Set high on a plateau, Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa—meaning “New Flower” in Amharic—has long been nectar for curious culture seekers. Markets burst with hand-woven textiles, the soaring domes of Orthodox cathedrals dot the cityscape, and the cuisine is a reflection of the city’s many rich layers.
As legend has it, a goat herder discovered coffee beans in Ethiopia in the 10th century making this the birthplace of coffee. Stop in for an expertly roasted and brewed cup at TO.MO.CA. This family owned roasting company opened in 1953 and is the city’s oldest coffee shop.Learn More
In small corrugated tin stalls, berbere, mitmita, and turmeric form peaked heaps in enamel bowls like small rust-hued mountains at this sprawling bazaar just west of the city center. Divided into a maze of sections, this open-air market stretches for miles. Artisans weave baskets in alleyways of straw, while vendors display their brilliantly colored tapestries and earth-toned beads in a region of handicrafts at this Addis Ababa landmark.
Renowned as one of the most extraordinary riding landscapes in the world, the stunning countryside, just a half hour from Addis Ababa, is a paradise for equestrians. Saddle up and head out on the arid plateau of Ethiopia’s high plains with a local guide. Explore secluded villages near serene ponds and quiet churches in juniper forests.
The stunning neo-baroque structure, completed in 1942, was built to commemorate Ethiopia’s liberation from Italy. The city’s highest ranking Orthodox cathedral, it houses the mausoleum of the Emperor Haile Selassie and his wife, Empress Menen. Their twin granite tombs lie beneath illuminated windows of gold, red, green, and purple glass. Scarlet carpets stretch out beneath a soaring domed ceiling where soft pink clouds and colorful angels hover above orange flames and winged demons.
Cultural interests in cuisine and art converge at Mukush Art Gallery in the trendy Bole neighborhood. Mukush is an art gallery with an eponymous Italian restaurant. Browse wood carvings, furniture and paintings from 70 young and emerging artists. Dine on classic Italian dishes such as bruschetta and lasagna with a glass of wine in the art-packed gallery. If tempted to buy, paintings can be framed and shipping arranged.Learn More
Spend a half day hiking up through forest thick with pine and eucalyptus trees, or hire a guided tour by car to the top of Mount Entoto. Either way, the panoramic views from the highest point overlooking city is well worth a climb or drive. Breathe in the fragrant flora of this protected natural parkland referred to as the “lung of Addis Ababa.”
Designer Salem Kassahun began by selling her glass bead and gemstone statement piece necklaces to friends, and an idea was sparked to build a collective for Ethiopian handicrafts. Part workshop and part boutique, Salem’s brings skilled cotton and basket weavers, beading experts and jewelry artists together to continue rich Ethiopian creative traditions.Learn More
Indulge in a water-world of indoor and outdoor swimming pools with underwater music, sauna, and Jacuzzi. A full menu of signature massage therapies and mineral body scrubs are also on offer at Aqva Club.
Dance the night away as DJs spin world music for a cosmopolitan crowd at the Gaslight Night Club, a high-energy late-night playground with multiple bars and lounge areas.Learn More
Indulge in an intimate evening at the private restaurant Les Arcades. Exceptional French fare and an expansive wine list help set the mood for any celebration.Learn More