8 ways to experience Warsaw like a local

To get to know Warsaw and its people really well, get off the beaten path and go to neighbourhoods full of bars and cafes beloved by the capital’s people, see the city’s post-industrial spaces and the Vistula River. Find the place in the capital where you will feel like a true local.

Find out what is happening in the former Vodka Factory in Praga

Centrum Praskie Koneser, fot. m.st. Warszawa
Visit the former Koneser vodka factory complex in Warsaw’s Praga district. Restaurants, design stores and the Polish Vodka Museum are waiting for you in this newly revitalised space, where festivals, concerts and exhibitions take place regularly at weekends. On nearby Ząbkowska street, you can spend the evening in one of the atmospheric bars, where you can try typical Warsaw snacks such as jellied pork with shots of vodka, beef tartare, herring with onions as well as craft beer from local breweries.

Feel like Alice in Wonderland at the University of Warsaw Library Garden

Ogród BUW, fot. Filip Kwiatkowski
The garden of the University Library in Powiśle is one of the most beautiful roof gardens in Europe. Visit it and you’ll find that it looks like a maze full of nooks and crannies connected by footbridges, paths and bridges covered with vines and hydrangeas. The garden overlooks the centre of Warsaw and the wild banks of the Vistula. More…

Have fun and relax by the Vistula

Bulwary wiślane, fot. m.st. Warszawa
In recent years, the Warsaw section of the Vistula has become the heart of Warsaw’s summer nightlife, attracting crowds of locals. However, there is something to do all day long: you can ride a bike or skateboard on the boulevards, take a ferry trip and relax on one of the beaches. Don’t forget to go for a walk along the natural bank of the Vistula in Praga. More…

Do ecological shopping in a former sports hall

Hala Gwardii, fot. Warszawska Organizacja Turystyczna
During the weekend, go to Hala Gwardii, which is not only a place where you can eat tasty food from different parts of the world, you can also buy regional products and handicrafts here. There used to be boxing matches in the hall, as you will learn in the Boxing Museum there. Alongside is an outdoor market where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese and fish.

High five with Warsaw hipsters on Zbawiciela Square

Plac Zbawiciela, fot. Warszawska Organizacja Turystyczna
Zbawiciela Square, overlooked by the baroque Church of the Holy Saviour, is one of the most fashionable places in Warsaw. Popular theatres, literary publishers and even a comedy club are based here. It is here that culture vultures, hipsters, students and young people meet in popular cafes, restaurants and pubs. To feel the metropolitan character of the capital, visit an eatery with international or Polish cuisine or one of the popular ice cream parlours.

Admire Polish design at Soho Factory

Soho Factory, fot. Filip Kwiatkowski
Soho Factory used to be where motor scooters and motorcycles were made. Today, it is one of the most popular cultural and entertainment centres in the city. Now, the former production halls offer art studios, designer shops, restaurants and even innovative theatre stages. The heart of Soho is the Neon Museum, where you will see light advertisements from the 1960s and 1970s that decorated Poland’s streets.

Feel the international atmosphere of the capital in Saska Kępa

Ulica Francuska, fot. m.st. Warszawa
Do you like places away from the hustle and bustle? Then visit Saska Kępa on the banks of Praga. This place is a cultural melting pot thanks to numerous embassies as well as pubs run by migrants from Africa and the Middle East. When walking along Francuska street, pay attention to the traditional workshops of watchmakers and photographers, intertwined with health food stores, cafes and bookstores. Do you like nature? Make sure to visit Skaryszewski Park, perfect for walking, running and relaxing by the ponds.

Have fun until dawn in the Pavilions

Bar, fot. Habrda, Fotolia
Go through the gate at number 26 on Nowy Świat Street, where at the back of the tenements you will find several pubs known as the ‘Pavilions’. Two decades ago, shoemakers and glaziers had their workshops here, and today it is a favourite hang-out for young Varsovians, students and expats. One of the walls of the Pavilions is decorated with a mural with sleeping bears. Unlike them, you certainly won’t sleep here because of the music coming from the pavilions until the early hours of the morning.
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Bulwary wiślane, fot. m.st. Warszawa
Lodowisko na Rynku Starego Miasta, fot. Warszawska Organizacja Turystyczna
Koncert przed PKiN, fot. m.st. Warszawa
Żurek, fot. Anna Włodarczyk