Changing hands 40 different times over its ancient history, Tbilisi is a little bit of everything. One example is its architecture. Stroll the streets and you’ll see all types of buildings from medieval to neoclassical to Soviet. Despite the blend of cultures, the Georgian language is distinctly its own and its food and wine unrivaled.
Taking a three-hour flight from Istanbul to Tbilisi on Turkish Airlines, my wife, five-year-old daughter and I used points to stay at the Wyndham Grand Tbilisi, a hotel with spacious suites, an indoor pool with a sauna, and with close proximity to a Metro and city center.
For the four days in Tbilisi, we each took a turn picking out an activity each day. Here are our favorites.
- Blue cheese ice cream from Cone Culture, a local ice cream company with unique flavors.
- Khachapuri at Bazari Orbeliani, a two-level food hall on the site of an 1886 farmers’ market.
- Khinkali (dumplings) from Cafe Daphna, a restaurant near the Dry Bridge Market known for their dumplings.
- Lobio (traditional bean stew) at Salobie Bia, an underground restaurant with local art on its walls.
- Meat pies from Pulp, a family-owned coffee shop and wine bar.
- Lattes at the Daily Grind Coffee & More, a small cafe with a full coffee menu.
- Mulled wine from the street vendor near the Kalasi Hotel.
- Book the Tbilisi Free Walking Tour, a free daily three-hour tour in English.
- Buy local art from Gallery 27, an art gallery and store inside a historic home with a stained-glass entrance.
- Hang out at Fabrika Tbilisi, an old Soviet sewing factory that’s now a mural-painted creative space with shops, restaurants, an outdoor courtyard, a hostel, and residences.
- Hike the National Botanical Garden, a large green space with trails and waterfalls.
- Play on the many climbing structures at Mziuri Park, a large hillside park built as a “childrens’ city” with climbing structures, a parkour course, a skate park, an amphitheater, and several playgrounds.
- Shop for souvenirs at the Meidan Bazar, an old market on the site where traders mingled along the Silk Road in the 4th and 5th centuries.
- Take the cable car up to the Mother of Georgia, a 1958 statue built overlooking the city in honor of Tbilisi’s 1500th anniversary.
- Ancient city wall ruins under Pushkin Street.
- Local art at Cube In Context, a restored cableway station that’s now an art gallery, coffee shop and coworking space.
- Murals throughout the city, especially in Varketili and near Fabrika Tbilisi.
- Soviet memorabilia at the Dry Bridge Market, a flea market on a bridge open daily.
- Unique architecture at the Bank of Georgia HQ, a 1975 brutalist building used space city design with the intent of building up to give more land back to nature.