Forget Berlin when you can be one step ahead in discovering Kiev like a hipster.
With Ukraine being one step closer to becoming part of the E.U, now has never been a better time to visit Kiev for its architectural splendour, wicked urban canvas and bohemian scene on a vodka shot budget.
Here I share my top tips to experience Ukraine’s capital city Kiev like a hipster – cheap eats included!
Kiev – the new hipster capital
There is a new kind of revolution taking to the streets of Kiev.
Kiev’s diverse traditional architectural styles have received a contemporary makeover with colourful splashes of paint bringing to life an ambitious urban street art project.
Helping to guide the city’s lively renewal from a history filled with constant invasions and rich Orthodox traditions is the art initiative ‘ArtUnitedUs’. The initiative is the biggest urban street art project in the world with over 200 walls across Kiev to be given a brightly hued makeover with the theme of world peace. It’s not just local artists themselves that have contributed to the art revolution in Kiev with many internationally acclaimed street artists also aiding to transform the city with vibrant murals.
Chic (and cheap) nights out
Seek, and you shall find as chic, hip late night drinking troves did not just descend on Berlin. Kiev is home to many secreted spots including Spotykach; a Retro-Soviet cellar themed bar dishing up traditional recipes with a modern twist. If you were a fan of rainbow pasta back in your youth like I was, you might also be a fan seeing rainbow colour dumplings sitting on your plate. Not only are they pretty to see #nofilter required, but they are also tasty as. Coupled with a shopping list of vodka-based liqueurs and cocktails and you are bound for a decent night out here.
Skybar Barbara Bar also is a winner in the hipster stakes with its trendy decor and boozy concoctions for those that want to bypass the stock vodka shots.
Another skybar worth mentioning is at the top of the InterContinental Hotel Kiev. OK, so maybe this isn’t at rock bottom prices in terms of a drink or a bar snack, but those views on top are priceless.
Kiev is full of kitsch spots, and remarkably, they are not hard to find in wide open spaces either.
Landscape Alley could possibly be a real-life Alice in Wonderland scenario. After all, this city centre park located on Old Kiev Hill and just behind the backstreets of Kiev is a colourful one filled with outlandish mosaics, offbeat statues (think ‘Manneken Pis’ of Brussels) and artful park benches.
You could make an afternoon of visiting here as it is a much-loved spot with musically talented buskers (hello free entertainment) and there are small park outlets to grab a refreshment (coffee, snacks etc.).
Not just for the adults, it appeals to the kiddies too with its playground an ode to the Alice’s charismatic Cheshire Cat. The park is popular with residents for its chilled atmosphere, with stunning views of old Kiev and the Dnieper River.
Check out – What was it like to attend Eurovision in Ukraine
Kiev’s architecture may be one for the ages, but its clubbing culture is forward thinking. Closer Club is located in the popular Podil district and is one of Europe’s best spots for house and techno. You will feel a part of the underground scene in this old factory-cum contemporary mixed space venue which hosts live gigs, art exhibitions, lectures as well as festivals and parties.
Eats at street eats prices
A visit to Kiev would not be deemed the real deal if you did make a pit stop visit to Puzata Hata, a chain of cafeteria-style restaurants that are kind to the hryvnias in your pocket. Feel at home as each restaurant has a unique countryside-inspired interior that makes you feel like you are in a traditional Ukrainian home setting.
The food is all laid out ala buffet style with someone filling up your tray with much loved classic Ukrainian and Russian dishes to your fancy.
Kiev’s Trukhaniv Island is acting as an inner city retreat to get away from all the hustle and bustle of capital city life. Take a casual stroll over Parkovy Bridge (aka Pedestrian Bridge) to have an urban dip, relaxed sip or get active by going around the island by bike or get active with water-based sports for hire.