Hi there and welcome on my personal page! Here I would like to share my personal tips of Utrecht and give you the opportunity to experience Utrecht as a local. First of all I would like to ‘proof’ to you that I am a sincere local, there are some prejudices about the dutch and Utrecht and I think I tick most of the boxes.
If you follow these tips, I am 100% certain you will have a good time in Utrecht! To keep things simple I divided the tips into several categories so you can decide which suits you best, but of course, feel free to combine them.
I would recommend going to the Hema at the Steenweg. Go sit by the window and you will have a lovely view of the shopping street waking up. For only €2,- you will get a hot beverage, croissant with jam and a baguette with cheese!
I would recommend getting a ‘Broodje Mario’ at the Oudegracht. It is one of the most famous sandwiches of Utrecht and you can take it with you and sit along the wharves at the canal.
Bar Walden at Domsquare is the place to go. For only €15,- you will get a three-course meal!
Utrecht has some lovely free concerts every week, make sure to check on their website if you need to reserve a spot.
– At ‘Tivoli Vredenburg’ almost every Friday there is a free lunch break concert.
– At ‘Het Muzieklokaal’ every Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon a free concert.
– At the Domchurch every Saturday at 15:30 there is performance by the Dom’s own choir.
– Almost every night Open mic, jazz nights and more at Cafe ‘t oude Pothuys
– Every Tuesday evening it is Open mich at Cafe Averechts.
– In Tivoli’s cafe at the Rabo Open Stage there are several performances during the week.
If you want some peace and quiet I always try to escape the city and go into nature and the best thing of course it is budget-friendly.
– Maarseveenseplassen is a lake on a 20 min. bike ride from Utrecht and it is lovely to hang out and take a dive into the water.
– Amelisweerd is an estate east of the city of Utrecht. There are several walking routes through Amelisweerd.
– Griftpark is next to the old city center and has a small skate park, basketball court, and its own petting zoo. Especially during summer it is a lovely place to hang out.
– The nicest park is Julianapark with old trees and grass fields it is just like walking in a tiny forest.
Bond and Smolders is a pastry shop, boulangerie and chocolate shop which exists for more than four generations.
De Kazerij is the most cozy but also authentic cheese store in town. A specialty of the store are the so-called ‘Boerenkazen’ (Farmer’s cheeses) but they also sell products like wine and fig bread (Twijnstraat 67).
Bigoli is not ideal for making a quick decision because of their very extensive assortment. So take your time to select your favorite pasta, salad or Italian sandwich (Schoutenstraat 12).
Le Jardin is a French restaurant famous for cooking with local and seasonal vegetables and herbs (Mariaplaats 42).
LE:EN is known for its Asian tapas (Heuveloord 140).
Bastacosi, is an Italian restaurant that serves the traditional wood oven pizza’s (Biltstraat 33 and Vleutenseweg 388).
The Street food & Rum Club,
The Streetfood Club and the Rum Club are perfect for a tropical dinner but especially when you want to enjoy a cocktail in a smashing interior (Janskerkhof 9 and Oudegracht aan de Werf 111).
awarded as the best wine bar of the Netherlands in 2019 (Predikherenstraat 19).
Proeflokaal (literally Ruben his tasting room) is a café specialized in wine tastings (Nieuwengracht 197).
If you want to paddle through the city centre you can rent a canoe (or two kayaks) at Oudengracht 275. If you want to enjoy a little more privacy and love to be surrounded by nature they are also for rent at Rhijnauwen 2.
The Soesterduinen with its forest and drifting dunes is the perfect spot to have a romantic pick nick. This date requires a bit more preparation (pack a blanket, buy a bottle of wine and prepare a pasta salad) but is absolutely worth the effort.
For the ultimate Dutch experience you can rent a tandem bike and explore the city and its surroundings. They are for rent at many locations (for instance at the central station of Utrecht: Catharijnesingel 28).
