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Your Complete Guide to Praga, Warsaw’s Vibrant Alternative District

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The first time I ever visited Praga, Warsaw’s working class (and previously quite run-down) district was in 2015.

I was taking an “alternative” walking tour in Warsaw that took us around Praga, and to be honest, I felt a little apprehensive the whole time we were on the tour. It felt like we weren’t particularly welcome in the neighborhood, which frankly felt pretty neglected (so I get why they didn’t take too kindly to a bunch of tourists gawking at it, to be honest). 

where to avoid in warsaw - praga warsaw

Our tour guide advised us that in her opinion, it probably wouldn’t be too smart to go back to Praga alone, and to not return at night at all.

Fast forward to today: Praga has undergone a total 180 transformation over the last decade.

In fact, when we last visited in the summer of 2023 we ended up staying in an apartment that was on the same block as one of the main “run-down” spots our tour guide brought us to look at. 

Obviously there’s a lot to be said here about gentrification, and the very real negative impacts it can bring, but either way it was quite striking to be able to compare in such a one-to-one sort of way.

Today, Praga is the center of hipster Warsaw, and a definite must-visit while you’re there. For me, it’s one of Warsaw’s coolest neighborhoods for catching an alternative, off-the-beaten track vibe.

And is Praga safe today? Yes! I felt completely safe where I was staying, surrounded by a bunch of other people my age out at cute wine bars and restaurants late into the evening.

Here I’m going to walk you through all the best things to do in the Praga district of Warsaw, and share my favorite spots to eat and drink with you! At the very bottom you’ll find my top hotel picks as well.

So buckle up, feel free to use the table of contents, and let’s get going!

🇵🇱 If you’re in the middle of planning a trip to Poland, don’t forget to check out the rest of my Poland posts and guides!

The Best Things to Do in Praga, Warsaw 

praga warsaw

1. Join a Praga walking tour

A walking tour is such a basic—but often overlooked—option for cool things to do in any city. 

A tour can be a great first activity on your trip. It’ll help you get your bearings, set the tone for the rest of your day in Praga, and maybe even give you a push to explore on your own with confidence later.

My absolute top pick for those wanting a good overview of Praga is this one offered through WithLocals—one of my favorite tour operators in the world focused on connecting travelers directly with locals who really know the neighborhoods they show off. Every WithLocals experience I’ve done has been absolutely excellent!

Here are a few other options for excellent tours of the Praga neighborhood that I would choose in a heartbeat:

2. Visit the Neon Museum 

The Warsaw Neon Museum is located in the Soho Factory development, which basically has nice apartments, some upscale restaurants (one of my faves, actually, Warszawa Wschodnia, which I try to go to every time I’m in Warsaw), and galleries/studio spaces.

The museum has a collection of over 60 Cold War-era neon signs that it’s dedicated to preserving. The aim is to document and save evidence of the State ‘neonisation’ project that Poland underwent in the 20th century. Pretty cool to be honest!

where to stay in praga warsaw poland neon museum warsaw museums
where to stay in praga warsaw poland neon museum warsaw museums

The museum showcases a collection of totally restored neon signs that you can explore and photograph. The museum is kept relatively dark, so you can see the neon signs in their full glory, which is kind of a fun experience.

There’s a bit of a “photo-op” element to this museum. However, when I visited it didn’t feel overly touristy or “just for Instagram.” That said, I went in the dead of winter, so there’s definitely a chance it may feel a bit commercial in the high season.

3. PGE Narodowy

praga warsaw pge narodowy

This is really only relevant if there happens to be something that speaks to you, but it could be really fun!

When we were in Poland this past summer it was to see Harry Styles, who played at PGE Narodowy, and it was a really fun experience to go to a concert in a totally different country. I’d never done something like that before, and to be honest, I’d love to do it again in the future!

The stadium isn’t just for music shows, so you could even try to catch a soccer (football) game!

4. Saska Kepa

Very close to the PGE Narodowy stadium you’ll find the quaint little neighborhood of Praga South, which is home to one of my (new) favorite Warsaw neighborhoods: Saska Kepa. If you have the time while you’re exploring Praga, I recommend heading down and checking it out!

After standing in line to buy Harry Styles merch, I thought I might die of heat exhaustion and slogging our way through Saska Kepa I did not take my camera out once.

That said, you’ll just have to trust me when I say the neighborhood is very striking compared to the rest of Praga and Warsaw, as it’s full of pre-War mansions rather than the usual tenement style buildings you’ll have gotten used to in the city. 

Some of these have also been turned into restaurants, so you can admire the glamorous 1920s-style art deco architecture for yourself. 

