All hotspots and well-known places in Rotterdam are a lot of fun. They are popular for a reason. But the lesser-known, fairly hidden or undiscovered locations are just as cool as your usual coffee shop or favourite park. Are you joining us on a journey of discovery?
In this Rotterdam hidden gems tour (part 1) we take you through Noord, Blijdorp, Overschie, West and the city centre, for a full day of fun like you’ve never had before. The nice thing about this tour is that you can follow the order of the locations from Central Station, to eventually end up back at the starting point.
1. Luchtpark Hofbogen
Starting point: Rotterdam Central Station. When you walk through the station hall to the front of the building with a fresh mint tea from Dudok Patisserie in hand, the adventure begins. You turn left (when facing the station with your back). It is a fifteen minute walk to Luchtpark Hofbogen, so that’ll give you plenty of time to sip your cup of tea.
On June 1st, 2018, the first piece of public park opened on the longest roof in the Netherlands. This long roof of the Hofbogen has a length of 1.9 kilometers and is located on the roof of Station Hofplein. Luchtpark Hofbogen is accessible to everyone. Via the iconic bright yellow Luchtsingel and the entrance on Heer Bokelweg opposite to the Grafisch Lyceum, local residents, Rotterdammers and tourists can climb the stairs to enjoy the park.
The nicest part of the park? The garden with fruit trees and shrubs, heme vegetation and vegetable beds.
2. Le Petitjean
Then you descend down the stairs on the side where Grafisch Lyceum is situated. You end up in the Zomerhofkwartier in the Agniesebuurt in Rotterdam Noord, also known as ZOHO. There you will find Le Petitjean, a patisserie with creations that not only make your mouth water, but that are also beautiful to look at.
Zomerhofstraat 75, 3032 CK Rotterdam
3. SHOWROOM 41
From Le Petitjean you walk along the Noordsingel towards Noordplein, where the coloured lights in the trees greet you festively. Once you’re across the square you will find the unique vintage store Showroom 41 alongside the water. This modest boutique can best be described as a stimulating world full of beauty, with unique ‘one piece only’ and vintage design pieces.
Shop vintage sunglasses from Christian Dior and Diane von Fürstenberg, as well as garments from Dries van Noten, Moschino Couture and Thierry Mugler, amongst other things. You’re also at the right address for ‘one piece only’ gold and silver jewellery from LIONE.
Zaagmolenkade 43, 3035 KA Rotterdam
4. Tom Coffee & Paper Goods
All that shopping makes you thirsty. Or it makes you want to shop even more. And that’s possible, because you’ll find TOM Coffee & (Paper) Goods on a corner, not even a step and a roll away from Showroom 41. They are – in their own words – Rotterdam’s smallest coffee bar and shop.
Buy coffee, tasty baked treats such as cake, muffins and cookies and a calendar or day planner. Those last two purchases are especially useful for planning your next city trip to Rotterdam.
Zaagmolenkade 170, 3035 KD Rotterdam
5. Kringloopwinkel Rotterdam
From TOM Coffee & (Paper) Goods it is a half hour walk to the next location: Kringloopwinkel Rotterdam in Blijdorp. It is a nice walking route through the cozy residential areas of both Noord and Blijdorp. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like peeking into the houses of ‘neighbours’?
The entrance to this shop is extremely hidden. On the Gordelweg you will find a large fence with a statue of a gladiator in front of it. Uhm? Yes, a gladiator straight out of Asterix & Obelix. They must have found it ages ago, put it in front of the store and never removed it since. Funny, right?
Thrift shop Rotterdam has an area of 1000 m2 and is completely full of things, things and more things. People with a small budget and lovers of used items, curiosities, vintage, furniture, white goods, records and books are all more than welcome to stop by.