Le Clochard is the hidden gem of Utrecht. With its indoor fireplace and many candle lights you find yourself in a medieval tavern. Perfect for a date night (Ridderhofstad 2).
BBQ at the Park,
Good news: BBQing at parks is allowed in Utrecht. Just make sure you do not leave any mess! Some examples of parks are Wilhelminapark, Griftpark, and Julianapark.
If you like to enjoy a movie in the outdoor, check pathe.nl/rooftopcinema.
Jue de boule bar,
When you are in a competitive mood you can go to the Jeu de Boules bar for indoor Jeu de Boules. Done playing, they also have a great offer of beers and bites (Paardenveld 3).
Last but absolutely not least: go stargazing at the observatory of Utrecht. Visit the museum (from Tuesday to Friday or on Sunday) or observe the Universe through a gigantic telescope (on Friday and Saturday evening, Oct-March, Zonnenburg 2).
The Village, absolutely the best place for drinking and buying coffee (Voorstraat 46).
Blackbird, great espresso bar where even the furniture is for sale (Oudegracht 222).
Koffie Leute, serves great sweet pastry to go with your coffee (Westerkade 30).
BROEI, a very creative place to work, lunch, have a coffee or a fresh juice (Ossterkade 24).
They do not only sell local fashion brands, they also sell interior, art, plants and more (Vinkenburgstraat 19).
Affordable yet unique clothes but also shoes. There is even an option to get your hair done at their hair salon (Voorstraat 6).
A store that offers products from young designers. Many fair and eco friendly products are being sold here! Nice to know: in the shop you can ask for the special Puha shopping route (Voorstraat 48).
This is the urban beach of Utrecht. At this special place with a view on the canal, you can lunch, have dinner, or drink (Kanaalweg 199).
The Pingpong Club,
At this café, you can have a beer in one hand and you table tennis badge in the other (Concordiastraat 80).
For dancing and partying at a very industrial location (Tractieweg 41).
With the view on Neude this café offers exciting beers and good wines (Voorstraat 4).
The Malt Vault,
Is a very characteristic whiskey bar that offers more than 300 types of whiskey (Oudegracht 54).
Rent a boat,
At GreenJoy you can rent a (silent) electric boat and sail through the canals of Utrecht. Prices depend on the day and time but go from 30 euro per hour for a boat that fits 8 persons. For more information and to make a reservation visit: greenjoy.nl/online-reserveren/.
Castle The Haar,
Have your kids (or maybe you yourself) always dreamt of being a knight or a lady? If so, then castle the Haar is great to bring that dream to live. Discover the rich history, exhibitions, and gardens of this magical castle just outside Utrecht. kasteeldehaar.nl/english/
Nijntje (Miffy) Museum,
Miffy Museum is a wonderful museum for young children. On Sunday afternoon it is storytime during which the adventures of Miffy and its friends are being told. Additionally, creative afternoons are organized during the weekends. For more information and opening hours check nijntjemuseum.nl/?lang=en.
When your children think Miffy is a way too childish the Spoorwegmuseum (a.k.a. The Railway Museum) offers a great and of course much cooler alternative. Maliebaanstation 16.
Theehuis (literally tea house) Rhijnauwen is located in a beautiful forest and therefore offers a great view when eating a typical Dutch pancake. Rhijnauwenselaan 16. Tip: Theehuis Rijnauwen can also be reached when traveling from the city center via boat or canoe.
At the restaurant Jozef at the Mariaplaats you and your kids can enjoy a nice lunch or diner and when the kids are done the can go to the play corner. The play corner is quite large, there is a table, kitchen, many blocks and puzzles. The big plus is the mega-sized chalk wall.
Buurten in de Fabriek,
Buurten in de Fabriek has a children’s menu for little guests that includes both festive and healthy dishes. There is also a small separate room where you can play. There are toys in the nursery and children’s books in the bookcase.