NOUA Bucătăria Românească
Chef Alex Petricean, who was named best chef in 2018 by Gault & Millau and is a Masterchef competitor, brings a breath of fresh air to the city’s food scene by reinterpreting and modernizing Romanian cuisine. The restaurant has a set menu, which comprises small bite-sized dishes. However, it has a relaxed and cozy ambiance: with an open kitchen, you can see the cooks work their magic. We recommend coming for dinner and booking in advance.
NOUA B.A.R. was opened by Chef Alex Petricean, who is also behind NOUA Bucătăria Românească. This restaurant has a more casual concept and no set menu. You will be served (though not exclusively) reinterpretations of traditional Romanian dishes. The interior design is filled with traditional Romanian masks and country-style pieces of furniture.
Yuki is a small, family-run restaurant owned by Yuki Ichiro. A rarity that was much needed in Bucharest, Yuki is the place to go for authentic Japanese food. But there is no sushi on the menu. Instead, you will delve into other Japanese marvels, including udons, ramens, curries, and daifuku, a traditional dessert. Expect a casual setting, friendly staff and jazz playing in the background.
This restaurant offers experimental Romanian cuisine in a sexy and modern low-lit setting. The chef, Radu Ionescu, dubbed as The Inked Cook, puts his heart into creating delicious small plates infused with Romanian flavors. Your taste buds will go wow. Best to go for dinner and book in advance.
Originally from London, Le Bab is a young, fun and quality concept. The restaurant now has three locations: a downtown spot on the edge of the old town (more lively), a Charles de Gaulle venue (more romantic), and a smaller one in Amzei (very casual). The two main locations are perfect for lunch, brunch, dinners, and cocktails. Its Charles de Gaulle location has additional award-winning beers from Mikkeller, a renowned Danish brewery. Their menu has Middle Eastern influences, however their dishes often vary and change according to the season. For a more casual experience, head to the smaller Amzei location, LB Fried Chicken, which specializes in – you guessed it – fried chicken! You can be sure to find great food, music, and staff at all of them.
Opened in 2021, MOM is located on the edge of the old town. They do not specialize in a specific cuisine, focusing rather on a variety of well known dishes made from high-quality products. Though they are known for their burgers, we recommend trying their other dishes, such as their feta cheese wrapped in pastry and glazed with honey, or their vegetarian lasagna. The interior design is tranquil and soothing – filled with earthy tones. The team behind the restaurant envisioned it “to celebrate feminine energy.” We recommend this restaurant for both lunch and dinner.
Kunnai is one of the most authentic Thai restaurants in the city. Opened in 2012 by Anne Ampawan, who is originally from Thailand, it fully embraces traditional Thai cooking, offering a massaman curry with beef, tom yum noodle soup, and a typical Thai coconut cake for dessert. You can also find chicken satay and vegetarian spring rolls. They don’t shy away from adding spices, so if spicy isn’t for you, make sure you talk to them about it and they will happily accommodate your preferences.
A hidden gem with a cozy backyard, Simbio was one of the first places to bring the brunch concept to Bucharest. While you can have a variety of dishes at all hours of the day, we especially recommend this restaurant for brunch. Think: fresh juices, scrambled eggs, and pancakes. Their backyard has a lively, relaxed ambience in the summer evenings, making it a great spot for drinks, too.
The team behind POT Stories has a beautiful eye when it comes to design: the interior transports you to a faraway place, with textures that could remind you of Ibiza. We recommend this more elegant spot for dinner, where you can enjoy a tasty Mediterranean menu.
With the tagline “Mother of Pizza,” Mamizza’s team has been inspired by the Neapolitan pizza craftsmanship and culture, successfully bringing it to Bucharest’s Jewish neighborhood. The restaurant’s open kitchen allows the mouth-watering aromas to spread throughout the space. If you’re craving for pizza, this is the spot.
Pâine și Vin
A casual and popular restaurant, the food on their menu is designed to be shared. They are known for their Neapolitan-style pizza, but also serve other types of foods, such as hummus and lasagna. They offer a variety of drinks, including wines and cocktails. The interior is filled with wood, and despite spanning two floors, it maintains a small and cozy atmosphere. We recommend it for both lunch and dinner.
An open-air restaurant and bar located on the roof of an old factory building south of the city, near Tineretului Park, Open Gastrobar offers both a literal and figurative panorama of the transformations shaping the Bucharest cultural scene. The design is minimalistic, with an informal and edgy feel. We recommend visiting for dinner and sunset drinks.
Energiea is a friendly and casual pub-style restaurant founded on the ground floor of the former Energiea Graphic Arts Establishment, a printing house that operated until 1923. It bears both the name and the heritage of the original establishment. While the building’s ground floor briefly functioned as a printing house again during the Second World War, today the space is ideal for lunch, a casual dinner, or a glass of wine on a sunny afternoon. With outdoor seating available, its menu includes fresh juice options and smoothies. The restaurant is conveniently located near Cișmigiu Park, making it a perfect spot for socializing.
Fish House is a high-end restaurant in the Floreasca neighborhood. We recommend coming here for dinner. As you can guess from its name, it prides itself for its fish and seafood menu, created by Croatian chef Zoran Savić. You can try their international delicacies, such as hand-picked oysters, lobster, and fresh tuna tartare with ginger and lime.
Rekolta is a bistro, coffee shop and wine bar – offering over 20 varieties of wine by the glass. We especially recommend coming here for lunch or coffee, whether you’re looking to socialize or have a meeting with your team. You can find delicious brunchy bites like salty French toast, eggs Benedict, omelets, and other dishes such as gorgonzola spread, prosciutto crudo, and even pears boiled in red wine. Outside, it has a cute and intimate terrace covered by an oversized pergola. Indoors, you can appreciate the industrial design. The exposed brick, wood and its terracotta chimney all still preserve the identity of the 19th-century house that Rekolta is located in.
