Top 10 Places to Go in Groningen

1. Noorderzon

Noorderzon Festival of Performing Arts & Society is an international arts festival attracting 135,000 visitors for eleven days in Groningen every summer. The festival offers theatre, dance, music, literature, lectures, and social encounters in a freely accessible festival village, where you can hop from tent to tent, outdoor stages and other locations in the inner city to enjoy performances, music and food.

The festival presents performances by international companies that often only come to the Netherlands during the festival showcasing new work from leading names and adventurous new makers. The 34th edition of Noorderzon will take place from August 22 to September 1, 2024.

2. DOT

Home to many events in the lively heart of Groningen, DOT serves as a do-it-all venue for conferences, dinners, drinks, and company parties. The iconic dome (the sphere, the DOT), additionally holds presentations, symposia and performances. Add to that their outdoor terrace and restaurant, the event options are endless. Whether you wish to organise an event or visit many of their available performances, the DOT has you covered.

Oh, and did we mention that there is a city beach called "Stadsstrand" located right next to the DOT? It is a small sandy beach and a popular spot for students to swim. However, please be cautious when jumping in or diving as there might be junk such as old bicycles at the bottom of the canal. when the weather clears up, run don’t walk to secure a spot since it most likely will be packed.

3. Forum events

The Forum is a cumbersome 45-meter-high building that has ten floors and a roof garden with a phenomenal view. It offers a variety of attractions such as Storyworld, the Smartlab, cafes and restaurants, and city libraries. It also holds 5 indoor cinemas and one rooftop cinema. In addition, it hosts various events like lectures, debates, films, festivals, and exhibitions and has conference rooms, study and workplaces.

Formal events and exhibitions are cool, but the forum also has a geeky side — dungeons and dragons, anyone? Pub Heroes organises D&D events a couple of times every month, in Dutch AND English. Check out their agenda for game night and other informal or hobbyist events.

4. Martiniplaza

Martiniplaza, located in Groningen, is the largest event venue in the Northern Netherlands. It specializes in hosting conventions, theatre performances, live events, and top sports. Each year, it attracts about 500,000 visitors.

Martiniplaza plays a vital role in putting Groningen on the map by organising or programming exceptional productions and events. Its multifunctionality, excellent hospitality, and in-house catering service make it suitable for both business and leisure events.

From musicals to Olympic practice sports games to career events, you will likely find something that strikes your fancy. And the venue’s scale means that there will always be something new, almost everyday.

5. Vera

Located in the heart of Groningen, VERA is a vibrant hub of underground pop culture. Proudly known as the Club for the International Pop Underground, it's a place where music enthusiasts from all walks of life can come together to discover new sounds and connect with like-minded individuals. With its lively atmosphere and diverse range of events, VERA has become a beloved club that embodies the spirit of Groningen's thriving music scene.

They host 4 concerts and a movie night every week, with additional dance nights on Saturdays. Want to attend them all but short on cash? Vera runs on volunteers to help them run their agenda so smoothly and frequently, so check out their website to snag a spot and join their team!

6. Groningen Archives

“History is never far away.” Groningen Archives is the regional historical centre that houses multiple digital and physical collections of documents, photographs, films, letters, prints and drawings, maps and magazines. Archives related to Groningen's history and culture are carefully preserved, managed, and made accessible to the public through the Make History project.

With the mission to keep the past alive — for and by researchers, media, museums and everyone curious about Groningen's history; they also hold tours and events to keep the public informed and connected. Walk the halls like a museum or just take a peak through the window when walking by - the archives are located right near the main railway station. Why not hop in and enrich yourself with some knowledge about the city you’re staying in?

7. Madame Petit


Warm and Welcoming, Shjazz hosts live, thematic jazz concerts and performances a couple times a month. Situated in the Groningen Museum, this wonderful jazz cafe with a magical atmosphere welcomes old and new crowds to enjoy and celebrate this genre of New Orleans-born music. With a strong emphasis on improvisation, her live shows are known for their high energy, interactive nature and improvisational storytelling. According to reviews, the beers are also fantastic, so book those tickets while you can.

In the meantime, while waiting for an upcoming show, check her out on Spotify and Apple Music ‘Shjazz’.

8. Kattencafé Op z'n Kop

Good coffee and snacks, the most chill kitties who will sit on your lap, what more can you ask?

Welcome to catcafe Op z'n Kop, where you will find 10 lovely cats who found their forever home in the establishment, roaming and chilling and most importantly, happy to receive pets! Drop by for some coffee or tea, sweets or brunch and relax with a cat by your side! You can even experience High Tea with an assortment of mini cakes and confectionaries.

Make sure to respect their house rules so you can keep coming again and again. In fact - they offer a stamp card where you can keep visiting for a discount. They even have events! From yoga to cat bingo to movie nights, experience them all with fuzzy friends by your side.

9. The Stockroom

"High-end cocktails with a classic, no-nonsense approach" is the motto at The Stockroom. In the 1920s, America tried to ban alcohol, but it failed spectacularly. Secret bars, known as speakeasies, began to appear throughout the country, accessed through bookcases, floor hatches, and hidden doors. This was the inspiration behind repurposing a former stockroom in Groningen.

Now you can reserve a spot at this unique place where they serve the finest drinks made from high-quality products. So good, they even travelled to Amsterdam to receive the best cocktail bar award in 2019, issued by Entree Magazine. Their classic cocktails, with a seasonal twist, will transport you back to the roaring 20s.

10. Canal Tour

Groningen is full of canals and there is a high chance you see them every day. You might have even seen tourists or Dutch fraternities & sororities throw parties on boats when the weather allows it in the warmer months. But have you actually tried out a tour for yourself?

Groningen offers a number of tours and cruises along the canals, with or without parties, you are sure to find one that piques your fancy. Whether it be barbeque, beer, or charcuterie and wine, the Dutchies know their canals and are happy to help you experience them in all their glory. A fun and comfortable way to discover the city and perhaps make some new friends, make sure to check this activity off your bucket list before it’s too late!

Have you got more places for us to feature? Please send us an email here and our team will review your submissions as soon as possible!

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