As you may know, our website offers the possibility to share your own recommendations with the Hidden Secrets community. Here is a collection of the gems that we received. Is there a surprising spot in your city people should know about? Tell us all about it here.
The coolest contributions from our readers
The Hague, Netherlands
An excellent, cosy bakery/restaurant on the corner of Beeklaan, just 10 minutes by bike from the centre of The Hague. Fresh homemade bread, delicious pastries (try the Danish!), fresh coffee, breakfast, homemade lemonade, and every Friday night is pizza night. The two owners (Merel Bos and Daan Liu) were originally artists but followed their dream: starting a (lunch) restaurant with food made with quality ingredients. They buy from neighbouring farmers, small Dutch breweries and use fish by-catch. (Expat) families with small children enjoy their freshly baked bread, which you can also take away. In summertime you can relax on their cosy terrace, and sip their fresh watermelon lemonade combined with a sandwich with herring, cream-kefir dressing and pickles. And thanks to the owners' artistic background the walls are decorated with beautiful art.
2) Paris est une photo
Paris est une photo is a photography gallery hidden in the Passage Jouffroy, an historical covered passage of Paris. As the only art gallery dedicated to Paris, it is the ideal place to present exclusive photographs of Paris as well as other decorative objects. It exhibits and sells vintage original prints as well as contemporary photographs, of which many are Paris themed. New exhibitions by contemporary, young and experienced photographers are regularly organised.
In the city of diamonds, a green treasure with more brilliant facets than a princess cut is deeply cherished by the locals. With its 135 hectares, the provincial park Rivierenhof is the biggest appeasing relief of the Antwerp metropolis since 1923. Harbouring two castles, two rivers and numerous ponds, walkers and joggers (10 km trail), lovers of nature and picnic, calisthenics, midget golf, tennis, soccer, basketball, petanque, miniature trains, korfball and even fishermen find leisure to their liking. All year round you can - mostly for free - participate in guided tours and large events. Children are enchanted by the fairytale house, the two playgrounds, the petting zoo with farmer's garden, the maze, the traffic garden, … In the park you can also catch a performance in the Open Air Theater and admire in- and outdoor art collections. The Rivierenhof’s extensive botanical collection is known far beyond Belgium's borders. You can explore its biodiversity for example in the arboretum, the azalea garden, the Celtic tree horoscope or the beautiful rose garden. One would almost forget you can also just stroll along impressive lanes or enjoy a wonderful terrace in the sun.
4) Tompkins Stairs
San Francisco, United States
Once a trash-covered hillside, San Francisco’s Tompkins Stairway Garden is now a safe and welcoming street park, featuring a drought-tolerant garden in year-round bloom and a colourful tiled stairway. Dedicated attention from surrounding neighbours has transformed the site into a community greenspace and pedestrian corridor serving the Alemany Farmers’ Market and nearby schools and shopping districts. The San Francisco Chronicle calls the new garden “stunning,” “gorgeous,” and a “cheerful splash of public art that will probably become a photo hot spot.” In addition, San Francisco Beautiful honoured it with the 2019 Placemaking Award for creating a sense of identity in a public space. The stairs link Tompkins Avenue between Nevada and Putnam Streets in southeast Bernal Heights. The next time you’re in the neighbourhood, stop by!
5) Regency Café
London, United Kingdom
If there’s a queue – and there probably will be, this place is busy with cabbies, construction workers, civil servants and tourists, as well as Tate Britain visitors – take your time checking out the chalked-up menu of greasy-spoon staples like fry-ups and full English, steak and kidney pud, liver and bacon. Decision made, you can admire the vintage interior: jolly gingham curtains, cream wall tiles (dating from 1946, when the café opened), red lino, basketweave-pattern Formica tables with brown plastic chairs. On the walls are photos of famous customers, and the café itself starring in fashion shoots, films and ad campaigns. You’ll be jolted back to reality by Claudia, one of the owners, giving an order to the kitchen. Her voice is loud enough to cut through any conversation, with beautiful projection and crisp enunciation, but when she takes your order – cash only – she’s quietly spoken and friendly.
6) Bob & Bill
Bob (Sophie) and Bill (Michou) opened the Bob & Bill Flagship store in Nijmegen. A concept store where you can find everything you want in one attractive store. From menswear, womenswear and lifestyle to jewellery and vintage. It is a treasure trove where everyone gets lost and forgets time. There is even a cool "man cave" in the basement. So to all ladies: you can safely enter the store with your husband and marvel at all the wonderful things. Just don't forget to pick up your husband from the man cave when you leave the store!
This is a bookshop specialised in languages, either Danes learning a language or people trying to learn Danish. The owners are retired language teachers, and have their own line of books, which are glossaries. They even have glossaries for Harry Potter books, so Danish children can learn English in a fun way. They also have online audio files for all the Danish books, to help with pronunciation. You can just walk in and they will help you work out what you need. They offer such an amazing individual service!
8) Mar del Sur
Absolutely brilliant value for money, passion for seafood and fish, and great ethics. Everyone should come here on a Sunday at least once in their lifetime to experience this diamond in the rough.
9) Chickenshed Theatre
Located in Southgate, this all-inclusive theatre company has been creating inspiring shows that reflect its inclusive and diverse ethos. Their shows range from big-budget shows with a cast of 800 in their main theatre to smaller intimate shows in their Studio Theatre. They also host music and comedy nights, as well as workshops and various fundraising events.
10) Lamm Bar
Exceptionally simple and straight concrete design. Serving extraordinary and exquisite drinks. Friendly staff. Nice patio. Laid-back atmosphere.
These contributions have been edited for length and clarity.
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