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Gay guide to Amsterdam for the solo traveler

Amsterdam for LGBTs

More than any other city in the world, Amsterdam not only appears to tolerate gay and lesbian culture it actively seems to celebrate it. Truly this is a city upon which the mantle of gay mecca can sit comfortably!

Like most of Europe’s other major urban centers, the city holds a Gay Pride event. But few can hold a candle to the pomp and show of Amsterdam’s (held from August 3-7).

The centerpiece of the event is the ‘canal parade’, which roars along the Prinzengracht in a frenzy of costumes and color. Every March, Amsterdam also hosts its Fetish Fantasy Weekend, whilst Amsterdam’s Leather Pride takes place in October.

The city’s gay action is broken down into a few distinct areas. To the north of the old town, tucked neatly in between Dam Square and Central Station, and in the heart of the red-light district, the Warmoesstraat is where you’ll find the majority of the city’s leather-bars and rainbow-flagged saunas.


Further south, the city’s Museumquarter is home to many of Amsterdam’s smartest shopping streets, the most exclusive of all being the P.C. Hooftstraat which positively drips with classy boutiques. It also contains the Reguliersdwarsstraat area, which, along with the Amstel and Kerkstraat districts (one of the city’s longest-standing gay areas) is the focal point of the gay and lesbian scene in Amsterdam. Check out the latest Gay news too!

On long summer evenings, drinkers spill out onto the streets from the area’s many heaving gay and lesbian bars, while its clubs are crammed with partiers until well into the morning.

Amsterdam Gay Areas and LGBT

The Amstel area neighbors the Rembrandtplein, another of Amsterdam’s elegant squares named after the late Dutch master Rembrandt, and now a neighborhood of typical Dutch pubs playing authentic Dutch music. Whilst not perhaps as exclusively gay as it once was, it’s nevertheless a thriving hub of trendy gay bars and clubs.

For friendly assistance and insider tips on gay Amsterdam head for the ‘Pink Point’, (to be found at the Westermarkt, on the Keizersgracht) a gay and lesbian information kiosk, that also sells souvenirs.

Next to this is the ‘Homomonument’, a gay monument made of three large pink granite triangles. It stands, near the Anne Frank house, as a symbol of Holland’s continuing commitment to tolerance and inclusiveness for all.

Some General Travel Advice for Gays and Lesbians

Whether or not it’s ok to be gay abroad varies wherever you are in the world. In some countries it’s so acceptable there’s barely a need for a scene, whereas in others you can still be stoned to death for what’s perceived as a heinous crime against God (or whichever version of God is applicable). Even in countries like the USA, it can vary between state, you wouldn’t want to get caught with your pants down in Texas, for instance.

It obviously therefore pays to do a little research before you go, so here is a selection of city guides from across the globe which will help you on your way.

Also everyone should read travel insurance over 80 reviews if you are visiting any foreign country and don’t have worldwide private health insurance. So make sure you have some!

lgbt travel amsterdam

Events this year in Amsterdam

Canal Parade

The highlight of the Amsterdam Gay Pride is the Canal Parade. Please note that since 2017 the route is reversed from previous years, now going from Amstel towards Prinsengracht. See here a map of the route and other information. The parade will start around 12:30 (one hour earlier)

Things are in 2017 a little different from other years:

The main stage is at Dam square, with DJ’s and performers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.
There is no street party on Amstel in front of bar Amstel Fifty Four (because of new traffic routes). Also the Rembrandtplein party (including Sunday closing party) has moved to Dam square.

Bar Prik at Spuistraat will have street parties for it’s second year including a stage. Reguliersdwarsstraat will have an “intimate party” without a stage or outside bars.

How many days to spend in Amsterdam?
Must-Sees in Amsterdam
Which Museums to Visit in Amsterdam?
Should I get the iAmsterdam card?
Which neighborhoods to visit in Amsterdam?
What to eat in Amsterdam / Dutch foods to eat in Amsterdam
What to drink in Amsterdam
How to get to Amsterdam from Schiphol Airport
Where to stay in Amsterdam / Best areas to stay in?

Take a canal ride. There’s no better way to see the city and learn about its history than cruising through the picturesque canals.
Visit the Hortus Botanicus. One of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, the Hortus Botanicus is perfect for an afternoon stroll. Grab lunch nearby at De Plantage afterwards. Don’t forget your camera!

Hortus Botanicus gardens in Amsterdam city center, Holland, The Netherlands
Inside one of the greenhouses in the Hortus Botanicus.
Boating on Amsterdam’s canals in summer, The Netherlands
Boating down Amsterdam’s canals in the summer.

Tour the Anne Frank Huis. If I had to pick one tourist attraction to see, it would definitely be the newly renovated Anne Frank Huis. It’s a humbling and fascinating visit. Book tickets in advance, it fills up fast.
Visit the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum – the Rijksmuseum itself is a masterpiece. The Van Gogh Museum hosts the world’s largest collection of his work and is just a stone’s throw away, so make a day of it!

More Things to Do in Amsterdam

These are some of my favorite essential things to do while in Amsterdam! The Rijksmuseum is notorious for long lines, so I highly recommend booking in advance. Visiting the windmills just north of Amsterdam are a must, and the Zaanse Schans windmill tour below meets at a very central location in Amsterdam (literally, Amsterdam Central Station) to provide transportation.

What to Bring to Holland

An umbrella. The Netherlands is notorious for rain and unpredictable weather.
Floral-print anything. Flower-lined canals call for inspired floral design.
A backpack to carry the essentials around the city. It’s the easiest bag to bike with!
Comfortable shoes — you’ll be doing a lot of walking. I wear these brown matisse booties almost every day, they’re the most comfortable boots I’ve ever owned!

For more of our favorite things to do in Amsterdam, check out where to have a home-cooked meal on a Dutch rooftop, our experience boating around Amsterdam’s canal district, and our tips for visiting Keukenhof flower gardens.