The Dutch decriminalised marijuana in 1976, so you now can buy weed legally at an alcohol-free coffeeshop in Amsterdam. You’ll find hundreds of these coffeeshops spread across the city and every establishment has its own unique character- some have a great atmosphere, some have great food, and some are pretty uninspiring to look at, but they supply the highest quality products in town. You’re bound to stumble across a few coffeeshops while in Amsterdam, but we’ve made a list of our favourites to help you weed out the best ones!
It’s worth remembering that most coffeeshops are quite small and pokey, so you might find it hard to sit as a big group in a coffeeshop due to the lack of space. If you head to one of the more popular venues, you’ll almost definitely have to sit in smaller groups. You’ll also find it easier to find seats in the daytime, so try to avoid heading to a coffeeshop in the evening if you can. To find out more about what Amsterdam has to offer, visit The highlights and take a look at our guide to the city's best clubs, bars and bar crawls.
The Bulldog is probably the most famous coffeeshop in Amsterdam. It opened in the 70s and has since become an internationally recognised brand. There are several Bulldog coffeeshops around Amsterdam, but the main one is located in Leidseplein. Ironically, the coffeeshop is housed in a former police station and was initially thought to be a joke as it was opened on April fool’s day.
Located in east Amsterdam, a little bit away from the main touristy areas, this coffeeshop is usually full to the brim with true Amsterdammers. Its location also means it’s not as cramped as some of the city centre coffeeshop. It has a large smoking room, wicked atmosphere and an outdoor patio area to enjoy.
If you want to try space cakes, this is the best place to go. The neighbourhood coffeeshop bakes their own infamous space cakes, plus they have a snug smoking room in the back if you prefer to smoke your weed. Located in the hip, laid-back neighbourhood of de Jordaan, Coffeeshop Paradox is a real favourite with the locals.
This legendary coffeeshop has won the cannabis cup over 30 times! Located in the red light district, the famous venue offers only the highest quality products. It’s a touristy spot, but for a good reason, as it’s one of the best coffeeshops to try if you’re not an expert - it really is a must-visit spot while you're in Amsterdam.
Set just outside of Dam square, this award-winning coffeeshop is a notorious favourite on the Amsterdam coffeeshop scene. Run by a team of American experts, the owners ensure that they personally sample all of their products before selling them to ensure the highest quality. It’s tiny inside Grey Area with limited seating, but this exclusivity has attracted a number of celebrities and means you can often find a queue of tourists lined up outside waiting to see it for themselves.
Het ballonnetje or ‘the balloon’ is one of the oldest coffeeshops in Amsterdam, it’s full of history and has been running since 1978. It’s not the largest of coffeeshops, but there are two floors so you can usually find a table if you head here in the daytime. Plus, Samuel L. Jackson has been spotted here, so it must be good!
If you are in a large group, your best bet might be to buy your cannabis at a coffeeshop and then head to a bar that lets you smoke to enjoy your purchase. A bar will be more welcoming to larger parties and will have more seating areas inside. You won’t be able to buy marijuana in these bars (as its illegal to sell cannabis and alcohol in the same establishment), but a lot of Amsterdam bars are relaxed about smoking.