Hushimo is a petite Asian restaurant in Piața Amzei, offering tastes from Thai, Vietnamese and Indonesian cuisines. You will find delicious soups, such as their Vietnamese pho bo soup, with beef, rice noodles, and green onions. You can also indulge in their bao buns, pad thais, and even Thai omelets. It has a minimalist and somewhat industrial design, offers a few indoor and outdoor seats, and is a great casual spot for lunch and dinner.
This old school, traditional restaurant has been serving quality Romanian dishes since 1982. It quickly became a favorite spot for the nobility at the time, and still retains its old-fashioned spirit. Located in Kiseleff Park, we recommend coming here for lunch on a sunny day to enjoy their spacious garden. We suggest calling beforehand to ensure they don’t have an event. The restaurant’s beautiful, detail oriented Neo-Romanian style building, designed by famous architect Ion Mincu, was originally built as a pavilion for the grand Paris Exhibition. Renamed as Casa Donia in 2003, it remains one of the oldest restaurants in Bucharest.
Bucataria.localfood opened in 2021 and is a family business that started from the passion for gastronomy of two brothers, Adrian and Gabi Alexe. The menu is small, just as the restaurant’s size. Still, it offers a variety of dishes that often change according to the season, using ingredients from local producers to create Romanian comfort food with a modern twist. The recipes combine traditions from Buzau, the founders’ hometown, and offer a fusion of old and new flavors. You can find a Romanian grandma’s typical dish with a more elegant and fresh take. Think: mushroom stew with polenta, or veal schnitzel. They also pride themselves with their large wine selection, both local and international, which they can pair with each plate served.
A quiet little street side corner restaurant with just a few tables and excellent food. Papila offers daily brunch, and a menu dedicated to delicious ramen every Sunday. Both culinary options and interior design have been nominated and awarded by renowned gastronomy and design curators, locally and internationally. We recommend booking in advance, especially for their Ramen Sundays.
Animaletto House is located in a historic building and is perfect for dinner. Though their menu includes international dishes, they specialize in tartares, offering a range of fish, vegetables, and meat tartares, all designed as a sharing food concept. In addition to both indoor and outdoor seating, Animaletto House also offers an upstairs jazz bar (where you can listen to live music) and a speakeasy bar (which isn’t open every night – so best to call in advance to be sure). To not be confused with their older, more famous and established pizza restaurant, Animaletto Pizza Bar. Though the design at Animaletto Pizza Bar is wonderful, we prefer the food at Animaletto House.
Centrale Pizza is a casual pizza joint on Calea Victoriei. This area underwent a fresh transformation with the launch of cultural projects such as Străzi Deschise (when the avenue becomes pedestrian). Centrale has become one of the area’s most popular places. The three founders, involved in other fresh projects (such as OTOTO, French Revolution, and Bar A1), brought a return to the tradition of making Neapolitan pizza, but with a touch of contemporaneity delicately inserted. You can enjoy their pizzas at one of their few tables or take away.
This high-end hotel is located near the old town in the former building of Romania’s most influential bank during the 19th century. The historical building has been beautifully restored and is now part of the Autograph Collection. It has a spa, restaurant and speak-easy bar in an old bank vault.
This boutique hotel near Cișmigiu Park is a family business that believes in grace, serenity, and refinement. Opened in 2010, it is part of the Relais & Chateaux association. It offers apartment-style accommodation, a fine dining restaurant and a spa.
Located in the vicinity of the Botanical Garden and the Presidential Palace in Bucharest, Vila Cotroceni offers boutique apartments that combine hotel comfort and the intimacy of a home. There are four spacious and bright apartments in the villa, each fully equipped to cater all your needs during your stay. The accommodation is run by a young couple who will make sure your stay is as pleasant and relaxing as possible.
Opened in 2013, Origo is one of the original cafes that expanded the coffee shop culture throughout the country. They have two locations: their original shop is on Lipscani street, and their second is on Calea Dorobanți. They offer a wide selection of coffee from all over the world and focus on fostering a community around coffee culture, taking pride in explaining the history of each bean and creating a personalized experience for every customer.
Artichoke Social House
This is a hidden and unpretentious specialty coffee shop nestled between a bookstore, a park, and a church away from the busy street of Calea Victoriei. With only outdoor seating, you will notice the building’s impressive arches covering the space that create a calm and cozy atmosphere. This is an excellent location for an afternoon hangout, but we also recommend you visit for a drink in the evenings. They are also a bottle shop of regional natural wines and craft beers. And they sometimes organize art exhibitions on Eastern European-related topics.
Beans & Dots
Beans & Dots, opened in 2016, is a specialty coffee shop with two locations: in the Cișmigiu neighborhood and the Primăverii neighborhood on the ground floor of The Museum of Recent Art (MARe). They import their coffee from a renowned Berlin roastery called The Barn Berlin. They also serve lunch: their kitchen offers great food, such as a roast beef sandwich, and includes vegetarian options.
OTOTO is a community-driven concept and food store with different locations throughout the city, their most popular being in Piața Amzei and Calea Victoriei. The brand puts emphasis on conscious living and consumption that minimize the harm we inflict on our bodies and the planet. You can come for their fresh coffee and friendly vibe.
Sloane Coffee is a cool specialty coffee shop with two locations. Their flagship store is on Calea Victoriei. This area underwent a fresh transformation with the launch of cultural projects such as Străzi Deschise (when the avenue becomes pedestrian). Sloane Coffee has become one of the area’s most popular places. Their second location, “Sloane Coffee Roastery & Shop,” is larger and on Splaiul Independenței.
