Alternative & Hipster,  In Wroclaw,  Places,  Sightseeing,  Things to do

The 20 best hipster things to do – alternative Wroclaw

Toy Piano Gallery Wroclaw

Here we will tell you the secrets about the most alternative things that you must see in Wroclaw. As locals we know the hipster vibes of the city much better than any travel guide.

Our recommendations here are truly the things that we enjoy ourselves. We spend a lot of our time in more alternative parts of Wroclaw (when we are not travelling ourselves). Now let us explore the hipster side of Wroclaw together!

But don’t panic if you are just looking for the “classic” things to do and see. We will provide you also with that information in our „sister article“ about the “classic” best things to do in Wroclaw.

1. Explore Port Miejski

The port miejski in Wroclaw was built from 1897-1901 as a city port. However, most of the infrastructure is not in use anymore today, only the rail connection is still working. In general around the port area you will just find a few companies operating today.

The vessels you see in this part of the Odra river around the port mainly carry coal for the power plant close by. Also the conveyor belts for the coal look very much like they scream for pictures.

port miejski wroclaw

You can freely access the port area and walk around, at least we never had problems and sometimes met other people too. It is the perfect spot for instagrammers and photographers looking for lost places, abandoned buildings or unique urban areas.

Best way to get here is to take a tram to the station Kleczkowska or have a half hour walk from the city centre.

Update from January 2024: Access has been restricted now and some time ago we tried it again ourselves. The security lady explained that private property really means it. So at this point in time, you can only see the port from the water – via boat or kayak… It seems they turn some parts of it into residential buildings and renovate the business areas. We asked the security lady how long she estimates it will take till the area becomes accessible again – she said with a smile “it will be 20 years”…

2. HALA Świebodzki

Unfortunately we had to remove our beloved „Craft na Manhattanie“, a little area with street food stalls and a craft beer truck – as the Manhattan buildings were getting renovated 🙁 

However, we found some good replacement with the HALA Świebodzki Wroclaw Food Court. In a former train station you‘ll get drinks, and a variety of different street food snacks. 

In summer, outside you can chill in the beach chairs and enjoy the vibes from a former train station, sitting just on the train tracks. In winter, the inside area with its high ceilings and nice bar offers some shelter from the cold winter in Wroclaw.

Here you can navigate to the HALA Świebodzki Street Food Court.

HALA Świebodzki Wroclaw Food Court

3. Visit the contemporary museums

contemporary hipster museumThere are plenty of cool museums in Wroclaw, but we have to insist on two museums you MUST visit.

They always have such amazing contemporary pieces in their exhibitions. Very likely you will also find quite controversial art, so if you are into it, you will love both of them.

But not only the exhibitions of those two contemporary museums are worth a visit. The buildings themselves are landmarks of alternative Wroclaw and you can‘t miss them.

MWW – Wroclaw Contemporary Museum

The first one is the Wroclaw Contemporary Museum („Muzeum Wpolczesne“) at Plac Strzegomski 2a.

The Train to Heaven WroclawWhen you see a huge train that comes out of the ground directly heading towards the sky, you are at the right spot. That train to heaven is actually the largest public artwork in Poland and has a weight of around 90 tons. You will most definitely find some weird things here! We were afraid to put some pictures of exhibits online, you might find out why… Here is more information on their website.

When you get into Wroclaw by plane and take a car to the city, this museum is on the way from the airport to the centre. It is hard to miss the giant train en route.

After the visit you can enjoy a coffee in the roof top cafe with a great view of the city. The cafe is accessible without buying a ticket for the museum and totally worth it alone.

The Four Domes Pavilion

The second contemporary museum that we recommend is the Museum of Contemporary Art. The second name is four dome pavilion, in Polish „Pawilon Czterech Kopuł“. The building has, you might have guessed it already, four domes. It is as interesting as the exhibitions itself and full of natural light.

Meet this beautiful piece of architecture at Wystawowa 1. One of the highlights is the permanent exhibition of Magdalena Abakanowicz which is in the picture. Apart of her works, you will have the opportunity to see other internationally recognized modern artists. Check their website for latest information. 

Games & Computers of the past era

We have one more thing to recommend here, although it is not a contemporary museum. In Wroclaw we have the museum of „Games and Computers“ of the past era. This is a truly unique and hidden gem that we have never seen in any other city.

