Uitzicht over Addis Ababa

What to do in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital

Published: 10 August 2019 Modified: 13 August 2019

The second you set foot on Ethiopian ground, you can smell you are in Ethiopia. Mainly campfire and spices. Something you won’t expect in a city like this, but Addis Ababa is different. The capital city is vastly growing and has plenty of hotspots, upcoming neighborhoods and lots of sights to visit. Addis Ababa is gigantic, so it can be a bit overwhelming. The city is divided in different neighborhoods, each with their own charms. In this article you can read about all the fun things to do in Addis Ababa.

To do in Addis Ababa: Visit the stadium and Meskel square

Around the stadium of Addis Ababa is plenty to see and do. De locals go to Meskel square to do some exercise like running or to catch a bus to for example Hawassa. Underneath the stadium are lots of leather shops. Handmade bags, jackets and shoes are available here, for a small price. Do you like Jazz? The most famous Ethiopian artist perform daily at the African Jazz Village. This is a big restaurant, next to the stadium. The restaurant is not easy to spot, since it is covered with trees. Ask a local if you have difficulty finding it. If you want to escape from the busy city, this is a perfect place to relax. 

African Jazz Village, Addis Ababa

The National museum is easy to reach from the stadium. The museum itself might not be that special, but Lucy is. Lucy is one of the oldest fossils ever found and displayed at the National museum. The entrée fee is 10 Birr. 

Bole: Upcoming neighborhood in Addis Ababa

Bole is an upcoming neighborhood in Addis Ababa. Many new buildings are being built. Shops, restaurants, game halls, movie theaters and coffee corners. Everything is available. The center of Bole is only a ten-minute drive from the airport. Bole is where everything happens. At the Edna Mall is plenty to do. Catch a movie or play some games. Across Edna Mall you can find the Medhane- Alem cathedral, which is open for visitors. At the back of the cathedral is Kategna. This is one of the most famous local restaurants in the city. Next to it you can drink the most delicious coffee of the country at Tomoca. 

One of the cafés in Bole, Addis Ababa

Piassa: The historic part of the city 

Piassa is the oldest neighborhood in Addis. Lots of buildings are built by the Italians. This makes the vibe completely different from other parts of the city. Piassa is known for pie. Lots of pie. Perfect to relax in a café and enjoy all the goods. Besides café’s and bakeries, there are plenty of shops. Mostly leather. But you can also design your own shoes or flip flops. Just outside the city center of Piassa is the Merkato. This is the biggest market in Africa and very fun to visit.

Transport

Addis is a big city, but luckily it is easy to transport yourself. You can use the local Uber, called Ride. The app Ride is available in the App Store and it is also available for Android in the Play Store. Download the app on your phone, and you are ready to go. It works exactly the same as Uber and is much cheaper than the local taxis. Of course, taking a regular taxi is possible. They are safe to use, but you have to negotiate on the price before you get in. Prices in the capital city are high. From one neighborhood to another will cost around 250 Birr. If you are in for an adventure, you can take one of the many mini buses. They are extremely cheap. The difficulty is taking the right one. It’s not clearly stated anywhere and locals are usually not good in English. If you stay in Addis for a longer period, it’s worth it to figure it out. It will save a lot of money. 

What to do in Addis Ababa, Street view

Where to stay

When it comes to accommodation, I would recommend Bole Atlas. This neighborhood is close to Bole and you can even walk to Meskel square and the Stadium from here. The place is known for prostitution, but is one of the safest in the city. No problem if you walk here in the evening after dark. Mr. Martin Cozy Place is a very fun and good hostel. There are private rooms available. They have a rooftop terrace and a living room to relax. The owners are very friendly and help you with everything you need. Like pickups from the airport. Check here for more places to stay

Things to do in Addis Ababa

There are plenty of fun things to do in Addis. Feel free to just wonder around the streets. In general, Addis is safe. But, like everywhere else, keep an eye on your personal belongings. There are plenty of pickpockets in the city. Rather an organized tour? You can always ask local tour guides to take you around the city. A day trip goes from 1500 Birr, per person, per day. They will take you to the Royal Palace, different churches and the National museum.

Suzan - Hi! I am a Dutchie, who lives in Ethiopia. I love to travel the world and meet new people. It is so much fun to visit exotic places, rough jungles and beautiful old cities. Via Travelaar I have the chance to share all my amazing experiences with you. If you want to follow my own journey, see my Instagram: @gateb91