Located in the highly circulated Amzei neighborhood, M60 Café has a Scandinavian design and a cozy ambiance. The staff is kind, and the music is work-friendly – but you’ll probably be distracted by the exciting discussions since the place attracts an intellectual young crowd. You’ll most likely come back for the specialty coffee, but it’s also a good place for lunch: they often change their menu.
BOB Coffee Lab
BOB Coffee Lab has a few different locations throughout the city. This specialty coffee shop serves one of the best-brewed coffees in town and sweet bites, such as banana bread or almond cookies. Our favorite location is on the ground floor of a beautiful old building across Herăstrău Park. The space is small, but there is plenty of room to sit outside. What’s really special about this place is its bubbly atmosphere and community, with people biking from the park or relaxing in the sun on the sidewalk in front.
Mad Goat Coffee
This tiny specialty coffee shop has homemade snacks and a happy atmosphere near the Arcul de Triumf (a “Triumphal Arch” in the northern part of the city). As you sit on their stairs, it is an excellent spot for people-watching while enjoying great coffee.
STEAM Coffee Shop
This popular specialty coffee shop is right by Charles de Gaulle Square, near the entrance to Herăstrău Park. While you can sit inside, you will find many people hanging out on their benches outside, especially on a sunny day. The coffee shop and neighborhood offer a great ambiance.
MABÓ comes from the founders’ first names: Marius Beju & Bogdan Georgescu, the former Romanian National Roasting Champion and World Roasting Vice-Champion. Though they now have two locations, we especially love MABÓ Vulturi, on Vulturilor Street, because of its more charming neighborhood feel. The specialty coffee shop offers excellent-tasting coffee, a fun brand identity, and a community.
Local Food Markets
Obor Market is Bucharest’s most famous and celebrated farmer’s market, which has become a city landmark. Come here for a true Romanian experience. Vibrant and colorful, it offers an endless variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheese; as well as plants, kitchen accessories, and much more. With its large halls, it’s easy to get lost among the wide selection, so we recommend coming with a list and a sturdy shopping bag – temptation is everywhere! The market unites people from all walks of life, who come not only to purchase fresh products, but also for the delicious traditional Romanian mici (grilled minced meat with delicious mustard) served on a simple paper plate at Terasa Obor, a beloved small local beer garden.
Sweets & Bakeries
If you are in the mood for an éclair, look no further. With over 20 different flavors, French Revolution specializes in this delicious pastry, offering various assortments. From traditional flavors, such as dark chocolate, to more special ones, like passion fruit or lemon with basil, you will definitely find something you like. They have a few different locations throughout Bucharest, which are all casual spots to pass through for a sweet bite on an afternoon.
Patiseria Piața Amzei
This is one of Bucharest’s oldest and most beloved bakeries. The founder, Mihai, has become quite a legend by bringing his staple recipes for over 30 years. He serves the many people who queue up from behind the storefront daily. You must try the merdenele, a delicious local cheese-stuffed pastry, you won’t regret it!
La Baciu is a traditional Romanian shop where you can find fresh produce from Bucovina, a northern region. It is a family business, first established in 1998 in Campulung Moldovenesc. But after a customer suggested they participate in traditional fairs in Bucharest and abroad (which they did so successfully), La Baciu opened a shop in the capital in 2008, enabling city dwellers to have access to some of Bucovina’s finest ingredients. Here you can find a range of rustic delicacies, such as dried ham, pounded ribs, sausages with basil or mushroom, jams and jellies, smoked trout, wine, and traditional Romanian liqueurs, such as țuică.
Grain Trip is an artisanal bakery which offers 100% sourdough fresh bread and pastries, which you can buy in-store or online. You can find things on the menu inspired by different corners of the world, as well as local Romanian recipes. Be sure to try the chocolate croissants, French baguettes, and the cozonac (the Romanian equivalent to an Italian panettone).
Bread & Spices
This wonderful bakery is located near Pipera, a former farm (now residential) area at the northern edge of Bucharest. Opened in 2013, it offers excellent quality French-inspired produce in a quiet and relaxed setting. It also has different freshly baked breads – though don’t forget about the sweets: you’ll find an assortment of macarons, along with cakes from both Romanian and international cuisines.
Ever hung out in a dessert bar? This chic and contemporary spot specializes in milk-based desserts inspired by Middle Eastern recipes. A fresh arrival on the Bucharest culinary scene, it’s nestled between the old town and Cismigiu Park. Keywords on the menu include pistachio, hazelnut, caramelized milk, and vegan chocolate. Its interior design is beautiful – using earthy, organic tones. The space receives plenty of light and has a charming outdoor space in the back. They also serve great cocktails, skillfully prepared by friendly staff. And yes – they sometimes throw parties too, so check out their social media for their next event.
Friddi, a “clean-label” gelato shop, opened in 2019 and immediately conquered the hearts and stomachs of ice cream and sorbet lovers. This artisanal store features an extensive selection of ice creams made with organic pasteurized milk and top-of-the-line ingredients. It offers fun and different flavors, such as Bronte pistachios, Piedmont hazelnuts, and Tahitian vanilla, as well as more classic fruity flavors such as mango and passionfruit, strawberry, lemon, and coconut.
Fix Me A Drink
Founded by the same people behind Artichoke Social House, this is one of the coziest cocktail bars in town. Tricky to find, it is located on the second floor of a creative hub building. They are plants and disco lights lovers, and sometimes host art exhibitions, throwing fun, intimate parties.
A new addition to the city’s scene, BAR TON is a small paradise for audiophiles and music enthusiasts alike. With its state-of-the-art sound system, every note and crackle of vinyl records comes to life. Since this cozy listening bar closes at 10pm, it is a great afternoon and early evening hangout spot. They offer small bites, coffee, wines, and cocktails. You can also browse their well-curated selection of records available for purchase.
The Owl Cocktail House
A space dedicated to mixology, this is a lively indoor cocktail bar. They sometimes hold live vinyl sessions, with the DJ usually playing in front of a lit moon installation. Be sure to chat with the bartenders – they usually have mezcal on hand, and do not shy away from surprising you with a drink.
Though it is a lively restaurant, we recommend coming here for their bar: you are sure to get a great cocktail, wine and vibe. Though mostly indoors, they have some outdoor seating too.
Pamela Cocktail Bar
Pamela is a hip cocktail bar near Unirii park in a tiny, standalone modernist building. It makes discreet references to what was considered exotic and cool in 90s Bucharest. Their cocktail menu is inspired by that era, too: their signature cocktail is the Pamela Gimlet, made with gin and pear brandy. They also have homemade vișinată, a traditional Romanian sour cherry liqueur, and a selection of natural wines. And they have another cool twist: their location is shared with a local cleaning facility.
La Mița Biciclista
La Mița Biciclista is a cocktail bar, creative hub, and event space near Piața Amzei. You can also join them for one of their expositions, parties, or live music shows. La Mița Biciclista is located in Casa Mița Biciclista, a beautiful baroque historical building which bears Maria Mihăescu’s nickname, “Mița.” She was a famous woman during Romania’s interwar period known for her beauty,
nonconformist lifestyle, and bike rides through the city’s streets. Mița was suspected of having romantic relationships with many famous people, even King Ferdinand, who was rumored to have given her the building.
This is a bar on Calea Victoriei, one of the capital’s main boulevards. It offers specialty coffee during the day, and quality cocktails in the evenings. The modern and stylish interior design creates a welcoming atmosphere; you’ll be impressed by the attention to detail. To know: it closes at 10 pm.
Don’t let the small size of this hipster brewery fool you – it’s worth a visit. With barely any indoor seating (expect to stand) and just a few tables outdoors, this hole-in-the-wall serves some of the best specialty beers in the city. Make sure to chat with the owner if you’re a beer enthusiast.
This tiny bar near Cișmigiu Park has a speakeasy feel – you wouldn’t realize it is a bar as you look from the outside. They serve great cocktails. To know: it can get busy.
Manasia Hub is an outdoor bar and intercultural hub hidden among the undulating streets of Bucharest. They serve food and drinks but, most importantly, hold space for contemporary discussions: check their programming to see what is on. They sometimes have film screenings and organize LGBTQ-friendly parties.
Grădina Eden is an awesome little beer garden in the middle of the city. One of the most bohemian spaces of the capital, you are surrounded by trees, dangling lights, and a relaxed ambience. Though you will come here more for the bar – which has an excellent selection of beers, cocktails, and wines – there are food stands too, offering everything from pizzas to noodles. It’s all self-service.
The sister beer garden to Grădina Eden, Sera Eden has a much bigger space. The tables are scattered throughout the hidden garden, leaving you room for some privacy. A nice place with a casual vibe to relax after a long day, they serve cocktails of all sorts and food too.
This sweet and intimate outdoor garden bar brings a great energy to Bucharest. They hold a variety of events throughout the year, sometimes putting on live music acts, DJ sets, and even movie screenings during the summer months. Don’t expect anything fancy, but do expect a fun, relaxed ambiance with amazing people. They serve small bites, craft beers, local wines, and rum.
Zona Liberă Butic
This old kiosk, now one of Bucharest’s most charming and casual outdoor bars, is located in Cișmigiu Park, near one of the park’s lakes. The small, storybook-looking structure was once a boutique where you could buy sweets, soft drinks, and cotton candy. Today, it has an impressive selection of craft beers, cocktails, and coffee, with small bites and a relaxed atmosphere. It is the perfect hangout spot for a sunny weekend afternoon.
Baraka is one of the oldest and most beloved neighborhood bars, open since 1999. Located in Herăstrău Park, right across a skatepark, it has a cozy terrace and a laid-back mood. Though they serve food, we recommend coming here for afternoon or evening drinks. They sometimes throw parties too. To know: they close starting January until early spring.
A great spot for a summer get together. You enter the bar through an alley on Calea Griviței to find a garden with a relaxed ambiance: wooden tables and benches under trees and dangling lights. They also serve food, and offer a sandy play area for kids.
Linea /Closer To The Moon
This is a popular open air rooftop bar near the old town. Though it is also a restaurant, we recommend coming here for drinks (either for a beautiful view of the sunset or later in the evening). Located on the fifth floor, you will take an elevator up to their restaurant and walk up a flight of stairs to reach their bar.
An open-air restaurant and bar located on the roof of an old factory building south of the city, near Tineretului Park, Open Gastrobar offers both a literal and figurative panorama of the transformations shaping the Bucharest cultural scene. The design is minimalistic, with an informal and edgy feel. We recommend visiting for dinner and sunset drinks.
Club Guesthouse is the heart of the city’s underground music scene. It started in a living room back in 2010, and has grown organically, opening its doors at a former textile factory in 2013. Though it has now changed locations on Splaiul Unirii, it still resides in an industrial building, keeping its minimalist essence. The team has high standards – they successfully created a space where the audience can have an elevated listening experience. It has one of the best sounds in town, having a hi-fi acoustic room with a Funktion-One sound system. Iconic Romanian minimal techno DJs, such as Rhadoo, Arapu and Priku, are regulars here.
One of the city’s most popular clubs for experimental and electronic music, it is split between two indoor spaces, each with their own dancefloors and bars. Control famously holds live band performances, and is a popular destination not just for local bands but also for international ones. Past performers have included Canadian indie band Men I Trust (whose keyboardist is Romanian) and Danish rock band Efterklang. The club also has an outdoor bar, perfect for socializing.
With the most intimate and small dance floors in town, this venue is orientated towards electronic music programming. Specifically focusing on rare finds, they host artists who create deep musical journeys for their audience. One thing that sets this club apart is their commitment to promote the artists who step in their booth. They also have a fun outdoor bar which we recommend.
