This blog post was updated on July 28, 2021.
Cairo — the capital city of Egypt where most travelers flock to tour the iconic sights such as the Great Pyramids of Giza and other architectural and historic wonders. Believe it or not, this city has way more to offer than just ancient monuments and buildings. It’s easy to get sidetracked by loading your itinerary with sites to see, so we’re here to tell you about the lively culture Cairo has for you to experience. Get a taste of the real Cairo by going a bit off the beaten track and tasting authentic cuisine, learning about Egyptian art, and being entertained by the local talent. After learning how to maximize your trip with these cultural experiences, you’ll agree that one can never go bored while in this city!
Let’s Start with Food
Hungry? You’ve landed in the right city because the food in Cairo is savory and the options are endless! You’ll find street foods and restaurants across the city, so to save time, we’re going to tell you which foods to try and where. Ever try a falafel? Egypt has its own version that’s a popular street food known as taameya. In Egypt, taameya is made with dried fava beans making it different from a falafel, which is made with ground chickpeas. El Gahsh restaurant located at Abd El-Maguid El-Labban, Cairo Governorate, Egypt is said to make some of the best in town. Next up, koshary! It’s a simple and cheap meal that you seriously must try it. It’s made as a layer of rice, pasta, lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, garlic, and fried onions. It may sound like a strange combo, but if cooked to perfection, we’re sure you’ll love it! Try this dish at Abou Tarek in Downtown Cairo. Lastly, feteer, a flaky Egyptian pastry! Feteer is made of thin layers of dough and ghee stuffed with optional fillings. Baladina, located at Entrance 2, Arkan Mall in Cairo is said to make a tasty one. And if you can’t make it to these restaurants don’t fret; you can find any of these foods throughout the city.
Then Watch a Classic Performance
Now that your belly is full you can dance your way to a classic Egyptian belly dance performance! Watching a performance is something tourists should squeeze into their Cairo itinerary. Some restaurants have belly dancers perform for their patron’s entertainment. Certain 5-star hotels have Cairo’s top dancers perform. Check with the 5-star hotels in Cairo such as the Grand Nile Tower and Cairo Sheraton for entertainment details. Some hotels and resorts offer dinner cruises on their yachts where dancers also perform for guest’s entertainment. And, if you want to take home a belly dancing costume, head to Khan Al Khalili market to find yours!
Experience Art and Culture
Before you hop on your cheap international flights home, experience some fun as well as culture and art in Zamalek, a district in western Cairo! This upscale neighborhood is also known as El Gezira, and is home to quite a few restaurants, bars, art galleries, shops and more! The Cairo Opera House is the main performing arts venue where you can grab tickets to one of the many cultural shows. El Sawy Culture Wheel also hosts a variety of cultural live performances from both local and international performers. Some events happening here are concerts, seminars, and puppet shows. For some Egyptian art, head to SafarKhan Art Gallery. The gallery showcases both modern and contemporary Egyptian paintings and sculptures. When observing the gallery, you’ll feel the important social role Egyptian art has in this country.
Have any other recommendations when visiting Cairo? Tell us in the comments below!