words and photography Marta Wódz
1. Vistula River/ Poniatówka Beach
It’s quite possible that if you ask somebody to hang out in Warsaw during the summer, his/her first suggestion will be: ‘Let’s go to the river!’ Although the river itself is not clean enough for swimming, you can just enjoy the weather on the beach or sit in one of the many restaurants, pubs and clubs, which also offer a wide range of activities: fitness or yoga classes during the day and music concerts or open air film screenings at night. All of that is mostly for free! Also, although drinking alcohol in public places is forbidden in Poland, in this area it’s totally fine to bring your own drinks and chill out on the riverbank.
2. Defilad Platz [in polish: Plac Defilad]
In the very city centre of Warsaw we still have a perfect example of socrealistic architecture. The building called Palace of Culture (inside there are now museums, theatres, cinema etc.) is for some people a symbol of the city and for others, just one of bad memories from the communist period. The platz in front of it is sometimes used for concerts or some special events, but usually it’s just a concrete desert. That’s why we really like the idea of turning it during the summer into a garden with a huge table, which anybody can use.
3. Transparent Shopping Collective
Summer is also a good time for pop up stores. This one is very special, and not only because of its beautiful products. Two fashion brands, Elementy and Balagan, decided to combine their forces and create a platform, whose main goals are: transparency of price, transparency of production and social true program. They opened a shop in a former factory building on the east bank of the river and the awesome thing is they really work there. So almost any time you’re visiting the place, you can talk with the designers. You’ll really feel like a welcomed guest there, believe me.
You can have a look at their products and read more about the idea here.
4. Green Jazdów [polish: Zielony Jazdów]
Usually it’s a bit more green, but the drought this year made the grass almost disappear. It’s a place next to the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle (don’t be misled by the ‘castle’ name – we’re still in the city centre), so you can relax in one of the hammocks there after visiting an exhibition, or just drop in for a lunch or a drink. During the weekends there are also many events like lectures, discussions, workshops (I’ve learned how to make home-made pasta there), dance classes, film screenings, live music concerts and more.
5. Iluzjon Cinema
It’s an alternative cinema, where you won’t usually find the Hollywood blockbusters, but rather off or art-house movies and old classics. It’s also a venue for different film festivals, like one made by students from the famous Lodz Film School. The place itself is also very peaceful, with the Iluzja Cafe inside, which tempts you to stay for a while longer.
6. Platz of Holy Saviour [pl: Plac Zbawiciela] aka Hipster Platz
Very unique place, with a mixture of traditional. Catholic Poland and modern, Western culture. The rainbow made of paper flowers is a famous work by Polish artist Julita Wójcik, but the images with it are already historic. First it was standing in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, then, for the last 3 years in the middle of the Platz and there it was burnt down several times (7, according to Wikipedia) by hooligans associated with extreme right wing movements – every time it was rebuilt again. Finally, in August it was moved to the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle. But without the rainbow, Platz is still an interesting place with many (rather more, than less hipster) restaurants pubs and cafes always bustling with people. Even NY Times made a video about it.
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