If you go...

for eating ...
as antwerp is one of europe’s oldest and richest port cities, its culinary influences come from all over the world. lucy chang (marnixplaats 16-17, 011-32-3-248-95-60, www.lucychang.be) serves fancy pad thai in an industrial-emporium space. in the docklands district, try muro turks eethuis (verschansingstraat 61, 011-32-3-237-43-65, www.muroderman.be), a recently refurbished grill that whips up anatolian specialties like ground-lamb-stuffed eggplant, chicken pitas, and crispy turkish pizzas. for a splurge, try dôme, the best restaurant in town (and van steenbergen’s favorite). it’s in a stunning art nouveau building and offers food prepared by french chef julien burlat and his wife, sophie verbeke, former stylist for dries van noten (grote hondstraat 2, 011-32-3-239-90-03). finally, don’t miss the world’s best fries -- with some curry sauce -- at frituur no. 1 (hoogstraat 1).

for shopping ...
hit the modenatie-area stores mentioned, as well as walter (st. antoniusstraat 12, www.waltervanbeirendonck.com) for pieces by bruno pieters and christian wijnants. at lxp (hopland 53, www.l-xp.com), you can pick up items by chloe, dior, and tim van steenbergen. and for the best shoes in town, hit elsa (nationalestraat 147, www.elsa-antwerp.be), which carries fiorentini + baker, hussein chalayan, and other hard-to-find footwear masterpieces.

for sleeping ...
try the hotel ‘t sandt (from $211, zand 13-19, 011-32-3-232-93-90, www.hotel-sandt.be), a 29-suite hotel in the oude stad neighborhood with rooms on the top floors that offer amazing views of the cathedral. the hilton antwerp (from $260, groenplaats, 011-32-3-204-12-12, www.hilton.com) is centrally located; it’s right around the corner from the main square. for a stylish and affordable stay, try boulevard leopold (from $140, belgiëlei 135, 011-32-486-67-5838, www.boulevard-leopold.be), a three-guest-room b&b run in a nineteenth-century jewish quarter house by a friend of ann demeulemeester.

the bar scene...
as antwerp has become more and more a style capital of europe, the nightlife in this thumping, dance-oriented heart of flanders has become increasingly chic. the hottest clubs in town are mostly concentrated in the het zuid area, not far from where the majority of the coolest young designers have their shops. some favorites with the locals are: the warehouse-ish petrol (d’herbouvillekaai 25, www.petrolclub.be), salsa-fueled café local (waalsekaai 25, www.cafelocal.be), and café capital (rubenslei 37, www.cafecapital.be) inside the city’s stadtpark. if you’re looking for a drink not accompanied by live music or powerful dj beats, try one of antwerp’s “brown cafes” -- smoke-filled pubs such as billenkletser (hoogstraat 22), where regulars sit at creaky, chewed-up wooden tables and sample hundreds of different beers. or, for a rare drinking experience, head to de vagant (reyndersstraat 25), which serves more than 200 types of jenevers, old-school juniper-flavored ginlike spirits from this part of the world that are mostly associated with wwi. only legally allowed to be sold in belgium, the netherlands, and certain parts of france and germany, this potent drink boasts a new, young following in antwerp -- meaning the bar is now often packed with hipsters as well as old-timers, all sampling this cool “grandpa” drink until four a.m., the closing time.