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How to Spend One Day in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia. The city is so large that it’s actually recognized as a city and state. It’s a hub to many activities in Ethiopia such as economics, political, and cultural. Tourism has been a growing industry for Ethiopia. Addis Ababa is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Modern developments are continuously happening in Addis Ababa. There are many landmarks, monuments, and other must-see sights that have been built here. Tourists can easily get around to explore all that it has to offer. The international airport is located in Addis Ababa receiving visitors from all around the world. Addis Ababa is a city that you’ll want to start exploring immediately in order to make the most of your visit.

Sightseeing in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is a large city with lots of places and things to see. Getting to a lot of the top sites before the crowds will give you the best photo opportunities. You can also take your time at the sites without feeling rushed by other potential tourist groups.

Large squares are a common feature of Addis Ababa. The most central square in the city is called Menelik II Square. This location is actually the start point of all the major highways so it’s easily accessible. In the middle of this square is a statue of Emperor Menelik II. He’s one of the most important figures in Ethiopia by bringing independence to the nation. Another square that’s worth stopping by is the Meskel Square. This square is also central to the city. It’s located nearby many other landmarks and museums. It’s a popular destination for local festivals and celebrations.

Meskal Square by David Stanley on Flickr

Religion has played a major role in Ethiopia and is reflected by a lot of the landmarks around Addis Ababa. The Holy Trinity Cathedral is a great place to visit. It was built to commemorate Ethiopia’s liberation from Italy. It’s now recognized as the second most import church in the country. You’ll also want to stop by St. George Cathedral. This cathedral has one of the most distinct architectural styles in the city. There is also a museum here that details the history and significance of the church.

Holy Trinity Cathedral by David Stanley on Flickr

A sightseeing tour around Addis Ababa is not complete without seeing the best view of the city. Just outside the city you will come across Mount Entoto. This mountain peak is the best viewpoint in Addis Ababa. You will have a view over the entire city.

Dining in Addis Ababa

There will be no shortage of places to eat while spending the day in Addis Ababa. Ethiopian cuisine is one of the most popular cultural foods found around the world. A trip to Addis Ababa will introduce you to the original dishes.

The main staples of Ethiopian food are injera and wat. These essentially make up all of the main dishes in the country. Injera is a flat bread made from sourdough. It’s usually placed first, covering an entire plate and covered with toppings. These toppings are called wat. Wat can consist of curry, stew, meat, spices, etc. These meals are eaten strictly with your hands. Knives and forks are uncommon in Addis Ababa. A piece of the injera is broken off and you scoop up some of the wat with the bread. This is the traditional style of eating in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Food by avry on Flickr

You can find this type of meal at almost any restaurant in Addis Ababa. Restaurants are great for sit down meals. Not only will you get to experience the amazing cuisine, but also be immersed in traditional heritage. Many of the restaurants are styled in traditional décor and may even provide live music to enjoy your meal to.

Addis Ababa is an international city. You can find lots of international food places as well in case your taste buds haven’t adjusted to the local cuisine. The Italian influence is present in many restaurants as well.

The drink of choice in Addis Ababa is coffee. Ethiopia is said to be the origin of the coffee bean. Ceremonious coffee brewing rituals have developed around this myth. You can find authentic cafes all around the city. The oldest and most famous café in Addis Ababa is called Enrico’s.

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony 2

Sightseeing in Addis Ababa is great for discovering a lot of the landmarks in the city. There are lots of other things to do in Addis Ababa for entertainment during the day. It’s a city that welcomes all types of tourists.

Since it’s the capital city, you’ll find a lot of national sites here. The Ethiopia National Museum is always a favorite destination for visitors. This museum holds national treasures, fossils, etc. found all around the country. This large museum holds everything you’d need to know about Ethiopia. The multiple floors of the museum hold archeological artifacts, relics from ancient Ethiopia, traditional and modern artwork, as well as cultural items.

National Museum by Alan Myers on Flickr

To really appreciate the political importance of Addis Ababa, you’ll want to visit the Africa Park. This park commemorated the formation of the African Unity. The park consists of greenery that stretch between major government buildings. The buildings are the Imperial Palace, Africa Hall, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The largest outdoor marketplace in Africa can also be found in Addis Ababa. The Addis Merkato is a great destination for shopping locally made good, crafts, souvenirs, etc. The main product that vendors sell are agricultural products, with coffee being the most important.

Merkato Market by Jonny Duncan on Flickr

Nightlife in Addis Ababa

Entertainment can be found in the day time and the night time in Addis Ababa. Many people consider Addis Ababa as having one of the best nightlife scenes in all the major cities around Africa. One of the benefits is the cost. Going out in Ethiopia has a lower cost than many other places so you can have even more fun without the cost of it.

The main area to find a lot of nightlife in one location is around Ednamol. This area has a variety of clubs and bars. The venues here vary in the type of people who party here as well as the genre of music. You can find a venue for any crowd in Addis Ababa. Hotel clubs are also popular here. A lot of entertainment, even for government officials, happen in nearby hotels. A perk to staying at the specific hotel typically allows you free admission into the club.

One of the things to try while enjoying a night out in Addis Ababa is the national Ethiopia drink. “Tej” is served almost anywhere you go.

Addis Ababa is the most exciting city in Ethiopia to spend a day. You should have a pretty good idea of what the city has to offer with just 24 hours here. Addis Ababa is a bustling city with millions of people. With so much going on, you can surely find something for everyone. Tourists are always welcome around the city. Many of the buildings and sites cater specifically to visitors. Getting around the city is fairly simple with lots of options. This makes it a great city to explore. You’ll have more than enough time to discover all the best parts of Addis Ababa.