15 Best Things to Do in Warsaw

fotorince / shutterstock.com

Warsaw is a bustling city with a storied past, sophisticated architecture, ancient towns, and many other unique destinations.

It’s a Global City, easily adding itself into the ranks of New York, Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo.

And as the largest and capital city of Poland, it stands as an economic and cultural hub as well as the nation’s seat of government.

One unique aspect that makes it unique among the other megacities is a large number of parks, giving Warsaw a balance of modernity and nature.

There’s something for everyone here.

So for your next international trip, why not make a stop at this incredible European landmark.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Warsaw, Poland:

Visit the Attractions at the Palace of Culture and Science

Palace of Culture and Science
Jana Janina / Shutterstock.com

A relic of the city’s Soviet past and Stalin’s regime, the Palace of Culture and Science is prominent in Warsaw.

It stands 237 meters tall with sophisticated architecture that combines American Art Deco style and historical Polish themes.

Within the building are many public and cultural institutions.

You’ll find theaters, large libraries, museums, and cinemas that feature Polish culture.

Statue at Palace of Culture and Science
Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock.com

There are also sports facilities, swimming pools, and other halls that cater to more modern activities.

One of the most popular spots is the 30th floor, which offers uninterrupted panoramic views of Warsaw itself.

The whole building lights up with modern LED lights at night, adding a magical ambiance to the already beautiful complex.

It’s difficult to miss this place, so make sure it’s one of the first attractions you visit.

Relax on the Riverside Restaurants at Vistula Boulevards

Riverside Restaurants at Vistula Boulevards
PaulSat / Shutterstock.com

If you’re looking for a place to stay with views of the Vistula River, then visit the Vistula Boulevards.

The waterside walkways stretch across a considerable length of the riverbank, with many shops, small parks, lookouts, and terraces that offer an uninterrupted view of the Vistula.

You can go jogging or biking during the early morning or spend time walking during the afternoons when foot traffic is much heavier.

Vistula Boulevards
Fotokon / Shutterstock.com

If you’re not up for physical activities, then stop by the many food establishments along the paths and order a favorite Polish delight.

Aromatic coffees, the popular Sernik, delicious slices of Szarlotka, and other local pastries are offered amongst these riverside restaurants.

Immerse in History at Warsaw Uprising Museum

Warsaw Uprising Museum
Stanislaw Tokarski / Shutterstock.com

Poland was one of the first country’s that came under German rule during the Second World War.

But the Polish resisted the rule of the Nazis, and one of the most prominent acts of resistance was the Warsaw Uprising.

The best place to learn about this event is at the Warsaw Uprising Museum.

Exhibition at Warsaw Uprising Museum
Tonographer / Shutterstock.com

Hundreds of artifacts from the Polish Underground State, the main entity that fought the Germans, are displayed here.

From aircraft and weapons to written accounts and love letters, you’ll find a wide range of exhibits here that paint a full picture of the uprising.

So make sure to join a tour so that you’ll be able to see all the engaging exhibits and themed rooms within the facility.

It’s an intriguing and solemn place where one of the bravest acts in Polish history is celebrated.

Warsaw Uprising Museum
Alizada Studios / Shutterstock.com

Catch a Show at Grand Theatre in Warsaw

Grand Theatre in Warsaw
piotrbb / Shutterstock.com

As one of the world's largest theater and opera complexes, the Grand Theatre in Warsaw is a majestic structure seating more than 2,000 at once.

Situated in the historic Theater Square, this destination is a must-visit for lovers of the performance arts.

Even the building is an attraction all by itself—an imposing structure with Greek-inspired architecture and an immaculate facade.

Interior of Warsaw Grand Theatre
Michal Osmenda, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The interior is a sight to behold, with a large seating capacity, optimized acoustics, and intuitive lighting that all add to the experience.

The complex is home to the Polish National Ballet, and you can catch one of their enthralling and hypnotic shows several days of the year.

There are also amazing theater plays, orchestra performances, and Polish opera shows that highlight the level of sophistication of various art forms in the country.

See the Age-Old Sights of Warsaw Old Town

Warsaw Old Town
Artur Bogacki / Shutterstock.com

For a deep dive into the city’s most historic areas, visit Warsaw Old Town.

As the name implies, it’s the most ancient region of the city, composed of colorful buildings, brick roads, and other structures that have been around since the 13th century.

In fact, this small space has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980.

Today, it’s a favorite for visitors who want to see a glimpse of Poland’s old days.

One of the most prominent attractions here is Market Place, surrounded by many historical buildings, restaurants, cafes, and stalls that offer a wide range of Warsaw delights.