Pac-Man in Wroclaw
Ewa is racing

You will find anything from a classic pinball game over Nintendo, Sega, old MS-DOS games, Apple, Commodore 64, a race simulator and much more. Easily you can spend a few hours here with the games from the past. Here is the link to their website and if you want to navigate there, click here.

Cybermachina Games Pub

If you want to keep playing in the evenings, we recommend the Cybermachina Games Pub in Wroclaw – as unfortunately the games museum is closing in the evenings. 

However the Games Pub will provide you with endless options of video games, board games and now, that is the key difference, with cold drinks as well 🙂

Navigate to the Cybermachina Games Pub here.

Cybermachina Wroclaw

More museums in Wroclaw

Of course these are just the „unique and alternative“ museums, but we also wrote an own blog post about the 15 best museums in Wroclaw, which you find here.

4. Enjoy the beach bar life

You have not heard about the beaches in Wroclaw because you always thought the city does not have any access to the sea? You are both right and wrong. Wroclaw might not be the best starting point for sailing adventures on the ocean, but Wroclaw has the Odra river. 

Typically the beach bar season starts in late April and then lasts till October. Every summer the beach bars are open where you can practise yoga, built sandcastles, see free concerts, enjoy some drinks, meet nice people, experience a romantic sunset, get wasted, show your body, and much more!

Of course we have created a list of our favourite beach bars in Wroclaw, which you can find here!

And if you are more into the regular nightlife, here are our favourite bars of Wroclaw.

If you want to learn more about the Odra river, we recommend the Odra Centrum, a floating house which is a cultural educational center!

Basen Beach Bar Wroclaw

5. Postmodernism in Wroclaw

Designed by the Polish architect Wojciech Jarząbek, one of the most controversial buildings in Wroclaw (Solpol) has been located at Świdnicka 21-23.

 It used to be a department store and took the architect just less than one week to design it. If you believe this is a record, be aware that it was built in just 114 days.

Well, today it does no longer exist as in 2022 it got eventually demolished after people protested for its conservation and protection as monument. 

As we still have very special feelings towards it, we won’t remove this picture from our blog and keep it as a little memory. 

Solpol Wroclaw

Nevertheless, there are many, many other interesting buildings from the same era of postmodernism, including some by the same architect. It surely was an interesting era of architecture, just after the fall of the Soviet Union where people could finally be creative! We share a bit more of that story in our alternative guidebook to Wroclaw here.

For example, we recommend a visit to the Plomba 1996, which grows along the building in similarly bright colour like Solpol used to have. You can find it near the Centennial Hall here.

And if you like that kind of stufff, be sure to check out our article on bizarre things in Wroclaw.

Solpol Ersatz Plomba 1996

6. Take a different perspective and explore Wroclaw from the Odra river

kayaking in wroclawFrom people who love canoeing, you can expect at least one recommendation about paddling in Wroclaw. But frankly, even if you never tried canoeing or kayaking, you should give it a try!

It truly will enhance your view on a city in a way that you never saw before. Of course this is even more true for Wroclaw as the city of bridges. And yes, this beautiful and peaceful picture was indeed taken just in Wroclaw city!

There are plenty of options where to rent a kayak or canoe. We will recommend three kayak rentals to you.

The first one is close to the zoo called „Przystań Zwierzyniecka“. If kayaking is not yours, they also have swan boats. That means, if you are heading for a romantic trip, this is your choice.

The alternative is „Zatoka Gondoli“ at Jana Ewangelisty Purkyniego 9 which is closer to the centre.

Our favourite is just behind the Grunwaldski bridge with the Odra Centrum – find out more here.

Where to rent a kayak in Wroclaw

From the zoo you will see more nature and some hidden street art under bridges. From Zatoka Gondoli you can explore the famous bridge „Most Grunwaldzki“. But also paddle into the Oława river where you will find the only house boat in Wroclaw.

For beginners we recommend the zoo option though, as you will not have a lot of regular boat traffic on that part of the city. But you will see some beautiful bridges with street art underneath. Even better, you also have a beach bar within reach for a drink after. We heard rumours about people who go beach bar hopping by kayak / canoe, but of course only with non alcoholic drinks 🙂

In our blog post about the best boat trips and river cruises in Wroclaw you will be able to find more on that subject as well, including a water map!

