Utrecht is a diverse place, which makes it the perfect city to explore during a weekend. Whether you’re into history, art, culture or activities, Utrecht has got something for everyone! This article will provide you with a few options of ways to spend your weekend.
Utrecht being one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands is a great city for all the history-fanatics out there. Its origin lies in the ancient times, because it used to be a Roman fortification on the Limes. Around 1122 Utrecht gained its city rights and developed into one of the most important trading cities within Europe. That is just a snippet of the rich history Utrecht has. This history can be explored by visiting several sites during the weekend.
ROMAN HISTORY: LIMES AND CASTELLA
The Limes is the designation of the border of the Roman Empire. It runs right through Utrecht and you can find it near the Dom. Near the Limes, under the Domplein, three castella have been preserved. These can be visited by visiting: DOMunder, De Meern: Castellum Hoge Woerd, and Vechten: Castellum Fectio.
Of course, the Dom is on this list. The Dom, also known as the Sint-Maartenskathedraal (named after the patron saint of Utrecht) is one of the most important trademarks of Utrecht. The church can be visited daily and if you happen to visit on a Saturday, it is possible to attend a concert (mostly organ) that starts around 15.30. Next to admiring the church’s architecture and interior, one can climb the tower of this gothic church, to catch a great view of Utrecht’s city skyline.
CASTLE DE HAAR
Castle de Haar is a magnificent structure that has a rich history that started in the 13th century and is owned by the family Van Zuylen. It is possible to visit this neo gothic castle to take a look at the luxurious interior of the baron and baroness van Zuylen. The castle also has a great park you can stroll through. It has a rose garden, roman garden, maze, pond and a deer park. The castle and the park offer a great way to spend an afternoon.
Cultural Places and Events
If you are more of a cultural and artsy person and you prefer visiting more cultural sites, Utrecht has a wide range of interesting museums, art galleries and theatres.
The first museum on the list is the Centraal Museum. It is located in a medieval monastery within Utrecht’s city centre. There you can visit several different exhibitions from historical as well as modern artists. The exhibitions are changed every now and then, so keep that in mind when you visit the museum. However, the museum always gives you the opportunity to visit Utrecht’s ancient Ship, Dick Bruna’s (the artist behind Miffy) studio and Utrecht Lokaal.
MUSEUM DE SPEELKLOK
If you’re interested in music and instruments, Museum de Speelklok might just be the thing for you. The museum exhibits several instruments that play themselves like mechanical street organs and barrel organs. A visit to this museum is easily combined with other activities.
Like the Centraal Museum, the Catharijneconvent offers different exhibitions you can visit. There is one exhibition that is always available to the public, which is an exhibition of masterpieces from the Middle Ages. There are also other exhibitions that are switched every now and then that either display current or historical art. In the end this museum gives an insight into the artistic history of Utrecht and modern culture.
If you’re up to attend a theatre production, concert or comedy show you need to visit Utrecht’s Stadsschouwburg. The place has a packed programme with different kinds of shows (some even in English) you can visit.
In the context of music, concerts and performances, Tivoli Vredenburg is a big concert hall in Utrecht where you can attend many different shows. It is a great way to spend the evening in Utrecht and end your day with bang.
There are a plethora of activities or games that you can do in the city of Utrecht.
Are you a fan of puzzling with friends and feeling like a detective? Utrecht offers a lot of escape rooms you can visit. An escape room is an exciting activity you can do with friends, where you are locked in a room, which you can escape by looking for clues and solving puzzles to gain access to the exit of the room. There are many escape rooms with different mysterious and original themes, which almost guarantees that you can find one that piques your interest!
PUZZLETOUR IN UTRECHT
In the spirit of puzzling. The city of Utrecht offers puzzle tours where you can explore the city and its history by exploring Utrecht to find answers to the several questions and puzzles the tour provides. This can be a fun way to get to familiarise yourself with the city of Utrecht!
Utrecht is well known for its canals. If you have stayed in Utrecht for a while, you are almost sure to know of the Oudegracht and the Nieuwegracht. It is possible to explore both these canals. There are several ways to tour the waters of Utrecht. The first way is of course a classic boat tour. There are even some tours available that offer dinner and or drinks. The second option is hiring a canoe or a pedalo/pedal boat to paddle your way across the wharf cellars of the old canals. Either way, you’re guaranteed to get a new view of Utrecht with this fun activity.
Of course, this activity will make the list. There is a great variety of shops within Utrecht, which means there are enough options for everyone like fashion (fast fashion or vintage), home decor , games, books or DIY stores. For bigger brand shopping you can go to Hoog Catharijne mall and you will be sure to find something you like. The city centre also offers the opportunity to visit brand stores, but also more alternative or smaller shops. The following streets are great for shopping: Vredenburg, Lange Elizabethstraat, Steenweg, Oudegracht, Zadelstraat, Lijnmarkt, Twijnstraat, Voorstraat, Oudhkerkhof en Nachtegaalstraat.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
You can never go wrong with the classic activity of grabbing a bite or going for a drink in Utrecht. Utrecht has a lot of different restaurants and bars, which makes it easy for people to find one that fits their dietary restrictions. Just check out this blogpost about food and drinks in Utrecht for some inspiration for where you can grab something to drink or eat in Utrecht!
Even though this article doesn’t mention everything you can do in Utrecht one can definitely conclude that Utrecht is a buzzing place where you can spend a weekend packed with fun activities and visit many great places.