Go shopping at Meir Street
Go shopping at Meir Street. Most city breaks have two main components. A tour of the historic center is the first. The other one is of course a stroll around the main commercial streets where except for shopping or window shopping one can also feel the beating heart of the city and can spend hours just by people watching. In Antwerp’s case, the commercial heart spreads across Meir Street which stretches from the Central Station (Antwerpen Centraal) to the Groenplaats near the Cathedral of Our Lady.
Meir is not just a commercial street. The oldest reference to the Meir dates back to 1257 when it was just a swampy area outside the city borders. Early 15th century it was transformed into a wide paved street with a canal at its center. In the 16th century, the street became a favorite of the rich and was lined by bourgeoisie mansions on each side. During that period the new stock exchange building (Bourse) was erected near Meir St. moving a great part of the commercial activity here instead of the river. In essence since the 16th century, this was the city’s most prestigious street.
Today the pedestrian street with the beautiful buildings is the best place for someone to do a little shopping or just people-watching and of course window shopping. Most international retail behemoths can be found here. On Saturdays, you can also find a food and groceries market nearby. All in all a great place to catch the vibe of modern-day Antwerp.