Fun things to do in Addis Ababa

  • A typical view of a market street
    A typical view of a market street
    by GrumpyDiver
  • Fron of the museum
    Fron of the museum
    by GrumpyDiver
  • Painting by Afewerk Tekle
    Painting by Afewerk Tekle
    by GrumpyDiver

Most Viewed Things to Do in Addis Ababa

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    HIRE THE BEST GUIDE

    by DAO Updated Jan 31, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    This is my good friend and one time guide: Solomon Kasaye. Solomon was the first person I ever met in Ethiopia and we still keep in touch. He is a close friend and a very excellent guide. Would you like to see the real Ethiopia? Solomon is the man. He can show you how shared taxis work, take you to a chat house, any museum and also guide you throughout the beautiful rural south of Ethiopia. He really opened my eyes to what many tourists who never leave the hotel will not see. He also provides escort service to the Merkato and knows where and how the pickpockets operate. Please drop him an email if you would like to use his invaluable help. You can also email me if you need any help.

    Addis Ababa is the starting point for seeing the 'Historical Places'. I recommend you organise it with Solomon before you come, or just Addis is you are only here for a day or 2. It will ensure you get a lot more out of Ethiopia.

    You can email him on:
    imsolomonmensa@hotmail.com
    - or -
    gamoman2009@yahoo.com

    All the best,

    DAO

    ** Please note: Solomon has acted as a guide for 2 other VT Members since I met him and they found him to be an excellent guide who also kept the costs down. **

    Solomon Kasaye Solomon Kasaye Solomon Kasaye Solomon Kasaye Solomon (r) and Mathias
    Related to:
    • Singles
    • Women's Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    GET MONEY BY ATM

    by DAO Updated Nov 7, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    Most ATM Machines in Addis Abbaba you see on the street are not connected to the major ATM worldwide networks. Outside of Addis Ababa you will not find ATM's at all. There are 2 machines (both pictured) that is provided by Dashen Bank and they are connected to major banking networks! They are located in the lobbies of the Sheraton Hotel and the Hilton Hotel. They are on the PLUS and VISA networks.

    GIVE ME MONEY ! THE SHERATON IT IS IN HERE! THE SHERATON AND HERE! THE HILTON THE HILTON HOTEL GUESS WHERE
    Related to:
    • Study Abroad
    • Business Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    THE SOMALILAND EMBASSY

    by DAO Updated Dec 5, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    Want to go to Somalia? SOMALILAND is the peaceful and Independent part of Somalia and an excellent place to go for a visit. Before you go you must have a visa PRIOR to arrival by airplane or on a land border. There are only 5 ‘Embassies’ for Somaliland in the world: USA, UK, Italy, Ethiopia and Djibouti. This tip is about my very easy and friendly experience with their office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    Their Embassy in Addis Ababa has a few security concerns so they do not advertise their address or have any markings on their building. Do not worry! My Taxi driver knew the general directions off Bole Rd. and we stopped and asked the neighbours until we found it. It is in a very rich neighbourhood. They are open Monday – Friday 8:30am-12:30pm and 2:00pm-3:30pm. I arrived without contacting them beforehand, but I took my passport, 2 passport photos and $40. They finished it in about 10 minutes. That’s it. If you want better directions, just telephone their office ahead of time. They speak English.

    If you live in a country that does not have a representative, either get it in Addis Ababa or contact the closest Embassy by telephone or email and arrange to do it by post. They even have the Visa Form you can download here:

    SOMALILAND GOVERNMENT

    All Passport holders need a visa and they seem to accept everyone without question.

    Due to space limitations on VT I have listed their 5 Embassies on the tip below this one!

    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Study Abroad
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    TOURIST INFORMATION

    by DAO Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    From the outside your first impression is that some of the lettering has fallen off and it could do with a bit of paint. The Tourist Office in Addis is ok. They are helpful and can give you just about any information you need on the city. They can also help you with information about other tourist destinations in Ethiopia. They are open 8:30-12:30 & 13:30-17:30 Monday-Thursday and 8:30-11:30 & 13:30-17:30 on Fridays.

    Update: They got new signs in September 2007 and the office looks very nice now.

    LATE 2007 AFTER RENOVATION EARLY 2007 DECEMBER 2008
    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Backpacking
    • Study Abroad

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    BUY MEAL TICKETS FOR THE POOR

    by DAO Updated Jul 10, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ethiopia is a poor country and you will see a lot of beggars on the streets of Addis Ababa. Would you like to help without causing social problems? HOPE Enterprises runs a feeding centre on Churchill Avenue. Just stop by the office and you can buy a book of meal tokens for very little money. For less than 10 US cents you can provide a recipient with a nutritious meal at their feeding centre. If you give beggars on the street money without knowing what you are doing, often the money is spent on something other than food. HOPE makes sure they get the nourishing food the homeless people need to survive. Buy several books.

