Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands, is known for many incredible things; especially its design, creativity and wit.
Go on, visit Rotterdam while you’re in the Netherlands and transform your visit into an unexpected, yet positive and worthwhile experience.
This post will tell you all the secrets about the top things to do in Rotterdam; including buildings, food, and cultural amenities.
My Favorite Things to do in Rotterdam, Netherlands
Few will ENTICE you!
After reading this, you can easily plan your days in Rotterdam.
Here we go!
1. Cube Houses
Then you’ll love these!
One of the best things to do in Rotterdam during the day is to visit the, -unconventionally shaped Cube Houses.
Cube Houses were designed to optimize living space. They have also become incredibly popular with visitors to Rotterdam who flock to see them for themselves.
Entrance isn’t free, but just looking at them from the outside is enough; making this a great ‘free thing to do’ in Rotterdam.
Live music enthusiast?
Rotown has your back. In fact, it has often been claimed as one of the top things to do in Rotterdam at night due to its vibrant energy and great live music.
In Rotown, you can expect everything from rock to indie live music concerts.
Not only is it a good place to get some drinks in you, but it is also known for its glorious food that you can enjoy while watching a show.
In other words, you are guaranteed to have a good time!
3. Rotterdam Zoo
Planning a visit to Rotterdam with your family?
The Rotterdam Zoo is always a winner for families.
Not only is it a great educational activity for younger children, but it is a very relaxing experience after spending time sightseeing in the city.
The zoo is home to some of the best of African wildlife, including gorillas and lions, on site you’ll also find an oceanarium and a fabulous playground.
Google reviews say that is is very well maintained and that the animals look healthy:
4. Natural History Museum Rotterdam
Going to the Natural History Museum is definitely a great choice any time but it’s especially perfect on a rainy day.
Located in the Museum Park, this museum is just one of the many amazing museums to visit in Rotterdam. The Natural History Museum is always popular with kids who just love the animal exhibitions.
Be sure to check out their proudly exhibited elephant skeleton!
This museum also happens to be one of the cheapest things to do in Rotterdam, something that is always widely appreciated!
5. Oude Haven
Who doesn’t like to enjoy a cold pint of beer overlooking an old port?
Let’s be honest, everybody does.
And if you do love a beer then heading over to the Oude Haven is one of the best things to do in Rotterdam.
Here, you’ll find a wide variety of bars here to suit each and every taste; from fancy Mexican restaurants, to traditional breweries, and much in between.
The key to enjoying Oude Haven is sitting back, relaxing and watching the sun setting over the old harbor.
6. Dutch Fotomuseum
If you are interested in photography, I think you will really enjoy this place.
Of course, this is also an excellent option if you visit Rotterdam in the winter when it’s cold or rainy. In the Fotomuseum you will find a wide range of images and pictures of Rotterdam from different epochs.
The pictures share stories of Rotterdam’s past in terms of emotions, culture, historical events, or social movements.
They also have regularly changing temporary exhibitions that are always of a high standard.
The building itself is also an interesting architectural landmark.
Want to visit one of the most important landmarks in the city?
It’s completely up to you if you want to walk across the bridge or just admire it from the distance…but the combination of this amazing structure against the impressive background of the Nieuwe Maas is one that you simply cannot miss.
8. Witte de Withstraat
Quirky shops, museums, witty restaurants, creative cafés and colorful streets…what more could you ask for?
If you are one to enjoy an element of unpredictability and surprise, then walking through the street Witte de Withstraat is one of the best things to do in Rotterdam during the day AND night.
No matter what time of the day you are passing through, this street will always have something interesting to show, or a unique story to tell.
On Witte de Withstraat, you can mostly expect to find second-hand and vintage stores, friendly hostels, vegan cafés, contemporary museums and art galleries.
Looking to experience one of the oldest areas in Rotterdam?
Delfshaven is one of the best things to do in Rotterdam if you are interested in history an immersing yourself in a small, charming town.
