Antwerpen is buzzing
Antwerp is always on the move. Antwerp has something to offer for everyone. Yet when you go on a citytrip you immediately think of the tourist attractions. In Antwerp thats’s the Grote Markt, City Hall and het Steen. But Antwerp has so much more to offer.
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The Sint-Jansvliet is located one street away from The Big Sleep. A cozy basketballcourt surrounded by cafes and restaurants. From there, walk though the pedestrian tunnel to Linkeroever (Leftbank) and be amazed by the beautiful view of the ‘skyline’ of the city. In the Kloosterstraat you will find cozy cafes and restaurants between the antique shops.
Personal favorites are Take 5 minutes in Paris, they serve delicious soups for lunch and have a beautiful courtyard, Chez Fred, for a good Flemish dish, and Dansing Chocola, a nice cafe for lunch or dinner with a cozy terrace that is illuminated at night by colorful lights. Another good place is St. Simonne on Sint-Andriesplaats, in the heart of the neighbourhood.
Antwerp City Bike
The Plantin-Moretus Museum is the original residence and printing house of the Plantin-Moretus family from the 16th-century with a beautiful courtyard garden that is free of charge to enter. The museum is located on the Vrijdagmarkt, a square with restaurants, popular cafes, wine bars and second-hand shops. On Friday morning there is an auction of furniture and other items that are auctioned.
Gallery De Zwarte Panter is located around the corner from the museum, at the beginning of the Hoogstraat. The gallery is located in the former Sint-Julianus guesthouse (1303) and shows contemporary figurative art from Antwerp and has a picturesque courtyard.
From there it is a short walk to Muntplein, a quiet place to muse. The two restaurants with terraces offer a delicious lunch and dinner. Recommended are Camino and Mico & Jon just around the corner. Don’t forget the nearby Native for a delicious breakfast, lunch or picnic, they offer blankets!
Gallerie De Zwarte Panter
An oasis of calm can also be found in Den Botaniek, a botanical garden in the city center a fifteen minute walk from The Big Sleep.
Bicycle stations can be found at various points in Antwerp and electric scooters are also widespread. Grab a bike and ride to ‘t Eilandje. An old harbor area surrounded by water. The harbor is now concentrated more in the North but the old harbor feeling still prevails due to the presence of quays, warehouses and cobblestones.
The MAS is the largest museum in Antwerp and focuses on the rich past of the city, the port and the Scheldt. The pedestrian boulevard and the panorama, from where you have a beautiful view of the city, are accessible free of charge. Buy a coffee-to-go opposite the MAS at Dellafaille and continue towards the Red Star Line Museum. From this place, millions of people emigrated to America on the steamships of the Red Star Line.
The Port House marks the starting point of the port area. The building is a ‘love it or hate it.’
A visit, individually or with a group, is possible. Recommended is the monumental Pomphuis, a wonderful restaurant for lunch and dinner.
Red Star Line Museum
Bar Paniek at the Kattendijkdok has a lovely terrace. Around the corner in the Indiestraat is the Antwerp Brewery Company that brews the Seef beer, a historic regional beer that has been brewed and sold again since 2012.
Park Spoor Noord is located in the same area, a green park laid out on an old railway yard. The presence of the water playground makes it a popular place for children with parents who can sit on the summer terrace or on the terrace of Gä Nord.
Another brewery is De Koninck. You drink a Koninck from a ‘bolleke’, but if you order a ‘bolleke’, they also understand what you mean. The brewery is located on the Mechelsesteenweg. Opposite the brewery are the Albert Park and the Harmonie Park, based on a 19th century landscape park with a large playground. In the orangery of the new city office, Nives has a terrace to keep an eye on the children.
From the Grote Markt, take a walk through Wijngaardstraat, an old cobbled street that leads to Hendrik Conscienceplein, an intimate square with the Carolus-Borromeus at its center. Most of the surrounding buildings date from the 17th century and are decorated with great pomp.
Park Spoor Noord
Since 2019, the Handelsbeurs has been restored to its former glory after a thorough renovation and the ground floor is open to the public. A little further on, in a side street of the Meir, is the Rubens House, the former home and studio of the artist Peter Paul Rubens. Within walking distance, or take a city bike, you can admire the grave of Rubens in Sint-Jacobskerk. The train station, one of the most beautiful in the world, with a 75m high dome and the zoo, one of the oldest in Europe, are not far from here.
A fifteen minute bike ride from The Big Sleep is the Dageraadplaats, one of the nicest squares in the Zurenborg district and a well-kept secret for tourists. Surrounded by restaurants and cafes, the square is illuminated at night by thousands of lights. The Cogels-Osylei, also in Zurenborg, is a succession of eclectic neo-styles that together form a whole. That variety of different architectural styles cannot be found anywhere else in Europe.
From December to January Antwerp turns into a winter wonderland during the Winter of Antwerp with a beautifully lit city, the ice rink and winter bars at the Christmas Market. The Summer of Antwerp takes place in July and August, a city and culture festival with concerts, theatre, films and summer bars. Check our social media for all the ins and outs.
The Big Sleep has a foot scraper next door. You often find them on houses from 100 years ago. A foot scraper is actually a doormat avant la lettre. Artist Elke Lemmens built unique mini scenes in these foot scrapers and gave them a new life. Each foot scraper gives an insight into the lives and thoughts of the 45 families that participated. The Big Sleep has a miniature globe, recently provided with a QR code that brings our story to life. There is now an audio walk along all the 45 amazing foot scrapers.
Antwerp has lots to offer when it comes to art and culture and flavors from all over the world can be tasted in the city. The above is therefore only a suggestion to adapt to everyone’s wishes.