    HOPE also does developmental project including helping people get an education. You can donate in person or via their website.

    (Please do NOT take pictures of the people eating – it would be terribly rude).

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Food and Dining
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    THE MUSSOLINI STEPS

    by DAO Updated Jun 23, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    What in the world? If you go for a visit to the fantastic Ethiopian Ethnological Museum you will see these weird stairs leading to ….nowhere! It gets stranger from there. On top of the stairs is a Lion! In fact it is the Lion of Judea – the symbol of the Ethiopian Royal family. Here is the story. The Italians invaded and occupied Ethiopia form 1936-1941. The Ethnological Museum, on the grounds of Addis Ababa University, used to be Emperor Haile Selassie’s Palace and residence. The Italians decided to build the stairs just out front with each step representing a year in the reign of Benito Mussolini and the fascists since 1922. A kind of poke in the eye to Ethiopian people. Well, the Allies threw the Italians out and the Emperor returned. Rather than be spiteful, Haile Selassie had his personal symbol put on top to show who came out on top!

    THE MUSSOLINI STEPS
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Study Abroad
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    BETA MARYAM MAUSOLEUM

    by DAO Updated Jan 17, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is better known as the Tomb of Emperor Menelik II and it is very hard to find! Menelik (1844-1913) defeated the Italian army at the battle of Adwa in 1896 and protected the Independence of Ethiopia. In fact, the country was the only one if Africa never colonised, due to Menelik’s genius. He also founded his capital, Addis Ababa in an area without malaria. A very smart man. He is buried here with his Empress Taitu. The church was commissioned in 1917 by their daughter, Empress Zewditu, who was buiried here herself in 1930. The church has the title of "Taeka Negest" or Resting Place of Kings. It is so hard to find, it took me 2 visits to Addis Ababa to find it. Walk up the hill from the Hilton hotel and walk close to the wall of the Palace going to the right. The guards will watch you, but just say you are going to ‘BETA MARYAM’ or just say ‘MENELIK’.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia

    by sachara Written Oct 13, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When you are in Addis Abeba, you don't have the feeling to be in a 5.000.000 million city.
    Addis Abeba is a mix of the past and the present, the city and the small-town feel, the modern apartment buildings and the small houses with zinc roofs.

    At some places the city is hilly and intersected by some rivers and green valleys.
    In the Piazza area with many hotels, cafes and bars, you can see the legacy of the very short Italian occupation. We stayed in this area.

    You can see Addis Abeba in a few days. There are some interesting museums and the Merkato, the largest market in Africa.

    Addis Ababa

    Was this review helpful?

  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Addis Abeba, University's main campus

    by sachara Written Oct 13, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Addis Abeba has a lot of green in town, like the valleys and wide avenues edged by trees.
    I liked the park of the campus of the University. After visiting the ethnological Museum, it's nice to look around.

    There are many different trees and beautiful flowering plants. At sunday afternoon a lot of students walked around or sat on benches in the shade.
    There was a small open air bar with a lot of shade. Here we took a softdrink, sitting between the students.

    Addis Abeba, University's main campus

    Was this review helpful?

  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Addis, exhibition in the open-air at the campus

    by sachara Written Oct 13, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    After visiting the Ethnological museum of Addis Abeba, we saw this beautiful burial stone in the open air. There was no explanation, but we thought, it must be, after seeing the same kind of stones in the exhibition in the museum.

    Walking around in the park of the University's Campus we saw more artefacts, but also nice statues and fountains.

    University's main campus
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    Patriarch’s residence

    by DAO Updated Jan 16, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    “It’s the Pope’s House”. That is what I was told by a local friend as we walked by this ornate building with a big cross on it. And I had to take my picture quickly before the security people spotted me. The Head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is known as the Patriarch. Yep, that means Father = Pope. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was founded in 328. Yes, the year 328! It is estimated that 55% Ethiopia's people are adherents. So when you walk past this amazing building and wonder why it’s not on any map. Now you know!

