Basel is divided into Greater Basel and Basel Proper (Gross Basel und Kleinbasel). The reasons for this division are historic but the differences between the areas within it may not be immediately apparent.
This district is scattered with many beautiful villas but its main attraction is the Wasserturm (Water Tower). Anyone who climbs to the top on a clear day can enjoy magnificent views of both Germany and France. The city's most famous restaurant, the Stucki, which is always busy, can also be found in Bruderholz.
The Gundeldinger District has suffered from its proximity to the Central Train Station (Bahnhof Basel SBB), but slowly and surely it is attracting attention. Basel's newest brewery, Unser Bier (meaning, "Our Beer") has recently moved into the area, and you can sample its delicious beer in its very own watering-hole. The Gundeldingerhof is a good place to eat and if you are particularly partial to coffee, then you will no doubt feel at home in La Columbiana, where beans are freshly roasted. The Bücher-Brocky is a must for those in search of intellectual nourishment.
The area surrounding the Rathaus (City Hall) is where many locals eat out. Traditional Swiss cuisine, such as Rösti (shredded fried potato with various other ingredients) can be found on the menu at the Hasenburg. This inn is extremely atmospheric, partly because it is seemingly stuck in a time warp; many years ago, there was actually a ban on knitting here! The Zum Roten Engel on the Andreasplatz is known for its excellent cakes and generous caffè latte. Its quiet premises make it ideal for intimate conversation. The Bio Andreas bakery next door, specializes, as its name suggests, in organic breads and if you do happen upon the shop, be sure to buy some of its famous olive bread. Naturally, no city would be complete without its department stores and Basel's finest is the upscale Globus. This is also situated near the Town Hall and its Deli section is particularly noteworthy.
One of the city's main squares, the Münsterplatz, is also near the Town Hall. In the past, it has been described as Europe's most beautiful parking lot. The houses that flank it are very impressive and you can easily walk to the scenic Pfalz, which is behind the Münster from here. This is a very romantic spot; you will soon notice why Basel is such a beautiful place. Once you have admired the view, you can visit the Museum für Kulturen (Ethnographic Museum) and learn more about cultures from all over the world.
The many fast food joints, cinemas, cafes, reasonably priced clothes and music stores around the Barfüsserplatz make it especially attractive to teenagers and the Music Center claims to have the biggest selection in all of Switzerland. The Barfüsserplatz is also the site of many markets, with these varying depending on the day of the week and the time of year. Bars such as the Rio Bar, the Manger et Boire and Bar Cafe Des Art's around this neighborhood also mean that you will find lots of the in-crowd here.
The Heuwaage area, neglected for a long time, has recently seen an upturn in fortune. Developments such as the new Kino-Kind cinema, the Filmpalast have given the area new momentum. Basel's most popular pub, Paddy Reilly's, the Tanzklub der Jugend, the Kuppel, and the Birseckerhof brasserie further ensure that there is always something going on here.
If you plan to venture to the St. Alban district you will inevitably pass the Kunstmuseum Basel and the Karikatur & Cartoon Museum Basel along the way. If you go down the hill, you will reach Restaurant Goldenen Sternen, which used to be in the suburb of Aeschen. Much of St. Alban's picturesque character can be attributed to its proximity to the Rhein. It is also home to two further museums, namely the Museum für Gegenwartskunst and the Basler Papiermühle.
The area around the Central Train Station, also known as the Bahnhofsareal, is dominated by a number of big hotels. And the station itself is rapidly becoming a completely service-orientated building, with restaurants and shops opening up all the time. Many of the locals make use of the extended opening hours to do some post-work shopping. For coffee and cake, Confiserie Frey and Confiserie Bachmann cafes on the square in front of the train station are noteworthy and a visit to either will soon make it clear why Swiss chocolate is famous throughout the world.
This is the city's most multi-cultural area. There are lots of different shops, especially Turkish ones, most of which are family owned. The mix of different cultures has also given rise to much creativity, which can be experienced firsthand at the Kaserne Basel, the Warteck-Areal and the Studio Cinemas. The Manor, a department store is also located on this bank of the River Rhine.
The Fischerstube restaurant brews its own beer, known as Ueli-beer; here, only a glass wall separates the eating area from the brewery, so although it can be noisy at times, you gain a unique insight into what is going on behind the scenes. The best thing to do is sit back and enjoy your beer as if you haven't a care in the world - a signature behavioral pattern the locals!