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A neighborhood shaped by the city's walled history, Vorstädte hosts numerous cultural and commercial offerings as well as Basel's university and hospital.

Marble Surface

Vorstädte is the district that circles around the old city of Gross Basel.  Its outer boundary corresponds to the third in a series of city walls in Basel built after an earthquake in 1356 and in order to accommodate the growing city.  What remains of the wall are its few iconic towers, St. Johanns-Tor, the St. Alban-Tor and the Spalentor.


Today, this circular ring is divided up into roughly three areas with different characters.  The northernmost section is dominated by University Hospital and the University of Basel.  South of these institutions the district takes on a more commercial character including popular shopping, dining and entertainment venues as well as a variety of bank and insurance offices.  Its southern portion is more residential and cultural, hosting some of Basel's favourite museums.  

Highlights Vorstädte
Here for the Day Vorstädte

Za Zaa

"When you have more than you need, build a longer table not a higher fence." That is the motto of Za Zaa Basel, who invites us to dine together and enjoy their fabulous 'Lebanese Soul food' in one of their many locations around Basel.


Petersgraben 15, 4051 Basel

Gerbergasse 87, 4051 Basel

Spalenvorstadt 12, 4051 Basel

Erasmusplatz 16, 4057 Basel

Za zaa

dio mio

Boasting authentic Napolian pizza in distinctive pink boxes, Dio Mio does not disappoint with its fabulous crust, fresh pizza toppings and unique pies.  Try the mortadella pistachio pizza and be prepared to crave it fortnightly.

Dio Mio

Theaterstrasse 10, 4051 Basel

Dio Mio
Vorstadte Restaurants


Perfect for a night out, a work lunch or Wednesday night takeaway, Noohn has fabulous fresh-made sushi and other Asian delicacies.  Sit in their spacious indoor dining room, their rooftop garden or at the sushi bar where you can serve yourself with one of the many delectable dishes that circle in front of you on a magnetized conveyor belt.


Henric Petri-Strasse 12, 4051 Basel



"The only bad taco is the one you didn't eat."  This is the philosophy of Cartell.  Enjoy their tacos, margaritas and other Mexican delicacies with specials for 'Taco Tuesday'.


Henric Petri-Strasse 24, 4051 Basel


Gasthof zum Goldenen Sternen

This delightful Rhein-adjacent restaurant is Basel's oldest tavern dating from 1412!  It has a lovely selection of Swiss-style favourites as well as some more contemporary dishes and excellent fish. Perfect for lunch or warm evenings where you can enjoy the relaxed ambiance of the Rhein.

Gasthof zum Goldenen Sternen

St. Alban-Rheinweg 70, 4052 Basel

Gasthof zum Goldenen Sternen
Shopping Vorstadte

Lachenmeier Farben Basel

For the artists out there, Lachenmeier is a great place to stock up your supplies. With quite a good selection for such a small store, it's a great place to browse for inspiration.  If you are searching for something specific, try their online store first.

Lachenmeier Farben

Leonhardsgraben 10, 4053 Basel

Clarastrasse 46, 4058 Basel


Bider & Tanner

Searching for English books in Basel? Look no further.  On its second floor Bider and Tanner has the largest selection of English books in town, including a nice assortment of books about Basel. There is also a descent childrens' book section and if you can't find what you are looking for, their helpful staff will be happy to order it for you.  

One other thing to note, if you are homesick for some select British grocery items, including the much coveted brown sugar, you can find them here conveniently located beside the English books.

For other sources of English books, see our guide.

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British grocery selection

Bider & Tanner

Aeschenvorstadt 2, 4051 Basel

Bider & Tanner



Hauptbau - St. Alban-Graben 16, 4051 Basel

Neubau - St. Alban-Graben 16, 4051 Basel

Gegenwart -  St. Alban-Rheinweg 60, 4052 Basel

Arguably one of the best Museums in Basel, the Kunstmuseum (spread over three locations: Hauptbau, Neubau and Gegenwart) has a world-renown collection of over 300,000 works of art spanning the late middle ages to the present including famous masterpieces by Holbein, Picasso, Klee, Rousseau, Van Gogh and Warhol, among many others.


The origins of today's collection started in 1661 when it became the first collection of art accessible to the public in the world.  This museum, as well as the numerous others in Basel (over 40) have cemented Basel's distinction as the 'cultural capital of Switzerland'.

