December 2011


A richly creative community, Basel is home to many theatres celebrating artistic expression through plays, opera, musicals, and dance. Companies and troupes from all over the world pass through the city’s remarkable venues, and you can usually see long lines of people standing outside the glittering marquees on performance nights. From pre-show cocktails to cocktail attire, it’s a social and cultural celebration start to finish.

Theater Basel

Just off Barfüsserplatz, this centrally located theater braids together three main threads of the performing arts — plays, ballet, and opera — making it the largest theatre of its kind in Switzerland. Their programme spans the classics such as Romeo and Juliet, My Fair Lady, The Fairy Queen, and Carmen, as well as the more modern, accompanied by their magnificent orchestra. Most plays are in German, although you can catch the theatre’s final English language performance, The Great Gatsby, at the end of January 2012.

Elisabethenstrasse 16 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 295 11 00

Musical Theater Basel

Part of the biggest Fair and Congress development in Switzerland, Musical Theater Basel is one of the newest theaters and concert halls in the country. It houses just over 1550 seats in their 900m auditorium, staging quality performances from yesterday and today: Phantom of the Opera, Swan Lake, Grease, Thriller Live, and more.

Feldbergstrasse 151 • 4057 Basel
Tel: +41 61 699 88 99

Kunst in Riehen

Welcoming the best classical musicians from all over the world for more than 50 years. They honor the traditions of Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Chopin, among others, with an outstanding lineup of dymanic duos, trios, quartets, quintets, and beyond.

Tickets available through one of Basel’s most famous bookstores, Bider & Tanner:
Aeschenvorstadt 2 • 4010 Basel
Tel: +41 61 206 99 96

Kammerorchester Basel (Basel Chamber Orchestra)

One of the top chamber orchestras in Europe, touring all over the continent. In town, you can usually find them at the Ackermannshof Basel.

St. Johanns-Vorstadt 19/21 • 4056 Basel
Tel: +41 61 306 30 40

Basel Sinfonietta

Presenting both known and unknown works of music, the Basel Sinfonietta never stops exploring new ideas. They give audiences not just a performance, but a ‘symphonetic experience,’ such as the chance to see and hear a live soundtrack to a silent film. Touring frequently through some of Europe’s top festivals, they are also the only Swiss orchestra to be invited four times to the famous annual Salzburg Festival.

Dornacherstrasse 390 • 4018 Basel
Tel: +41 61 335 54 15

Basel Bach-Chor (Basel Bach Choir)

The timeless work of Johann Sebastian Bach in beautiful Martinskirche (St. Martin’s Church), Basel’s oldest parish church.

Bach Choir:
Von-Teuffel-Strasse 4/1 • 79400 Kandern

Martinskirche Basel:
Martinskirchplatz 4 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 261 45 07

Children’s Theatre

Basel has several theatres for children—young to adult! Offering old-fashioned puppet shows, fairy stories, plays, comedy, circus, musicals, and even Santa Claus specials, these well-loved places bring stories to life in a way the whole family can enjoy.

Theater Arlecchino

Colorful, vibrant productions covering a range of genres for all ages.

Amerbachstrasse 14 • 4057 Basel
Tel: +41 61 331 68 56

Basler Kinder Theater (Basel Children’s Theatre)

Showcasing the kinds of timeless fairy tales and classic adventures brought to us by the Brothers Grimm and Robert Louis Stevenson, the Basel Children’s Theatre is precisely that: by children, for children.

Schützengraben 9 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 261 28 87

Basel Puppet Theatre

Founded more than 60 years ago, this theatre hosts unique puppet shows in an equally unique setting: a beautiful vaulted basement in Münsterplatz. Daytime shows for children and evening performances for adults.

Münsterplatz 8 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 261 06 12

If you’re looking for a concert or any good live music, Basel is the place to find it. It’s very welcoming to musicians of all kinds, from street musicians playing Strauss on Freiestrasse, to independent singer-songwriters at the corner café, to famed bands like Journey at Pratteln’s Z7 Konzertfabrik (Concert Factory). Here are some places you might catch a favorite artist, or discover the next big act in Basel and beyond.


Z7 Konzertfabrik

A venue for bigger names like Swiss acts Adrian Stern and Plüsch as well as international bands like Porcupine Tree and Iron Butterfly. Also features harder rock and metal bands. 

Kraftwerkstrasse 7 • 4133 Pratteln, Basel
Tel: +41 61 821 48 00

Parterre Kultur

One of Basel’s exclusive restaurants and live music venues, Parterre features musicians and singer-songwriters from all over the world for an up-close-and-personal concert experience. Also hosts Open Mic Nights on Wednesdays.

Tram 8 to “Kaserne”
Klybeckstrasse 1b • 4057 Basel
Tel: +41 61 695 89 91


Sommercasino © schoeband
A main venue for younger fans, featuring rock, punk, alternative, hardcore, metalcore, hip-hop, and ska bands from Switzerland, the US, and the UK, among others. They host free Twenty Plus-Party Tunes parties on Saturday nights for  adults 20 years and older.

Münchensteinerstrasse 1 • 4052 Basel
Tel: +41 61 313 60 70


Another of Basel’s unique venues, complete with disco balls, a sparkling chandelier right above the audience, and a bright, glowing dome topping the building. The lineup is eclectic and inclusive, offering New Wave, Pop, Rock, Disco, Electro, Glam, Indie, and more. Performers include Swiss singer-songwriter legend Roli Frei and Britain’s The Drops. 

Binningerstrasse 14 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 564 66 00

Avo Session

THE music festival in Basel. Each year, it welcomes some of the top names of all time to its Festival Hall at Basel Fair: Mary J. Blige, Liza Minnelli, P!nk, Tom Jones, Paul Anka, and KT Tunstall to name just a few. This unique festival gives you the chance to see artists up close in a relaxed candle-lit atmosphere, and with only 1,500 seats, you may want to buy your tickets far in advance!

Festival Hall, Basel Fair
Grenzacherstrasse 79 • 4058 Basel
061 686 44 44


A well-known café serving up cappuccinos, sandwiches, and fresh daily specials, Stoffero also holds live music certain nights of the week. Although quite small, it’s an ideal venue for smaller and acoustic acts from all over the world. Be sure to try their famous panini!

Stänzlergasse 3 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 281 56 56

Open Air

Summer is a prime time for live music in Basel. The weather is perfect for open-air concerts, and music festivals spring up all around the country like wildflowers. On the steps by the Rhein or on the grass under the stars, you’ll hardly find even one night without music. Some events are free…although a generous tip is always welcomed.

Im Fluss

Each year from about the last week of July to the middle of August, a barge is set up on the Rhein for Im Fluss Open-air Concerts, featuring a different band each night. The concerts center around local and national acts, though some of the artists come from as far away as the UK, Canada, and the US. 
The Rhein River (Outside Café Spitz and Best Western Hotel Merian)

Rheingasse 13 • 4058 Basel
Tel: +41 61 681 80 90


One of the best known places in Basel for all varieties of arts and culture, music, theater, and dance, and a top venue in the city for summer open-air concerts. Their neighboring restaurant, the KaBar, is a popular stop for lunch, evening apéros, and ‘Snack Attacks.’ 

Klybeckstrasse 1 • 4057 Basel
Tel: +41 61 681 47 17

Photo credit: Deer Park Avenue