Having epic plans, isn’t that everyone’s goal for ringing in the New Year? In my opinion, doing New Years right involves having no expectations. Round up your favorite people, a bottle of champagne, and see where the night takes you. We couldn’t think of a better place to do exactly that than in Amsterdam.
Turns out Amsterdam is a popular place to be when the clock strikes midnight. My advice is to plan early! Accommodations go quick and dining reservations fill up months in advance. I booked my Airbnb about three weeks before New Years and we were REALLY lucky. There was almost nothing available. We found something that was near the airport, which was cheaper than staying in the city center. It wasn’t an issue either because the airport is very close to the city center – it’s only about 15-20 minutes away!
Airbnb is the route to take. The homes and apartments are cute and unique so it’s an easy option if you’re flying in for a short weekend.
Amsterdam’s train system might be my favorite in Europe. It is well designed and clear to understand. If you don’t prefer trains, Uber and taxis are everywhere. Last but not least, biking. If you’re staying in the center, you can bike all over the city thanks to their convenient bike lanes. I wouldn’t recommend getting a car in Amsterdam as there is a lot of traffic and it’s much more convenient to walk or bike.
Find out more on how to get around here!
Getting to Amsterdam
I flew in from Istanbul on KLM and I would definitely recommend flying this airline. I booked my flight one week before for $300 roundtrip. A little expensive, but considering how late I committed to it and that all the flights were almost full, I was lucky to get this deal.
What to Do
Fireworks are legal starting on the 31st and ending at 2am on the 1st. You literally need to watch out when you are walking. People spend all night just lighting them throughout the streets. Head to any of the main squares right before midnight and you’re in for a treat. Fireworks will be going off non-stop, lighting the entire sky all around you. We walked to Leidesplein, grabbed a bottle of champagne, and enjoyed the madness in the square.
If you get there early enough, do a canal tour in the afternoon. The sun sets pretty early so you’ll want to be at the canal around 4:30pm to catch sunset.
During the day and into the evening Amsterdam has outdoor concerts all throughout the center. You can go listen to music, grab a drink, and make friends with the locals.
Bars & Night Clubs
These sell out very early in the month. You need to either pay an expensive cover just to get a drink or have a ticket. We ended up finding a small market and just hanging out in the streets, which in my opinion, is the way to do it. You feel like a local and meet people from all over the world. But if you’re wanting to head inside here’s a few recommendations from teammates of mine who are from Amsterdam.
Concerts & Dancing
Amsterdam is where you go to dance. We bought tickets early to Loveland Venue for their New Years Eve lineup. It begins at 9pm and goes until 6am, but you can enter whenever you want. We headed over there around 2am and enjoyed the last few artists. The venue has three levels so you can mix it up the entire night.
If you’re wanting to dance or listen to music, make sure to buy tickets ahead of time!
Where to Eat
Common theme here: make reservations because everything sells out more than a month before. Both Adamstoren and Social Butcher Club have a New Years Eve menu before things turn into a club. You can find a lot of restaurants with full fine dining experiences. Or you can head to the center and cruise the canals for small bites. Chinatown has great options with a great firework show.
For a really chill atmosphere and late game plan, check out Eetcafe Van Beeren. More of a beer place with relaxing vibes, it’s located in the center of Amsterdam so you can make the most of the night.
Why is Amsterdam one of my top places to enjoy New Years? Besides having to make some pre-planning decisions, you can basically show up and have an amazing time. You’ll meet people from all over the world and the party really doesn’t start until midnight. Let me know your favorite spots for New Years!
*all images provided by Andrew Fuller