2954 Treat Blvd suite c concord 

6770 McKinley Street

Sebastopol 

Concord

Mon-Sat, 9am-4pm

Sebastopol

Everyday 10am-6pm

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City Guide: Antwerp

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ANTWERP CITY GUIDE
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We loved doing the Paris City Guide oh so much that we decided it was time for the next one.  So today, we rounded up all of our favorites from the city of Antwerp. If you haven’t been, trust us, it’s a must!
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Museums, Monuments, and More
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Grote Markt
We know it might be unpopular to say, but we love the Belgian Grote Markts.  They're crawling with tourists, and the bistros only take cash, but no matter.  Just find a spot on the terrace, order a rose’ and sit for an hour or two admiring the architecture and people watching. There's nothing like a Grote Markt to remind you that you are a stranger in a foreign land.  We encamped on a corner and witnessed what seemed to be a traveling Belgian stag party moving from cafe to cafe singing drunken pub songs, and a marching band of some sort performing in the square. 
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Antwerpen-Centraal
Even if you don't arrive by train, the train station in Central Antwerp is worth a visit.  The beautiful architecture is a sight to behold. 
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You could easily miss this little street, but don't give up.  It's worth the effort. Once a little alley populated with shoemakers and other craftsmen, it's now been bought up by designer Axel Vervoordt and restored into a series of restaurants, shops and galleries.  The color palette of bright white and deep blues is a feast for the eyes. 
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Virgin Mary Statues
Throughout central Antwerp  you can find intricate Virgin and Child statues situated above doorways and on corners of buildings.  Wisdom of why they're there varies. But they make a fun scavenger hunt. Our favorites are:
Oude Koornmarkt 32
Vlasmarkt 36
Steenhouwersvest 22
Wolstraat 23
Keizerstraat 73
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Antwerp is rich with beautiful street art.  Our favorite is Vincent Van Goghplein, where copies of Van Gogh works have been painted on a blank wall by art students. 
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A change of pace from your typical European museum.  This one is housed in a historic house in town, and houses an inspiring collection of Dutch paintings.  Blanche de France is also there: the sculpture is a 9" tall marble head, the last remaining relic of a monument commissioned by the King of France to his two daughters who died 17 days apart.  She's the Mona Lisa of the Museum MVB. 
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If you're so inclined, you can schedule a tour of Belgian designer Axel Vervoordt's studio in Wijnegem, about 45 minutes by taxi from Antwerpen Centraal.  The studio is a stunning study in minimalism and thoughtful design. Well worth the trip. 
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*Important to note: there is no Uber in Antwerp.  Your hotel can call you a taxi, but once you're out in the city, taxi stands and taxis are hard to find.  So prepare to walk, or pick up a map for the cable car. We found it to be pretty easy to figure out.*
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(Antwerpen-Centraal)
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(The hidden streets of Antwerp)
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Where To Stay
A beautiful church that took 5 years to restore.  The restaurant and bar are lovely.
You can rent out the spa by the hour and spend the morning popping between the ice bath, hammam, rain forest shower and swimming pond.
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Very unassuming from the outside (very Belgian), this hotel is situated in two 16th century mansions.  Surrounded by green space and equipped with a roof garden, you never need to leave the hotel.
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(The restaurant/bar of Hotel August)
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(The swimming pond at Hotel August's spa)
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Where to Shop
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International Magazine Store
This one is so old school, it doesn't even have a website.  But we love a good news stand, so it's worth the trouble to hunt it down.  This is the best and biggest collection of current, new and rare magazines we've ever seen.  Find it in its new home in two modern buildings at Kaasrui 11 and Hopland 31, both in Central Antwerp
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We're not typically into high fashion, but this shop intrigued us because the staff at Hotel August was dressed in the designer's creations.   Simple and lovely. Worth a splurge if you are so inclined. 
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We don't even know how to describe this place.  It's part restaurant, part concept shop, with a loft apartment on the top floor that you can rent out for 1300 euro/night for six guests.  It's worth a stop just to soak up the historic building, and the atmosphere. 
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Perfectly edited and beautifully displayed pretty things.  What more could you want?
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The cutest little plant shop you will ever see. 
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(photo of the outside of The Plant Corner)
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(Inside The Plant Corner)
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Where to Eat
Like most good restaurants, we found this one quite by accident. A very well executed Belgian interpretation of an American BBQ place. The food and service are perfectly executed and you can buy a round for the pit masters from the menu.
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If you're feeling fancy, The Jane is the French Laundry of Antwerp. Make your reservation well in advance, and leave plenty of time to enjoy the thoughtful and deliberate service. They have a rooftop garden where they harvest their fresh herbs and produce for each day. Near the Hotel August.
This is a fun sort of Belgian food court with a variety of cool restaurants and bars tucked around an open courtyard. It's the perfect spot for that night when you're not sure what you want, or your group has widely varying tastes. Word of caution: don't order a milkshake from the pizza place. It seems only Americans can make milkshakes like Americans.
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Popular with visitors and locals alike. A warm and cozy bistro with Belgian classics like croquettes and steak frites. Look for the big sign on the black facade "eten & drinken"
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A cool self service deli if you're in a hurry.
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(Delicious Cocktails from Hotel August's Bar)
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(The entrance into Black Smoke Restaurant)
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Editor's Note:
Antwerp was such a lovely surprise!  I highly recommend taking a trip to this beautiful city.  It is full of history and life.  My personal favorite stop was The Plant Corner.  If you know me well, you know I'm a sucker for a room filled with gorgeous greenery.  Antwerp, I will most definitely be back soon.
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Shan