How long have you lived there or how much time have you spent there?
I’m originally from Belarus, however, I was born in the city Barisov which is about an hour away from Minsk. Over the summer I was on a research trip in Moscow, towards the end, I took a three week detour to Belarus where I spent about a week living in Minsk.
Best places to eat?
Belarus has the cheapest food, and the quality is fantastic. My friend from Ukraine praised Belarusian dairy producers. Minsk is great with traditional food, old town Minsk has a wonderful spot called Staravilenskaya Karcha (Старавіленская карчма), while there get their apple strudel, the ice cream is honestly THE best ice cream I have ever tried. I was pretty about a 20 minute walk and I honestly went every morning to grab the strudel with coffee. Another place that’s honestly, really good, was Rakovsky Brovar (Раковский Бровар). The restaurant has a rather cabin-like, pub quality, but it’s huge and has the best bar food (which, I never like, but this was a rare exception).
Best attractions to visit?
The old city is great, it’s rather small but has a really great atmosphere. Honestly, just spend the day walking around, I found some amazing places just exploring. The city is notoriously clean and safe. However, definitely check out KORPUS, it’s an old factory building converted into artists studios and shops. While I was there, they held a food festival and had many studios open. I found the wonderful Olga Kardash in one of those spaces (shameless plug, check out her website: http://www.kardasholga.com/en.html#)
What is overrated?
The city as a whole is severely underrated, it’s super cheap and has amazing nightlife. I honestly can’t think of one thing I was disappointed in.
Best free things to do?
Walk around! Seriously, you’ll find so many great things by just walking around the city!
Do you have a metro system?
Yes, only two lines though!
Best places for nightlife?
I had the best time at Huligan Bar, they host a lot of djs from abroad. Honestly, you’ll never get tired of it. Across the street, there’s another good bar with a really nice courtyard. All the ~cool~ twenty/thirty-something hang out there.
Kardash, of course:) Otherwise, GUM in the center is the large shopping center. However, I recommend just looking around (I’m a broken record, I know).
Advice for someone visiting?
I recommend booking an apartment through Airbnb. I had two spots that I booked, one place closer to the periphery of the city (last metro stop) and the other was right in the center. The spot in the center was so amazing, and worth any extra that I may have paid.
Eastern European smoke more than here in the US and in Belarus is is legal to smoke inside in certain places. Keep that in mind, if you’re in bars you might see someone smoking inside. Just a heads up!
Also, for the most part, the locals don’t speak English however, the younger people do.
Anya is featured above in the pink sunglasses