For most of the Millennials who travel with family, it has always been challenging to get out your parents radar because Family travel is always strictly following a play-by-play itinerary. But what if you find yourself traveling alone with all the freedom and wild heart to explore a city on your own?
Some places, you anticipate the existence of activities for young people and some, you just throw in the boring stereotype box because… just because. I mean, there were really a lot of cities I underestimated. For example, when I arrived La Paz (Bolivia), it was like traveling back to time as it is one of the most preserved Latin American cultures. People were still dressed like Che Guevara was still existing with them. And who walks the highway with a herd of sheep? Come on, is this something modern for you? Little did I know that La Paz is one of the most modern citites in South America and the existence of activities for young people has been very impressive.
Like La Paz, I felt the same with Tbilisi. I assumed that people did nothing here but be… Georgians. I have prior knowledge that they can ridiculously drink wine like crazy (crazy, meaning all day) but aside from that, I knew nothing about Georgia.
The constance pull over that I have with locals is what leads me to discover things in a certain city. When I am with them, I always like what I am seeing but sometimes, I feel like I don’t want to share them to others. I never really wrote anything about the coolest places for young peeps. Not even about my crazy Tel Aviv.
But Georgia, oh Georgia — there is a natural force in this country that we should be paying attention to. With no BS, here are the best things to do in Tbilisi for the cool kids a.k.a. the Millennial Travelers. I hope you’ll have fun going through them (or realising them one day) as much as I had fun in writing them!
For better navigation, I provided a map where you can locate all the places in the list. You can find them by using their item numbers. Cheers!
#1 – Where the Vogue Editors go shopping
The famous dry bridge and actually one of my favourite vintage shopping place in Tbilisi! I am not supposed to tell you this but my good heart says you have to come check it out! Framed pictures of Stalin, accessories, some clothes, a lot of artistic stuff — this place is perfect for the uber hipster in you! Don’t forget to practice your bargaining skills because you will need it! (Open from Monday to Sunday, 10:00-18:00)
#2 – Free walking tours
Mostly spearheaded by locals, there are numerous free walking tours being held all over Tbilisi. Feel free to explore the history and lisfestyle of Georgia in the form of walking. Although this is labeled “free,” the guides always deserve to be compensated for their work through tips. It is very easy to find them as you can always see them walking with big herds of tourists all over the city!
#3 – Afternoon tea at the garden
One of Tbilisi’s best tea places is the Gardenia Shevardnadze, a little cafe surrounded by plants and greens. Pastries and hot beverages are their specialty but they also have a mini plant store inside. Service is not that excellent but I think this is the case when you don’t speak the local language. I did have a lot of experiences where I thought servers are being rude but the impressions is just about language barriers.
#4 – Fresh wine in plastic bottles
I kept seeing young people in Tbilisi carrying wine in plastic bottles. I thought they got a bottle and shared it among themselves to cut costs. When I visited Winery Khareba, I found it to be false! They are actually selling these plastic-bottled wines as they are refilled fresh from the wine tank! This kind of purchase can cost you 4 – 10 GEL ($1.51 – $3.77 USD approx) but you cannot stock nor transport it as it has to be consumed fresh. Try visiting this winery and see how the Georgians drink their wine!
#5 – Atoneli 21
Underground, some old jazz, dark and a loads of hipsters — this is my first impression of Atoneli 21. When I came to visit, they were playing the best jazz tracks of all time followed by the blaring David Bowie playlist. Everyone were singing along in each familiar track. Although it’s always full, the environment is chill with different seating options. Cocktails, wine and beer are available from the wide variety of drinks on their menu.
#6 – The hangover cure
Abanotubani, a district known for sulfur baths in Tbilisi is a must-try. Georgians believe that sulfur baths are the best hangover cure, most especially during winter. The baths are very warm and can be a good place to take a nap. Sulfur is believed to provide healing effects to our organs so this will be a very healthy activity after a wild night!
#7 – For the Digital Nomad
A lot of digital nomads are wondering if Tbilisi is advanced in terms of having co-working spaces for those people who are working while they are traveling. Believe it or not, I thought I wouldn’t survive here with the kind of job that I do, but I did! Mediathek is one of those quirky book coffee shops that depicts modern design, so much it will make you feel like you are renting a co-working space. There is an annual fee of 15GEL ($5.68 USD) to access all the amenities of the library. Yep, it’s under $5.00! I am not staying for a year but am tempted avail the membership scheme! What more if they included unlimited food! I won’t mind paying more than $5!
#8 – Challenge yourself. Take a hike!
I thought that Hong Kong will be the most challenging city for me but when I decided to get a hotel that has uphill roads, I have underestimated the streets of Georgia. Surely, there are many extreme activities in the whole country but when you are stuck in Georgia and feeling like you need to do something tedious, take one of the few trails of Mtastminda that will give you the best view of the city. The hike is not very easy and I chickened out last minute when one of my friends challenged me. It’s definitely not an activity for the unfit. Otherwise, you can always take the cable car going up!
#9 – Tbilisea
If you ever find yourself in the city during the summer, don’t forget to visit Tbilisi Sea for some vitamin sea and sun overdose. It is usually full during the summer season and the easiest way to get there is by taxi.
