Tbilisi is a historic city with an incredible creative scene bursting with colour, funky patterns, unique architecture and great music. The city is at an interesting economic developmental stage where young people are manifesting an opposition to the “old ways", by making artistic and inclusive places to hang out.
Over a third of the Georgian population lives in the capital of Tbilisi. You will find unique art cafes, creative spaces, delicious Georgian cuisine, designer fashion boutiques and cool parties.
We've spent three weeks searching for awesome spots and are excited to share our list of 16 cool things to do in Tbilisi - hidden gems included.
Overview: What to do in Tbilisi, Georgia
16 Cool Things to Do in Tbilisi, Georgia
1. Hang out in a former factory turned creative space
Even as Tbilisi develops and gentrification becomes an issue, certain property developers have made great efforts to preserve the architectural heritage of the city.
Fabrika is a wonderful example of what can be done in a restoration project. The former Soviet sewing factory has transformed into the coolest hostel and creative hub in the world.
Luckily, even if you are not staying overnight, there is a large public space in the hostel to hang out, a cafe and a restaurant. It’s the perfect place to spend a few hours with a coffee or cocktail while working on your laptop or reading a book. There is always some funky music playing in the background that creates a nice atmosphere.
In the back, there is a large courtyard with restaurants, fashion boutiques, bars and shops. It gets very lively at night!
Another stunning conversion can be found at the Stamba Hotel and Cafe. This converted newsprint factory showcases original giant concrete pillars that support rusted conveyors snaking overhead. The cafe is absolutely gorgeous and has a nice patio. Stamba is more upscale than Fabrika and the crowd reflects that.
2. Stay in an eclectic BnB or design hotelWhen planning your stay, consider an eclectic BnB or design hotel in a less touristy part of town.
We recommend two historic neighbourhoods to stay in: Marjanishvili and Vera. Both have a fantastic local atmosphere and host some of the city's coolest spots. Situated on opposite sides of the Kura River, Marjanishvili has a bohemian feel, while Vera leans more upscale.
Our top design hotel picks
- Stamba Hotel ($$$) - a former Soviet-publishing house in Vera
- ROOMS Tbilisi ($$) - connected to its sister hotel Stamba by a courtyard, rooms here are less expensive. If you stay here, get a room that doesn't face the street since it can get noisy.
- Unfound Door Design Hotel ($$) - a 19th-Century building in Marjanishvili that has been beautifully restored to capture Old Tbilisi.
- Fabrika Hostel & Suites ($) - a former Soviet sewing factory turned creative space in Marjanishvili.
Our top apartment picks
- Peaceful Bohemian Apartment - beautifully designed BnB that is quiet but in the heart of Marjanishvili neighbourhood
- Centrally Located, Sunny Apartment - quirky BnB with three French balconies overlooking the city and river in Marjanishvili
3. Shop Georgian designer brands
Tbilisi has been highlighted as a fashion hub by the New York Times, Vogue and Forbes. Georgia has a long history with textiles and sewing, and in Tbilisi, you will find many designer shops with completely unique pieces.
Our favourite place to shop for Georgian designers is IERI concept store - their curation is exceptional.
Other Tbilisi boutiques worth checking out:
- MORE is LOVE - curated pieces with a feminine touch from Georgian designers.
- Le Chic Radical - for handmade sterling silver jewelry - their pieces have both elegance and personality.
- Nikolo Brega - for handmade wooden sunglasses.
- Commodus Ceramics - for unique pottery
- Tamar Chovelidze Street - you will find a handful of boutiques on this street near Lolita Cafe and Cafe Stamba.
4. Party at an art cafe
Cafes that serve up coffee during the day and turn into dance parties at night make up a really cool part of Tbilisi culture. These cafes typically have dance floors where DJs hit the decks, comfy places to hang out and art-filled walls.
Sadly, our favourite spot, Art-Cafe Home, is now closed, but another excellent art cafe to check out is Cafe Gallery. It's one of the oldest nightclubs in Tbilisi. Check their Instagram page to see what events are on.
5. Enjoy brunch at an eclectic cafe
Of course, not all art cafes in Tbilisi turn into dance parties. Try brunch at one of these beautifully designed cafes:
- Cafe Linville - a peaceful spot in the backstreets near Liberty Square. Walk up the crooked steps into what looks like the apartment of a wallpaper shop owner.
- Stamba Cafe - feels like a post-industrial fairytale with its pink and teal walls, sea foam-coloured booths and massive chandelier that complement the brutalist architecture.
For more cafes like this, see our list of unique cafes and restaurants in Tbilisi.
6. Go dancing at one of the world’s best techno clubs
In Georgia, techno has become somewhat of a political statement for freedom of expression against the traditional orthodox ways. On May 12, 2018, the world renowned Bassiani nightclub became a political battleground between the young left and the old right in the country. That night, armed SWAT police raided the club making several arrests. The next day, thousands protested by dancing in the streets of Liberty Square.
