The lifestyle in Rotterdam is varied and exciting, and there always seems to be something new to explore. Whether expats are in the mood to indulge in a shopping spree, dine on fine cuisine, dance the night away or all of the above, here are a few tips on making the most out of what Rotterdam has to offer. 

Shopping in Rotterdam

There are plenty of opportunities to shop up a storm in Rotterdam. Two main open-air shopping streets characterise the city's shopping scene: Lijnbaan and Hoogstraat. These are connected by a sunken passage known colloquially as the "koopgoot" (literally "shopping gutter"). It's more than just a passageway, though, and visitors can indulge in even more shopping here as they cross from one street to the other.

These streets also link to the popular Markthal, a large futuristic building shaped like a horseshoe. Beneath the wide arch of the building, there's a market full of interesting tidbits and artisanal goods. Don't forget to look up – the underside of the arch is covered wall to wall by a massive artpiece called "Hoorn des Overvloeds" ("Horn of Plenty"). This is a great place to pop in for a snack or purchase mementos. Much to many a new arrival's surprise, the building houses both residential and office space, so it could end up being one's workplace or home away from home.

Eating out in Rotterdam

Rotterdam's culinary scene is growing, and there are several Michelin-starred restaurants in the city. International fare is a favourite and there is a rapidly expanding range of Thai, Spanish, Chinese, Indian, Italian and French restaurants to choose from. Fusion cuisine is also popular.

Many of Rotterdam's most popular restaurants can be found in Witte de Withstraat, though it's worth checking out a few hideaway spots too. For example, Fenix Food Factory is well worth visiting – a food hall housed in a converted harbourside warehouse that can be found just beyond the city centre.

Nightlife in Rotterdam

There's a seemingly endless array of nightclubs and bars for revellers to choose from in Rotterdam. Expats may find themselves drinking cocktails in a dazzling rooftop bar one night and dancing to house music in a converted underground train tunnel the next. 

Witte de Withstraat is the city's nightlife hub and is home to some of Rotterdam's best-loved bars and drinking haunts. Another popular clubbing hotspot is Binnenweg, not far from Witte de Withstraat. Oude Haven and its numerous clubs, cocktail bars and live music venues are also well worth a visit.

Sports and outdoor activities in Rotterdam

Come rain or sunshine, Rotterdam residents are sure to be seen out on their bicycles. Countless outdoor activities are on offer in the city, from riverside strolls to simply enjoying the green spaces in one of the many parks dotted around various neighbourhoods.

Expats can enjoy the picnic and mini golf opportunities in Het Park or the flora and fauna in Historische Tuin Schoonoord as well as a number of botanical gardens. Family-friendly activities abound, from treasure hunts to climbing parks and paintballing.

Rotterdam is sometimes referred to as Sportstad – city of sports – and it follows that active expats will find endless sporting activities on offer. There's a place or club in Rotterdam for expats who are into judo, baseball, basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, equestrian sports and more. From major sports events such as the Rotterdam Marathon and the Rotterdam Open to ever-popular football matches and everything in between, sports fans will have plenty to keep busy with.

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