Old Town Market square in Warsaw
MarinaD_37 / Shutterstock.com

You’ll also find a statue of the Warsaw Mermaid, a prevalent symbol found in the city’s coat of arms, art, and many historical buildings.

Warsaw Barbican is a fortification located within Old Town, and it’s a robust complex that served as an ancient defense structure.

For those who want a complete view of this charming area, the top of St. Anna’s Church Warsaw offers the most panoramic sights.

Narrow streets at Warsaw Old Town

Join the Crowds at Orange Warsaw Festival

Performance at Orange Warsaw Festival
Yves6, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to participate in a bombastic, crowded, and exhilarating event while in the city, why not join the Orange Warsaw Festival?

It’s the largest pop festival in the country, attracting throngs of people even from neighboring nations.

Set at various stages and outdoor facilities year to year, this festival brings together some of Poland’s most prominent local performers.

Orange Warsaw festival
Yves6, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

International artists have headlined the event as well, with Miley Cyrus, Tyler the Creator, Sam Smith, and other established personalities gracing the stage.

It’s one of the best ways to spend the first summer weekends of the year!

So if you’re planning to join the festivities, make sure to check the schedule and plan your itinerary around the event.

Join a Tour of the Royal Castle in Warsaw

Royal Castle in Warsaw
S-F / Shutterstock.com

In a city as ancient as this, it’s almost a given that there should be at least one great castle where the royalty resided.

The Royal Castle fits these criteria, and it was once the home of the Polish monarchs until the Germans completely leveled it during World War II.

Today, it has been reconstructed back to its former majesty—a stoic and imposing structure with light orange and white facade.

Interior of the  Royal Castle
mary416 / Shutterstock.com

The interior is a marvel to behold, with magnificent furnishings, glimmering furniture, and collections of paintings and artifacts that reflect the lavish lifestyles of the ancient royals.

Join one of the tours into the apartments to see glimpses of famous artworks, venerated musical instruments (including a Stradivarius violin), and historical artifacts that tell the stories of the castle’s past residents.

King's throne in Royal Castle in Warsaw
mary416 / Shutterstock.com

Learn Jewish Heritage at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
ArtMediaFactory / Shutterstock.com

The Jewish people have been in Poland for a long time, and they’ve maintained a vibrant and welcoming community up until the Holocaust.

To celebrate this rich heritage, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews was established in 2013.

It now stands as one of the most popular attractions in the city, with a postmodern building that has futuristic architecture and glass as the main material for construction.

Display at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
posztos / Shutterstock.com

Within the halls are many sights that showcase the vibrant Jewish heritage of Warsaw.

The Forest gallery tells how Jews in Western Europe fled to Poland to escape persecution, eventually forming the largest European Jewish community on the continent.

You’ll see a more unified history of Polish Jews at the Jewish Town before the partitions, including a reconstructed wooden synagogue.

The Holocaust gallery is a grim retelling of the horrors that the community faced during the Nazi Regime, serving as a tragic reminder of how ideologies can lead to unspeakable acts.

See All the Sights of Łazienki Park

Łazienki Park
Albin Marciniak / Shutterstock.com

Also called Royal Baths Park, Łazienki Park is the largest park of its kind in Warsaw, occupying 76 hectares of the city center.

Verdant grounds, beautiful fountains, attractive sculptures, and gorgeous landscaped gardens create a grand ambiance within the complex.

Of course, all these sights are tied together by the Palace on the Isle, a majestic structure with Corinthian architecture standing in front of a mirror-like lake.

Before entering this magnificent palace, explore the grounds first and enjoy the amazing sceneries and exotic wildlife that call the park home.

Łazienki Park
GRACIELLADEMONNE / Shutterstock.com

You’ll see temples, open-air theaters, Chinese pagodas, and greenhouses that all have the same sophisticated architecture.

The palace itself is a marvel to behold, with Greek Columns and an intricate facade just on the exteriors.

Within the rooms and halls is another level of decadence showcased through luxury furniture, ancient paintings, highly detailed decor, furnishings, and many other elements.

It’s a place fit for the most important figures, and indeed it has served as a residence for past kings and other members of the monarchy.

Łazienki Park
GRACIELLADEMONNE / Shutterstock.com

Tour the Halls of the Museum of King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów

Museum of King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów
Magdalena Geraghty / Shutterstock.com

It’s no surprise that a city as old as Warsaw has many museums, but one that you shouldn’t miss is the Museum of King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów.

It’s the oldest museum in the whole country, serving as a repository for Poland’s artistic and royal heritage.

St. Anne's Church at the Museum of King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów
Sebastian Gora Photo / Shutterstock.com

As the Baroque gem of the city, little has changed in the regal building and sprawling grounds surrounding it, despite wars and several significant events that changed the rest of Warsaw.

