Culture and Events in Basel
Basel is a lively city with much to offer. Despite its small size it has a thriving creative scene, with on-going art exhibitions, music concerts and city festivals. Basel has a wonderful mix of traditional and contemporary events and is a hotspot for the arts. You can find exciting events taking place in the city centre as well as in neighboring towns, cantons and countries (e.g. France and Germany).
Websites for Events taking place in Basel and Switzerland
Basel, Culture Unlimited - Provides information in English and German about events taking place in Basel.
Basel Gastronomy - Part of the Basel, Culture Unlimited website that recommends places to eat depending on location, cuisine and price.
BaselConnect - Buddy system offered to newcomers, social events and collaboration with the Swiss community.
Ticketcorner - Advertises and sells tickets for various events, ranging from comedy performances, theatrical plays and music concerts.
Usgang - Allows you to search for parties, concerts and various events in Switzerland.
My Switzerland - Shows upcoming events in Switzerland.
Annual Events in Basel
January - February
Traditional street march of the three Icons of Basel city, Wilde Maa (Wild Man), Leu (Lion) and Vogel Gryff (Bird). This performance takes place every year in January, and starts on the Rhein continuing throughout the city.
Night at the Museum
All of Basels museums are open late into the night for this special event. You can buy your tickets in advance or on the night to have entry to all of the museums in Basel. It is a popular event that allows you to visit larger well known museums and discover the smaller niche museums. This ranges from the Toy House museum, the contemporary art museum, the music museum, etc. For more information please visit: Museumsnacht Basel
March - May
Fasnacht is a festival with pagan roots that takes place across Switzerland and Germany. The event starts early in the morning at 4am. This is called "Morgenstreich", all the city lights are turned off and a lantern parade takes place. The streets of Basel are lit with beautiful homemade lanterns designed by different cliques. A clique is a group of people who parade together during Fasnacht and spend a lot of the year preparing for this. They make their own costumes, have their own songs and can either be small or very large.
The festival continues for three days, during which you can enjoy the traditional and contemporary music throughout the city and eat street food, such as sausages and the traditional Fasnacht foods such as warming Mehl-Suppe (flour soup) and the Fasnachtskiechli (sweet flakey desert). For more information please visit: Fasnachts-Comite
June - September
This internationally renowned event takes place every year in Basel city. The main event takes place in Messeplatz, in small Basel, but there are many other independent art shows and parties that take place throughout the week. The main exhibition celebrates contemporary and classic art, and often has special celebrity guests that come to visit this event to buy works of art. For more information please visit: Art Basel
This is a special event that takes place in the Basel Kaserne, where highly trained international drummers put on a spectacular musical and dance performance. For more information please visit: Basel Tattoo
This ongoing event takes place between July and August, where a special platform is constructed on the Rhein. This platform is used as a stage and almost every night there is a different music band playing for free. Music genres vary, so there will always be a band you might enjoy or maybe you will discover something new. For more information please vitis: ImFluss
1 August/Swiss Day
The first of August is the national day of celeberation in Switzerland. This day is a national holiday where many friends and families come together to barbeque, put on fireworks and view the huge and spectacular firework performances in Bruderholz and Basel City.
It is a tradition in Basel to spend time enjoying the Swiss summer and the beauty of the Rhein with friends and family. Many people go swimming in the Rhine in the summer months to cool off, however you must be careful when doing this as the river has a strong current. Safety informations are posted along the river. There is a day dedicated to swimming in the Rhein in August, this is called the Basler Rheinschwimmen. For more information please visit: Basler Rheinschwimmen
Youth Culture Festival JKF
This is a music festival in the city of Basel, that offers a range of different music genres. The festival is free and takes place on temporary stages set up through the city of Basel. For more information visit: Jugendkulturfestival
October - December
This event starts at the end of October and continues for two weeks into November. This is a city wide fair that offers delicious food stalls with traditional swiss delicacies as well as international foods. This is accompanied by fair rides, such as rollercoasters, spook houses, go-carts, etc. There is also a market that takes place in Petersplatz, that offers hand made items, such as kitchen accessories, toys, house decorations, food and much more. For more information please visit: Basel Autumn Fair
Basel Stadtlauf/City run
The Basel city run takes place at the end of November. The distance you run is determined by your age and gender. Anyone can participate, as long as you are between 6 and 70 years old. It can be a lot of fun, and many individuals run for charity. At the end of this race everyone receives a medal, and you are able to check your results online at https://www.stadtlauf.ch.
The Christmas Market starts at the beginning of December and continues until the 23rd of December. This takes place each year at Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz. This is a traditional Christmas market that offers glühwein and many warming winter foods, such as raclette, fondue and cheese tarts. This is a beautiful event to visit and really makes Basel a special place to be at Christmas time. Similar markets also take place in surrounding cantons and bordering German cities. For more information please visit: Basel Christmas Market