72 Hours in Amsterdam for Pride with Booking.com
This summer, Amsterdam will once again come alive with a celebration of love and acceptance: Pride Amsterdam. This year’s event, held between August 1 and 6, will hero a #YouAreIncluded theme and will see the city’s central waterway transform into a glorious route of joyful and decorated floats. It's not just Amsterdam’s bustling canal and festivities which make the city a perfect Pride destination. Back in 2001, the Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage and the welcoming Dutch capital is renowned as a prime destination for LGBTQ+ travelers. With Booking.com’s most extensive LGBTQ+ travel research to date revealing that, for the majority (71%) of travelers being LGBTQ+ makes them more confident as a traveler, Booking.com, a proud sponsor of Pride Amsterdam, is sharing a travel guide to help visitors make the most of a whirlwind trip to this inclusive city.
Where to Stay
To immerse in the celebrations, the citizenM Amstel Amsterdam is the perfect place to bed down to be in the heart of the action. This redbrick and design-led hotel is situated opposite the iconic Royal Theater Carré and offers a trendy bar and delicious restaurant that serves vegetarian and vegan food as a Booking.com Travel Sustainable stay. Just a short stroll from the city center, travelers will love this location close to Pride events including a street party just outside the Queen’s Head, one of Amsterdam’s oldest gay bars, and the lively nightspot and market square Nieuwmarkt. Its friendly vibe as a Booking.com Travel Proud certified property for its ongoing commitment to providing truly welcoming stays to everyone will also appeal.
Alternatively, for those seeking peace and quiet after a jam-packed day at Pride, The Unbound Amsterdam is a short drive or train ride away from the city center. This boutique stay features cozy cabins, an outdoor swimming pool and a relaxing sauna ideal for a rejuvenating stay after the celebrations. Set in the green gardens of Amsterdam West, this hotel is also recognised for its steps towards sustainability with a Booking.com Travel Sustainable badge including serving locally sourced, organic food and offsetting a portion of their carbon footprint.
What to See
Join the spectators lining the banks of the city’s waterways to take in the sights of the world-famous Canal Parade, a memorable highlight of Pride Amsterdam with decorated floats and brightly colored costumes, representing LGBTQ+ foundations and pink organizations. Watch inflatable podiums deflate as they go under bridges and pop up again on the other side, DJs spinning the decks and thousands of rainbow flags, balloons and umbrellas go past. Culture vultures can plan a visit to view the works of eight artists at a dedicated Pride exhibition at GO Gallery which combines Queer photos, pop art and even AI in an engaging show. There will also be a series of pink movies to be seen at the Open Air Cinema Mercatorplein in Mercator Square on August 2-3 – entry is free and visitors can bring their own snacks and drinks. While Pride is a time of celebration and joy, it's also an opportunity to reflect and travelers can visit the Homomonument, the world’s first gay memorial which commemorates those who have been persecuted due to their sexual orientation. Besides this symbolic triangle is Pink Point, a LGBTQ+ information kiosk staffed by friendly volunteers dishing out information on inclusive organizations and venues across town.
What to Do
For three quarters (75%)* of LGTBQ+ travelers Pride events are a great opportunity to connect with other LGBTQ+ people, so many will no doubt enjoy the festivities this year with new friends. With over 300 events across the city, visitors will be spoiled for choice when planning their itinerary. Kick off a three-day trip with a Pride Walk, a purposeful stroll from the Homomonument to Vondelpark where travelers can celebrate themselves and being proud of who they are through a colorful parade of love and togetherness. Those looking to tear up the dancefloor can boogie the night away to 90s pop music with like minded travelers at BOPS queer. pop. party on August 4-5, or visit one of the city's many street parties between August 4-6 scattered across town. Outside of the city, the celebration starts in Zandvoort with Pride at the Beach on August 1, just a half-hour train ride away from Amsterdam. With its own parade and music, this beachside suburb comes alive with art, drag queens, films and dance to mark Pride. For those who prefer to stay central, and for the 65%* who are more likely to seek out activities tailored to people identifying as LGBTQ+, a Booking.com LGBT Highlights Tour lets travelers experience the best of Amsterdam’s nightlife with a local guide down Reguliersdwarsstraat, the most colorful and inclusive LGBTQ+ street of the city that abounds with effervescent bars and coffee shops.
Where to Eat
With only a few days to explore, many travelers will want to tick off the local must-have delicacies to get a real taste for Amsterdam. Throughout a number of Pride Amsterdam events there will be food trucks and stalls offering mouth-watering treats and local delicacies from bitterballen (deep fried meatballs) to moreish Dutch-style fries loaded with sauce. For those with a sweet tooth, don’t miss a fresh stroopwafel (a thin, round waffle cookie) or bossche bollen (a giant chocolate pastry ball filled with whipped cream). To sample the best Dutch delicacies, travelers can book a two-hour Amsterdam Food Walking Tour where a local food writer picks out favorites including dry sausages, cheese, and herring with onion and pickles. Outside of the festival, visitors can sample some of Amsterdam’s delicacies at the city’s best restaurants, whether starting the day off right with eggs at Omelegg De Pijp or enjoying a locally sourced, contemporary take on Dutch classics at Hemelse Modder in the Nieuwmarkt area, just around the corner from Houseboat Amsterdam and in walking distance from Spinoza Suites.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 11,555 LGBTQ+ travelers from 27 countries and territories including: Argentina (209), Australia (608), Belgium (206), Brazil (508), Canada (803), Colombia (309), Croatia (206), Denmark (201), France (1000), Germany (1011), Hong Kong (204), India (403), Israel (206), Italy (602), Japan (407), Mexico (307), Netherlands (511), New Zealand (209), Singapore (210), Spain (408), Sweden (203), Switzerland (202), Taiwan (205), Thailand (210), United Kingdom (1004), United States (1003), Vietnam (200). LGBTQ+ respondents self identified across demographics of sex, gender and sexual orientation. In order to participate in this survey, respondents also had to be planning a trip in the next 12 months. The survey was taken online and took place in March and April 2023.