What to do in Utrecht

Things to do in Utrecht – Utrecht is a beautiful compact city, ideal for walking and biking. The city center is divided into six districts the Domkwartier, Museumkwartier, Vredenburgkwartier, Stadhuiskwartier, Maliekwartier, and Universiteitkwartier.

Map of the city center of Utrecht

The Domtoren,  the tallest church tower in the Netherlands is the pride and joy of Utrecht. The Domtoren can be seen throughout the city and from the surrounding countryside. In the historic city center, no building can be taller. We are quite pleased that the Domtoren can be seen from the “Zolder” window of our house.  Listen to the quarterly bells and carillon of the Domtoren.


Climb 465 steps to the top of the Domtoren, (Cathedral Tower),  for a beautiful panoramic view of the city and the surrounding countryside.  Not an easy climb, but well worth it, not just for the view but for the opportunity to see up close the inner structure of the Domtoren.



At the base of the Domtoren is a passageway from the Dom Square to the shopping streets and the Oudegracht.







Rear of the Domkerk


Courtyard Garden at Domkerk (St Martin’s Cathedral




Walk or bike along the  Oudegracht (Old canal) and catch an impromptu musical performance. Enjoy coffee or a beer at sidewalk cafes while watching streams of people walking and biking.

The  Slackline artist, playing his accordion.IMG_7016

Carnaval RevelersIMG_7212

Enjoy a meal at the water’s edge or shop on the car-free streetIMG_6120IMG_7188IMG_6974

Canoeing, kayaking, electric & pedal boating,  or navigating on a stand-up paddleboard are very popular. Tour boats cruise the Oudegracht and the Singel, (the circumferential canal around the historic center).  Further down this page, I have listed some of the boat rental and boat cruise companies.IMG_4696IMG_4285IMG_4408IMG_4397IMG_4499IMG_4507IMG_4402IMG_4491IMG_4394IMG_4493IMG_4515IMG_4514


The Nieuwegracht, (New Canal) built between 1390 and 1393 is a quiet street of stately homes and institutions.IMG_7174IMG_7173


Here at the start of the Nieuwegracht, the bank runs down to the water’s edge. The lower-end of the Nieuwegracht was left undeveloped.IMG_7171

The Squares -De Neude, Gazenmarkt, Domplein, Mariaplaats, Janskerkhof are great places to sit and people-watch while enjoying a coffee, a beer or a meal.

Explore tiny alleyways leading to hidden courtyards and gardens.IMG_2413






Exploring, we followed an alleyway and came upon this beautiful park hidden within the dense city.IMG_2455IMG_2458




Car-free Shopping StreetsIMG_4280IMG_4281IMG_4283IMG_4272IMG_4271IMG_4276IMG_4279IMG_4277IMG_4278


Poke around in second-hand and eclectic shops on the lower Oudegracht – IMG_7252IMG_7253IMG_7254IMG_7255IMG_7256IMG_7257IMG_7258IMG_7259IMG_7260


Twijnstraat (Lower Oudegracht) already a shopping street in the 13th century. – Museum Quarter, (Museumkwartier)IMG_6866IMG_6868IMG_6875IMG_6877IMG_6878

Join a free Historical Walking Tour of Utrecht.  Paul and Rebecca have been on several of them.IMG_6016



Railway Museum Click on English option. This museum is great. It is located in a no longer used train station.IMG_7153


MuseumSpeelklok    Museum of self-playing musical instruments. We love this museum.IMG_7183

Windmill Museum (Molen de Ster), a working 18th-century wind-driven sawmill next to the city center. The only working sawmill in the Netherlands. Click on English option. On Saturdays, volunteers operate the windmill, sawing large logs for clients.

Utrecht’s working sawmill, Molen de Ster.

Miffy Museum   Home of the beloved Dutch children’s book character, Miffy. The author and illustrator Dick Bruna, was an Utrecht native.IMG_4108

Grocery Museum  A 19th-century grocery. First link is in Dutch. This link is in English.

Sonnenborgh   19th century observatory and home to the Royal Dutch Meteorological Society. The museum was built on a 16th-century bastion of the old city wall.IMG_5361

Central MuseumIMG_7169

Museum Catharijneconvent

IMG_7165 Universiteits Museum Utrecht


Go to the theater

 Tivoli Contemporary music complex with five theaters.

Beatrix Theater Utrecht   musicals, concerts, and shows

 Theater De Paardenkathedraal here in Wittevrouwen

Theater Kikker contemporary theater, modern dance and youth theater.IMG_7136

Het Werftheater cabaret, stand-up comedy and improvIMG_7122

Watch Art and contemporary films at theaters within easy walking or biking distance. Click on the English option for Hardlooper and Springhaver.

Louis Hartlooper ComplexIMG_5903


Stadsschouwburg Utrecht IMG_7142

Bioscoop IMG_7130

Wander through Utrecht’s markets, the Fabric Market, (Lapjesmarkt)  the largest in the Netherlands,IMG_7204

the beautiful Flower Market (Janskerkhof Bloemenmarkt) in the picturesque Janskerkhof, every Saturday), IMG_7228IMG_7232 and the Food Market at Vredenburg. Go on Saturday to see the most vendors. IMG_7221IMG_7219

Visit a Verkeerstuin, a  Traffic Garden  for children. Reservations neededIMG_2361

Go Bowling in the heart of Utrecht

IMG_7179or play pool at two billiard halls. PoolCafé Hart Van Utrecht next to OudegrachtIMG_7135 and  Ozebi  in a hidden courtyard just off nearby Biltstraat, situated in a former swimming pool.IMG_7138

Play Ping Pong  The site is in Dutch, though there are photos.


Rent an electric boat, pedal boat, kayak or take a guided cruise on the canals and River Vecht and the Krommerijn River leading out into the countryside.

Schuttevaer BoatsIMG_7119

Greenjoy boat-rental IMG_7189


Griftpark, a short walk from our house, has farm animals, playgrounds for toddlers and older kids, a pond with ducks, a skateboard park, (One of the largest in the Netherlands) a basketball court, a small hill, a nature area and a restaurant we’ve eaten at many times.  People bring out their grills in the summertime and hang out by the pond. It’s a nice park for jogging. IMG_4067

























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