7. Visit the Polish Poster Gallery

Posters and Poland, not only both begin with the same letter, there is a much deeper connection that you might have no idea about yet.

During communist times most of the popular movies from the West were not available in Poland. Some were released many (really, many many!) years later. And back in the times, the movie industry was not as globalized as today. That is just another reason why Polish artists begun to create their own movie posters for the local market.

It was quite common that the artists had no idea what the movie actually was about. They were asked to design a poster based on the title of the movie. And of course, the titles also were “slightly” different from the originals. As example, “Terminator” was not released with this title – but as “The Electronic Murderer”. Just imagine an artist who is creating a poster, knowing it will be for the movie “The Electronic Murderer” but nothing else.

However, the poster culture is not limited to movies at all. Poland has various great poster artists with Ryszard Kaja being one of the famous ones. 

Polish Polster gallery
Where to explore Polish Posters in Wroclaw

We suggest you two places, both absolutely amazing to sneak into the poster culture. If you do not have space left on your walls at home you can also find them as post cards. Trust us, they are much more amazing than the classic tourist postcards!

#1 is the “Polish Poster Gallery” located at ul. Św. Mikołaja 54/55 

#2 is the alternative cinema “Nowe Horyzonty” that actually is sooo much more than just a cinema, located at Kazimierza Wielkiego 19a/21

Both are in perfect walkable distance from the city center, just in the four denominations district.

8. Taste Browar Stu Mostów and get lost in the craft beer scene

In the past years, in not only Wroclaw but Poland in general the craft beer scene has expanded significantly. You will find lot of experimental flavours, but also high standard „classic taste“ craft beers all over the country. Microbreweries in Poland get very successful and are expanding more and more. During our last trip to Dublin we even found found craft beer from Wroclaw in one of the first pubs we went to.

Therefore it is a must to visit some of the craft beer pubs in Wroclaw, but the most unique one is Browar Stu Mostów. Literally it means the brewery of hunderd bridges. That is a strong love message to Wroclaw as the city is considered to be Venice of the east because of all the bridges.

Besides their own beers you also find a tremendous selection of other imported beers.

Browar Stu Mostow City Center Wroclaw

The food is also amazing and worth a visit! We strongly recommend to start with the malt pretzel. From their changing main menu we believe it is impossible to make a wrong choice.

The location at Jana Długosza 2 is a bit outside, but just a tram ride away. Alternatively it is a beautiful walk along the Odra river from the Nadodrze district.

End of 2021, a second location has opened up in the old town as well, so if you do not have the time to get to the original location, check this one out, very close to the Market Square. Location and more details can be found in our blog post about the best pubs in Wroclaw here.

Craft Beer in Wroclaw Old Town

If you prefer to stay in the city centre, we recommend you those places for craft beer:

Craftbeer in Wroclaw

9. Have a street art walk around Nadodrze

street art in nadodrze wroclawNadodrze used to be one of the most shady areas in Wroclaw. However that has changed already long time ago. Gentrification does not stop in Poland and the district has turned into a vibrant and artistic space within the last years.

You will see plenty of small galleries, little workshop places where you can upcycle old furniture, learn sewing, but also explore a lot of cool street art. Here in the picture you can see a mural that actually uses two windows as eyes.

Shopping culture in Nadodrze

Have we told you about all the cool second hand stores in Nadodrze? The handicraft shops? Pop-up stores? Vintage shops?

You won‘t find the big shopping chains in this area, but plenty of individual stores where the owners have passion for what they do, no matter if you go shopping for Vinyls, Flowers, or to the Second Hand Bazar where residents can rent a shelf to get rid of their belongings they no longer need or want.

There is so much more to explore, and we go a little bit deeper on the little independent stores in our blog post on Nadodrze here.

You won‘t regret it 🙂

Vintage Shop Wroclaw

10. Visit the Neon Side Gallery and join numerous free cultural events

neon gallery hipster wroclawLet us start with the Neon Side Gallery. This gem is a little hidden backyard that serves as a graveyard for old neon signs.

For many years in this spot a company named “Reklama” was based here. They produced those sort of neon signs, but there is no direct connection to the collection you will find today.