Basel's love for art is symbolized by the Kunstmuseum and was demonstrated in 1967 when the population of the city voted to buy three works from Picasso that were in danger of being sold due to a financial crisis.  Picasso himself was so moved by this gesture that he gifted the city with an additional three paintings. source

Things to do Vorstadte

Baseler Papiermühle

Explore a world of paper and printing at the Basel Paper Museum.  A fascinating atmosphere of exhibitions and hands-on production, this Museum is both interesting and entertaining for adults and children alike. Workshops are available for many types of print and paper making.  Make sure to check out their schedule here before you go, so as not to miss out on the fun.

Baseler Papiermühle

St. Alban-Tal 37, 4052 Basel

Basel Papiermuhle

Spielzeug Welten Museum

Toy lovers will delight in this extensive collection of antique toys including a collection of over 2,500 teddy bears.  In addition to walking down a memory lane of toys from around the turn of the 20th century, the Museum hosts interesting temporary exhibits and is well known for its elaborate window displays in its iconic building just off of Barfusserplatz.  

Spielzeug Welten Museum

Steinenvorstadt 1, 4051 Basel

Speilzug Welten Museum

Cartoonmuseum Basel

Satire, comics and graphic novels, the Cartoonmuseum Basel is the only museum in Switzerland devoted to narrative drawing. Visitors can explore different styles and traditions of this genre or enjoy a guided tour or lecture from their calendar of events. They also have an impressive array of postcards (over 300 motifs) in their gift shop.

Cartoonmuseum Basel

St. Alban-Vorstadt 28, 4052 Basel

Cartoon Museum

Tinguely Fountain

Built in 1977 by Jean Tinguely, this playful fountain amuses and delights all who pass by. Built where the old theatre was once located, these nine constantly moving sculptures, are said to imitate performers.   It’s the perfect spot to take a break, have a coffee and watch your fellow Baselers.

Tinguely Fountain

Klostergasse 7, 4051 Basel

Tinguely Fountain

Theater Basel

Founded in 1834, Theater Basel is the largest three-part theater in Switzerland and offers a variety of opera, drama and ballet performances on several stages.

Theater Basel

Elisabethenstrasse 16, 4051 Basel

Theater Basel


If you're tired of Netflix and chillin' and looking for a night out you can watch a movie the old-fashioned way: for an inflated price with a bag of popcorn on your lap.  

Vorstädte has several movie theatres with both independent and Hollywood films.  Make sure to confirm online if you are looking for movies in English (often noted as E/d,f).  Be aware that unlike North American cinemas you need to choose your seats when you purchase your tickets. 


Botanical Garden

The University of Basel hosts a lovely botanical garden which is open to the public.  Dating back to the 16th century it was one of the first of its kind in the world.  Admission is free so feel free to visit for some peace and fresh air in the city.

Botanical Garden

Spalengraben 8, 4051 Basel

Botanical Gardens
Here to stay Vorstädte

Universität Basel

Founded in 1460, the University of Basel is Switzerland’s oldest university and is well regarded around the world especially for its research.  With programs across seven faculties it has five strategic academic areas: Life Sciences, Visual Studies, Nanosciences, Sustainability and Energy Research and European and Global Studies. It hosts 13,000 students from over a hundred nations, including 2,800 PhD students.

University of Basel

Various locations



Petersgraben 4, 4031 Basel


Spitalstrasse 33, 4056 Basel

& Universitäts-Kinderspital

The University Hospital Basel is one of the five university hospitals of Switzerland and has been in operation since 1842.  Today it employs over 7,600.  Conveniently, the only 24-hour pharmacy in Basel is located across the street too.  The district is also home to Basel's excellent Kinderspital.

Universität Basel


Petersplatz is a popular public square for local residents as well as for a number of lively community events including a popular Saturday morning flea market as well as one of the locations for Herbstmesse.


ELA Basel
The Swiss-British School Basel

ELA Basel's upper primary school, grades 3-8 are housed in this quiet neighborhood within easy walking distance to the Rhein.  ELA offers English speaking childcare and education for children from the age of 3 months to the end of Primary School at 12 years old across its three buildings in the city.


Gartenstrasse 93, 4052 Basel

ELA Basel

Rhein Access

While most Rhein swimming happens on the Klein Basel side of the river, the Vorstädte neighborhood offers two access points for those looking to dip their toes.  Make sure to the check the SLRG swim map to know where to go. 



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