Fun Things To Do

In Utrecht

Check Out Our Suggestions On Having A Good Time In The Dom City!

Local Cycling

Utrecht is celebrated for its cycling-friendly infrastructure, making it a joy for visitors to pedal around. In fact, the cycle shelter under Utrecht Centraal is Guinness-certified as the world’s largest bike garage, with spaces for well over 12,000 vehicles.

If you’re reasonably fit, biking is perhaps the best way to see outside downtown and recommended if you have the time. A nice cycling tour is suggested on the second day of our three-day itinerary – check it out!

Cycling in Utrecht is not just a mode of transportation; it’s a delightful experience that allows you to blend in with the local lifestyle. The flat terrain and well-maintained bike paths make it easy for cyclists of all levels to navigate the city. Whether you’re heading to the historic Dom Tower, the bustling Oudegracht, or simply meandering through the quaint streets, a city bike is your key to uncovering the hidden treasures of Utrecht.

Bike Rental in Utrecht

When renting a bike, it’s advisable to check the rental terms, such as the return time (mind company hours), the deposit required, and the availability of accessories like helmets or child seats. Better rental shops will provide a lock and a map of the city, which can be very handy for planning your route. Also, remember to always lock your bike securely when not in use, as bike theft is not uncommon in Dutch cities, although rental bikes not-so-much. Enjoy your ride and the freedom it brings for exploring Utrecht’s beautiful landscapes and cultural sites.

Bike rentals in town are easy, convenient, and inexpensive. To that end, the Free Walking Tours has set up a discount for bike rentals in the city! Just stop by 030-Fietsen and our tour guests can rent a two-wheeler for 7 euros a day, currently the best rate in the city – just mention the Free Walking Tours!

030-FIETSEN

Other popular choices include Black Bikes, located at Vredenburg 29. They boast a large selection of bicycles to cater to different preferences, including city bikes, cargo bikes, and even e-bikes. They offer good rates on long-term rentals. Another option is Laag Catharijne, a cycle shop that offers bike rentals starting from a budget-friendly rate. It’s an excellent choice for those looking to save while still enjoying the convenience of cycling through Utrecht. If money is no issue you can have a bike delivered to your location by CCT Bike Rentals. They offer a range of high-class E-bikes and road bikes, perfect for longer rides or if you’re looking to try something a bit more upscale

Biking Culture

Biking isn’t just a mode of transportation here; it’s a way of life. Utrecht boasts an extensive network of fietspaden (bike paths), ensuring that cyclists can explore the city effortlessly.When you need a pit stop, don’t miss the charming fietscafés (bike cafés) in town. These cozy spots offer a refreshing drink, a slice of apple pie, and a chance to chat with fellow cyclists.

Sports Activities

The Dom City has lots of sports and activities for both athletes and amatuers, too much to cover here. However we’ve picked out a few of our favorites that we feel good about suggesting.

Watercraft – Whether you’re stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, rowing a canoe, cranking a pedalboat or just riding on a cruiseboat, getting on the water is a great way to experience Utrecht. Use the links above or visit this page.

Bouldering – For those seeking an adrenaline rush, Utrecht offers Boulderhal Sterk (Queen Wilhelminalaan 4) a mecca for climbers and athletes to get high! Picture massive recreated stone walls adorned with colorful handholds, challenging routes, and a supportive community. Whether you’re a seasoned climber or a curious beginner, bouldering in Utrecht is an exhilarating experience.

Basketball – The Dom City echoes with the sound of bouncing balls and sneaker squeaks daily from public basketball courts. Locally, you can join pick-up games in Griftpark until dusk in winter and until 10pm in summer. For spectators, the Utrecht Bulls are a local semi-pro ball club with a set schedule and free admission to most contests.

Football – You can practice your passing and penalty kicks with locals at various football pitches across the town. Popular fields include Utrecht’s Footy Park, the UU International Fields, the Sportpark Vechtzoom and the Galenwaard Fields near the big stadium. In nearby Leidsche Rijn there are big fields in Waterwinpark (next to Terwijde station), Maximapark, Amaliapark or Willem Alexanderpark.

For Spectator Football, the city’s professional team, Utrecht FC has a full schedule and an international reputation. Based out of the Stadion Galgenwaard, this stadium has witnessed thrilling football matches since its inauguration in 1970. Join the roar of passionate fans during the regular season games between August and May, with nearly fifty local matches to choose from.

