I can’t speak for every expatriate living in Warsaw, but I can tell you that many of us find the winter to be trying. Cold, damp, gray, and very, very long. Yes, this is certainly a First World problem, but it still requires some kind of active survival strategy!
Most people manage to get somewhere sunnier for at least a week or two. But that still leaves us quite a few weekends to occupy. I mean, it’s mid-April here now, and barely spring. It looks like February in Washington, DC. Forsythia just bloomed, and it’s still gray and cold most days. Really, Warsaw?
While in Vienna, I started a “bucket list” of museums and other sights, so I could visit one whenever I was on the verge of losing my mind. I’ve tried to keep that up here as well. It really helps—especially when combined with a lunch out, or a stop for yummy Polish apple pie and ice cream.
So, here is my Gray Sundays Bucket List, for my own use and in case anyone would else would like to use it as a reference! I’ll also put a permanent link to it on the sidebar for as long as we are in Warsaw. ⇒
Please note that some of these posts are about temporary exhibitions at the museums I visited. I always include links to the museum website so you can check to see their current exhibitions and hours. And, here’s a link to a Wikipedia listing of all the museums in Warsaw. from which I pulled my Bucket List.
Reviews and Photos So Far
Warsaw After the War at the Zachęta National Gallery of Art (10/12/15) This particular exhibit has sadly ended, but the museum itself is excellent.
The POLIN Jewish History Museum (10/19/15) Ultra-modern design and huge. Allow a half-day to see the whole thing. Nice cafeteria.
Medieval Art at the National Museum in Warsaw (11/08/15) Awesome displays of rescued medieval Christian art from the destroyed churches of Polish cities.
National Ethnographic Museum (3/13/16) Small, but excellent museum featuring extensive displays of European folk art and costume.
Museum of Polish Independence (and the John Paul II collection) (3/26/16) Quirky little museum of Polish military history with a surprising amount of English translation.
Exploring Warsaw’s Old Powązki Cemetery (3/29/16) Kind of an outdoor museum, really.
Warsaw’s Neon Museum (4/10/16) Small, but totally unique and very cool.
Warsaw’s Botanical Garden (4/17/16) Nice little garden in the heart of the city. Gray skies are no problem, but perhaps better to go when something’s blooming, April to October.
The Palace on the Water (6/20/16) Lovely little Baroque summer palace in the heart of the city, in Lazienka Park.
National Archaeological Museum (8/11/16) Small museum with a quality collection of artifacts collected in and around Poland.
The Automotive and Technology Museum. (9/16/16) If the American Pickers guys had a museum, this would be it. Plus, a Popemobile.
The Dollhouse Museum. (11/20/16) A small but surprisingly interesting museum of miniatures located in the Palace of Culture and Science.
Warsaw Miniatures Park (2/7/17) Actually an exhibit, but large enough to be a small museum. Ten of the first proposed 50 scale models of historic Warsaw buildings.
The Bucket List
The Polish Army Museum. BIG tanks! And planes! And guns! For a day when we can enjoy all the outdoor exhibits (meaning, not absolutely freezing).
Museum of Praga. A small museum about the history of this particularly interesting Warsaw neighborhood. (I visited this but alas, did not find it blog-worthy.)
Warsaw’s Jewish Cemetery. One of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe.
The Chopin Museum. Honestly, I don’t have much interest in classical music. But it’s supposed to be quite innovative and the building is pretty.
The Maria Skłodowska-Curie Museum.Yes, Marie Curie was Polish!
The Mausoleum of Struggle and Martyrdom. I think this would be a bit much on a gray Sunday! But maybe for a sunny day when we can go outside and decompress with a glass of wine afterward.
Visited Once But Need to Go Back
The Museum of Caricature. I actually visited this once, with my son, but I didn’t blog about it. I plan to visit again with my husband who loves cartoons.
Polish Poster Museum. Visited several years ago, must go back. Polish poster art is super cool.
Warsaw Uprising Museum. Visited this enormous, modern, museum several years ago on a weekday along with thousands of screaming Polish kids on school trips. I definitely want to visit again on a weekend when I can read all the information on the exhibits.