In 2005, Tomasz Kosmalski bought the first piece of neon and started the collection that today is managed by the foundation he created.

You can find this unique place which sometimes also is labelled as neon graveyard in Ruska 46c. It is very close to the city center and just a 5-10 walk away, right in the middle of the four denominations district.

Free cultural events

As the neon gallery is hosting countless cultural events, we would like to share the fact with you that the whole city of Wroclaw is full of free cultural events.

Before your stay you definitely should check what is going on in the city during your visit.

Just as example, in this backyard every Tuesday evening a free comedy open mic show in English takes place. If you are brave enough, you will find yourself on the stage very quickly. Even if not, it can be good fun to listen to some uprising international comedian stars here. More on the open mic nights with latest schedules and exact location can be found on the website from World-Wide Comedy.

Not to be missed if you like movies are the screenings from „Polish Cinema for Beginners“. Polish movies are shown in different places, but always with English subtitles, so you will be able to dive into the Polish culture a bit more than just by visiting Wroclaw… 🙂 Here is the program and more info on Polish Cinema for Beginners.

We can also recommend you to check if Sofar Sounds is organising a secret concert in a special place. You need to apply for a free concert ticket and one day before the concert you will get the location.

Also make sure to get the latest copy of the local culture magazine. It is updated every month and includes all dates for concerts, exhibitions, events, etc. You can find it in most cafes as free copy to take and it is available for download on their website if you click here.

11. Stroll around a very local flea market

Świebodzkim Flea Market in Wroclaw
Flea Market in Wroclaw

Every Sunday from 6am to around 3pm you can explore a real local polish flea market at Robotnicza 2. This flea market is quite special as it is located in an old train station. The more you walk, you will realise  that at some point you left the official part and regular people are just selling their stuff on the railway tracks. 

You can find anything from clothes, vegetables, furnitures, books but also a bit of used and weird stuff. The prices here are very low, and for sure that is one of the reasons it is highly popular amongst locals. 

If you like local markets, we have much more information for you! We wrote about the best local markets in Wroclaw here – where you can not only find flea markets but also regional food markets where you get breakfast from the farm to your table.

There you will also receive more infos on the amazing night market – you see how comfy it looks under the colourful lampshades already in our picture….

The Night Market in Wroclaw

12. Check out the unusual cafés

Well, we actually have quite some unusual cafés in Wroclaw.

No matter if you are looking for a little animal café like with parrots or cats, or for something in a special location on the water or just next to the water, we are quite sure that for everybody we found some special café!

How about a really cozy Vinyl café or a film café in which you can watch cool movies all day long? 

Or maybe you want to get in touch with very special and amazing staff?

We highly recommend in these very very special places in Wroclaw and made a compilation for you in our dedicated post on the most unusual cafés in Wroclaw here.

Kawiarnia Coffilm Film Cafe Wroclaw

Did you see our own hotel recommendations?

If you plan to stay in Wroclaw soon, we have created a very extensive post with personal hotel recommendations in Wroclaw – for city breaks, wellness hotels, romantic hotels, budget options and more.

PURO Alternative Hotel Wroclaw

13. Meet some bizarre stuff in Wroclaw

What is normal in today‘s world and what is bizarre? Well, it will be up to you to judge on that!

How about a huge cruise ship in the city where people are just living in? Or a strange hand which is coming out between of some bricks next to a bridge? What about some unique sculptures?

If you like these kind of weird stuff, then you should check out our special post on the bizarre things in Wroclaw here!

A bizarre hand in Wroclaw

14. The most beautiful Water Tower in the World

Exactly, and for sure this is not an understatement!

This masterpiece is hidden a bit south of the old town, close to the Sky Tower, and hence it is not really part of the main tourist attraction routes. Nevertheless, we highly recommend a visit!

Built in 1904-1905 based on a design from architect Karl Klimm, who shaped the city quite a bit with his works. Unfortunately you cannot go inside, but already from the outside you can experience the full beauty!

Find the most beautiful Water Tower in the World at Sudecka 125A (Click to navigate).