Gordelweg 243, 3039 GD Rotterdam
6. Stadskwekerij De Kas
Close to Kringloopwinkel Rotterdam, in a real Blijdorp street, is the beautiful Stadskwekerij De Kas situated. A residents’ initiative by Eva Bes and Marja Versteeg: two gardeners with a heart for nature and people. Their mission? They are committed to increasing biodiversity in Rotterdam, as well as improving the connection between people and organisations.
You can do various things at De Kas. For example, De Groene Huiskamer is open for a cup of coffee or tea. You can also regularly walk with a group for an hour along a green route during Gezond Natuur Wandelen. In addition, De Kas organises workshops about greenery and water, meetings are held at the location and you are welcome in the nursery to buy plants and seeds.
The plants are grown as sustainably as possible. Stadskwekerij De Kas monitors, amongst other things, the use (or rather lack) of pesticides and responsible transport. For example, they buy soil from Bio-kultura. In addition, they collect the plants and seeds close to home, in Rotterdam. They dry and clean the seeds on location. They sew the packaging from old paper, they do not use plastic. So you are assured to go home with a pure and 100% Rotterdams product.
Van Beuningenstraat 22, 3039 WE Rotterdam
7. Sidelingepark Skatepark
Fortunately, greenery can be found everywhere, including Overschie. From Blijdorp you can easily walk to the Sidelingepark, preferably with a skateboard or inline skates. In this park you will find a skate park where not only obstacles have been built, but where there is also enough flat ground. Handy for beginners or skaters who want to take it easy.
And while you’re there, you might as well take a walk through the Sidelingepark. It’s very nice!
Burgemeester Koningssingel, 3042 NK Rotterdam
8. OASE Rotterdam
Tired of skating (or walking) and feeling a bit exhausted? Great excuse to order an Uber. A car will take you to Delfshaven within 10 minutes, where you can enter OASE Rotterdam. This sustainable social breeding ground and event space focuses on connection, creativity and resilience.
OASE is part of creative agency Groenemorgen. This company is run by Berend van Zanten and Raymond Landegent. Two Rotterdammers who have been working together since 2017 to present a portion of attractively presented idealism in the form of projects and events.
You can come to OASE for business and cultural events, sustainable team outings, plantenasiel XXL, cultural programming, a journey for body and mind, (reclining) concerts, local and social food and drinks, meeting local residents and building huts.
Schiehaven 15, 3024 EC Rotterdam
9. Ronald Hunter Paintings
Make sure to walk past this great art gallery in Rotterdam West. You may be hungry after such a long day, but trust us, Ronald Hunter Paintings is well worth a visit. This Dutch abstract artist makes affordable art, suitable for everyone.
Ronald Hunter’s paintings are known for a variety of colours as well as many interesting textures. Ronald has a background in graphic design, so he likes to use graphic elements and typography in his work.
Beukelsdijk 102-B, 3022 DK Rotterdam
10. Chinees Cantonees restaurant Tai Wu
Okay, now it’s allowed: dinner! And not just anywhere, no, in the best Chinese Cantonese restaurant in Rotterdam. With any restaurant with a specific world cuisine the rule is: you know that the food is really good when most of the table guests come from the corresponding culture. Trust their judgment.
Tai Wu can be found in the heart of the city centre, on the waterside where you can spot the Beeldenroute Westersingel. This restaurant serves dishes of authentic Chinese Cantonese cuisine. They are known for their handmade dim sum dishes and Peking duck with pancakes. But there is much more to order. You might go into shock when you get your hands on the menu, you have so much choice!
After dinner you slowly stumble back to Rotterdam Central Station to take the train home whilst feeling satisfied. Perhaps you’ll have a vintage designer item and a few plants, or maybe you’ll have a nice second-hand trinket and a work of art in your pocket. Anything is possible!
Mauritsweg 24-26, 3012 JR Rotterdam
You may already know some of these places. Then you must be a real Rotterdammer(t). But if you don’t know them, hop on your bike this weekend!
Are you visiting from another city for a day or a weekend? Well then, definitely follow this Rotterdam tour of hidden gems and let us know what you think.