Prior to 1392, Altstadt Kleinbasel was a separate city from Grossbasel with evidence that the area was settled as far back as the Stone Age. In the 13th century the area was home to many craftsmen, especially millers. To provide millers with water, a system of canals was created to divert water from the Weise. The only reminders of the canals is a nod to them in the street name Teichgässlein (pond alley) and an inlet into the Rhine below Sägergässlein.
Today, the district offers a mix of shopping, entertainment and housing and serves as a hub for much of Kleinbasel (that is the part of the city on the right bank of the Rhein). With its southwest facing location, Altstadt Kleinbasel is ideally positioned to catch the sun and serves as the most popular gathering spot along the river - that's the reason some refer to this part of the Rhein as Rhyvera, like the French Riviera.
Rhywera has a prime spot next to the Rhein that is the perfect location to sit outside sip cocktails and watch the world go by. When the colder months set in you will be sure to be charmed by their dining area, set in one of the oldest buildings in Basel, dating back to the 14th century. Their food is also excellent, focusing on regional, fresh ingredients in a Mediterranean style. Their pumpkin gnocchi is buttery, crispy fried on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside and perfect for a hearty warm indulgence when the weather turns cold.
Unterer Rheinweg 10, 4058 Basel
Offering another prime Rhein watching location, Ufer 7 has a delicious menu that is Swiss, modern, regional and creative. They have a fantastic selection of small tapas-style plates that are great with cocktails as well as larger more hearty options and a 'Shake the Salad' feature that gives you endless green options. There is also a decadent selection of fondues between October and January.
Unterer Rheinweg 11, 4058 Basel
If you are looking for some truly fantastic Italian, you will not be disappointed. The newly renovated Zum Rebhaus has a small, but impeccable menu with some delicious fresh pasta that will have you returning again and again. Their lunch menu is fantastic value for the price and the staff and service are so warm and friendly, you will soon find yourself becoming a regular.
Riehentorstrasse 11, 4058 Basel
Lily's delicious Asian-fusion cuisine is only complimented by its hip and cool ambiance. It has all your favourite rice, curry and noodle dishes (the Spicy Udon Noodles are the best!) and with its speedy service is a great option if you are looking for a quick bite. Be sure to try one of their many homemade ice teas.
Rebgasse 1, 4058 Basel
Ta Cave basel
Ta Cave is Switzerland's first crowdfunded winebar, currently with locations in four cities. It's a cool idea - when Ta Cave gets 1,000 interested folks for a location they launch a crowdfunding campaign. For a contribution of CHF250 you become a founding member and get a free "apero" for life (you can come in every day for a glass of good wine for you and a friend). Its Basel location opened in March 2020 and offers up a solid wine selection and nibbles - perfect for a night out with friends.
Klingental 8, 4058 Basel
At Roter Bären 'indecision is a virtue' and with their small-sized portions they encourage you to make a meal with many courses. The food is fantastic and inventive with some really interesting flavour combinations and the ambiance is both trendy and cozy with a fabulous cocktail menu.
Ochsengasse 17, 4058 Basel
Joys is a favourite with locals and has a creative and colourful ambiance that is a great place for an afternoon coffee or apéro cocktail. The food is seasonal, fresh and delicious and the staff is especially warm and attentive. Wine lovers will also delight in their well-thought-out selections.
Riehentorstrasse 17, 4058 Basel
The Brasserie at Volkshaus Basel offers up an delicious menu with something for everyone. Not sure what to order? Try the moules frites - arguably the best in Basel. The Brasserie has lovely indoor and outdoor spaces as well as a cozy, classy bar. In addition to gastronomy, Volkshaus is a hotel, meeting venue and performance space - and has been serving Basel since 1925.
Rebgasse 12-14, 4058 Basel
Bäckerei KULT is an absolute must for fresh pastries, bread and all things baked and delicious. Try the daily changing menu of incredible pastries including 'Wirbels' which are basically the love child of a croissant, and a doughnut in the shape of a muffin. You will wonder how you ever survived without them.
