Top 10: Best Free Things to Do in Tbilisi

Like A Local Guide • 19 Nov, 2019

Nowadays you have to pay for even the simplest things and it can be quite hard to find anything that’s totally free, even in a city as hospitable as Tbilisi. Daria has tried her hardest to uncover the best things visitors can do and see for free in her home city.

1. Visit the founding father of modern Georgia

Mtatsminda Pantheon is one of those places with a nice panorama and a peaceful atmosphere. To the people of Tbilisi, it’s sort of like a local Montparnasse as lots of famous poets and artists rest in peace there. One of the most significant people you can “visit” there is the writer, politician, public leader and founding father of modern Georgia, Ilia Chavchavadze. You can walk up to the Pantheon from Besiki Street, or walk down from Mtatsminda Park, which is situated at the top of Mount Mtatsminda. The funicular is always an option, of course, but it costs 2 lari. Since we’re talking about truly free things, walking is a pleasant way to enjoy the fresh air and burn the calories you gained during your hearty Georgian lunch.

Photo credit: Daria Kholodilina

2. Walk or exercise in the Vake district

Vake Park is the biggest park in Tbilisi that’s not located on the top of a hill. This makes it a good place to take a romantic stroll, play with your kids, cycle, jog or just be with your own thoughts. There are also ping-pong tables so remember to bring along your rackets and a ball!

Around a 30-minute walk from Vake Park there’s a nice little lake called Turtle Lake (Kus Tba in Georgian) with several cafés, boat rentals and children’s playgrounds, and a small exercise area for everyone. You can also take a taxi for 3–5 lari, but we’re talking about free stuff, right?

Photo credit: Shawn Basey

3. Check out vintage and modern handmade products at Tbilisi Flea Market

In the summertime (from mid-April to the end of September), Tbilisi Flea Market takes place in Dedaena Park every two or three weeks. You can browse contemporary handmade goods, listen to music and meet the hip Tbilisi youth. In the other part of the park just across the Dry Bridge, you’ll find elderly people selling genuine vintage items ranging from accessories and plates to their grandmother’s purses, which are apparently super trendy now. This part of the flea market takes place every Sunday in all seasons, although rain or snowfall may cause an exception. It´s also possible to book a tour with a local guide to spend a few hours wandering around Tbilisi’s largest markets.

Photo credit: Irakli Habashidze

4. Listen to live music

Some bars in Tbilisi such as Dive, Riffer, Drunk Owl, Canudos and Zoestan host live music evenings with free entry. Obviously you can buy drinks and snacks, but generally the music is free for everyone to enjoy!

Photo credit: Zoestan

5. Attend a local event

The vegan community café Kiwi Café and the social bar Generator 9.8 host free lectures and workshops that are run by volunteers. You could also attend a Tbilisi Language Exchange Club meeting or a Book Swap session. If you’re interested in attending any of these events, you’ll need to join the respective Facebook groups for more details.

Photo credit: Generator 9.8

6. Take a walk in the Vera district

The Vera district is one of the loveliest and oldest districts in Tbilisi, with houses from the 19th and 20th centuries, trees and small shops. It’s a nice place to walk, especially during spring and autumn. Akhvlediani and Kiacheli Streets in Lower Vera are lined with loud pubs, while the cosy streets of Zandukeli and Barnovi in Upper Vera are quieter. It’s fun to get lost and found in this district! At the end of your walk you’ll find a nice café and vintage shop called O Moda Moda. You’ll definitely like it!

Photo cerdit: Thomas Depenbusch

7. Discover the Georgian Stonehenge

Yes, Tbilisi also has a Stonehenge! It’s not that old and we know it was built by Zurab Tsereteli, but in any case, it offers an alternative perspective of the city. You’ll see rustic living quarters and learn more about Georgian history as you’ll basically be surrounded by all of the important Georgian kings, saints and scholars. No need to be afraid – they’re kind to their guests.

Photo credit: Daria Kholodilina

8. Admire traditional Georgian jewellery

Traditional Georgian enamel, minankar, is worth seeing, if not buying. It’s not cheap, but it’s beautiful and makes a great present. If you simply want to admire these handcrafted masterpieces, just walk into the minankari gallery on Erekle II Street or visit Meidan Bazaar in the very heart of Tbilisi.

Photo credit: Daria Kholodilina

9. Taste Georgian wine

I’m not kidding – wine tasting is totally free in many local wine shops! Just walk along Kote Apkhazi (Leselidze) Street, find a wine shop and ask to try some. I recommend these two: Vinoground – an old cellar with great selection of artisan wine and fun staff, and Vinotheca – a more modern wine shop with a big assortment of wines and brandies.

If you are willing to spend a bit and combine wine tasting with discovering the old town of Tbilisi the perfect choice is booking a private tour with a local guide.

Photo credit: Dariko

10. Enjoy live jazz at the Movement Theatre

Performances at this place are usually pretty good and understandable even for non-Georgians. While they’re not free of charge, you can always listen to live jazz concerts and jam sessions in the theatre’s foyer! They usually take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Check the schedule on their Facebook page for more details.

Photo credit: JAZZ at Movement Theatre

For more local recommendations read:
What locals like to do in Tbilisi
Where locals like to eat in Tbilisi
Where locals like to party in Tbilisi

Special tip: For a more authentic Tbilisi experience, get the Like A Local mobile app

Like A Local Guide
Like A Local Guide is about stepping off the tourist trail and finding cool and cosy spots where locals like to spend their time. We built a website and mobile app to bring insider recommendations from around the world to your fingertips.

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