We will take you through the highlights of Tashkent, the other sights and museums of interest, tips on finding interesting events and diving into the nightlife, and Tashkent for kids and families. Finally, we give some ideas for excursions outside Tashkent.
Traditional highlights for first-time visitors are the Chorsu bazaar and Khast Imam complex. A walk through Old Tashkent connects the 2 sites with a host of other interesting places in the area. The Sheikhantaur Mausoleums are a bit further off, signaling the end of Old Tashkent.
If you prefer to have a look at New Tashkent instead, try these 2 walks: through the central axis, and along the Anhor Canal. Running through the heart of the capital, they disclose Soviet Tashkent to the first-time visitor.
Museum-wise, the State History Museum and the Fine Arts Museum are the 2 big draws if you are into history and art. If you are absolutely not, perhaps you can skip them in favor of eating ice cream and people-watching.
Despite its size and seeming uniformity, exploring the backstreets and more distant corners of Tashkent on foot can be very rewarding. If you are the type, you know what I mean. Takes time though. If you speak Russian, you can join locals organising off-the-beaten track tours on weekends at the X-Places Facebook group.
Other sights and museums
Tashkent’s Applied Arts Museum suits aficionados of applied arts – others will be satisfied by what they see on bazaars and tourist sites around the country.
If the Fine Arts Museum was not enough for you, pop into the Academy of Arts & the nearby K. Behzod Miniature Gallery, as well as the National Art Gallery.
Interested in politics? You must make a pilgrimage to the former palace of Karimov and snap his golden statue. Along the Anhor Canal, the TV Tower and the Minor mosque are both a sight to behold, and also revealing of the time period in which they were constructed.
If you are a market person: there are plenty of other bazaars and flea markets in Tashkent besides Chorsu.
The following attractions fall into the special interest section:
- Tamara Khanum house museum & other house museums of Tashkent
- Botanical Garden
- Ming Orik excavations
- Kukcha Mosque & Sheik Zayneddin mausoleum
- Zengi-Ata mausoleum
- Tashkent Railway museum
- Museum of Olympic Glory
Events, culture and nightlife
In the evening, a visit to the opera offers fantastic value-for-money without the need for language skills. If you do speak Russian, try to catch a show from the famous Ilkhom theatre company or the Russian Academic Theatre (Otaturk 24).
The State Conservatory (Abai/Batyra Zakirov str.) often has concerts on (+99871 2445320, +99871 2449508). Adventurous culture mavens might dare to attend a show of an Uzbek-language company – Mukimi (187 Olmazar/Gafurov str) and Khamza (34 Navoi str) are the biggest ones. For something lighter: even without children as an excuse, you can still catch a circus matinee.
For a city of this size, there is not as much nightlife as you would expect. There are some nice theme bars if you plan to tipple, as well as tons of karaoke places. Restaurants with a deejay or a guy on a keyboard are not in short supply either; Uzbeks are into merry-making and dance floors fill up easily any day of the week.
Nonetheless, a lot of dancing is wedding-related. If you happen to see one, don’t be shy to announce yourself as a foreigner. You are doing them a favour by inviting yourself in, as a foreign guest is a sign of good luck. Besides, they have plenty of food. You are making sure they don’t have to eat the same thing over and over for the next 2 weeks.
Clubs and discos, as far as we have experienced them, are places for the Instagram generation: bad music, pricey drinks and all about the looks, the selfie and the pick-up. As a foreigner you can get away with a bit of scruffiness, but dress to impress if you want to be sure to get in.
We currently do not have the resources to recommend nightlife favourites and keep up with changes. Instead, we started a Going out in Tashkent forum thread – we welcome your recommendations.
Things to do with kids in Tashkent
Broadway, the pedestrianised area between Amir Timur Square and Sharaf Rashidov street, has fun games and activities for kids.
Tashkentland, near the Expocenter and the Bodomzor metro stop, is an amusement park (haven’t been). Tashkent’s zoo is not a modern zoo, but one of the cheapest places in the world to see a giraffe for sure.
Things to do around Tashkent
To escape the summer heat, locals head for the beach at Charvak Lake and onwards into the Chimgan mountains. The chapter on trekking in Uzbekistan is one that still needs to be written, so for now, you’re on your own here.
Rafting the rivers in the area is another option. Contact us if you are interested, we are happy to get you in touch with the right people.