And for more impressive buildings in Wroclaw, here you find our blog post about the 25 most impressive buildings in Wroclaw, you just met one of them 😉

The Water Tower in Wroclaw

If you want to explore some really local neighbourhoods in Wroclaw that typically do not make their way into guidebooks, we recommend the neighbourhood maps created by Culture Zone Wroclaw.

What makes these maps so special is that they were created by the residents of the specific districts. There are stories and childhood memories from them, but also their favourite spots just around where they live.

15. Visit some really local neighbourhoods

If you want to explore some really local neighbourhoods in Wroclaw that typically do not make their way into guidebooks, we recommend the neighbourhood maps created by Culture Zone Wroclaw.

What makes these maps so special is that they were created by the residents of the specific districts. There are stories and childhood memories from them, but also their favourite spots just around where they live.

Nadodrze which we have already mentioned above is only one of them, but for example we also really love Brochów with the maze and the railway history.

16. Check out an „alternative“ place for waffles

Mhh yes, so how should we write about this now? This particular bakery is definitely a place where bachelorette parties often meet and enjoy some waffles.

They serve them in very special designs. The name just says it all.

But as we don’t know what to write about it here, just go there and see for yourself whether it’s something you would consider to be alternative 😀

By the way, the trend apparently comes from Spain and has now just made it to conservative (?) Poland.

Have fun in the Szewska 22 here!

Dickery Wroclaw

17. The old staircases in Wroclaw

Oh yes, there are certainly some really pretty staircases in Wroclaw! Sometimes you have to be lucky that the door is open, but some are also public. A great thing to do for photographers and Instagramers – although we even have more suggestions in our blog post with the best Instagram spots in Wroclaw here.

We are revealing the location of staircases in the caption of the pictures…

Staircase Wroclaw
Plac Teatralny 1
Staircase Wroclaw
Wita Stwosza 16
Staircase Wroclaw
Podwale 37/38

18. Underground Concerts and Events

Just accidentally we found this poster of a website which is pretty much just a calendar. BUT… One of the greatest calendars ever in Wroclaw!

It features “hidden” live music events and while we always were looking for small concerts and alternative exhibitions in the main sources for events, often we found that there is not enough going on apart from wild techno parties and the main commercial concert stuff. 

If you love to see alternative bands which are just starting their journey or probably do not have a huge audience or fan base yet, this is the calendar to check out.

Absolutely highly recommended from us!

Live Music Wroclaw

19. Toy Piano Gallery

Another collection in addition to the neons, which will be truly unique in the world, is the “Toy Piano Gallery”.

Paweł Romańczuk is a collector who has been buying small instruments from all over the world for many years – and his exhibition has been open to the public since January 2024.

The oldest piano is around 150 years old, and each one has its own story. For example, he found doll’s shoes inside one piano, while others try to imitate the sound of certain church bells.

There will be small concerts too – the meaning of small is literally here – and visitors can try their own luck at some of the pianos. A great and very interactive exhibition!

Check the current opening times online before you visit, the Toy Piano gallery is right next to the Neon Side Gallery.

Navigation to the Toy Piano Gallery here.

Toy Piano Gallery Wroclaw

Not to be missed: Free Walking Tour

… and could there be anything better than exploring the city with some real locals who are passionate about it?

Normally we take part in Free Walking Tours almost in every city we visit and Wroclaw has them as well! 

Here you find the overview of all available Free Walking Tours in Wroclaw with more detailed information from us, where to meet, how much tip to give, etc.

Wroclaw Old Town Rynek

Our alternative guidebook to Wroclaw

Finally available as English edition!

The award winning German edition of our offline guide was published already in 2020 (and the second edition in 2022) – but finally we have the most up to date 2023 version of our alternative guide to Wroclaw available in English!

Travel with us to 100 extraordinary places in Wroclaw and explore the city from a true local perspective. Not only we share our selection, but also other locals from Wroclaw reveal their personal favourites!

We are convinced that you will enjoy those places as much as we do. If you are looking for the non alternative best things to do in Wroclaw click here.

You want to plan a trip to Wroclaw? Here is our planning section to find best deals to get to Wroclaw and our favourite accommodations.

It is also worth to check out the free self-guided walking tour through Nadodrze here.

Looking for a professional tour? Then here is the link to the alternative city tour of Wroclaw.

Do you have some comments on this article? Help us and also help other visitors by leaving your feedback in the comment section below!

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