Field Hockey – The main place to see and play field hockey in Utrecht is at the Kampong Fields near the big football staduim.

Sportparks – Utrecht boasts 24 sportparks, each with its unique vibe. From tennis courts and frisbee golf, these green spaces foster community spirit and athletic excellence for both locals and visitors abroad.

Swimming – There are various public indoor and outdoor pools in Utrecht available to the public. Perhaps the best is Zwembad Den Hommel (Waterstraat 27) where you can enjoy aqua fitness classes, lap swimming, children’s fun and water-based workouts.

Bowling – Bowling in Utrecht is fun at Olround Utrecht (near Mariaplaats) and the Hoog Catherijne Mall. Even with a dozen lanes, reservations are recommended. There is also a big arcade on the premises with airhockey, foosball and dozens of the latest arcade video machines.

Skating – At the Vechtsebanen (Mississippidreef 151), you can experience the thrill of ice skating. They have two rinks: a 400m track and a smaller one (30m by 60m) for ice hockey, figure skating, and short track. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or an absolute beginner, Vechtsebanen welcomes all. You can even take classes there and if you don’t have your own skates they offer rentals!

Billiards & Pool – The Dutch love a pool table and Utrecht has plenty to choose from. Perhaps the best is the Poolcafé Hart van Utrecht (Ganzenmarkt 16B) a sporty bar has been a Utrecht favorite for nearly 30 years. Come in for a game of snooker, enjoy a drink, and catch live sports action on their many large HD television screens. You might also try Ozebi Snooker (Biltstraat 4), Café De Stad (Lange Jufferstraat 58) or Snookervereniging Utrecht (Albert Schweitzerlaan 10) in Vleuten.

Racquetball & Squash – Try your hand at squash, racquetball or ‘padel’ at HAL22 (Zonnenbaan 22) a sports complex which also includes bowling, shuffleboard, and an extensive workout gym with the latest high-tech workout equipment.

Downtown Clubs, Cafés & Music

Utrecht has a lively nightlife in the old city, particularly on Neude Square and near the University Library on Janskerkhof.

Start your evening there with tapas from the Street Food Club or a dinner at the elegant Ruby Rose next door. It’s all fun, funky, young, and a little bit pricy – but if you hang around long enough the whole area turns into quite the party on weekend nights! Often during warm weather, there’s a late-night scene here at the Hofman Café, Café Het Hart, Feestcafé T’ Pakuis, or the wild Australian dance club Woolloomooloo – check the local Uit Agenda magazine for details.

Ruby Rose restaurant
THE STREET CLUB & RUBY ROSE RESTAURANTS
Tivoli Music Concerts

In the evening, consider a nightcap at Het Gegeven Paard, the cafe at the bottom of the Tivoli Vredenburg music complex near the mall and the station. Perhaps you can find some live music to enjoy among the seven different concert venues offered in this enormous modern building. You might also discover free music performances in the lobby by local bands and musicians, especially on weekends nights. If not, just enjoy the excited people and pleasant atmosphere of fans waiting for their show – it’s gezellig!

HET GEGAVEN PAARD & TIVOLI

Tunnel of Love

Take a walk along the canals as the sun sets, it’s a magical and romantic experience for couples. During your stroll you’ll pass the Winkel van Sinkel, a large, elegant restaurant at the turn of the Oudegracht. With a little exploration you’ll find the Ganzenmarkt Tunnel, an underground passage that gently leads to the wharf landings on the Oudegracht. There you’ll find a great veiw of the Old City Hall and the Dom Toren from the waterline. Sometimes tables from Humphrey’s Restaurant are set up so you can have a drink.

THE DOM AT NIGHT

Singing in the Drain

You’ll may discover a surprising number of people in this colorful passageway – and a karaoke bar! Yes, Duke of Tokyo Karaoke is located behind a secret entrance inside the tunnel, but there’s nothing secret about it! This fun but bizarre nightclub is a hugely popular venue that allows you to be the mega pop star that only you want to hear! Reservations recommended. You’re also just steps away Poolcafé Hart van Utrecht, a popular and relaxed pool hall just outside the tunnel. This sporty bar has been a Utrecht favorite for 27 years. Come in for a game, enjoy a drink, and catch live Dutch sports action on one of the many giant screens in air conditioned comfort.

