Summer evening activities in Antwerp
Antwerp – like most places in Belgium – is best visited during the summer months. Winters tend to get chilly, cloudy and wet and are not a fun time to visit. The Christmas markets in December are definitely well worth your time though. Summers see the highest temperatures and the longest spells without rain. This is also the time of year when the historic city centres really come to live and terraces of bars, cafés and restaurants are always full with people enjoying the weather.
Antwerp is a bustling city: it is Belgium’s fashion capital, there are more than 1,000 diamond shops, its historic centre has cobbled streets and narrow alleys with brown bars and there are various festivals going on. The months of July and August are when you will want to be around.
Summer evenings in Antwerp are never boring. The ultimate summer activity to do in Belgium’s second city is going to ‘Strantwerpen’. This is a city beach on Linkeroever, the left bank of the River Scheldt, and is open from May 1 to August 31. Strantwerpen is co-organized by Club Cabane, a fancy restaurant/night club, where people can enjoy aperitifs, brunch, lunch and dinner. It’s like a lounge club on an artificial beach in the city. From Linkeroever and Strantwerpen there is a wonderful view of the Antwerp skyline as well.
Another festival is ‘Summer of Antwerp’, which focuses more on culture and all-round experiences. It takes place from June 18 to August 31 on various stages all over the city. Most of the activities are free and accessible to all ages. On a warm summer’s night, the summer bar on the Ledeganckkaai is a very popular place to hang out and meet friends.
This year the Jazz Middelheim festival is held from August 14 to August 17 in a park a short distance south of the city centre. As you may expect this is a jazz music festival and each year it has a few world-class headliners. Another extremely popular and ever-growing festival in Antwerp is Laundry Day, an electronic music festival taking place on the festival grounds in Antwerp South. On September 6 DJs and bands such as Martin Solveig, Laidback Luke and Dimitri Vegas take the stage for a party that lasts until dawn.
Probably the most famous of all Belgian festivals takes place in Boom, 15 kilometres south of Antwerp. Over the past few years the popularity and fame of Tomorrowland has exploded and the festivals now draws a crowd that is 50% foreign. People from all over the world flock to Antwerp on the weekends of July 18-19-20 and July 25-26-27 for one of the world’s largest electronic music festivals. The line-up is always impressive and this year it consists of DJs such as Armin Van Buuren, Tiësto, Afrojack, Dave Clarke, Steve Aoki, David Guetta and several dozens more.
Besides partying at festivals, there are of course quieter activities you can do in Antwerp. On summer evenings restaurants tend to stay open late – there are several Michelin-starred restaurants in the city. There are also several cafés and cozy bars to be found in hidden corners in the historic city centre. Going for an evening stroll on alongside the River Scheldt is highly recommended as well.