Rotterdam City Guide: best things to do in RotterdamRotterdam was the victim of one of the most devastating bombings during the second world war, which reduced most of the city centre to rubble. Its inhabitants have however embraced it as an opportunity to rebuild, slowly gaining recognition as a world-class destination for innovation, outstripping other European centres, and growing into its nickname ‘The City of the Future’. No matter, if we’re talking about architecture, nightlife, shops, restaurants or even hotels, Rotterdam is all about experimental and innovative concepts. Trust our local experts' recommendations to guide you to Rotterdam's best kept secrets.
Rotterdam is real eye-candy when it comes to architecture. Featuring sparkling skyscrapers and innovative monuments next to its historical harbour, Rotterdam combines the best of old and new architecture. Inspired by the motto “light, air and space”, the newer buildings of the city boast a modern and groundbreaking design. This basically makes just walking around and discovering the city one of the best things to do in Rotterdam. You can even spend your nights in one of the iconic monuments of the city: Stayokay Hostel is located in the famous cube houses.
Just as innovative and global as the impressing patchwork of architecture is Rotterdam’s culinary scene. Featuring both international and experimental cuisine, the best restaurants in Rotterdam are going to stimulate your taste buds with new flavors and combinations.
Without a doubt, ‘The City of the Future’ offers the best nightlife venues you can ever imagine. The best bars, venues, and clubs in Rotterdam won’t turn you down, no matter if you just want to have a drink or dance till the sun comes up. Right in the center of the city, you find the golden triangle of nightlife, which is the perfect place to start or end your night out. Just like the city itself, Rotterdam’s nightlife features more experimental places. Visit The Performance Bar to enjoy live art performances while sipping on your drink, for instance.
Another thing you shouldn’t miss during your stay, is checking out Rotterdam’s rich art and culture scene. There are a lot of things to do in Rotterdam’s museums, galleries and theaters. The city even harbours Nederlands Fotomuseum, the national museum of photography, where no less than 5 million items are showcased.
The best restaurants in RotterdamRotterdam’s culinary scene has grown into a real paradise for foodies. With a large selection of tasty street food, international cuisine, and even new culinary developments like molecular cooking, it’s really hard to name the best restaurants in town. However, our local curators are real experts when it comes to food, and have the perfect tips where to eat in Rotterdam.
Breakfast and lunch in RotterdamTrust Merel Wildschut, the driving force behind the ‘Best Vegan Blog of the Netherlands’, to help you find the best things to do in Rotterdam when it comes to breakfast and lunch. Since her blog ‘De Groene Meisjes’ is mostly about green and healthy living, her selection of the best restaurants in Rotterdam guarantees a perfect start of the day. Is breakfast your favourite meal of the day? Have it all day long at Lilith, located right in the city center. Or enjoy the tropical vibes of Aloha, one of Rotterdam’s best spots, combining a restaurant, a bar, a coffee roastery, and a terrace in one of the most exceptional locations of the city: the waterslide of the former waterpark Tropicana. If you’re living the sweet life, visit Lof der Zoetheid for the best sugar rush in town.
Rotterdam’s best dining spotsDerk Jan (DJ) Wooldrik stocks up our Rotterdam City Guide with the best restaurants in Rotterdam for dinner. As the mastermind behind the renowned kitchens of Jazzclub BIRD and the movie theater KINO, DJ knows what to do in Rotterdam when your stomach is rumbling in the evening.
If you’re in for some fine dining, you should treat your taste buds at FG restaurant, a two Michelin stars culinary paradise. On top of that, the city offers the best of foreign cuisine. Rotterdam’s best Asian restaurants, such as Japanese Cuisine Yama, Toko Toorop (Indonesian) and Tai Wu (Chinese), are definitely worth a try. Oh, and in case you get hungry on your stroll through the city’s vivid nightlife scene, pay Per’s Deli a visit. “Drunk people need good food too!” is more than just an empty slogan for one of Rotterdam’s best restaurants: let greasy burgers and tasty sandwiches soak up your previous drinks before heading back into Rotterdam’s best clubs and bars.
Nightlife in Rotterdam: where to partyRotterdam and its vivid nightlife have a lot to offer. Chic cocktail bars, lively dance clubs, cozy concert venues, and classic pubs - ‘The City of the Future’ surely knows how to entertain its visitors all night long. Rotterdam based singer-songwriter Roufaida has made herself a home in the city’s nightlife scene and takes you on a tour through Rotterdam’s hottest dancefloors and bars.
The best place to start your night out is Rotterdam’s golden nightlife triangle, home to the city’s largest music venue Annabel. The night clubs Transport and BAR are just a few steps away, pulsating to the vivid energy of young party goers dancing the night away.If you prefer tasty drinks in a cozy atmosphere over dancing on a crowded dancefloor, Rotterdam’s best bars and pubs won’t let you down. Choose from a large selection of whiskey and beer at Café de Ouwehoer or enjoy live music, great food, and a cozy vibe at Jazzcafé Dizzy.Beer lovers will love the creations of De Kaapse Brouwers, a brewery and bar in Katendrecht, Rotterdam’s former red-light district. The Brewpub serves its own creations and over 20 different beers from all over the world.
The best museums and galleries in RotterdamWith its renowned museums and galleries, Rotterdam boasts a rich cultural life. The area around the beautiful Museumpark is the place to go if you want to get a glimpse of Rotterdam’s best museums. Art lovers will find a new home in the numerous galleries around Witte de Withstraat, that display everything from old masters to contemporary art.
Traditional and digital artist Julia Filament is our expert when it comes to things to do in Rotterdam’s art and culture scene. Her recommendations cover the best museums and galleries throughout the city. You can’t decide whether you want to see old art, modern art, design, photography or fashion? No worries, Kunsthal has it all. Its large selection of, well, everything, makes the museum a dream come true for every art lover. It doesn’t always have to be paintings, sculptures or exhibitions - Rotterdam has so much more to offer. If you’re more passionate about theater and dance, Maaspodium is just the right place for you. Offering a wide range of plays and activities focused on kids, it is also perfect for families.
The best shops in RotterdamWhat would a city trip to Rotterdam be without a shopping spree? The city is filled with innovative concept stores, trendy local shops and (inter)national chains. To keep an overview of these amazing shopping spots in Rotterdam, trust our local Tjeerd Hendriks to be your guide. As a multidisciplinary creative with a strong focus on art, design and urban development, he really knows the best things to do in Rotterdam’s shopping scene.
Take a stroll along Pannekoekstraat, the city’s main shopping street to pass some of the best shops in Rotterdam. Start at Depot Rotterdam and step inside a world of home interior items with unique combinations and color palettes. Continue down the street to stock up your wardrobe with modern men’s clothing at The GoodPeople or Parisian and Scandinavian fashion at Objet Trouvé. Fans of vintage fashion should follow Pannekoekstraat for a little bit longer to get their hands on clothing from the 40s till the 90s at Vintage & Labels by Hendrikus. The perfect souvenir is something both unique and useful. So how about returning home with some handmade shoes? Vico Movement sells trendy and timeless shoes made from quality leather in Portugal. Or browse through Barrelproof’s wide range of gins, tequilas and basically everything that gets you tipsy. Alcohol is always a good gift for your friends at home or a nice souvenir to remind you of crazy nights in Rotterdam’s best clubs and bars.