An excursion for everyone

Like a tourist

The best tip for anyone who wants to see a different side of Antwerp is to guide other people through the city. Usually people recommend that tourists visit the Rubens House and the Plantin-Moretus Museum but have you recently visited this cultural heritage? If yes, then there are plenty of other museums in the city centre to visit. Zuid has several modern museums such as M HKA and the Photo Museum. Moreover there are several well-known restaurants in this part of the city where you can eat a delicious meal after your cultural journey through the centre and south of the city.

Thanks to Park Spoor Noord and the new MAS museum Antwerp-Noord is also a section of the city which you cannot afford to miss during a city trip. In 2009 the new Spoor Noord park was officially inaugurated. The landscape park soon became an excellent meeting place, which is why we recommend starting your visit to Antwerp with a picnic by the fountain in the middle of the park (weather permitting). This is an ideal location for children as the playground is nearby. You can walk over to MAS near Bonaparte Dock in just 20 minutes. The “Museum aan de Stroom” became an instant favourite with visitors after its opening because of its striking architecture and its huge Antwerp-themed collection.

The upgraded Eilandje

MAS is located in ’t Eilandje, a vibrant city neighbourhood which is in full development. This old port neighbourhood is changing fast, thanks to pleasant promenades, renovated roads and upgraded buildings. Old warehouses and sheds have been converted into trendy restaurants and night clubs. Felixpakhuis is a perfect example of this approach, with its restaurant and café as well as a covered market with unique products. A perfect place to start your visit on a rainy day in other words.

Since September 2013 ’t Eilandje has a new cultural attraction: the Red Star Line Museum. The new museum is situated near the port as it is located in the old buildings of the Red Star Line shipping company. Like MAS the museum has all the potential to become a popular cultural attraction because of its historical roots. The Red Star Line Museum connects the past with the present by telling the stories of the passengers who left for America in the early twentieth century as well as the stories of modern migrants. This is a perfect combination in the framework of the Eilandje, which is being modernised and is finding new uses for the vestiges of its port past.

 

A museum for everyone

A museum is a perfect place to go on rainy or cold days but what’s more, it also has activities for the whole family. Children can take part in arts and crafts workshops or in children’s discovery trails. The Red Star Line Museum also has a “suitcase full of items” so you can explore the museum with your kids. Highly recommended if you are looking for an educational outing with your children.

And what better way to end the day than to walk up the shop’s tower of the Red Star Line and enjoy a panoramic view of Antwerp. Although the panorama is not as impressive as from the roof of MAS, which is much higher, it offers a different perspective on the city. Do visit the museum in winter to enjoy a snowy view of Antwerp. And if you still have some time after your visit you can always head to the Badboot for a refreshing swim in the summer. In winter the Badboot is also open, but then it is converted into an ice-skating rink. There is always something to do in Eilandje, regardless of the season.

 

Antwerp’s assets

It’s obvious that Antwerp has several assets which you can discover. The innovations in Antwerp-Noord are contributing to the city’s growth meaning you will need more than one day to take in all the sights of the city. Museums make up an important part of the cultural offering and are the perfect place to see a different side of Antwerp, especially in the city's new museums such as MAS and the Red Star Line Museum.

An outing with friends

Feel like spending the day in Antwerp with some friends? Here are some tips:

  • The Red Star Line Museum has developed an app allowing you to discover Antwerp in the footsteps of the migrants who travelled to America with the Red Star Line. This trail shows you a different side of the city.
  • Shopping in Antwerp is almost like visiting a museum because several well-known designers who graduated from the Fashion Academy have a shop in the city. And even if the clothes are too expensive it's still fun to admire their creations. Window shopping can also be a very enjoyable experience!
  • There’s always something going on in Antwerp. The city regularly organises festivals with music, good food and a lot of entertainment. So always check the events calendar.
  • Have you ever taking a walk below the city? Since a few years visitors can explore Antwerp’s ruien or underground canal system with a guide. A fun way of learning more about what Antwerp used to look like in the past.

 

An outing with the kids

  • Start the day in one of the many museums. Do you like fashion or photography or are you interested in the history of Antwerp? There is something for everyone. And who says that history has to be boring? Just check out the new Red Star Line Museum, which brings back to life the history of migration from Antwerp to America with a multimedia experience.
  • A classic: visit the Zoo of Antwerp. Children like nothing better than seeing their favourite animals in real life and it is also a fun outing for their parents, especially now that the Zoo has been refurbishment, with larger enclosures and a new bird pavilion.
  • Children can spend several hours in the library. They enjoy the books but several libraries now also organise activities for small children. They can listen to wonderful stories or enjoy some arts and crafts while you read a novel.
  • Going to the theatre with your children is always a good idea because often performances are just as much fun for children and adults.

 

An outing on a rainy day (with or without the kids)

  • Are you fed up of all the rain? Then go to the cinema. There are two large cineplexes in Antwerp but there are also several small cinemas and cultural centres with an alternative film programme. You can often go see a children’s film here in the afternoon.
  • The Zoo of Antwerp has a cousin nearby with several aquariums: Aquatopia. Although you may get drenched by the rain outside you will stay dry in this underwater world full of exotic fish and scary sharks.
  • You can always visit a museum but a rainy day is always a good excuse for a museum visit. Stick with the water theme and head to the Red Star Line Museum and surround yourself with stories of boats and travel stories and the sea.
  • Enjoy a stylish dinner in Felixpakhuis, which is just a short walk from the Red Star Line Museum. Or maybe you prefer a drink with friends or a bit of shopping in the covered market. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about their family’s past in Antwerp can also consult the city archives here.

A winter outing (with or without the kids)

  • Traditionally Antwerp always has a Christmas market in winter. Here you can enjoy a heart-warming cup of glühwein and buy a reindeer sweater to cover up against the cold.
  • Skiing is a little bit more difficult in the city but you can go ice-skating in the Christmas market and on the Badboot, which is converted into a skating rink in winter.
  • Warm up in a museum. If you go as far as the Badboot then why not visit the museums in the Eilandje district? MAS is the biggest of the two, the Red Star Line Museum is the newcomer.
  • Theatre, music, stand-up comedy, dance,… You may have already seen such performances in the large events halls but cultural centres also often programme a wide range of cultural events and they are often cheaper.