When visiting Bassiani you can feel the appreciation people have for the inclusive, non-judgemental environment, where you have the freedom to be who you want to be. It's unlike most other clubs in the world. There are no bottle service booths, people dance respectfully on the dance floor, cheers erupt at peaks in the music and the sound system is perfectly tuned so you won’t need earplugs.
Bassiani is only open one night a week (typically Friday) and they take a summer break in July/August. They have a strict door policy to protect the community.
✔️ Top Tip: register on Bassiani's website far in advance with your Facebook account to become a member and unlock the ability to buy tickets online.
Some other amazing nightclubs to check out in Tbilisi: TES, Leftbank and Mztkartve. See what events are on by checking Resident Advisor.
7. Discover Georgian cuisine
Georgian cuisine is very unique and the traditional food scene dominates Tbilisi. Georgians love their food, so most of the restaurants are Georgian.
It seems as though every cook has their own version of a recipe, which is exciting because each dish is a new experience. For example, the West Georgian walnut sauce called Badzhe (BAJEH) can vary in consistency and flavour wherever you go.
Two of our favourite dishes are Ajarulian Katchapuri, stuffed cheese bread shaped like a boat, and Khinkali, a meat or vegetable filled dumpling you eat with your hands.
If there is one restaurant to go to when you’re in Tbilisi, it's Shavi Lomi. Although it's becoming more popular, this restaurant is still frequented by locals sitting at long tables merrily eating, drinking and toasting. Their garden is a secluded oasis in the Marjanishvili area of the city. Try the off-menu item called Gobi - it's their way of doing Pikhali (Georgian dips). It’s best to make a reservation in advance.
We also loved Mapshalia, an authentic and busy restaurant that provides a very local experience. It’s the kind of place where they only serve house wine and you hear people singing and toasting. You will be shocked at the value. We filled up for 20 GEL (~$7.50 USD)!
8. Treasure hunt at the Dry Bridge flea market
There are a lot of cool treasures to find in this historic flea market from traditional handmade jewelry to obscure Russian war memorabilia and Georgian drinking horns (called Kantsi). The market sprawls out of Dedaena Park into the streets, so make sure to walk the perimeter.
✔️ Top Tip: Bargaining is accepted here - our best tip is to pay what something is worth to you and to compare prices with similar products at other vendors.
9. Take a Bolt taxi to Turtle Lake
Turtle Lake is a hidden gem in Tbilisi. This small lake sits in the clean air atop Mtatsminda Mountain on the western side of the city. A bonus of the 15-minute Bolt (like Uber) ride, is the chance to see a more residential part of the city.
The trip will cost you around 10 GEL (~$3.75 USD) one way from the city centre. Bring cash for your ride back as you may have to get a taxi from the top.
The walking loop is 1km around the lake on a paved path. Skip the main restaurants at the park entrance and have coffee or lunch at the trendy garden cafe, Ciskari.
You can also bring a picnic and sit in the grass or on the small beach. There are dance parties in summertime hosted in the space near Ciskari Cafe.
10. Relax at a thermal bathhouse
Tbilisi translated means 'a warm place', referencing the sulphur springs running below the city.
There is a longstanding tradition for Georgians to sweat out a hangover in the city's sulphur baths. Head over to the Abanotubani district, where you'll find different bathhouses with private or public sulphur rich baths.
We highly recommend Chreli Abano because they have an easy reservation system and nice private rooms. Reserve online in advance, especially if you’re going on a weekend. Room N1 is our favourite.
Book a private room for one hour and pair it with a one hour massage afterwards - it's heavenly! Also, try the 10-minute Georgian exfoliating experience for baby-smooth skin, where a Kisa (masseuse) vigorously scrubs you down on a stone couch in your private room.
✔️ Top Tip: If you’re still feeling wobbly after the bath, try one of two other Georgian hangover cures. Walk to Culinarium Khasheria and grab a Georgian/Vietnamese “Hangover Cure” soup that tastes like Pho or head over to Klike's Kinkhali to eat copious amounts of Kinkhali (Georgian dumplings).
11. Drink Georgian wine at wine bars
The oldest known wine making technique originated in Georgia over 8000 years ago! Winemakers to this day ferment grapes in earthenware vessels called a Qvevri. Georgia is also known to have once had 528 varieties of grapes. Unfortunately, during the communist era, many of the vineyards that grew more exotic varietals were changed out to supply only the basic few. Variety was certainly not seen as the spice of life in that era.
You may be surprised by the taste of Qveveri wines since they are much funkier than the barrel aged wines we are accustomed to drinking. It may take some getting used to, but we find the more you taste, the more you will figure out which ones you like.
The most popular red grape is Saperavi, the most popular white grape is Rkatsateli and there is a delicious amber wine called Kisi, which goes very well with salty meat dishes like shashlik.