Grădina Monteoru is not just a great spot to party: it is a space where underground music meets the city’s rich history. The Monteoru House, a historic neoclassical monument built in 1874, as a private property, was taken over by the communist government in 1949 to be used as the headquarters of the Writer’s Union. The building was returned to the heirs in 2013, who transformed the space into a multicultural center shortly after. Today, you can visit for cultural exhibitions, casual street food, and a good techno party. We also recommend coming here for their outdoor bar. The space is the perfect example of how a historic building can be kept alive and relevant by supporting artists, allowing them to explore their creativity freely, build community, and contribute to cultural growth.
Apollo 111 has been on the Bucharest scene for many years. It is an indoor club and a bar, with some outdoor space. They often play commercial music and attract a younger crowd. They also hold LGBTQAI+ friendly parties – Dirty Disco w. Eugen Radescu, the series of ballrooms Lil’ Paris is Burning Ball or Drag District, a local drag show program, which celebrates the queer community. To know: they also have a small theatre space dedicated to live performances.
George Enescu Festival
In memory of the famous composer and violinist George Enescu, this classical music festival founded in 1958 is a Romanian event of international prestige, attracting some of the most important personalities of the international classical music community. At first, the festival was held every three years; today it occurs biennially due to its popularity. The festival has grown exponentially, and is not only held in Bucharest, but in Iași and Sibiu as well.
Picnic Fonic is a small music festival started in 2016. Though it has a few different editions, such as at the Romanian seaside during the summer, it also takes place in the Băneasa forest, north of Bucharest. It is most popular during their night shows.
This three-day music festival takes place each August in Știrbey Domain, Buftea, about an hour’s drive north of the city center. It is in the middle of a 25-hectare park with old trees and an inner lake. Camping on-site is unavailable, but the festival offers transportation options to and from the venue. Their most recent line-up included international acts like Florence And The Machine and local artists like Rareș.
Art & Design Festivals
The Bucharest Contemporary Art Biennale is an international event that encourages artistic creativity, intercultural dialogue, and knowledge of contemporary European and international culture. They continuously strive to think outside the box. Their 10th edition was curated by AI JARVIS – the first artificial intelligence curator, created by Deraaffe Wien.
Romanian Design Week
The most important multidisciplinary festival in Romania, RDW is a 10-day festival which makes the capital city come to life in a unique and fun-filled way. It supports the development of design and local creative industries, organizing various exhibitions and events. It aims to make design accessible to a wide audience through over 150 projects with local architecture and studios.
The largest conglomerate of art exhibitions in Romania, Art Safari has been partnering for over 10 years with art museums and with private collectors in the country. They create extensive exhibitions, recovering heritage values and bringing art closer to the public. – from children’s art workshops to night tours and contemporary exhibitions in unconventional spaces, such as Bucharest’s airport and metro. By taking art out of the traditional gallery and into public space, Art Safari transforms the experience, making it easier for a bigger audience to connect with art in a fun way.
Spotlight – International Light Festival
This is a yearly open-air visual art festival that takes place throughout the streets of Bucharest, primarily on Calea Victoriei and the old town. It usually takes place over a weekend during spring, attracting over 150,000 visitors. Iconic buildings, such as the National Art Museum and CEC Palace, come to life through large light projections and stunning video mapping accompanied by music. The festival showcases the works of both Romanian and international artists. We recommend walking the streets by night, absorbing the sea of color and light in all its splendor.
DIPLOMA Show is a yearly event showcasing a new generation of Romanian artists, architects, and designers. It promotes over 15 creative disciplines, including painting, photography, new media, fashion, architecture, and graphic design. Though the main event happens at Combinatul Fondului Plastic, many art galleries and other art spaces throughout the city are included in the event’s activities.
ART200 Queer Festival
ART200 is a yearly queer film festival born from the initiative of people from the LGBTQIA+ community, out of passion for films and queer culture. Through films, events and the people involved, ART2000 encourages self-representation, collaboration and an intra-community approach to the issues LGBTQIA+ people still face today.
This experiential festival is difficult to put in a box: it offers meaningful experiences such as talks, immersive art shows, and music performances created by local and international artists. The festival takes place at the beginning of autumn in a historic building with a grand garden: Casa Universitarilor. Since 2016, the festival gathers thousands of people from around the world. You access the event by filling out an application, where you talk about yourself, your values, and what you can contribute with your presence. We especially love their lineup. Speakers include Daniel Jones, who has edited the “Modern Love” column in the New York Times since it began in 2014, João Paulo Barbosa, a famous Brazilian photographer and historian who is fascinated by landscapes, and Romana Todoca, the Romanian Creative Director at Wieden + Kennedy, one of the largest independent American advertisement companies.
A record store, a label, and a space dedicated to share ideas about the growing underground electronic music scene in the country. Tucked behind an old building with murals, the space is a hidden gem. Whether you are an avid record collector or just a curious observer looking to learn more about this subculture, Misbits is worth visiting. Though specialized in electronic music, you can find an array of genres, from minimal to techno, jazz, and funk.
One of the oldest music stores in the country, established in 1997, MusicBox sells vinyls, CDs, DVDs, cassettes, and audio-video equipment, including rarities and exclusive products. You can find both new and second-hand items. In terms of vinyls, it offers a wide variety of genres – jazz, pop, rock, classical, and electronic.
BAR TON is a small paradise for audiophiles and music enthusiasts alike. It is a listening bar that also sells a well-curated selection of records. With state-of-the-art sound system, every note and crackle of vinyl comes to life. It is also a great hangout spot: they also offer small bites, coffee, wines, and cocktails.
