Artistic districts, trendy cafes and bars, various art galleries and much more. Come and see yourself how inspiring the Lithuanian capital is!
Our top picks in Vilnius
1. Trendy bars and cafes in the Old Town
Apart from the great architecture, the Old Town is appealing to visitors because of its great variety of conceptual venues where you can have a cup of coffee, a beer or a cocktail. The Bukowski Bar is one of such places. Rather obviously inspired by the writer Charles Bukowski, it welcomes lovers of contemporary literature and anyone who fancies a good hot dog with their drink. Who Hit John is the first steampunk-style Lithuanian bar and is surely worth noting. It’s all about steampunk – a fantasy genre depicting an alternate reality where modern devices are run in Victorian clockwork mechanisms and steam engines. The small and somewhat eccentric bar is situated in the very heart of the Old Town and attracts visitors with fine music, delicious cocktails and decorations made out of aged paper and cogwheels. Meanwhile, the Alchemikas Bar is the place for some divine cocktails. Its bar staff are true alchemists who can mix up some mind-blowing cocktails, and its interior is bohemian and dusky – a wonderful backdrop for the exquisite art of cocktail-making. You should not miss the Šuo Bar either (literally meaning the Dog Bar). You’ll find the owner of this establishment behind the beer taps, serving you drinks. Why the Dog Bar? Because the owner’s dog’s name is Bar. Logical.
2. The Žvėrynas District
Žvėrynas is an eclectic district separated from the Old Town by a river. Here you’ll find both old-style wooden houses, still recalling the times of a much smaller Vilnius, and contemporary architecture well-suited for a city centre. It would seem at times that almost an entire palette of Lithuanian urbanism can be discovered within a span of no more than five minutes. Maturity and serenity prevalent in this district of Vilnius is a result of 25 years of independence. And yet, some eccentricity is present as well. Kinų Jonas is an establishment that is a living proof of the latter. Here, the typical Lithuanian countryside house looking like it should serve traditional Lithuanian dishes is, however, a perfect place to discover Chinese cuisine.
3. The Užupis District
One of the symbols of Vilnius is definitely Užupis, a district often referred to as the Montmartre of Vilnius, located right next to the Old Town. Separated from it by the small Vilnia River, it is nevertheless well-connected to the Old Town with a number of very romantic bridges. On the other side the neighbourhood is flanked by some hills, the location of several graveyards (including the Jewish Cemetery). The narrow streets of Užupis are lined by tiny wooden and brick houses of varying quality; a number of these buildings have been covered in paintings during the last few years, thus bearing witness to the status of Užupis as an artists' district. Nowadays it fascinates visitors with a slight tension between the open-minded artists and the rich and famous owning luxurious apartments. The local active community wasted no time and managed to turn the Užupis District into a center of attraction for tourists and a pleasant place to take a walk or have a cup of coffee. Have no fear to peek into to the alleyways of the Užupis District. You will be greeted by age-old ambience which is slowly receding and giving way to modernism. Perhaps you’re lucky, and a local artist will trade a story of life this side of the river in his rusty English for a glass of beer.
4. The Station District
If you turn south from the Old Town, you will soon reach the Station District. It was only recently that the Station District was rather infamous; however, now it has discovered its salvation in hipsters and free market. Though this district is still in its chrysalis stage, the colors of the wings of the soon-to-hatch butterfly certainly look promising. The Keulė Rūke Burger Restaurant was the first to usher in the new era of the Station District. Here people wait for as long as a full hour for their burgers or ribs. And, trust us, it is worth the wait. Almost at the same time, the nearby Dėvėti Bar opened replacing the Dėvėti Rūbai second-hand clothes store. This bar is a perfect example of unbiased hipster-influenced commerce: the interior features freely hanging wires, half-unfinished painted walls and trash cans under the tables. The Station District should become a huge place of attraction for its nightlife. The newly established Turgus and Peronas, along with several other bars, bring about a great transformation of the city.
5. The Road of Freedom sculpture
The Road of Freedom is a commemoration of the fight for independence and a symbol of freedom and solidarity for future generations. The sculpture is symbolic of the live chain of people called The Baltic Way – over 20 years ago over a million people joined hands and connected the three Baltic States striving for independence. The chain stretched over 600 km and became an expression of unprecedented solidarity. This sculpture, just like “The Baltic Way” created unanimously by the Lithuanian people 21 years ago, is a collective creation – everyone could contribute to the project and get a special brick which was then used in the sculpture. The bricks are in the colors of the Lithuanian flag, and the name of the person who has contributed to the sculpture is stamped on each of them. The sculpture is 60 metres long and consists of about 20 000 bricks ¬– go see it at the crossroads of Konstitucijos Avenue and Geležinio vilko Street.
6. Titanikas Art gallery
Titanikas has nothing to do with the legendary ship, it is the name of the exhibition hall belonging to the neighboring Vilnius Academy of Arts, the largest and oldest art university in the Baltics. It focuses on modern art, design and graphics. It hosts diverse exhibitions not only by the talented students of the academy but also well known local and international artists. Read more
7. FilmBox cinema at the Vilnius airport
FilmBox is the first cinema located in an airport passenger lounge in Eastern and Northern Europe. You will find it next to gate A2, and it has 50 seats. Screening times fit local flight schedules and, due to the particular nature of the small airport, only short films, documentaries and animation films are shown. All screenings are free of charge, and the theatre is open until the last flight of the day takes off. The selection of films changes regularly. If you happen to fly through Vilnius often, FilmBox guarantees that you’ll get a complete picture of what’s current on the Lithuanian cinema scene, at least in the shorts genre. Read more
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