While the lifestyle options in Utrecht may not be on the same level as one would find in larger European cities, expats living in the city are often quite surprised to find that there is quite a lot of offer in terms of shopping, eating out and nightlife in the city. Expats who enjoy the outdoors will be in their element when it comes to exploiring the countryside the surrounds Utrecht.

Shopping in Utrecht

While it may not compare on scale to the shopping experience one would find in the country’s capital, Amsterdam, expats moving to Utrecht won’t be disappointed when it comes to getting their fix of retail therapy.

In the city’s charming old centre shoppers will everything from the leading Dutch department stores to small boutiques, trendy retail concepts and bustling markets. Head to the antique stores located along the Oudegracht or in the Museumwartier to find unique second-hand gems. The best places for bespoke fashion can be found in Voorstraat and Schoutenstraat where a lot of the young fashion designers are based. Expats looking for home décor should check out the stores on Zadelstraat.

Most shops in Utrecht open seven days a week. When the bad weather strikes shoppers can head indoors to Hoog Catharijne, one of the largest indoor shopping malls in the Netherlands which is connected to Utrecht’s Centraal Station.

Eating out in Utrecht

Expats moving to Utrecht won’t be disappointed when it comes to dining out. The city offers an array of international restaurant options and eateries to suit a range of palates. From French, Italian, Chinese. Thai and Indian cuisines to restaurants serving experimental dishes and vegan delights expats in Utrecht won’t struggle when it comes to finding a place to eat.

Being a student town, there are lot of the restaurants have weekly specials which allow one to eat out on a budget. Furthermore, Utrecht is famous for its pubs where expats will be able to mingle with locals while enjoying a good quality steak and a beer.

Nightlife in Utrecht

As you’d expect from a city that is home to a massive student population, the nightlife in Utrecht is buzzing. However, it’s not all about students' bars and raging nightclubs. Expats will also find more mature live music venues, jazz cafés and intimate theatre performances.

A popular place for nightlife in Utrecht is the area known as Neude Janskerkhof en Domplein. This area is teeming with young crowds enjoying drinks and live music every weekend. Ledig Erf is another area that is popular with locals in Utrecht thanks to its outdoor terraces which provide a great spot for sundowners, especially in the summer months.

Outdoor activities in Utrecht

Active expats who enjoy being outdoors will enjoy living in Utrecht. The city is small and the city centre can easily be navigated on foot. The locals love to cycle and in addition the daily commute, there are also a lot of recreational cycle routes to explore. Runners will also enjoy being out and about in Utrecht – each year the city plays host to the Canal Run which is dubbed as the world's fastest 10km race.

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