After the Domkwartier and the Universiteitskwartier, we’re going to go through some of my favourite spots in the Vredenburgkwartier. The Vredenburgkwartier is the beating heart of Utrecht’s city centre. On the Vredenburg square, you can find a market three times a week. In the nearby Tivoli Vredenburg there is something new to do every day. The new Hoog Catharijne mall shines as the gateway to the city centre from the Central Station. In the future the canal will be added to complete the picture.
Let’s see what there is to do in the Vredenburgkwartier. The bigger streets are riddled with large chainstores. Although you can sometimes find me in the Zara (Home) H&M, &other stories or the gorgeous new Bijenkorf, let’s take our time to explore the little streets. These contain the unique shops that make a difference. There’s ample restaurants in the Vredenburgkwartier, picking a nice spot can be a stressful occasion. Finding a seat can also be a challenge, especially on the Drieharingstraat and on the wharfs of the Oudegracht.
In the Vredenburgkwartier you sadly can’t find many independent shops. De Rode Winkel and Thom Broekman are the stars of the Lange Elisabethstraat, they’ve been located in Utrecht since 1837. Not only is the collection at fashion(jeans) shop ‘De Rode Winkel’ amazing, but the building it’s situated in is also stunning. In the wonderful hallway towards the shop, there’s always art on display. Don’t be afraid to drop by and have a look once in a while. But be careful, because you’re guaranteed to leave with a well fitting pair of jeans!
In the Zakkendragerssteeg you can find De Kast, a conceptstore where several designers can rent a space to show and sell their creations to the public. Across from it you can find ‘Little Wannahaves’ an online shop that also offers cute items for kids and their parents offline. At Paul van Dillen, located on the Vredenburg, you can find all sorts of kitchen materials; from kitchen machines to potato peelers. Apart from food shopping on the market, I also stuff my basket full of Asian goodies at Toko Goedendag.
I don’t have many favourites in the Vredenburgkwartier, so it’s become a short list of a few superstars.
One of my favourites is Piatto, a restaurant with an Italian menu and a beautiful interior. When you pass it on the Vredenburg, you could never imagine how cute this place looks on the inside. At Piatto you can have some nice wine and bites in the lounge area, or have a nice lengthy dinner at one of the tables.
If you’re craving a nice cup of coffee, you have to go to 30ML, also situated on the Vredenburg. At this coffee bar you can also get some nice sandwiches and treats. If you have a meeting or want some place to work, this place is also recommended.
Het Gegeven Paard is one of my favourites for a good Gin & Tonic. Both in the cafe and on the terrace it’s a nice place to hang out. The menu is also very good; delicious snacks, burgers and more. Grabbing a drink usually ends up in me ordering something off the menu. If you have a party at Tivoli or a show at the Comedy Club after, this is a great place to stop by beforehand.
I’d also like to tip De Goudvink, de newest addition to the Drieharingstraat. Here you can enjoy small dishes or a nice board of snacks with wine. A great location to chill and escape the crowds of the city. In the Zakkendragerssteeg you can find De Zakkendrager, an amazing restaurant with a gorgeous hidden garden. Definitely worth a visit!
The Swanmarket, an amazing makers-market with food trucks and music, takes place on the Vredenburgplein. The calender for Tivoli Vredenburg is always filled with events and concerts. You can also head over to cafe Stathe, where bands regularly play a small concert, but a drink and some bites there are also recommended. At Ekko you can regularly find a good party.
Header beeld door fotograaf Juri Hiensch