Our favourite Georgian winemakers:
- 9 Oaks Estate - try their Kisi wine with some Shashlik
- Solmnishvili - their 2008 Saperavi (Qveveri & Barrel aged) was so good we brought a case of 12 home with us!
- Pheasants Tears
Our top wine bar picks:
- 8000 Vintages - best for a thorough tasting experience
- Vino Underground - best for an inexpensive tasting experience
- Dadi Wine - best for sampling wines with food pairings
- Tsitska Wine Shop - best for tasting wine in a chill atmosphere
✔️ Top Tip: If you’re struggling with the funky flavours, try a barrel aged Qvevri wine. The barrel aging takes the edge off. You could also try a Georgian grape like Saperavi made in the classical non-Qveveri method.
12. Stroll around the city to see unique architecture
The varying architecture in Tbilisi serves as a living memory of its vast history. From distinct wooden balconies and decaying Soviet brutalist buildings to recent modernist buildings, each style represents an era.
Explore Old Town, including the small backstreets up the hills, and don't miss the quirky Clock Tower, seemingly ancient but actually a modern structure from 2010 attached to a puppet theatre. It's a delightful and unusual sight. Just a 5-minute walk away is the Bridge of Peace, an innovative glass and steel pedestrian bridge.
13. Shop for edgy attire at vintage shops
Tbilisi locals exhibit a distinctive, edgy style, that has even influenced the creative direction of Balenciaga's Demna Gvasalia, who is a Georgian native. The city's fashion scene is inspiring and you can find some amazing pieces in its vintage shops.
Our top vintage store picks:
- Chaos Concept Store - on the second floor of the Stamba Hotel this concept store has one section with edgy designer brands and another section across the hallway with high-quality vintage pieces.
- The Vintage Seeker - the spacious room has a well-curated selection of vintage clothing, jackets, cowboy boots and accessories.
- Vintylator Vintage Shop - the small space has many unique vintage pieces to browse through. Don't miss the second level upstairs.
14. Discover Tbilisi's cocktail scene
Georgia has a local liquor called chacha, which is a type of brandy. It's made from the remains of grapes after winemaking. At nightclubs, we often saw locals drinking chacha with juice as a pick-me-up.
There are two cocktail bars we recommend visiting, each for a unique reason:
41° - best for innovative cocktails
41° is one of the best cocktail bars we've ever been to. The staff is so friendly and the cocktails are excellent, with each creation written in a handwritten book. We loved how each one we tried had a thoughtful story tied to Georgian culture. If you can only pick one cocktail bar, pick this one.
L'ADO by Valiko Mansion - best for the decor
This upscale cocktail bar feels like a surrealist gothic mansion. It has a wild side with its moody red lighting, high-energy electronic music and fun, yet sometimes demented artwork placed throughout the rooms. The cocktails are on the expensive side for Tbilisi, so it attracts tourists and well-heeled locals. They are open every day, but weekends see more people. Check out their Instagram to see what events are on.
15. Eat from a Georgian bakery
You can find bakeries just about everywhere in Tbilisi. They typically serve right out of the front door or window. You can try a variety of pastries filled with cheese, potato, beans or meat and fresh bread made in a traditional oven for just 1 GEL. Baked goods are a great snack to grab as you are walking around. Chances are nothing will be labelled in English so just point, ask and eat.
16. Enjoy late night drinks with alternative locals
Explore these three lively spots that are favoured by edgy locals:
Dedaena Bar - located in Dedaena Park, it's known for its weekly events spanning jazz, hip hop, jam sessions, and electronic music.
Mozaika - an alternative bar in Vera with quirky touches like sequin curtains and eclectic artwork. Spread across two intimate levels, it's a great place to sip house wine and mingle with locals, often accompanied by indie rock tunes.
Space One at Left Bank - situated in a former bread factory, it stands out for its cool aesthetic. This newer addition to Left Bank features a bar, cafe, record store, and bookshop, offering a spacious industrial setting with high brick ceilings. Events vary, so check their Instagram for the latest updates.
We hope you enjoyed these cool things to do in Tbilisi!
You should also consider spending time in the romantic town of Signagi, located in a prominent wine region of Georgia.
Start planning your trip to Georgia
- 🌃 Book your accommodation: Booking.com is our go-to for finding places to stay. Sort by top reviewed.
- 🚖 Book your airport transfer: with WelcomePickups
- 🍷 Browse tours with local guides: with Viator or GetYourGuide
Don't miss our other Georgia travel guides:
- 3 Days in Tbilisi for Food, Culture and Nightlife
- 1 Week Georgia Itinerary
- 7 Things to do in the romantic wine town of Signagi
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out our list of Unique Cultural Experiences to Inspire Your Next Trip
Save and pin these cool things to do in Tbilisi for later: