The area to the west of Warsaw/Śródmieście, consisting of the districts of Wola, Ochota and Żoliborz contains many parts of the historic core of Warsaw, Poland. While not as densely packed with touristic points of interest as Śródmieście, it is still full of interesting places to visit and discover.
Wola has been rapidly changing from a former industrial area into a prime business district with office buildings, and modern upscale residential highrises. Wola holds large parts of the area covered by Warsaw Ghetto during the Second World War, and many important places of remembrance can be found there. It also hold Warsaw's most important necropolis, the Powązki, and the Warsaw Rising Museum.
The word wola means "will" in Polish, referring to the fact that the royal elections (yes, Poland's noblemen used to elect their kings, they were not automatically hereditary) took place there over the vast expanses of open spaces it once encompassed.
Ochota is a district of Warsaw. The name means "willingness" or "fancy". It is a relatively small (by area), traditionally residential district. Ochota is further divided into Filtry, Rakowiec, Szczęśliwice and Stara Ochota (Old Ochota), which covers the traditional area of the district.
Żoliborz has traditionally been the intelligentsia district of Warsaw. It is further divided into Stary Żoliborz, Sady Żoliborskie and Marymont-Potok.
- Main streets parallel to Vistula: ul. Kasprzaka-ul. Wolska, ul. Leszno-ul. Górczewska
- Main streets perpendicular to Vistula: ul. Towarowa-ul. Okopowa
- Ochota's northeastern extremity is next to the Dworzec Centralny train station. The Warszawa Zachodnia train station is also within the district.
- Local trains (SKM, Koleje Mazowieckie) will also stop at Warszawa-Reduta and Warszawa-Rakowiec on their way between the city centre and the Warsaw Chopin Airport
- Main streets parallel to Vistula: ul. Żwirki i Wigury, ul. Grójecka-al. Krakowska
- Main streets perpendicular to Vistula: ul. Wawelska-ul. Grzymały-Al. Jerozolimskie
- Trams from the city centre run down Grójecka and Filtrowa streets
- Main streets parallel to Vistula: Wyb. Gdyńskie, ul. Mickiewicza-ul. Słowackiego, al. Jana Pawła II-ul. Popiełuszki
- Main streets perpendicular to Vistula: ul. Słomińskiego, Trasa Armii Krajowej
Trams run along Aleja Solidarności and Aleje Jerozolimskie (at the southern border of the district), and between them through Towarowa. Tram service along Prosta/Kasprzaka is suspended due to Metro construction, the entire street is a big construction site. Trams 8, 22 and 24 will take you from the centre and the Dworzec Centralny (railway station) to the Rising Museum, 22 also to the Powązki cemetery.
For the areas closer to the city centre, walking is a reasonable choice and the sights along the way are worth it (especially if you are heading into Chłodna from Plac Bankowy, or walking along Grzybowska). You can even endavour to walk as far as the Warsaw Rising Museum.
Otherwise, Wola becomes a sprawling district with little interest to the tourist beyond specific points of interest. You may walk, but you would be better advised to take advantage of the public transportation.
Museums in Wola
- 1 The Warsaw Rising Museum (Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego), ul. Grzybowska 79 (The entrance is on Przyokopowa, which is about two streets west of the Hilton Hotel. Trams: 20, 22, 24, 32, and 45. Buses 106, 155, and 100 will stop near the museum on request), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Mon/Wed/Fri 8am-6pm, Thu 8am-8pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm, closed Tuesday. Enormously fascinating, The Warsaw Risng Museum is a moving experience that anyone to Warsaw must visit. This museum will almost certainly not bore anyone, especially with the museum's superb use of multimedia. The museum has bilingual displays in Polish and English. The museum does a good job of explaining the perceived history of the insurgents and the Uprising in the years following the Second World War. If you go on Sunday, they have chapel services at 12:30PM. Regular: 4 zł; Reduced rate: 2 zł; Group ticket: 1 zł. Free admission on Sundays.
- 3 Muzeum Gazownictwa (Warsaw Gasworks Museum), ul. Kasprzaka 25. A museum dedicated to the history of gasworks and provision of municipal gas, aptly located in Warsaw's old gasworks.