If you’re on the lookout for hipster places in Warsaw, Norm Core and Halas Coffee & Vinyl were two highlights in Saska Kepa for me.

But honestly, the entire main street in Saska Kepa, Ulica Francuska, is full of cute and well rated businesses and places to eat and pop into, so you won’t struggle to find good shopping and restaurant options. I’ve also listed several of my personal faves below in the food section below!

In all honesty, I was a huge fan of Saska Kepa. It was the exact type of local, cute neighborhood that I like to stumble upon when I travel.

5. Polish Vodka Museum/Koneser Center 

One thing you may know about Poland is that vodka is a pretty big deal. In fact, there are actually two vodka museums in Warsaw.

💡 Insider Tip: Skip the Warsaw Vodka Museum that’s located in the Old Town and head to the Polish Vodka Museum in Praga instead. More on why below…

praga warsaw museums polish vodka museum

The former is really more an exhibition of vodka memorabilia and a tasting room. The latter is much more worthwhile, in my opinion. 

Located in the hip Koneser Center (a redeveloped factory complex) the Polish Vodka Museum gives you a chance to learn all about how vodka is made and exactly why it’s so important in Polish culture. Not only that, but the building is actually an old vodka distillery dating all the way back to the 19th century.

Plus, you can easily make an afternoon of your visit by heading to my favorite pierogi place in Warsaw, Skamiejka, just around the corner!

do you need cash in warsaw? praga warsaw

Book your tickets in advance—they’re for timed entry, and they do sell out at busy times!

Side note: the Koneser Center is an interesting place to check out, especially if you’re in the area anyway for the vodka museum and pierogi! Don’t expect to spend all day there—at least when I visited in 2023 there weren’t really many of the cute shops I was hoping to find.

However, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants, and they were setting up for some kind of concert while I was there, so I think especially in the summer there’s a (potentially interesting!) program of events.

6. Museum of Warsaw Praga

The Museum of Warsaw Praga is located just next to the Rozycki Bazaar. It’s actually housed inside one of the oldest residential blocks in the city, and is kind of an offshoot of the Museum of Warsaw on the other side of the river.

The building used to be a Jewish prayer house, but it has been respectfully adapted into a history museum dedicated to showcasing the history of the neighborhood from the 1500s to the present.

A pretty cool way to situate yourself and get your bearings ahead of exploring the rest of the neighborhood!

7. Vistula Beaches

You’ll have to cross the Vistula River in order to get to Praga from the center of Warsaw. If you happen to be visiting in the summer, you may notice the way that Warsawians flock to the riverbank beaches to soak up the sun!

where to stay in praga warsaw saska kepa PGE Narodowy things to do in warsaw vistula river beach

While you can find tons of outdoor beer gardens and terraces on the west side, the east side is famous for being a place that people set up camp on the sandy shores and enjoy a beach day. You’ll even find pop up beach bars! Talk about fun and unique things to do in Warsaw!

8. Warsaw’s Oldest Market + Vintage & Antiques

I’ve mentioned in my other Warsaw posts that the oldest market in Warsaw, Rozycki Bazaar, is located in Praga, so of course I want to highlight that here as well!

This, along with checking out the Piano Man filming locations, is the best way to get a look at the Praga that once was, instead of the trendy neighborhood that stands there today. 

It was sadly closed when we tried to swing by so I can’t comment on it myself, but I’ve certainly seen mixed reviews about it from others online. I’ve heard both that it’s a great place to walk through and check out, maybe even find a hidden gem or two. But I’ve also heard that it’s full of a bunch of cheap stuff that you probably won’t want, and it’s a waste of time. 

praga vintage and antique markets a man sifting through vinyls

Personally, I think it’s worth a try (and I’ll be headed back here on my next trip) because ultimately the market sits right off of Ząbkowska Street, which is the main street in this part of Praga North, so it’s not like it’s exactly out of the way! Worst case scenario you just leave and keep exploring the heart of Praga!

That being said, if you do strike out at the market, there are a few vintage and antique shops in Praga that I recommend: Lata 60-te, Look Inside, Antykwariat Wileński, Kopalnia sklep charytatywny, Dom Mody Vintage, Norm Core, LADNE VINTAGE.

Things to See in Praga, Warsaw 

Let’s face it, not everything is something you have to spend a lot of time doing when you’re visiting a new city. Some stuff you just need to see, appreciate, snap a pic of, and move on!

That’s what you’ll find here: cool things to see in Praga that are more of a “keep your eye out for it” than a “plan your whole day around it”!