Duke of Tokyo Karaoke
GANZENMARKT TUNNEL & DUKE OF TOKYO KARAOKE
KARAOKE NIGHT

Special Outdoor Markets

Flower market morning
UTRECHT FLOWER MARKET

The Flower Market

The Janskerkhof Flower Market traces its roots back to the 17th century, a time when Utrecht flourished as a hub of trade and culture. The market has thrived outside the Janskerk (St. John’s Church) for over two centuries as a place hotels, churches, hospitals, funeral homes, wedding planners and florists can get their bulk flowers at a good price, often with a bit of Dutch negotiation!

Every Saturday, from the early hours of the morning until the late afternoon, the square transforms into a botanical wonderland. This leafy medieval square is not just a place to buy flowers; it’s an experience where locals get not only flowers but gossip, politics and local news. As you wander through the stalls, you’re greeted by an array of blooms—from classic roses and tulips (synonymous with Dutch horticulture) to exotic orchids and cheerful sunflowers. The market also offers a variety of house plants, bulbs, and garden accessories – ensuring that every visitor finds something to take home whether it’s for a windowsill, a balcony, or a backyard garden.

The Fabric Market

The Breedstraat fabric market, known locally as the Lapjesmarkt, is a vibrant tapestry of history and commerce. Every Saturday, from the early hours of 8:00 AM until lunchtime, the street transforms into a colorful bazaar, boasting the title of the oldest and largest fabric market in the Northern Europe.

The market’s lineage dates back to 1597, when the linen-weaving guild first received permission to trade. Today, it stands as a testament to Utrecht’s rich mercantile past. The air buzzes with the chatter of locals and tourists alike, all weaving through nearly a hundred stalls that flaunt an array of fabrics from the traditional to the exotic.

It’s not just fabrics that you’ll find here; buttons, zippers, ribbons, and threads are also in abundance, offering endless possibilities for creation and customization. The Lapjesmarkt is a place where tradition meets trend, where every piece of cloth has a story, and every transaction is a thread in the fabric of Utrecht’s community.

Skates / Skate Boarding / Rollerblading

There are lots of rollerblading and skateboarding options for a life on wheels in Utrecht.

Skatestore Utrecht: Link Bakkerstraat 11, 3511 JV Utrecht. It’s the largest skateboard shop in the Utrecht region. They carry a wide range of skateboarding gear, clothing, and shoes from brands like Vans, Nike SB, adidas, Dime, Butter Goods, POP, and By Parra1.

Skatepark Utrecht: Koningin Wilhelminalaan 4, Utrecht, 3527 LD. Located just outside the city center, Skatepark Utrecht is a large indoor facility. Besides free skating, they offer skate lessons and a friendly bar for post-skate chats. Skatepark Utrecht. Located just outside the city center. Offers a large indoor skateboarding area with rails, ramps, and ledges. Perfect for skateboarders looking to boost their skills.

Speed Skating Track De Vechtsebanen: Mississippidreef 151, Utrecht, 3565 CE. If you’re into speed skating, this track is where the action happens. Lace up your skates and glide across the ice here. Vechtsebanen1.

Griftpark Utrecht: If you just want a nice place to skate, this greenway in the middle of town offers a small skatepark for shedders and deckheads to hone their craft and pump up their skill set.

MODERN DUTCH PLAYGROUND
Gift & Vintage Shopping

Utrecht’s old canal (de oudegracht) has literally hundreds of cool and interesting shops to patronize – from high-end retailers and chain stores to unique boutiques and local ‘stadwinkels’ (town stores).  But the highlight in Utrecht is the vintage and second-hand shops which pepper the city at three time the rate in Amsterdam.  There is a special webpage here to explore value hunting in the Dom City.

Opening Times & Holidays

Most shops in the historic city center are open daily from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm but on Mondays, some shops open slightly later and on Thursdays remain open later than normal. Stores outside the city center, such as furniture stores, home improvement, and garden stores are generally open between 10:00 am to 5:00 pm but rarely at night.  Of course, opening times vary per store, so be sure to check online before you out.

Holidays affect the behavior of many retailers.  Shops are closed on Easter Day, Pentecost Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Some stores are open on Easter Monday, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, and Whit Monday however.  The royal birthday, Koningsdag (April 27th) will also affect closures and change hours.