The southern side of Warsaw’s Downtown is full of contrasts. It contains numerous houses that luckily survived WWII as well as contemporary architecture and significant communist-era buildings. Here you can see a boutique hotel standing next to an abandoned and ruined tenement house. Some facades are still covered with bullet holes. This is where you can find local cafes, trendy bars, restaurants, and art galleries. However, travellers still often miss this neighborhood during their visit.
The area served the German Nazis during the occupation as their residential district and headquarters for the German police institutions. The neighborhood was bombed during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, but the scale of the destruction wasn’t as big as in the North including Old Town area.
There are several landmarks that you should definitely see here. The Warsaw University of Technology (Politechnika Warszawska) is an architectural gem from the turn of the 19th and 20th century. Besides the Main Buidling you can also enter one of the gates from Noakowskiego, Koszykowa, Nowowiejska and Chałubińskiego streets to see the whole campus. It`s a mix of historic and modernist architecture designed by outstanding Polish architects (Plac Politechniki 1).
Konstytucji Square is the most important part of MDM housing estate from the communist era. These monumental buildings refering to Carl-Marx-Allee in Berlin were dedicated to workers. On some facades you will see sculptures of workings class: a miner, farmer, teacher, metalurgist etc.
The most beautiful is the area of Aleje Ujazdowskie, a green avenue with elegant apartment houses and small palaces of the prewar city`s elite. Many of them house embessies these days. Check out the Ujazdowski Park, a historic 19th century garden designed by Franciszek Szanior in landscape style.
Zbawiciela Square is the most popular meeting spot in the neighborhood. It has been mentioned by travel bloggers for years so the crowd can be quite international here. The most popular bar is Plan B, for wine and good snack go next door to Charlotte. Karma cafe on the other side of the square is a spacious and easy-going cafe with comfortable chairs.
Koszyki is a food venue housed in the former food market from 1905. It`s one of the few Art-Nouveau buildings in Warsaw. However, the only untouched elements are two entrences on sides of the front square. Look up at sunflower stulks meandering on walls and bull heads. Facade is covered with patches after bullet holes from the Second World War. The main hall was rebuilt but the original prewar contruction and briks remain. This interior is really breathtaking. Here I recommend 24/7 Bistro Ćma with one of the best Polish cuisines in town. Kiełba w Gębie serves simple sausage-based meals and delicious pierogi. I usually don`t eat in Polish restaurants cause I like trying different things. Gringo Bar and Mango are my favourites here. The first one serves great burritos, while the other one amazing falafel.
For unique culinary experience you should go to Ale Wino, it`s a fancy restaurant with author cuisine and superb wine selection (Mokotowska 48). Bez Tytułu is a very stylish place with a little bit industrial design. The cuisine is very international and modern. (Poznańska 16).
If you are a beer person you should go to Cuda na Kiju. It`s a tap bar housed in the former communist party headquarters (Nowy Świat 6/12). Just across the street enter the passageway to find a hidden backyard with Wozownia. This bar is located in the former prewar stables. There is a nice outdoor space in here which is covered and heated in winter time (Nowy Świat 1).
The best coffee you will find on Wilcza Street. Coffee Desk (Wilcza 42) and Relax (Wilcza 17) offer a coffee made in many different ways. You can also buy a bag of coffee beans and coffee making equipment. One of the most unique places on Wilcza Street is Cafe Kryzys housed in a squat. It operates from Friday to Sunday and besides coffee you can also eat something vegan here. Everything is offered in two different prices: regular and crisis. The place is ran by members of the Syrena anarchist collective (Wilcza 30).