9. Street Art

There’s a lot of cool and notable street art in Praga, in fact it’s probably one of the more notable aesthetic aspects to the neighborhood. So, whether you intentionally try to or not, you’ll probably end up seeing a lot of it regardless! 

praga warsaw street art

In Praga Warsaw it feels like you can’t walk more than two blocks without seeing some cool street art! You can find a lot of options for a street art Warsaw walking tour, which is a great option if you want to learn more about the pieces.

If you just want to enjoy the view, I encourage you to simply start wandering and keep an eye out! Zabkowska Street is a great place to catch some of the more well known ones.

10. Praga Shrines

The little shrines you’ll see all over Praga, on the street and sometimes down alleys or peeking out of a tenement courtyard, are one of my favorite quirky historical things about this neighborhood. 

praga warsaw shrines
praga warsaw shrines

Most of the shrines were built around 1943, well into the brutality of WWII and German occupation of the city. The shrines were constructed in communal spaces, most often in the backyard and courtyard areas of the tenement buildings so that the community could come together and pray when it was unsafe to go to churches, or also commonly, when the churches had been destroyed.

One of the oldest, and arguably most impressive, can be found at the corner of Korsaka and Ząbkowska Streets, just a bit past the Polish Vodka Museum. I encourage you to keep your eyes open to see how many others you can spot! I find them oddly comforting.

11. The Pianist film locations

The famous film, The Pianist, by infamous asshole R*man P*lanski, was filmed (partially) in Praga. 

where to stay in praga warsaw Praga Polnoc pianist

The Pianist is a heart wrenching portrayal of a Jewish pianist living through WWII in Warsaw, and Praga, because it was still so run down and destroyed when they filmed in 2001, they were able to use several streets in Praga as the setting of the Jewish Ghetto. 

The pianist filming locations Praga Warsaw

Even today you can see why they chose Praga to depict such a derelict part of the city.

As you walk around it isn’t uncommon to see buildings that are faded and have cracking paint, many still have bullet hole marks and the absolute worst off are crumbling or have holes in the facade.

If you want to enter the world of The Pianist for yourself, take a walk down Stalowa, Konopacka, and Mała streets.

12. Russia Orthodox Church and St Florian Church

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog you may know that I pretty regularly will opt to not put churches (or other religious buildings) in my guides unless there’s something that feels noteworthy, or that stands out to me!

This is definitely the case for the Russian Orthodox Church and St Florian’s Church in Praga.

praga warsaw St. Florian’s Cathedral and Mary Magdalene Russian Orthodox
praga warsaw St. Florian’s Cathedral and Mary Magdalene Russian Orthodox

St. Mary Magdalene, the Russian Orthodox Church, was built in the 1800s as a response to the large number of Russian settlers moving into Warsaw. My tour guide told us that it was built on the site of a damaged cathedral in an attempt to show dominance over Catholic Poland during the occupation.

In response to this, St. Florian’s Cathedral was built just down the road, and the spires were built incredibly tall and imposing, in an attempt to dwarf the Russian cathedral (and therefore Russian Orthodoxy, symbolically).

I think this is a super fascinating piece of the Praga district’s history, and definitely worth seeing at least the outsides of these buildings.

Where to Eat in Praga, Warsaw

things to do in warsaw poland eat pierogis at a milk bar

One of the reasons I think Praga is one of the coolest neighborhoods in Warsaw is that there are so many great places to eat in Praga! In fact, there are so many that it felt impossible to narrow them down, but I think I did okay! 

Below you’ll find some of my favorite places. I’ve been to most of them, some of them I’m desperate to go to, and all of them I stand behind! I gave a little description of why I chose this place, and I’ve linked them all to Google Maps (one of my ride or die travel resources).

restaurants warsaw poland where to eat praga fancy pierogis
  • Efes Kebab (top notch kebab takeaway stand; always a long queue)
  • MOD Donuts (American-style donuts)
  • Pallone Lody (ice cream; locations in other neighborhoods as well)
  • Proces Kawki & Vincent Boulangerie (great little coffee shop & patisserie sharing a space; excellent garden with classical music in the summer!)
  • Balkan Bakery (authentic burek)
  • Tadam (to-die-for pastries)
  • Brac Wine bar (trendy wine bar and dinner)
  • Boska Praga (trendy, big menu)
  • Sour Deli Bar (trendy brunch)
  • Mistyk (vegan bar and restaurant)
  • Norm Core (cafe and vintage store)
  • Skamiejka (my favorite Russian-style pierogies)
  • Warszawa Wschodnia (personal fave, affordable fine dining in the Soho factory)
  • Halas Coffee & Vinyl (trendy coffee & vinyl shop)
  • Nicoletta (Italian in a cool art deco building with an excellent garden)
  • W Oparach Absurdu (kitschy pub)
  • Peron 8 (old school Polish in train station vibe)
praga warsaw where to eat

Where to Stay in Praga, Warsaw

If exploring all the best things to do in Praga has left you confident this is where you want to base yourself for your Warsaw trip (good choice!), I thought I’d leave you with my top recommendations for places to stay in Praga.