- 4 Stacja Muzeum (Station Museum, Muzeum Kolejnictwa, Railway Museum), ul. Towarowa 1 (If you're driving, follow Al. Jerozolimskie west to ul Towarowa, then turn right). The railway museum in the former Warszawa Główna (Warsaw Main) train station, a boon for railway buffs.
Powązki Cemetery (Cmentarz Powązkowski)
- Roman Catholic Cemetery (Cmentarz Rzymskokatolicki). Contains the St Charles Borromeo Church (Kościół Św. Karola Boromeusza). Famous tombs: Jan Kiepura, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Stanisław Moniuszko, Bolesław Prus, Władysław Reymont.
- 5 Jewish Cemetery (Cmentarz Żydowski). Famous tombs: Estera Rachela Kamińska, Isaac Loeb Peretz, Ludwig Zamenhof (the creator of Esperanto). Also contains a symbolic monument to Janusz Korczak (he died in a concentration camp).
- 6 Calvinist Cemetery (Cmentarz Ewangelicko-Reformowany). Contains Halperts' Chapel (Kaplica Halpertów). Famous tombs: Wojciech Gerson, Tadeusz Stefan Jaroszewski, Emil Wedel, Szymon Bogumił Zug.
- 7 Lutheran Cemetery (Cmentarz Ewangelicko-Augsburski Cmentarz Ewangelicko-Reformowany). Famous tombs: Anna German, Leopold Kronenberg, Józef Simmler, Stefan Żeromski.
- 8 Powązki Communal Cemetery (Cmentarz Komunalny - Powązki), previously: Military Cemetery (Cmentarz Wojskowy)). Contains the Avenue of the Meritorious (Aleja Zasłużonych), as well as mass graves of the participants of the November Uprising (1830–1831), January Uprising (1863–1864), World War I (1914–1918), Polish-Bolshevik War (1920–1922), World War II (1939–1945) and Warsaw Uprising (1944).
- 9 Pl. Narutowicza. The streets that radiate from here are worth seeing.
- 10 Filtry Lindleya (Warsaw Waterworks). Occasional tours are organized.
- 11 The Citadel (X Pawilon Cytadeli Warszawskiej), ul. Skazańców 25. Built during the Russian occupation in the 19th century to keep control over Warsaw. Many participants of the January Uprising, including its leader Romuald Traugutt, were executed there.
- Żoliborz Oficerski (ul. Krasińskiego × ul. Mickiewicza). Residential district built in the 1920s, renowned for its architecture. Some of the highest housing prices in Warsaw.
- St Stanislaus Kostka Church, ul. Hozjusza 1. Renowned because of the sermons of Jerzy Popiełuszko, the priest who was later assassinated by the communist regime.
- Church of Virgin Mary, the Queen of Poland, ul. Gdańska 8a. Has an interesting history. Originally built in the 1600s for Queen Marysieńka, it was converted into a hunting residence by King August II the Strong only to be then turned into a chapel in 1816 and again into a church in the 20th century.
- Silver Screen, ul. Górczewska 124 (CH Wola Park).
- Muranów, Ul. Gen. Andersa 1, ☎ .
- Wisła, Pl. Wilsona 2, ☎ .
- Komedia, ul. Słowackiego 19a, +48 22 833 68 80
- Teatr Ochoty, ul. Reja 9, ☎ .
- Szczęśliwicki Park (Park Szczęśliwicki) between ul. Drawska and ul. Włodarzewska is a large green area with some lakes.
- Pole Mokotowskie
- OSiR Żoliborz (swimming pool), ul. Potocka 1, +48 22 832 46 00
- OSiR Ochota (swimming pool), ul. Rokossowska 10, ☎ .
- Mera (tennis courts), ul. Bohaterów Września 6/12, ☎ .
- Hala Sportowa Koło (sports hall), ul. Obozowa 60, ☎ .
- Frag Factory, ul. Złota 72, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Set up in an old school building is Frag Factory a three level complex used for paintball warfare. Games last about ten minutes or until one team loses and you'll be divided into teams with other people. Teams will switch starting points after each game. Frag Factory will supply you with a gun, CO2, and suit for only 50 zł. 50 zł for equipment rental, 15 zł for every 100 paintballs, and free entrance.