In short, this neighbourhood is a replica of 18th-century architecture. Here you will discover a replica, city brewery called De Pilgrim, an old pool bar, a windmill, a port, houseboats and a church.
Throughout, you will also spot amazing street art murals or details in many of the buildings.
10. Het Park
Since we are already talking about relaxing activities, Het Park is another great way to spend some time outdoors in Rotterdam.
Just a ten minute subway journey out of town, this is the perfect place to go for a stroll and perhaps sit to enjoy some ice cream or a coffee at one of their small, local restaurants.
If you are visiting with your family, Het Park is always one of the best things to do in Rotterdam during the summer as a way to release some energy, enjoy the green space, and get in touch with a little bit of nature.
11. The Performance Bar
Thought you had seen it all?
Think you can no longer be surprised by much?
Trust The Performance Bar to knock you right off your feet. Coming here is one of the coolest things to do in Rotterdam. You simply won’t regret it!
Every night, this creative, and one of a kind, bar greets you with many different types of performances; from dance shows, interactive acting shows, bar artists…you never know what awaits.
Exploring Rotterdam with children is easy thanks to attractions like Plaswijckpark.
This is one of the best things to do in Rotterdam on the weekend for children as it is an enormous family adventure park with other amazing features such as boat trips and a petting zoo.
It is perhaps the most creative play area that you’ll ever see; with all the attractions and games that you always dreamed of as a child.
It’s especially a great thing to do in the summer, as the playground transforms into a water park; with fountains and buckets for entire days of fun.
If you are looking do something to do with kids on a rainy day, Plaswijckpark also has indoor playground facilities for the whole family to enjoy.
13. Market Hall
Ah, yes. You do have to eat at some point, right?
The Market Hall will do a great job satisfying your appetite for sure.
Located in the very center of Rotterdam, the Market Hall in itself is an incredibly impressive building that is home to around 100 food stalls.
Here, you will be able to find all kinds of food; for example, Spanish, Moroccan, Dutch, Italian and much more. If you’re looking for the best place to eat in Rotterdam, this is a great place to start!
14. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
One thing to know about Rotterdam is that it has something for everyone.
The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is the perfect example of this, especially for those interested in art.
Visiting this museum definitely has to be one of the best things to do in Rotterdam, particularly in winter when it’s cold outside.
Adrenaline junkie? Love heights?
Or maybe not so much?
Visiting, the Euromast is a great thing to see in Rotterdam whether you love heights or not.
The Euromast is actually a TV tower that houses a restaurant, and even a luxury hotel room for newlyweds.
Most importantly, the tower provides a spectacular 360-degree view of Rotterdam; an adventure to do during the day or at night.
I know, I know. If you’re thinking about travelling to the Netherlands, there’s a good chance you will be wanting to visit Amsterdam.
I can’t blame you. It is one of Europe’s most visited cities with some of the most extraordinary landmarks.
However, I have to stay real. Amsterdam is definitely not the only gem in the Netherlands.
Let the following two unusual attractions in Rotterdam speak for themselves.
16. Fenix Food Factory
If you really want to be taken by surprise, look no further than the Fenix Food Factory.
It is definitely the next level in food plazas! Here you’ll find artisanal food and beverage stalls that will blow you away.
For example, you can expect to see (and taste!) creative and unexpected blends of ingredients that when they come together, to make incredible cakes, pastries and so much more.
17. Arboretum Trompenburg
Tired of seeing buildings and visiting museums?
It’s okay if you are.
The Arboretum Trompenburg is one among the most beautiful things to do in Rotterdam if you are looking for something green and charming to check out instead.
There are numerous plant and tree species that you can admire whilst meandering through the arboretum You’ll see a completely different side to Rotterdam.
In fact, locals say that this is Rotterdam’s best-kept secret. Sounds like a great thing to do on a Sunday morning! It is also extremely pleasurable to stop for a coffee while you’re there.