Riehentorstrasse 18, 4058 Basel
Elsässerstrasse 43, 4056 Basel
For the liberal activists amongst you, this hip cool collective/bar/restaurant is a haven for the underground scene in Basel. With lots of great events and concerts it is definitely an 'alternative scene' with a socialist vibe and a friendly atmosphere.
Lindenberg 23, 4058 Basel
In the evenings there can be a lively scene along Rheingasse with several restaurants and bars to choose from. For elegant upscale dining experience be sure to try the Hotel Krafft with their seasonally changing menu. For lighter fare go to their affiliate Consum, which has over 100 wines on offer with cheese and charcuterie plates to accompany. Another option along this street for wine, Restaurant Weinbar Sonne pairs their extensive wine list with fresh pasta and other Mediterranean fare.
If you prefer beer, Fischerstube makes the famous 'Ueli bier', paired with traditional Swiss fare and a lovely garden patio.
Gabri's Pasta is an intimate setting that specializes in handmade pasta to either eat in or take away. And you will be sure to recognize the Eiscafé Acero by their long line ups in the summer for fresh-made Italian-style ice cream, with cakes, pastries and warmer fare available in the cooler months.
This street is also a destination during the Christmas season with Advätsgass Im Glaibasel when in the evenings you can meet friends for Gluhwein and and various street fare in a festive atmosphere .
If you are looking for a more personalized hand-selected alternative to the chain stores, Altstadt Kleinbasel has a number of lovely little boutiques. Planet MO has a nice selection of chic, minimalist clothing and shoes. Ahoi Ahoi is a design shop with a wide range of items, consisting of fashion, furniture, accessories, jewelry and art, specializing in the 'unexpected and unknown'. Silberfisch Schmuck, although tiny has a nice selection of clothing and jewelry, handmade 'with love'.
Brockis & Vintage
Basel's rich Brocki and vintage store culture is alive and well in this neighborhood. Some, like Glubos and Brocanthaus Bollig provide a large and diverse selection of home furnishings and personal goods. Others, like Frankie Frankie and Carlette Secondhand offer up some very cool vintage fashion. Looking to make your money go even further? Visit Caritas Basel's thrift shop where your purchases support Caritas work to aid those living in poverty in Basel Stadt and Baselland.
For anyone who loves fabric there are a couple very good stores in Altstadt Kleinbasel. Browse the newly opened Esempio (previously in Altstadt Grossbasel) for high end luxury fabrics from Italy. Alja Nouveau has some more practical options and a fantastic selection of knits and more every day fabric.
There are a couple good options for shoes in this neighbourhood. Dosenbach has a wide selection with three floors to peruse while Müller Shuh Outlet is a great option for those in search of a discount. Keep in mind that in this store the sizes are limited so its a bit of a lucky draw.
Kulturebüros began in Zurich in 1998 with the aim of supporting 'cultural' workers by offering affordable services like design and printing as well as renting out modern audio, video and other equipment. Basel's Kulturebüro offers these services and rentals as well as a variety of courses.
Florastrasse 1, 4057 Basel
Obst & Gemüse
Obst & Gemüse specializes in those super-cool cargo bikes you have surely seen around town. Perfect for hauling groceries (or kids), these bikes are super stable and solid and are a great alternative to a car. They also have a good selection of sleek high-performance bikes.
Kasernenstrasse 32, 4058 Basel
Homeware & Electronics
In addition to some of the bigger chain stores listed below, you will find some lovely little homeware boutiques in this neighbourhood. Wohnetc specializes in chic, high-end furniture and provides interior and product design. If you are searching for a professional coffee machine, Kaffibohne carries several high-end varieties and provides repairs as well. 'Gopf' is a Swiss German term of joyful amazement and that is just what you will express when you browse GOPF Design and their quirky selection of homeware accessories.
