Poland’s third largest city, Łódź (pronounced “woudge”) is still a little-known destination for the French. Yet, this former industrial city is reinventing itself notably through art and culture. Sometimes called the Polish “Manchester”, Lodz deserves to be known.
What to do in Lodz? What are the essential visits and good addresses? All the information to prepare your stay is in this guide!
Lodz in short
- How to get there? From France, the easiest way is to go to the capital of Poland, Warsaw, then you can reach Lodz in 1h30 by train.
- How to get around? Lodz is a small city that you can easily walk around if you are a good walker. Otherwise, there is a bus and streetcar network.
- When to go there? The weather in Poland is quite similar to that in France, ranging on average from -2° in January to 20° in July. Paradoxically, if the sunshine is the best from May to August, it is also at this time of the year that it rains the most. Each season has its advantages (and disadvantages!).
- How to pay? Although Poland is part of Europe, it is not a member of the Euro zone. The currency used is the Zloty (PLN) with 1 € = 4.8 PLN. Before leaving, remember to check the bank charges for payments in foreign currencies with your bank to avoid unpleasant surprises.
- How to communicate? You will easily be able to communicate in English, a language spoken by most of the employees of tourist places (museums, restaurants, hotels…).
A summary of Lodz’s history
A former industrial city, Lodz grew enormously in the 19th century thanks to the textile industry: between 1820 and 1860, the population of Lodz increased more than 600 times, from 800 to 500,000 inhabitants! During the golden age of the city, Lodz had 1200 factories.
But in the 20th century, wars and the development of the Chinese textile industry made it impossible for Lodz to be competitive and the factories had to close, plunging the city into a serious economic crisis.
It was not until the 1990s that Lodz began its transformation. Thanks to numerous investments, the old factories were rehabilitated into housing, shops, museums, leisure areas… Today, Lodz is a Mecca of culture and creativity.
What to do in Lodz? 12 must-do activities
Go to Manufaktura
The former factory of Izrael Poznański, one of the main industrialists of the city, has been transformed into a vast modern complex where you can now find a beach, a shopping mall with nearly 300 stores, a hotel, a museum or even a swimming pool!
To understand the history of this place, it is imperative to go and discover the museum that preserves the history of the place and shows machines used in the industrial era.
Today, Manufaktura is a lively place, very frequented by the inhabitants, it is a beautiful example of reconversion of the industrial heritage.
Visit the Museum of the City of Lodz
Thirty years after the construction of his factory and faced with the prosperity of his business, Izrael Poznański had a luxurious palace built for himself, which has now become the city’s museum.
The interior of the palace is beautiful, but yet has no architectural coherence, each room having a particular style. A legend says that the architect asked Poznański which style he wanted, to which he replied “I have enough money to have all styles”!
The museum’s collection shows what Lodz looked like in the time of the industrial era and provides a better understanding of the city’s history.
An entire section of the museum is also dedicated to the pianist Arthur Rubinstein, who was born in Lodz and whose wife gave the city several objects that belonged to him.
Walking along Piotrkowska Avenue
Piotrkowska Avenue is the central artery of Lodz, stretching for almost 4 kilometers. With its many stores and restaurants, this avenue is full of life at any time of the day.
What makes this street atypical is also its architecture, since buildings of completely different styles are found side by side.
On one part of the avenue you will find stars on the ground, a bit like in Hollywood, reminding us of the great artists of Polish cinema. Lodz is classified as a “creative city” by UNESCO, in particular because of its internationally renowned film school.
Discover the works of street art
Nearly 70 buildings are decorated with street art. Some of them pay tribute to the history of the city or to its inhabitants like the large fresco dedicated to Artur Rubinstein.
Find the map of the street art on the Lodz tourist office website.
Entering the cathedral
Built at the beginning of the 20th century, this cathedral is 104 meters high which gives it a very slender architecture.
Visit the Museum of Cinema
Housed in the palace of Lodz’s largest industrialist, the film museum celebrates the 7th art, which is very popular here since the city is home to a very famous film school. The museum’s collection of more than 50,000 objects traces the evolution of cinematographic techniques and presents some of the films that were shot in Lodz.
Stroll through Zródliska Park
Located near the Museum of Cinema, this park is home to several hundred-year-old trees. It is a pleasant place for a walk where you can also relax on one of the deck chairs available.
Stroll through the Priest’s Mill district (Księży Młyn)
Located near an old factory, this area has been rehabilitated into a residential area with many small shops and restaurants.
Visit the textile museum
Located in the White Factory, the oldest factory in Lodz recognizable by its white plaster, the Textile Museum shows what made the golden age of the city with many vintage machines.
At the back of the museum, houses have been reconstructed to show what life was like for the workers in each decade. An original way to see the evolution of lifestyles.
Have a drink in Monopolis
As the chimney with the name “Monopolis” on it shows, this place is also a converted former factory. Here you can find offices, restaurants and a cultural center. It’s a beautiful place where the past meets the modern and where you can take a break to recharge your batteries between two walks!
Visit the city zoo
The Lodz zoo preserves several endangered animals. A recently opened area, the “orientarium”, allows you to observe the animals from above and even see the elephants bathing.
Visit the EC1, the science museum
Installed in the former power station of the city, the EC1 is a bit like the Cité des Sciences in Paris, with many interactive devices that allow to understand different scientific concepts in a playful way, something that will please both children and adults. It also has the most modern planetarium in Poland and, by climbing to the top, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the whole city.
Best places in Lodz
Where to sleep?
You will find a wide range of accommodation in Lodz: hotels, guest houses, youth hostels…
During my stay, I went to the Puro hotel which I highly recommend. It is ideally located, in front of Poznanski Palace (the city museum) and Manufaktura. It is also 2 minutes walk from the main avenue where there are many restaurants. It is an establishment with a modern and very pleasant decoration. Moreover the breakfast is very copious, fresh and varied. Ask for a room with a view of the Poznański Palace if possible!
The hotel also has a spa and a private cinema room that you can book to see one of the movies on the menu or just project your Netflix series.
Where to eat? Restaurants in Lodz
Miska, opposite Manufaktura
Miska is the restaurant of the Puro Hotel. It offers a modern, elegant and tasty cuisine in a very pleasant setting. To test absolutely!
Off Piotrkowska, in the heart of the city
Trendy atmosphere in this bar-restaurant located on Piotrkowska Avenue, the main avenue of Lodz. It’s the perfect spot for a moment with friends, you’ll find a nice drink menu and pleasant dishes but in a slightly noisy environment!
Arteria, in Monopolis
In Monopolis, the restaurant Arteria serves gourmet food with beautiful pastries. Weather permitting, choose an outdoor seat so you can enjoy the pleasant surroundings of Monopolis.
Here is an original address that mixes traditional Jewish dishes with Polish working class cuisine. A mix that works quite well and allows you to taste original dishes.
The map of Lodz
Find all the addresses mentioned in this article on this map:
Extend your stay in Poland
If you have time, take advantage of your presence in Poland to discover Warsaw, the capital.
Did you like this article? Pin it on Pinterest!
Article produced in partnership with the Tourist Office of Poland in France