What to do in Alkmaar?
Alkmaar is one of those cities where it’s really nice to go shopping as all the big brands can be found there. The streets of Oude Stad still remains very popular among shopaholics and the biggest brands in the region come together in the monumental buildings of this oldest part of the city to create a wonderful atmosphere for tourists and locals alike. There is definitely a lot to do in a beautiful and lively city like Alkmaar.
1. Go for a canal cruise on Alkmaar’s old canals
This is a fun and exciting way to get to know the city better. Together with a captain and a guide, you sail for 45 minutes through Alkmaar’s canals. During this cruise, you get an idea of how Alkmaar was in the past and how the city has changed over the years. The cruise is also very suitable for children.
2. Rent a bike and or sign up for a bike tour of the city
A unique bike ride through Alkmaar and surroundings, a nice way to discover Alkmaar by bicycle. Your guide will tell you all about the history of the city and take you to some of the highlights. In addition, you can see the old windmills and the ancient canals. If you opt for a longer bike ride on an e-bike, cycle towards Bergen and see the beautiful green polders and the Noord-Hollandse Duinen.
3. Buy or borrow an artwork for your collection
The Kunstuitleen Alkmaar collection comprises some 1500 artworks from around 350 artists: renowned artists, lesser-known artists and of course young talent. The works of art, carefully selected on the basis of quality and variety, can be found in various techniques and styles: photographs, paintings and graphics, but also sculptures, ceramics and jewellery. For borrowing art, you register as a subscriber of Kunstuitleen Alkmaar. Thisnis a fun way of buying a souvenir that is both beautiful and a unique work of art.
4. Go for a walk and discover the hidden gems in the city
Alkmaar’s history is, of course, intertwined with cheese and to discover the history of the city is to also discover all there is to know about cheese. In the centre of Alkmaar, there are beautiful historic buildings that remind one Alkmaar in the glory days of the (cheese) trade. A few examples of this:
- Cheese warehouse Henneman in the Achterstraat
- Block of four cheese warehouses in the Pieterstraat
- Cheese warehouse on the Gedempte Nieuwesloot
- Cheese factory Eyssen on the Kanaalkade
5. Have something to eat and drink on one of the terraces
If the weather allows it, enjoy chilling on one of the terraces in Alkmaar. Almost all bars serve food and the town offers a wide range of restaurants, varying from Dutch to Thai, Chinese to Russian/Eastern European, Spanish to Australian and from Greek to Mexican. Restaurants are typically open from around 17.00 to 23.30.
6. Discover the Oude Stad (Old City)
Be surprised by the unique character of the streets in this district. The merchants and warehouses of old now serve as space for shops.
Enjoy the special atmosphere that surrounds these historical streets and the buildings that can be found on them. In the second half of the 19th century, the Fnidsen, the Hekelstraat, the Appelsteeg and the Mient were the shopping and craft centres of Alkmaar. Customers came by boat and went into d’Oude Stad to do their shopping. Nowadays, the history from this past periods can still be seen. Dive into the history of the city by paying a visit to these streets and finding out which businesses have passed through generations and the history that accompanies them.
7. Pay a visit to the Hof van Sonor
This building has had many functions over time. First monastery and then a restaurant. A place where the rich history of the city can be felt. The St. Mary Magdalene monastery was built in the 15th century to the north of the city but nowadays, due to urban expansions, is located in the middle of the city. Since the construction, in addition to being a monastery, it also served as a homeless shelter and then a private home. Nowadays, it is just a restaurant and a nice place to go for a romantic dinner.
8. Catch a concert or some street performance on the Canadaplein
Canadaplein is where all the activities happen during summer. Be entertained by a concert or show on this cultural square or relax at one of the restaurants located there. Thanks to the ideal location: between the Grote Kerk, the Library, the Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar and Theater de Vest, it is not surprising that this square is also called the cultural centre of the city. Don’t miss out on the cultural activities that take place there!
9. Chill at the Platte Stenenburg
Around the Platte Stenenbrug is where you will find cosy cafes and enjoy the sun from the comfort of a terrace. From there you can walk into the old city and discover the history of the city of Alkmaar. Platte Stenenbrug houses a lot of cafés with a sunny terrace and tasty cold drinks. You can also regularly enjoy live music.
10. Visit and shop at the Kooltuin
Where the vegetable garden of castle Torenburg used to be is now Alkmaar’s Kooltuin. Along the canal of the Kooltuin lay the vegetable garden of this castle, hence the current street name Kooltuin. This street is one of Alkmaar’s most beautiful streets with a few nice shops and a pub. The most striking building on this street and also the oldest is the one on the corner of the Luttik Oudorp. It was built in 1593 and in terms of style can be traced to drawings by Anton Pieck.