- Klif, ul. Okopowa 58/72. Open M-Sa: 9AM - 9PM. Su: 10AM - 8PM. A small shopping mall with upscale pretences close to Powązki cemetery, but not easily accessible unless you're driving or have received precise directions
- The Arkadia shopping/entertainment complex in Śródmieście is also close to Powązki.
- 1 Centrum Handlowe Wola Park, ul. Górczewska 124 (Buses 109, 154, 171, 190, 310, 501, 507, and 523 run by Wola Park. Trams 8, 10, 26, and 46 run in the direction, but you'll need to get off at ul. Powstańców Śląskich), ☎ . Shopping mall.
- CH Fort Wola, Ul. Połczyńska 4, ☎ . M-Sa: 9AM - 9PM. Su: 9AM - 8PM. Car-centred shopping mall in a more remote part of Wola.
- Blue City, Al. Jerozolimskie 179. A large, but somewhat bland mall. Its major advantage against other Warsaw malls is that it is not so crowded.
- CH Reduta, Al. Jerozolimskie 148. Shopping mall, adjacent to Blue City. Free hot-spot.
- Żywiciel, pl. Inwalidów 10. 9AM - 11PM.
- Jeff's, ul. Żwirki i Wigury 32, ☎ , fax: . American style restaurant with the stereotypical road sign novelties posted on the wall. The food is decent, especially for a cuisine that many Polish restaurants fail miserably at cooking. Huge breakfasts are served daily till 10AM (1PM at the weekends) for just 10.90 zł.
- T.G.I. Fridays, Al. Jana Pawła II 29, ☎ , fax: . A nice retreat for anyone wanting an restaurant experience that's a bit more American than at other restaurants. It's a tad bit pricey, though, and there are no free refills.
- Chicago's, ul. Żelazna 41, ☎ . Chicago's is a Route 66 themed eatery that cooks up typical American fare. Upon first entering the restaurant you'll be greeted by no one and you'll need to impose yourself upon an inattentive staff to be able to order. Although the staff is apathetic and somewhat rude, when they are attending to customers, the kitchen is rather quick and makes basic, but good food. The bar has a fair selection of alcohol to choose from, if the bartender will even greet you. If you want more of an Americanized eatery, but demand decent service head over to T.G.I. Fridays, or, for even better service, go to the Hard Rock Cafe.
- The Inn under the Red Hog (Oberża Pod Czerwonym Wieprzem), Zelazna 68 (Corner of Zelazna and Chlodna streets), ☎ . 12:00-24:00. This restaurant seems as though it might cater to out of towners, given its ex-Soviet kitschy atmosphere (complete with Communist Era-inspired menu), but one can usually find it populated with locals having a get-together on weekend evenings. In those days, the site of the restaurant was an inn which housed many notorious communist dignitaries and other notables. The menu itself is printed in the style of a newspaper (cheaper items under the heading "PROLETARIAT" and higher-priced items "FOR DIGNITARIES AND BOURGEOISIE").
- Meltemi ul. Opaczewska 43/1 (Kręgliccy). Greek.
- Mielżyński, ul. Burakowska 46.
- Blikle, Pl. Wilsona.
Clubs and bars
- Café Strauss Al. Jerozolimskie 45
- Filtry Cafe, ul. Niemcewicza 3. Good looking interior and tasty coffee
- Club 70, ul. Waliców 9 (About a block from the Hotel Hyatt, on a side street off of ul. Grzybowska), ☎ . Club 70 is a really well done club – the music is a decent mix of 70's and 80's music, bouncers aren't as hardcore as bouncers at other clubs, and the dedication of the management to fun clubbing makes Club 70 one of the best clubs in Warsaw. If you call Monday - Friday between 10AM - 6PM, you can make reservations. Entrance ranges from free to roughly 20 zł or so. Drinks are a bit on the expensive side with 0.5 liter of beer costing 10 zł.
- [dead link]praCoVnia art club (music club pCV), ul. Popiełuszki 16 (close to Metro Marymont station), ☎ . open: 4PM - midnight; F-Sa: 4PM - 3AM. Bar, art gallery, live music. Beers, wines, very tasty coffee, yerba mate, WiFi internet, air condition.
- [dead link]Klubogaleria, ul. Szajnochy 5.