#10 – Eat the best Khachapuri in Tbilisi
Samakitno-Machakhela, the best 24-hour restaurant is not to be missed. They have free wifi, which saves my ess from working anytime of the day and has the best khachapuri in the city. They also serve other popular Georgian dish like the famous Khinkali. They have a lot of branches all over Tbilisi but my favourite is by the Meidan Square. When I can’t sleep at night, I usually head there to do some blogging work!
#11 – Try some Khinkali
Did you know that Georgia has their own version of Xiao Long Bao? Yep. It’s called Khinkali. And one of the best one you can taste is in Sabatono. Small place, good environment and fantastic staff! Food took a while to serve but it was all worth it. You can never cross out your large list of things to do in Tbilisi if you didn’t try the Khinkhali.
#12 – Wine and dine
At each end of your trip, you’d surely want to go somewhere a little fancy. A trip to Georgia will never be complete without a dinner involving the best wines of the country. Sirajkhana Wine Restaurant will give you the best experience in the perfect pairing of Georgian food and wine. Not to mention they also serve Persian and some Middle Eastern cuisine. The place is quite Instagrammable, too!
#13 – For when you decide to stay in
I understand that some days, you will not have the strength and energy to go out but worry not! You should know that Georgia is also equipped with restaurant deliveries. It’s kind of odd that popular fast food chains don’t have deliveries but Menu.ge has a wide variety of restaurants you can choose from. When in doubt, take Chinese! I promise it’s always good. The only negative thing about this service is they always take more than an hour to deliver. One time, I even had to wait for 2 hours for a 6 GEL meal!
#14 – Ride to the top
You will always wonder where the cable cars in the city are going (I did, too, for sure!) so don’t just stand there, take pictures or look. Take a cable car ride that will take you all the way to the Narikala Fortress. The best views of the city can be found here and of course, Instagrammable pics ala Buda and Pest style!
#15 – Go chasing waterfalls
Another summer activity, Waterfall Leghvtakhevi is one of the surprising icons of Tbilisi. It is one of the best activities for locals who don’t have time to go out of the city but wants to beat the summer heat. Pathways are accessible behind the sulfur bath areas and it’s not as difficult to reach.
#16 – For the non-smokers
As we already established, Georgia is one of the most smoking countries I have ever been to (believe me, all the taxi drivers are chain smoking in a 15-min ride) so it has been very challenging to find a non-smoking establishment. Zoestan, the first non-smoking bar in Tbilisi may be a small place but it is considered as one of the best budget bars in the city. Owner is French so you will often see this place frequented by the frenchies.
#17 – Another day in the office
Prospero’s Books and Caliban’s Coffee House is the best place for the digital nomad. Coffee is fairly priced and the wifi is like a flash! Good for bloggers and digital nomads alike. Not only that it has a good seating but it is also full of books! A paradise for bookworms! The only downfall is that they are only open until 20:00 so there is a time pressure when you choose this place to work. Food selection is also very limited.
#18 – Where the hipster kids hang out
The Bauhaus Bar is another hipster favourite. Often crowded during weekends, don’t keep your hopes up in getting a table here as it will surely be packed. The interiors of the place will surely fit your Instagram feeds. Every once in a while, there are also live DJ sets. Smoking is only allowed outside.
#19 – Know your wine
As a youngster opening your world to a different part of Europe, it’s best to take advantage of visiting a wine country and KNOW YOUR WINE. Vinotheca, a place where you can find all Georgian wines can be the best support in the foundation of your wine education. Aside from some classic tastings, you can also find reasonably priced bottles to buy for home!
#20 – Open air coffee afternoon
After exactly 144 steps, you will reach a haven overlooking Old Tbilisi town with a view of its riverside. 144 Stairs is a quirky cafe for when you want to enjoy a fantastic view and impressive beverages. Take a book, climb up and find yourself finishing 10 chapters because of the relaxed environment!
#21 – Load up before hitting the clubs
The Art Cafe Home might sound well-behaved to you but this is actually a pre-party place. Its best feature is the different rooms with different styles that fit different types of group/people. It is always full and but always has the get-the-party-started vibe.
#22 – Another budget pre-party
Of course, you won’t spend gold GEL in the high prices of alcohol in the clubs. We always have that pre-drinks session where we can load up for a lower price. When you are not able to find a place in the Art Cafe Home, Warszawa is another great place. A regular stop for foreigners and locals, Warszawa is special because the drinks cost 2 GEL ($0.76 USD) only!
#23 – The only vegan cafe in the city
So you are vegan? I am sorry, there are not a lot of options for you but mind you, this one is something you’ll always come back to. Smoothies, homemade lemonade, wine, coffee – you can get all these for 5 GEL ($1.89 USD) only at Kiwi Vegan Cafe. Their menu changes a little bit everyday so you’ll never get tired of eating here everyday.
#24 – Digital Nomad favourite, open til late
Listen up, Digital Nomads! If you are looking for a place with good wifi, fantastic coffee and food served until after midnight, The Book Corner Cafe is your place. The cafe is designed like a home that is extremely cozy and the best thing about BC is they only close when the last customer leaves! It’s a very good place for Digital Nomads who want to spend a very productive working day! It’s a little expensive than other cafes but if you are staying longer hours, I think 50 GEL (for coffee, food, tea, cakes) is not a lot.
Important Note: This list will be updated regularly so make sure to come back or keep the link!
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