Two Side Records
This tiny record store in the center of Bucharest is located down a little alleyway next to the coffee shop Beans & Dots, in the same building as the cozy cocktail bar FIX. It is a store run by music enthusiasts, record collectors, and story lovers. Their shop’s selection represents their preferences and ranges from Jazz and Japanese Fusion to Reggae.
This is a niche online record store started by Bogdan Orbita. While they sell iconic albums, they especially love promoting their personal selection of lesser-known artists and records. They encourage people to explore new sounds and become musically curious with a vast selection of acid jazz, experimental, and Romanian music. Though the store doesn’t have a physical location, you can find them selling vinyls at street markets throughout the city or at bigger establishments such as Control on weekend afternoons. They can also ship the records straight to your doorstep, locally and internationally.
Anca Poterașu Gallery
A contemporary art gallery near Piața Unirii that aims to support Romanian artists, bringing together emerging and established names from various mediums – painting, drawing, installation, photography and more. In addition to its commitment to the local art scene, it collaborates with galleries and art institutions abroad, helping Romanian artists gain international recognition.
With a focus on European and Central European art, this gallery in the heart of Bucharest represents both established and emerging artists, emphasizing large-scale installations. You can visit the gallery in Piața Unirii.
Part of Combinatul Fondului Plastic (the Plastic Fund Complex), Combinat is a hub that brings together Bucharest’s artistic and creative community. Founded in 2021, aims to become the capital’s ground zero in terms of cultural destination. Here you can find multiple galleries, exhibition spaces, cultural organizations, and workshops just a short walk away from each other. Some of the art galleries you can find here include Nicodim gallery and Sandwich. It is located in the north of the city, near Piața Presei Libere.
Nicodim Gallery is a renowned art gallery with international representation, operating in Los Angeles (two locations), and New York City too. Founded by Mihai Nicodim in Los Angeles in 2006, the gallery is famous for hosting the works of Adrian Ghenie, who is not only one of the most famous artists of his generation worldwide but also one of the most expensive Romanian painters. The Bucharest location, situated on the premises of the Fondului Plastic Complex, presents both international and Romanian artists, including Răzvan Boar and Ecaterina Vrană, among others.
Exhibitions, art events, and performances: the Sandwich Gallery is, as its name suggests, a place that believes in an inclusive worldview, placing the public at the center of everything it does. One of its goals is to strengthen the local art community. You can find it on the premises of the Fondului Plastic Complex.
Sector 1 Gallery
Dedicated to promoting the evolution of contemporary art in Romania, this gallery, located within the Fondului Plastic Complex, believes in artistic freedom and fosters an environment free of constraints. The gallery is a platform for Romanian and international artists to exhibit their work, emphasizing the forgotten voices of the country’s neo-avant-garde.
Founded in 2021, Strata Gallery represents and collaborates with emerging and established artists who work in various mediums, from painting to AI. It aims to promote Romanian contemporary artistic content. It has previously collaborated with sculptor Darie Dup, photographer Michele Bressan, digital artist Marta Mattioli, and painter Roxana Ajder.
The Projects Salon
Through exhibitions, publications, presentations and debates in both regional and international contexts, Salonul de Proiecte is an independent center that promotes contemporary art in Romania. The center is specifically focused on research and production. You can find it at the Universul Palace, in the Cișmigiu Park area.
A new art gallery founded by Claudia Retegan, 2pe3 aims to promote contemporary art with an emphasis on photography. The exhibition space opened in 2021 in the capital’s old town. It benefits from high ceilings, light, and exposed brick walls.
National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC)
Established in 2001, the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC) is based in the Palace of the Parliament and houses a vast collection of over 7,000 works dating from the post-war period. The museum’s art compilation includes a remarkable archive of slides and photographic negatives, alongside impressive documentation about Romania’s visual culture. MNAC also promotes international artists, aiming to put the Romanian art scene in a universal context.
Museum of Recent Art (MARe)
The Museum of Recent Art, opened in 2018 in the charming Primăverii neighborhood, is owned and managed by the MARe Foundation.It is Romania’s first private museum.The curatorial program mainly focuses on Romanian contemporary art, but is also open to the international artistic scene. The museum has over 1000 works of art made by over 250 Romanian and foreign artists, among which Ion Țuculescu, Andrei Cădere, Horia Bernea, Ion Grigorescu, Dan Perjovschi, Herman Nitsch, Lucio Fontana or Michelangelo Pistoletto. It is currently exhibiting some of Picasso’s work. The building is small and modern, with Beans & Dots downstairs, a lively coffee shop which also serves a delicious lunch.
The National Museum of Art
The National Museum of Art is located in Bucharest’s beautiful former Royal Palace and holds Romanian, European, and Oriental art. It includes the National Gallery (Romanian medieval and modern art) and the European Art Gallery. Besides numerous temporary exhibitions, you can join guided tours of the former Throne Hall and other spaces of historical relevance.
The Village Museum
Inaugurated in 1936 by sociologist Dimitrie Gusti, the Village Museum is one of Bucharest’s bigger tourist attractions, located by park Herăstrău’s lake. It is one of Europe’s largest and oldest museums presenting Romanian village life. It includes original monuments – houses, churches, windmills – of great historical value and objects – dishes, carpets, braids, furniture – capturing the creativity of the Romanian people. The entrance to the museum is near the Arc de Triomphe.
Cărturești is a bookstore with many spots throughout the city. For us, two locations stand out: Cărturești Verona and Cărturești Carusel. The first one is in the city center, close to Piața Romană, in a 20th-century house that belonged to the Sturdza family and houses a garden, which can be an ideal refuge away from the city’s noise, especially during the hot summer months. The second, Cărturești Carusel, is on Lipscani, located in a 19th century building that belonged to a family of Greek bankers since the early 1900s. The bookstore is spacious and luminous and has a bistro, a multimedia space, and a gallery dedicated to contemporary art.