- [dead link]Coco de Oro (coco de oro), ul. Potocka 14 (On the corner of Mickiewicz and Potocka. Can be tricky to find - go down the stairs to the left of the small shopping centre), ☎ . Bar/restaurant serving decent Sri Lankan food with a good selection of beers. Chilled out ambience, great decor and friendly staff. They also sometimes put on events and concerts.
- Luzztro al. Jerozolimskie 60
- Paradise ul. Wawelska 5
- Proxima Żwirki i Wigury 99a
- 1 Rapsodia, ul. Fort Wola 22 (entrance from ul. Wolska 186), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A campsite, but hostel rooms are available too. Prices: tent (2 persons) - 30 żł, camping car (electricity connection included) 60 zł.
- 2 Syrenka School Youth Hostel (Karolkowa Youth Hostel), ul. Karolkowa 53a (Buses 125 or 522 until DT Wola or trams 13, 20, 23, 24. 26, and 27 until DT Wola), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. An Hostelling International recognized hostel. Like other HI hostels in Poland there is a curfew, which lasts from midnight - 6AM, so don't plan on going out. Prices for a dorm bed begin at 25.20 zł for students with HI membership.
- 3 Wilson Hostel Warszawa, Felinskiego 37 (300m from Plac Wilsona metro station), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. From 60 zł for bed or sleeping capsule.
- Astur Camping, ul. Bitwy Warszawskiej 1920 15/17. Prices: 20 zł for a tent, 60 zł for a camping car..
- Gromada Camping, ul. Żwirki i Wigury 32, ☎ .
- 4 Première Classe, ul. Towarowa 2, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The budget Premiere Classe is in the same building as its Groupe du Louvre sister-branded hotels, Campanile and Golden Tulip (see below). Website and booking in several languages, but not in English. rack rate - 129 zł.
- 5 Campanile, ul. Towarowa 2, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Campanile is Groupe du Louvre's two-star brand, popular with travellers on a budget. rack rate - 149 zł.
- 6 [dead link]Golden Tulip, ul. Towarowa 2, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The former Kyriad Prestige, sharing its building with the Campanile and Premiere Classe, was rebranded to Golden Tulip as per Groupe du Louvre strategy. With three stars, it offers a fitness centre and conference rooms. rack rate - 190 zł.
- 7 [dead link]Ibis Warszawa Centrum, Al. Solidarnosci 165, ☎ , fax: . The oldest Ibis in Warsaw is in a slightly inattractive location, but reasonably close to the city centre and many attractions and easily accessible by public transit and by car. starting at PLN 122.
- 8 Ibis Warszawa Reduta, ul. Bitwy Warszawskiej 16, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: H7125@ACCOR.COM. A regular "red pillow" ibis built in 2012 according to the chain's new standards. In a not very touristy location and not close to anything, but manageable with public transit and conveniently accessible by car. There are three other ibis hotels in Warsaw plus two ibis budget hotels, so make sure you do not mistake them. starting at 122 zł.
- 9 Ibis budget Warszawa Reduta, ul. Bitwy Warszawskiej 16, ☎ . The super-simple "blue pillow" ibis budget is next to its "red pillow" sister. It offers the absolutely bare necessities, provides no loyalty points and is only bookable via the Accor and ibis websites (you will not find it in most directories and booking websites). starting at 100 zł.
- 11 Hilton Warsaw Hotel and Convention Centre, Grzybowska 63, ☎ , fax: . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: Noon. Although located in Wola, the hotel is very close to the downtown area of Warsaw. A ten to fifteen minute walk will take you to the Centralna train station.
- 12 Westin Warsaw Hotel, Al. Jana Pawla II 21, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Another centrally located hotel, a few minutes from the Warszawa Centalna station. Rates start at €111.
- 13 Radisson Blu Hotel Sobieski, Plac Artura Zawiszy 1 PL 02-025, ☎ . Reviled for its pretentious and garish architecture and style, the Sobieski is a short tram ride from the Central train station and at the end of the road to the airport. The very favorable location with regard to transit is offset by an uninteresting, dull and noisy area it is in.
- There are also many furnished, and some also serviced, apartments in the modern residential highrises close to the city centre, available for both long-term and short-term rentals. Look for them online directly or via booking websites.
- [dead link]Teleskop e-cafe, ul. Krochmalna 2, ☎ . Internet cafe tucked away on the side street near TGI Fridays, and the Atrium International Business Center buildings.