ARTHOTEL STALOWA 52 in the Praga neighborhood of Warsaw

ARTHOTEL Stalowa 52

$$ | 3 Star |  Praga Północ | Quirky Coziness

For lovers of family-owned, independent boutique hotels in off-the-beaten-track neighborhoods, look no further than ARTHOTEL Stalowa 52. Located in a “revitalized” prewar tenement in the hip Praga district, this hotel is dripping in character and charm. Plus, it’s only 2 minutes away from a Metro station that will get you to most spots in central Warsaw in 10-15 minutes.

Photo: Booking.com

Saska Kępa Loft Style Apartment

Saska Kępa Loft Style Apartment

$$ | Praga Południe | Just Like Home

If you read my guide to Praga and found yourself as enchanted with Saska Kepa as I am, look no further than this stylish, spacious apartment. Unfortunately there are really no hotels in Saska Kepa proper, but who cares when this apartment is available? Enjoy the garden, balcony, tub and washing machine that you’d never find in a hotel anyway!

Photo: Booking.com

Moxy Warsaw Praga

Moxy Warsaw Praga

$ | 3 Star | Praga Połnoc | Trendy Digs & Location

Steps away from the Polish Vodka Museum and my favorite pierogi in the whole city (Skamiejka), Moxy Warsaw is about the coolest Warsaw hotel you could hope to stay at under $100/night. Sure, the decor might lean a bit too trendy, but the pluses far outweighs the minuses on this one for me!

Photo: Booking.com

Hotel Tulip Residences Warsaw Targowa

Hotel Tulip Residences

$ | 3 Star | Praga Południe | Comfy in the Heart of Praga

The spacious, comfy, and functional units at Hotel Tulip Residences, an aparthotel steps from PGE Narodowy, are everything you’d hope from a 3-star accommodation in Praga. That is, they’re nothing special, but they’re an excellent deal and super clean! Probably the biggest draw of this property is its central location between the three best parts of Praga (North, South and the Soho Factory).

Photo: Booking.com


Frequently Asked Questions about Praga Warsaw:

Is Praga Warsaw worth visiting?

Yes, without a doubt, the Praga area of Warsaw is worth visiting. It shows you a completely different side of Warsaw than you get on the west bank of the Vistula river, and makes a great addition to any trip to Warsaw. In fact, it’s one of my top recommendations for things to do in Warsaw.

You should take a trip to the Praga district of Warsaw if you want to get a feel for the more alternative, hipster, and up-and-coming parts of Warsaw! You’ll also get to experience much less of the tourist crowds you’ll find in the center.

While the area sometimes still gets a reputation for being rough or unsafe, I really sense that that’s a holdover from the way things used to be in Praga. These days it’s totally safe (no more unsafe than any other part of a major city, at least).

where to stay in warsaw praga warsaw street art things to do in warsaw poland

What is the alternative neighbourhood in Warsaw?

The most well known alternative neighborhood in Warsaw is definitely Praga. With its repurposed factories, art exhibitions, and old tenement buildings it certainly gives off the vibes you expect when exploring an alternative neighborhood.

However, Praga isn’t the only alternative neighborhood worth exploring in Warsaw. Powiśle and Śródmieście Południowe are also worthwhile neighborhoods that will also fit the bill of an alternative part of the city!

If you want to know more about these neighborhoods, check out my full Warsaw neighborhood and where to stay guide.

praga warsaw balcony view

What is the best neighborhood in Warsaw, Poland?

There’s not really a “best” (or “worst”, for that matter) neighborhood in Warsaw. One of my favorite things about this city is that it has so many different and interesting areas to explore. 

I recommend reading through my Warsaw neighborhood guide to figure out which neighborhoods you gravitate towards the most, and which one you want to stay in!

praga warsaw courtyards

Are you ready to explore the Praga area of Warsaw?

I hope that this post about Praga has been helpful in planning your trip to Warsaw! As I said before, Praga is literally teeming with all sorts of hidden gems that, in my opinion, go far too underexplored by most tourists.

If you’re in the midst of planning your Warsaw trip, be sure to check out the rest of my Warsaw posts! And if you’re planning a bigger trip to Poland, check out the Poland archives.

If you have any feedback or want to share your experience with Praga, please leave me a comment! 

As always you can always find me on Instagram (tag me in your travel content!), Youtube, or Pinterest.

Happy traveling!

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