These are my personal tips -based on experience and research- for a great experience in Rotterdam! This resulted in a good list of tips! You can click on the bold text to get to the Google Maps location of the establishment.
Wilhelminapier Take a stroll across the Erasmus bridge, towards the South and take a right at the end to appreciate the modern architecture of the Wilhelminapier. This part of Rotterdam is called ‘De Kop van Zuid’ (The Tip of the South). It includes many modern architectural marvels and gives you an introduction to the massive Port of Rotterdam. Take a break at the historic Holland-America Line headquarters, which is called Hotel New York today. Enjoy a lunch or cup of coffee at the hotel restaurant, with an amazing view over the city.
Bokaal This bar on the Pannekoekstraat (Pancake Street) has a big choice of good beers and is always crowded.
Very old and nice Grand Cafe to meet locals. They have a wonderful terrace, for a drink on a sunny day.
Dudok Very well-known Grand Cafe. Here you find the best Dutch apple pie and very nice ‘bitterballen’.
Party place near Witte de Withstraat. Very alive and great beer, plus a good outdoor terrace.
Very good dance venue for your jazz & disco moves.
Annabel This is where to go for a wild night out, to see the latest dance & music acts.
Stroll along the exclusive Kruiskade, to shop for your finest clothing brands and upmarket accessories.
The Koopgoot(‘buying gutter’) at the heart at the center, taking you down into the greatest international warehouses like H&M and Zara.
A lesser known gem, but great place to find vintage and second-hand clothing is the Pannekoekstraat.
Museum Rotterdam This small museum located at metro station Coolhaven offers an excellent exhibition about life in Rotterdam during the Second World War. It includes a multimedia experience, which allows you to relive the devastation of the bombardment in the city. It is a unassuming and often overlooked museum, which does not only tell you the big stories – but also includes the lesser know stories, like the ‘forgotten bombardment’.
PARKS / HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOODS
Historic Delfshaven I would not be a history student if I did not mention this historic treasure. This little area in the neighborhood of Delfshaven (also the place where I was raised) is one of the only parts of the city that survived the bombardment of 1940 and therefore retains many traditional elements. Visit one of the oldest churches in Rotterdam, famed for the Pilgrim Fathers, who left from this part of the city to the New World in 1620.