It’s an ideal place to rest from the bustling metropolis, with beautiful sculptures, charming alleys, and a lake that all come together to create a relaxing ambiance.

Garden light at Museum of King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów
kuba1777 / Shutterstock.com

During winter, the whole complex turns into a magical nighttime destination with ethereal figures, animals, and other fanciful shapes made using modern lights.

The palace's interior is a sight to behold, with exhibits and collections that offer glimpses of Medieval Poland.

Ignite Your Curiosity at the Copernicus Science Centre

Planetarium at Copernicus Science Centre
Pawel Szczepanski / Shutterstock.com

Right beside the scenic Vistula River stands Warsaw’s premier learning destination, the Copernicus Science Centre.

It’s named after famous Polish astronomer and polymath Nicolaus Copernicus, who first proposed that the Earth and other planets revolve around the sun.

Today, the museum named after him stands as the most advanced and largest institution of its kind in Poland.

Exhibition at Copernicus Science Centre
BY-_-BY / Shutterstock.com

More than 450 exhibits are housed within the complex, and most of these let visitors do experiments and learn how the world works themselves.

Your imagination and critical thinking will be challenged here, so the best way to enjoy the place is to remain inquisitive and open-minded to discoveries.

Science buffs will have a fun time learning about physics, astronomy, chemistry, and other areas within the six interdisciplinary parts of the complex.

Copernicus Science Centre
Ksenija Ok / Shutterstock.com

See a Famous Mucisian’s History at Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina w Warszawie

Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina w Warszawie
trabantos / Shutterstock.com

Poland’s list of notable and important figures is long, and one of these prominent personalities is the celebrated composer Frédéric Chopin.

Known for masterpieces like the Nocturnes, Op. 9, Etudes, and Fantaisie-Impromptu, Chopin was a gifted musician of the Romantic period.

To celebrate his enduring legacy, the Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina w Warszawie was established.

Fryderyka Chopina Museum
meunierd / Shutterstock.com

The facility covers the works and history of Chopin, with collections of recordings, manuscripts, photographs, and artifacts displayed within the halls.

During various times of the year, there are contests and piano recitals where the composer’s works are interpreted for a modern audience.

Music aficionados will have a unique and enthralling experience exploring all that this museum has in store.

Smell Fragrant Blooms at Saxon Garden

Saxon Garden
Artur Bogacki / Shutterstock.com

Saxon Garden is a local favorite among the residents of Warsaw for its landscape greenery and colorful blooms.

Situated in the central region of the city, this 15.5–hectare public garden has been around since the 17th century.

Saxon Garden
Magdalena79 / Shutterstock.com

It’s one of the first publicly accessible gardens in the city and remains today a popular destination for its relaxing ambiance and inviting surroundings.

Beautiful fountains framed by sculpted trees, flower gardens with vibrant colors, majestic statues standing in silence amongst the verdant grounds—the many elements within the park all add up to create gorgeous scenery.

Join the Thriving Praga Nightlife

Praga is a historic district in Warsaw that wasn’t destroyed during the Second World War.

As a result, most of the structures here are authentic buildings that have been around for centuries, making it a center for Polish culture and heritage.

All these you can tour during the day, but the district is really more known for the thriving nightlife.

Most of the old structures here have been repurposed into bars, restaurants, and events venues that turn the district into a place full of music, celebration, and enjoyment.

You might catch a local band performing live music, join a party in one of the establishments, or simply wander the brightly lit streets and mingle with all the visitors and locals having fun.

Interact With Animals at the City Zoological Garden in Warsaw

Warsaw zoo
isparklinglife / Shutterstock.com

When bringing kids to your vacation, don’t forget to visit the City Zoological Garden in Warsaw.

It’s a scientific facility that houses an array of animals from the seven continents.

And it’s also one of the busiest and most visited zoos in all of Europe, accepting more than a million visitors every year.

Rhinoceros at Warsaw Zoo
Danny Ye / Shutterstock.com

It has more than 500 species of animals, each living in comfortable habitats that mimic their natural homes.

From the beasts of Sub-Saharan Africa to colorful natives of the Amazon, you’ll find more than 11,000 distinct animals living here.

You can go on a tour to see all the habitats yourself and learn more about the zoo and the wildlife.

Elephant at Warsaw Zoo
Danny Ye / Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

Warsaw has an endless list of places to visit and activities to try, from historic and regal palaces to bombastic music concerts.

Whatever your preference, you’ll find something to do in this vast and bustling metropolis.

Reference this list so you won’t miss out on the most iconic and significant sights in store.