Humanitas is a network of bookstores established in 1993 with four locations in Bucharest: Humanitas Kretzulescu, Humanitas Cișmigiu, Humanitas Libraria din Fundul Curții and Humanitas Auchan. They all offer books for all ages, e-books, audiobooks, board games, gifts, and collector’s editions. We especially recommend book lovers going to Humanitas Kretzulescu, located on Calea Victoriei, near the Kretzulescu church. You can also enjoy a cup of coffee inside the bookstore while reading your favorite book, or at Artichoke Social House, a beloved coffee shop right next door.
The Romanian Athenaeum is a landmark and concert hall, currently housing the headquarters of the George Enescu Philharmonic. The monument also serves as a venue for some of the concerts of the George Enescu International Festival. It was built between 1886 and 1888, and designed by French architect Albert Galleron, combining neoclassical and eclectic styles. Inside, you can find an impressive fresco by Costin Petrescu depicting some of the most important moments in Romanian history. It is located on Calea Victoriei and can be visited.
The Royal Palace
Built between 1812 and 1815, the Royal Palace – which today houses the National Art Museum – is an architectural wonder in Bucharest. It was the capital’s first building with electric lighting. First called Casa Golescu, with the arrival of King Carol I to Romania the building transformed into the family’s main royal residence in Bucharest, which was also used for all the family’s official activities until 1944. The building was bombed during the Second World War and became uninhabitable until King Mihai’s forced exile. The Royal Palace is located on Calea Victoriei.
Palace of Parliament
The Palace of Parliament, known as the House of the People before the Revolution, was constructed in stages – it began in 1970 and was finalized in 1997. The building represents dark times in Romania’s history: entire neighborhoods and communities had to be displaced in order to fulfill the megalomaniac dream of former communist president Nicoale Ceaușescu. The building measures 270 m by 240 m, and reaches a height of 84 m. It is considered to be the heaviest and most expensive administrative building in the world. Housing the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate and other administrative structures, 70% of the building remains unused.
The palace, inaugurated in 1900 on Calea Victoriei, was built by architect Paul Gottereau, with elements specific to 19th century French architecture. The building was built for and still houses Romania’s oldest state-owned bank, known as C.E.C bank.
This house, also known as Palatul Primaverii, was Ceausescu’s residence. He and his family lived there from 1965 to 1989. By visiting his house, you can see who Ceaușescu was in private: how he lived and what he was passionate about. You can also see his impressive collection of paintings.
This little Orthodox Monastery was built in 1724 for nuns by Romanian architect Ion Mincu. It houses a library, cult objects, old icons and fragments of original frescoes recovered from churches demolished during the communist regime. The monastery is located in the city’s current old town.
Considered one of the city’s most valuable architectural monuments in the Brancoven style, this Orthodox church was built between 1720-1722 and is located on Calea Victoriei. During the communist period, it was in danger of being demolished but was saved thanks to architects such as Henriette Delavrancea-Gibory. The church has been restored several times, most recently between 1996 and 2003.
The Darvari Skete was built in 1834, with a wooden church and thick defensive walls. The old church was demolished in 1933-1934, replaced with its current structure. Under communism in 1959, the skete was shut down and the 13 resident monks were forcibly relocated outside the city. The skete remained closed until 1996, when it finally reopened. Today, it is once again inhabited by monks.
The Great Synagogue
A Jewish place of worship built in 1846, it hosts a small Holocaust Museum. With an area of 715 square meters, the former synagogue is located in the Unirii neighborhood and is purposefully hidden by communist building blocks built during the 1980s. Other places of worship suffered the same fate: hid by residential buildings during the communist era.
Herăstrău was built in 1936 in the northern area of the capital, and is one of the city’s largest parks. Inside, you can find many restaurants, clubs, dog parks and festivals dedicated to music and cultural events. You can also visit the Village Museum, an open-air ethnographic museum, one of Europe’s largest institutions of its kind. The park is especially beautiful because of its lake, on which you can go sailing and participate in other water activities. The main entrance to the park is from Charles de Gaulle Square.
The oldest public garden in Bucharest, Cișmigiu came to life in several stages. Officially inaugurated in 1954, the garden was designed by landscape architect Wilhelm Mayer, the former director of the Imperial Gardens in Vienna. In the park there is a special place called La Cetate, where there are the ruins of a monastery that was once there.
Romania’s first urban natural park, the Văcărești Park, is the capital’s largest green space, with a diverse and unique ecosystem. The Văcărești lake began to be built under Ceauşescu as part of a hydrological infrastructure project which was completely abandoned after the Romanian Revolution, leading the area to be reclaimed by nature. Due to its abandonment, native vegetation and wildlife thrived, giving rise to wetlands now known as the Văcărești delta. Officially established as a natural park, it now provides an ecological oasis of urban biodiversity within the capital city. The park took shape through the efforts of four founders – Helmut Ignat, Cristian Lascu, Dan Bărbulescu, and Florin Stoican – who developed the idea of restoring the area.
Considered the largest park in Bucharest, Tineretului Park was designed by architect Valentin Donose and was inaugurated in 1974. Here you can find a lake, the Polyvalent Hall, the National Children’s Palace, the Roman Arenas (known for its many concerts), but also the historical monument Cenușa Crematorium, inaugurated in 1928. The park offers children’s play areas and a pier where boats can be rented.
One of Bucharest’s larger parks, IOR Park, also known as Titan Park based on the neighborhood’s name, was opened to the public in 1970. The park features a lake with 5 small islands and a wooden church built in the unique Maramures style from the northern part of the country.
Room 21 is a cool multi-brand design store that sells everything, from ceramics and coffee table books to innovative children’s toys. It prides itself in its curation: focusing on a contemporary yet simple aesthetic. It specifically sells the works of Romanian designers and small family run businesses and publishing houses. It is located in the lovely neighborhood of Cotroceni.