    Related to:
    • Study Abroad
    • Family Travel
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    SOMALILAND EMBASSIES HERE & ABROAD

    by DAO Updated Jan 16, 2008

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    SOMALILAND EMBASSIES ABROAD:
    UNITED KINGDOM
    Osman Ahmed Hassan
    SOMALILAND MISSION
    102 Cavel Street
    London E1 2JA
    UNITED KINGDOM
    Tel: +44 0207 961 9098
    Fax: +44 0207 247 6335
    Mobile: 07960 287 130
    Email: slrmission@btinternet.com

    FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA
    MR. YUSUF JAMA BURRALE
    SOMALILAND REPRESENTATIVE
    ADDIS ABABA
    ETHIOPIA
    TEL: 25111 635921 / 635922
    FAX: 25111 627847
    MOBILE: 251911826335

    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
    DR. SA'AD SHIEK OSMAN NOOR
    THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOMALILAND
    WASHINGTON
    USA
    Cell Phone: 703 224 3449
    Voice Mail: 202 467 0602
    Home Telephone: 703 820 1982
    Email: snoor@sand.com

    REPUBLIC OF DJIBOUTI
    MR. MOHAMED RASHID HAJI YASSIN
    SOMALILAND REPRESENTATIVE
    DJIBOUTI
    MOBILE: 253 851817

    ITALY
    MR. MUHIYADIN AHMED ABDI GABOSE
    CORSO UNIONE SOVIETICA 475
    TORIN
    ITALY

    VISA APPLICATION
    Related to:
    • Work Abroad
    • Study Abroad
    • Business Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    THE TORTOISES AT BETA MARYAM

    by DAO Updated Mar 4, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    BETA MARYAM Church is very hard to find, but this sight is a good reason to find it. They have at least 6 Giant Tortoises happily crawling (slowly) around munching on whatever they can get their mouths on. These land turtles can grow up to 2 meters in length and live to be about 150 years old. These guys are worth a look.

    You can find more information and directions about Beta Maryam here.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Photography
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    THE DERG MONUMENT - PART 1

    by DAO Updated Jun 24, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    This huge obelisk dominates Churchill Avenue and is just over the road from the main Post Office. It is a grotesque tribute to the rise of the Communist Derg (translates as ‘committee’) which was a military junta that seized power in 1974. Their first months were marked by the imprisonment, torture and murder of tens of thousands of innocent Ethiopians. Led by Major Mengistu Haile Mariam, they ruled with bloodthirsty ruthlessness until 1991. This is actually a complex that you pay an entry fee to get into the grounds. The main obelisk is decorated with typical Communist gothic ‘heroic’ figures brandishing guns and ploughshares. It is an absolutely grotesque romantic depiction of the enslavement of a nation. It is a must see to understand the bloodshed of over a decade and even bizarre depictions of the famine deliberately caused by the Derg themselves.

    Open 7 days a week. The ticket seller finds you. There is no ticket office. Just walk up to the gate. They will give you a receipt.

    THE DERG MONUMENT
    Related to:
    • Study Abroad
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    THE FREEDOM TOWER

    by DAO Updated Jul 13, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    Officially this is known as Meyazia 27 Square. Everyone here calls this Arat Kilo. The Victory Monument commemorates the invasion by the fascists Italians in 1936 and the liberation by Emperor Haile Selassie (with British troops) 5 years later. Meyazia 27 on the Ethiopian Calendar was May 5th on the Gregorian Calendar. It is both the day that Addis Ababa was occupied by the Italians and the liberation in 1941. The original monument included a relief of the Emperor Haile Selassie holding the national flag, which was altered during the reign of the communist Derg regime to represent a guerrilla fighter. The EPRDF regime that deposed the Derg restored the Emperor's. The central obelisk is topped by a Lion of Judah. This actually predates the Italian occupation and the surrounding circle of relief figures and panels was added World War II. The President of Ethiopia lays flowers here every Victory Day.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Study Abroad
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Addis Ababa Hotels

Latest Addis Ababa Hotel Reviews

Sheraton Addis
Great (4.0 out of 5.0) 9 Reviews
Ras Hotel
Good (3.0 out of 5.0) 4 Reviews
Dessalegn Hotel
Best (5.0 out of 5.0) 1 Review
Jupiter International Hotel
Bad (2.0 out of 5.0) 1 Review
Damu Hotel
Good (3.0 out of 5.0) 2 Reviews
Beer Garden Inn
Good (3.0 out of 5.0) 1 Review
National Hotel
Good (3.0 out of 5.0) 2 Reviews
Baro Hotel
Very Good (3.5 out of 5.0) 1 Review
Mr. Martins Cozy Place
Great (4.0 out of 5.0) 1 Review
Queen of Sheba Hotel
Great (4.0 out of 5.0) 2 Reviews

Instant Answers: Addis Ababa

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

49 travelers online now

Comments

Addis Ababa Things to Do

Travel tips and advice posted by real travelers and Addis Ababa locals.
Map of Addis Ababa