People! Get out your oars! For we are going on a boat journey!
Huh? Well, not literally, I mean Łódź (pronounced ‘woodge’ and meaning ‘boat’), one of the coolest cities in Europe which you’ve probably never heard of. And surprisingly, despite the name, the city has well hidden (now mainly underground) rivers…so maybe keep those oars at home for now…but still definitely make your way to the city, just a short distance away from Warsaw (only 1.5 hours by train!).
Packed full of post-industrial tourism, great museums, places to eat & drink and firmly rooted as a cultural hotspot full of cinematic history, a recent explosion of street art and festivals. Now is the perfect time to visit. The locals have scrubbed up the city pretty nicely, while still retaining a whole lot of charm.
We at Poland IYP have been documenting the changes in the city for over a decade now, and although certain media outlets often choose to compare Łódź to Manchester, this comparison is neither accurate nor gives a real insight into what the city has to offer. This is Łódź. Łódź, Łódź, Łódź. Now, if you choose to travel to Łódź from a nearby city, what could we recommend for you?
What Łódź you be able to do with just one day in the city?
Top Tip time – use Europe’s longest pedestrian street, ul. Piotrkowska, as your marker point, a giant compass needle, if you will, stretching north to south. It is along this street, delightful in its own right and full of some of the best cafes, bars and clubs in town, that you will find all major tourist attractions just a stone’s throw away.
Manufaktura & EC1
To the north, Manufaktura is the first major port of call (sorry, boat reference again), once a huge textile factory, now a major shopping and entertainment complex. In the northern half of the street, to the east next to the main Łódź Fabryczna train station, EC1, the former power station turned cultural centre contains a super modern Planetarium and the Centre for Science and Technology.
Back on Piotrkowska, heading south, the hipster zone OFF Piotrkowska, a former factory site, filled with restaurants, bars and club is a real favourite hangout of locals.
Museum of Cinematography
At the major intersection of Piotrkowska and Al. Piłsudskiego (smack bang in the middle of the city), heading east again, the Museum of cinematography emphasises Łódź’s role as Poland’s Tinseltown. Just around the corner, the Księży Młyn factory site, a shadow of its former full scale but still a sight to behold, stands as a beacon to a former industrial empire.
At the southern tip of Piotrkowska, your journey almost over, enter the gate at Piotrkowska 217, and behold…more fuel to be had in the many bars, restaurants and street food trucks! Going south again, enter the White Factory, another huge site harking back to another industrial empire (we did say the city is packed with industrial tourism!), once a former textile factory and now a fascinating museum on the topic.
Sticking to the Piotrkowska compass, you need not only see the major sights. Along the way, there is an abundance of street art, (which we have marked in all guides), from visually stunning installations such as Róża’s Passage, to the many colourful and fascinating murals!
With Łódź being so centrally located and so close to all major Polish cities, a visit to the city is highly recommended, if only for a day. Still…the more days you spend here, you won’t be disappointed!
Travel slow, travel smart!