You might have already known that the city centre in Utrecht is divided into several quarters, but have you already heard of the Universiteitskwartier? Not too long ago, I wandered these streets on my way to class as a young student, but these days you don’t have to be a student to discover all the gems in this neighbourhood!
Even though the Universiteitskwartier is around the corner from the busy city centre, there’s a lot of little streets where you can escape the hustle and bustle for a bit. Wander around the little alleyways and be surprised by the places you’ll discover. I once discovered a random water tower on one of my explorations. To get to the base of the water tower, you wander through cute little streets like the Korte- and Lange Lauwerstraat.
The park next to the Stadsschouwburg doesn’t get a lot of love, but I love to sit there and watch the boats go by on the canal. Fancy a little more peace and quiet? On both sides of the Wittevrouwen bridge you can descend stairs to the canal front, where you can gaze over the water.
Amidst the beauty of the Universiteitskwartier you can find the Voorstraat. This used to be a bit of a shady street, but these days the cute shops and eateries seem to pop up out of nowhere. Just like that this street has become some sort of hipster central!
You can shop around for gorgeous vintage clothing at Sussies or Giensch. I love to nosy around in search of real beauties in those shops! Are you more of a design fan? Then head on over to Puha, where they combine the powers of several young designers to bring you the hippest of the hip. Or drop by the lovely concept store: The Domestic Botanist, (closed) located on the Jansveld. Personally I’m a big fan of Notorious, where they sell retro 50’s style clothing. I feel so feminine in their designs. verkopen.
On first glance there doesn’t seem to be a lot of cultural activities in the Universiteitskwartier, but if you look closely you’ll find some! There’s a few smaller cultural centres, like Moira on the Wolvenstraat. There’s usually some smaller concerts and plays going on. You can find their entire programme on Moira’s Facebook page.
Want to try something new? Head on over to Mangakissa, the one and only manga library in Utrecht, hidden in a side street of the Oudegracht.
Would you rather explore the night culture of Utrecht? That’s also a possibility with more than enough places to go out in the Universiteitskwartier. The ACU is delightfully alternative, with great music and a very pleasant crowd.
Food & Drinks
Ooph, where to start? The Universiteitskwartier has an array of restaurants from any cuisine and country. When I’m in the mood for some Asian food, my choice would be Tiger Mama for delightful dim sum or Umami on the Oudegracht for the guilty pleasure of an all-you-can-eat-experience.
For a truly spicy curry my go to spot is Surya on the Janskerkhof. Their lamb madras curry is the best in all of Utrecht! For the tastiest, crispiest pizza, you have to visit Da Portare Via on the Voorstraat. A few doors down you can find delightful Turkish treats and dishes at Ana’s Kuzin.
It’s also a perfect neighbourhood for coffee lovers, you can head over to the Oudegracht for a great cup of coffee at ‘t Koffieboontje, or the classic for good coffee on the Voorstraat: The Village. But please also drop by newbie ‘Lucas‘ for a cup. The latter also has really nice music playing in the background when you enjoy your drink. For a delightful glass of wine you can end your day in Winebar VinVin, where you have your pick of a wide array of wines on the menu.
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