Photo: Tim Adams
We’re not travelling right now, but join us on a virtual tour of Warsaw with local journalist Agata Małkowska-Szozda of Press magazine, thanks to the guide she sent us last month. Discover some creative hot spots in one of Europe's most underrated cities.
The most creative museum or gallery
One of the most creative museums in Warsaw is the Museum on the Vistula (Muzeum nad Wisłą) at Powiśle. It’s a museum of modern art, and it’s based in a temporary location just beside the river. The huge white block painted in abstract patterns makes an impression by itself. Inside there are short term exhibitions of modern art. The minimalist and quiet interior allows one to experience art in every single detail.
The café where you go to read, write or be inspired
There are two cafes in Warsaw where I like to work or just read a book. One of them is Mokotuff 2.0 at Puławska 34 in Mokotów. It’s a quiet place, with great food and coffee. If you are vegan you won’t be disappointed, but it doesn’t matter if you’re not. Inside there are some artworks by not very well-known artists (which you can also buy), and a lot of plants (some of which you can “adopt”). The whole place makes you feel really comfortable.
The second one is not exactly a café, but it’s called SAM (pictured) and it’s on Rydygiera Street at Żoliborz. Especially in spring and summer, when you can sit in the garden and drink one of the best coffees in Warsaw, believe me you can spend hours there without even noticing it. And they have the best butternut squash ravioli on earth.
A restaurant with a difference
Vegan Ramen Shop on Kazimierzowska street (Mokotów) or on Finlandzka Street (Praga). They make the best ramen I’ve ever eaten. Everything on the menu is vegan and plant based, made to their own recipes. Founded by two vegan fiends and their families, it shows that vegan food can be delicious whether you are vegan or not. Also they have the friendliest staff I have ever met in any restaurant or café. The friendly and informal atmosphere only helps you enjoy your ramen more. I have to admit there were weeks when I ate my dinner there every single day, and I am still not over it. Trust me.
The most creative neighbourhood
It’s impossible to choose one creative neighbourhood in Warsaw. But some parts of Powisle, Mokotów, Praga and Żoliborz can be called creative areas. If I had to choose one of them, I would recommend visiting Otwarta Ząbkowska (or “Open Ząbkowska”) in Praga. During the summer, but also on some spring and autumn weekends, Ząbkowska street is closed to traffic to make space for artists, food trucks and flea markets. There are workshops for people of all ages.
The store you can’t walk past without going in
There is a shop called Lapidarium near Barbakan at Warsaw Old Town. It’s pretty hard to say what type of shop it is exactly. It’s something between a flea market, an antiques shop and a magical emporium. You can buy absolutely everything there, from old cameras (some dating back to the 19thcentury), to second hand books, Polish People’s Republic posters, vinyl records, ancient postcards and things that you didn’t even think you could buy anywhere. I always buy something every time I visit that shop and I never regret it. Sometimes I’m not even sure what I’ve actually bought!
Some extra tips
There are many old fortresses in Warsaw that have been turned into parks and pleasant places to sit and chill. One of them, at Bemowo, is called Fort Bema, and another one is at Żoliborz and is called Fort Żoliborz. There is also a nice café inside called Prochownia.