Rheingasse 23, 4058 Basel
Rebgasse 54, 4058 Basel
Sperrstrasse 2, 4057 Basel
25 Untere Rebgasse, Stadt, 4058 Basel
Webergasse 35, 4058 Basel
Rebgasse 20, 4058 Basel
Rebgasse 20, 4058 Basel
Greifengasse 11, 4058 Basel
We ❤️ Manor so we are a little biased, but this department store really is a fantastic one-stop-shop with a very friendly staff. From homewares to fashion to toys and even a haberdashery, Manor will quickly become a favourite in your shopping excursions. Make sure to check out the grocery in their basement, which has a fantastic produce and meat selection as well as their cafeteria-style restaurant on the top floor for a delicious and affordable meal.
Greifengasse 22, 4005 Basel
St. Jakobs-Str. 397 4002 Basel
Paul Ullrich's Unterre Rebgasse location offers of a large selection of wines, and is conveniently located near Claraplatz. It is one of three Paul Uhlrich locations in Basel. Do you really like to drink wine? Then make sure to join its Liquid Club for coupons, special deals and discounts to its events.
u. Rebgasse 18, 4058 Basel
Schneidergasse 27, 4051 Basel
Laufenstrasse 16, 4053 Basel
For some of Basel's iconic little spiced biscuits make sure to visit Läckerli Huus where you will find numerous flavours in addition to their selection of chocolates. It's hard to beat the freshness and quality of Läderach and once you try their silky sweet confections you will find yourself returning frequently (perhaps a little too frequently).
There are some great options for specialty groceries in this neighbourhood, especially if you are looking for bio, local and
environmentally friendly options. LOKAL specializes in local (hence the name) produce and groceries. Make sure to check out their wide selection of alcohol from small batch distilleries in the area. At Basel Unverpackt you can find waste-free food, personal care and household products. Simply bring your own containers (or purchase some containers in-store), note the weight of each container before filling and fill them up.
Groceries and Toiletries
There are several large grocery stores in this neighbourhood, including a huge Migros that spans several floor and carries not only groceries but clothing, homeware and electronics. If you are looking for discount groceries make sure to visit Aldi and Lidl and for a large selection of toiletries and cleaning supplies there is Müller.
Kult Kino Kamera
Ready to see a great independent flick on the big screen? Check out Kult Kino Camera (one of Kult's two locations in Basel - the other is in Vorstädte). With roots all the way back to the 1930's Kult Kino shows a cool mix of films mostly in German but also English or other languages (make sure to check the listing for language and times offered). Kult also sells deeply discounted tickets for the under 18 and 19 to 26 year old sets.
On the site of the 15th century Klingental Abbey and a former Swiss army barracks as late as 1966, Kaserne now hosts a variety of contemporary theater, dance and music, with over 250 events a year. The area also offers up dining and drinking options KaBar and Parterre One. Kaserne also has programming for young people. Junges Theatre Basel trains 14-24 year olds in the performing arts and has several performances throughout the year. Robi-Spiel-Aktionen Basel hosts a large drop-off indoor play-space open to children 5-12 years of age. It is also possible to use the facility for groups or birthday parties.
Museums and Galleries
Art is in the air in Altstadt Kleinbasel. The Ausstellungsraum Klingental is an exhibition space that features artists living and working in Basel. It is known for featuring young artists and admission is free.
Housed in the former Klingental convent the Museum Kleines Klingental hosts a variety of medieval sculptures, a 17th century model of the city and provides interesting history on the convent. It also offers several rooms for rent for special events.
The Rappaz Musuem celebrates the art of Rolf Rappaz, a prominent and imaginative graphic designer and artist from Basel. The Museum hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions as well.
Do you love to row? Why not try out wasserfahren? Wasserfahren is a rowing sport that uses a boat called a Weidling, with its own unique way of navigation. The roots of the sport date all the way back to the 1200s when similar boats were used to move goods along the river. Altstadt Kleinbasel is home to three of these rowing clubs.
Rhein Club Basel and Fischer Club Basel date back to the mid 1800s while the 'younger' Nautical Club Basel dates back to 1916. All three have clubhouses available for rental. In addition Rhein Club Basel offers boat tours and has a wasserfahren trial day in the spring for those interested in trying out the sport.