the city's most traditional watering holes at old-world Delfshaven, to shiny modern places along the river. Dating from a respectably venerable 1912, Café De Oude Sluis, Havenstraat 7 (tel. 010/477-3068; www.oudesluys.com. Metro: Delfshaven), is a slice of Delfshaven's old harbor scene, with its brown wall carvings and bric-a-brac, and at the first hint of sunshine, tables and chairs appear along the harbor wall. A few doors along, Proeflokaal De Ooievaar, Havenstraat 11 (tel. 010/476-9190; www.proeflokaaldeooievaar.nl. Metro: Delfshaven), is a jenever "sampling room," stocking dozens of Dutch and Belgian gin varieties. Its intimate surroundings merit the prized Dutch description gezellig, meaning warm, cozy and welcoming, and it occasionally hosts small-scale live-music concerts.
From converted center-city cinemas to converted harbor warehouses, Rotterdam has techno, trance, and other contemporary dance venues. Most clubs don't get going until midnight, when bars are getting ready to close, and keep going until about 5am. Maastheater, Boompjes 751 (tel. 010/413-4091), a water-side disco where DJs dictate the music styles, is popular with students.
Try your luck at Holland Casino Rotterdam, Plaza Complex, Weena 624 (tel. 010/206-8206; www.hollandcasino.nl; Metro: Centraal Station). There's roulette, blackjack, punto banco, slot machines, and more. The dress code here is "correct" (collar and tie for men), and the minimum age is 18. You need your passport to get in. The casino is open daily (except May 4 and Dec 31) from 12:30pm to 3am.
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.