Rolling up to a cafe, or koffiehuis, and asking for a joint won’t get you very far in Amsterdam. You’ll need to head to a designated coffeeshop – a smoky café where cannabis can be exchanged legally. These joints are spread throughout the city, with most of them in De Wallen. Get a hit with our recommendations of Amsterdam’s best coffeeshops.
Don’t worry about grabbing a seat at Prix d’Ami. This Amsterdam institution, two minutes from Centraal Station, is the largest coffeeshop in the world, with 500 seats, five large smoking areas, 36 flat-screen TVs to watch football and even a cinema room. Once a storage warehouse, it now hosts live DJs every weekend, is open seven days a week and offers an extensive menu, including loaded breakfast crêpes and extravagant ice-cream sundaes.
Tourists, locals and first-time smokers are all welcome at this well-known cafe on Handboogstraat. Visited by George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the film Ocean’s Twelve (2004), the cafe now sells a type of marijuana named after the film and has one of the most extensive cannabis menus in Amsterdam. Be sure to try the hot Belgian chocolate too, a stick of deliciously creamy chocolate dipped in steaming milk.
An Amsterdam institution, Hunter’s was founded in 1985 in Warmoesstraat, near the city’s Red Light District, and now has three bars and six coffee shops in Amsterdam, Zandvoort and Haarlem. The first shop was opened after a dog named Hunter marked his territory with a toilet trip, and his owner decided it was a great location for a new business. The rest is coffeeshop history and Hunter’s now offers great coffee, cold beer, superior cannabis products and seriously good brownies with a twist.
The ideal choice for tourists unfamiliar with Amsterdam, 420 Cafe is very close to Centraal Station and known for its helpful staff who are always willing to advise on the menu. Visit for its elegant hardwood interior, rock music soundtrack and decent coffee. Be warned, it can get busy, so come early to nab a table or sink into a battered leather sofa.
Sweet-toothed smokers will love the menu at this elegant coffee shop on Korte Koningsstraat, close to Nieuwmarkt and the Red Light District. Space cakes are a speciality, with everything from strawberry cheesecake to chocolate ganache cake and even profiteroles available. It’s open until midnight every day, and if you can grab a table by the front windows when the weather’s nice you’ll get canal views and fresh air, too.
This unassuming building, hidden away on a side street in the Jordaan district, was once used as a stables by soldiers in Napoleon’s army, then later as a fire station. It is now a laid-back coffeeshop popular with locals, which gets the basics right and is open every day until 8pm. Don’t expect an extensive menu or unusual strains, but what you will get is quality cannabis products, local artwork, good snacks and a great range of board games.
This coffeeshop, a single long room on the Herengracht, has the feel of a Las Vegas nightclub, yet smaller and cosier. Purple leather booths run along the walls and up to the bar. In addition to their extensive weed menu and coffees, Amnesia has a food menu that could keep you here all day. Sweet treats such as waffles and pancakes are superb, and don’t leave without trying the milkshakes.
While this coffeeshop has multiple locations, the easiest for tourists to find is on Utrechtsestraat, just off the Herengracht canal. Employees at this award-winning coffee shop wear white dress shirts and black bow ties and mostly serve marijuana to grab and go. Upstairs, you’ll find an intimate smoking area with leather chairs that can get rather crowded at times. The menu is comprehensive, to say the least, as they work with gourmet purveyors Amsterdam Genetics.
This coffeeshop, near Rembrandthuis, is relaxed and unpretentious, but by no means basic. Paintings and murals of birds and ivy greet customers, so you feel as though you’ve just entered the jungle. There are numerous places to chill out and pass a few hours; the staff are friendly and won’t rush you. The menu is diverse, with imported items as well as the typical pre-rolled joints and space cakes.
This coffee shop, in Van der Helstplein Square, in the south of Amsterdam, is frequented by locals and prices are reasonable. The square is also full of cafes and restaurants packed with locals enjoying time out. Smoking tobacco is prohibited in most coffeeshops, but here at Papillon there is a glass-enclosed smoking room.
The Stud Coffeeshop
Located in Amsterdam-Oost near Flevopark, the Stud is another local hotspot, with affordable prices. And they work with Amsterdam Genetics, so the weed quality is superb. The venue has a digital menu, so you can get all the information you need about what’s on offer, and in multiple languages. While most people come here to take out, there is an area with comfortable couches where you can smoke and order drinks.
Despite being next to Centraal Station, one of the busiest areas in Amsterdam, this coffeeshop is on a quiet corner of the Geldersekade canal. It also doubles as a reasonably priced hotel. While the decor is quite sparse, the cannabis quality is high, making it popular with experts.
This coffeeshop, just on the edge of the Oude Pijp neighbourhood, is surrounded by trendy restaurants, cafes and bars. If you’re looking for somewhere outside the main tourist areas that is still lively, this is the place to come to. You’ll feel as if you’re on an island vacation here, with a Mediterranean theme and a hashish menu featuring imports from Morocco, Nepal and India.
Yo-Yo, a contemporary coffeeshop on a quiet residential street on Oude Pijp, is ideal to visit if you’re new to the scene and want to ease in. The staff are extremely friendly and hospitable, and the atmosphere warm. Enjoy works by local artists on the wall, and, if you time it right, an art class.
Siobhan Grogan contributed additional reporting to this article.
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