My Romanian Store
If you wish to buy a traditional Romanian gift, this is the place to go. This concept store prides itself with a collection of quality and authentic handcrafted pieces – everything from traditional clothing and rugs to hand-painted ceramics. You will find it near the Romanian Atheneum, a lovely neighborhood to walk through.
Blouse Roumaine Shop
This store gives a platform to local artisans. It is all about sustainability, cultural identity preservation and slow fashion. This is the perfect place to buy Romanian blouses of high quality with a modern twist. You can find their clothes online.
This concept store is in the heart of the capital city. It offers alternative, independent brands created by Romanian minds, focusing on sustainability. Think clothing, accessories, ceramics, and home decorations. You can also enjoy a cup of coffee; they have indoor and outdoor seating.
Betting on contemporary local creativity, Eshte celebrates Romanian heritage and production. The eclectic store is on two floors. Upstairs, you can find everything from furniture to jewelry, while downstairs you can relax over a cup of coffee in their specialty coffee shop.
OTOTO is a community-driven concept and food store with different locations throughout the city, their most popular being in Piața Amzei and Calea Victoriei. The brand puts emphasis on conscious living and consumption that minimize the harm we inflict on our bodies and the planet. At OTOTO you can find healthy food, tasty coffee, sustainable clothing brands and all kinds of interesting objects – all carefully curated to reflect the shop’s eco-friendly ethos. They also sometimes host events, even yoga sessions, in their stores.
Magazin Zero Waste
A fantastic and much needed initiative on the Romanian scene, Magazin Zero Waste is an “anti-waste” store, selling everything from cosmetics, food (teas, biscuits, chocolate) to detergents. Founded in 2020 by Ana-Maria Răducanu after her inspiring travels through eco-villages in Europe and India, it aims to promote sustainable consumption. The suppliers of products must be either vegan, organic, or have a minimal plastic footprint. The store has a growing community base.
Cotroceni, one of Bucharest’s most charming neighborhoods, opens up to a myriad of little open air stores from people’s backyards yearly, on a weekend in May. You can see the neighborhood become alive with people selling everything – from jewelry, second hand clothes, handicrafts, vinyls, to decorative objects. There is also live music programming. If you happen to be in Bucharest during this time of the year we recommend passing through for a lively afternoon stroll.
THAIco Spa Victoria
THAIco Spa is one of the most authentic spas in Bucharest: its therapists are from Asia, with experience in massage techniques acquired in wellness centers in Thailand, the Philippines, Bali or Indonesia. They offer a variety of treatments for the mind, body and soul. Though they have a few locations, we recommend the one on Strada Sevastopol spa, housed within a beautiful interwar villa.
This is a wonderful spa in the Dorobanți neighborhood. It focuses specifically on massage offered by therapists from Asia. It is quiet and serene. You can find various massages, including deep tissue, shiatsu, reflexology and prenatal.
Cinema Elvire Popescu
One of Bucharest’s most beloved cinemas, Elvire Popescu is located in the premises of the French Institute, close to Piața Romană. As part of the Europa Cinemas Network, the cinema offers both European and Romanian films, and hosts cultural events such as concerts, theater plays and dance performances.
One of Romania’s oldest cinemas, Cinema Europa was built in 1935 and is located near the historical Calea Moșilor street. The cinema was named “Miorița” until 1999, but has since changed names since it is now part of The Europa Cinemas Association, an association founded in Paris to encourage the promotion and distribution of European films.
OUT OF CITY: SPORT ACTIVITIES
Băneasa Forest is Bucharest’s nearest forest (about half an hour north of the city center). It is a popular spot to stretch out your legs: many easy trails are perfect for biking, hiking and running. The trails are open year-round and are beautiful anytime. You can take the main trails, but we recommend venturing through the smaller paths. The trails are not yet marked, but you can easily find your way around. The main entrance to the forest is near the Police Academy. Dogs are welcome.
A lovely resort and equestrian manor surrounded by nature, Singureni Manor is located near the town of Singureni, just about an hour drive south of Bucharest. You can either come for the day or spend the night, as they offer overnight stay. You can pick from renting one of their 18 rooms at their Paul’s Horse’s Inn, or renting an entire lodge, called Paul’s Lodge, which offers 13 personalized rooms with a private pool and sauna. Singureni Manor is ideal for horseback riding through the woods. It welcomes both beginner and advanced riders, and has excellent trainers. But even if you are not a rider, there are plenty of activities for you to enjoy, from biking and hiking to yoga, massages, and sauna experiences. You can often spot wildlife, such as deer, during your stay. Be sure to check out their fine dining restaurant, La Hambar, which puts an accent on modernizing Romanian cuisine.
Titi Aur Academy
The Academy Titi Aur offers driving tracks where any driver can improve their skills. From defensive to off-road car driving, there are experiences for all levels. It collaborates with Buhcarest’s Karting Club, from which children over 6 years old can learn to drive competitive electric karts. It also provides a variety of courses, including some that teach you vital survival skills in case of an accident. The place has a restaurant with two terraces and a cafe, both with visibility to the circuit.
OUT OF CITY: KID & PET FRIENDLY
This is an open-air adventure park surrounded by nature. It offers plenty of activities for kids (and adults), including wall climbing, tree rope courses, cycling, horseback riding, paintball, and educational workshops. We especially love their charming wooden tree houses. It is a one-hour car ride north from Bucharest’s center.
It is important for us to look after our pets, just as they take care of us. Dog Scouts is a fantastic and fresh initiative that takes taking care of dogs to another level. This small team are not just dog trainers: they organize dog friendly events throughout the city and in the countryside, putting together both winter and summer camps for you and your four-legged companion. These include training sessions and fun hikes through nature. They also organize events dedicated to puppies.
last updated: summer 2023