It's no secret that Egypt -and Cairo to be specific- can be over-crowded. But, the city does offer a lot of culture in return, and it's definitely worth exploring.
If you happen to be a culture buff, and have yet to experience all the culture Cairo has to offer, then we've got the list for you.
1. The Geographic Society of Egypt has a cool museum
Calling all culture lovers! Located next to the Shura Council in downtown Cairo, The Geographic Society of Egypt, (الجمعية الجغرافية المصرية), has the most interesting little museum that very few seem to know about.
It is made up of several halls which showcase different facets of Egyptian culture, including our favorite: a collection of ethnographic artifacts.
So, if you're into jewelry, traditional wear, old photographs, folkloric handicrafts, then this museum is for you.
Don't expect anything new, shiny, or clean here; this place all about old charm!
The Geographic Society also includes a large, beautifully decorated lecture hall and a library dedicated to geography and cartography.
2. Makan - the Egyptian Center for Culture and Arts
Makan is one of many hidden gems in the downtown area. It is a sweet little space that hosts many Egyptian folk-music performers on a regular basis. The atmosphere is unpretentious and intimate.
The center also conducts research on Egyptian music traditions. If you're interested to learn more about their work, you should check out their YouTube channel.
3. CLUSTER's walking tours of Downtown
You have the option to choose from any of their six themed walking tours: the literary tour, the biking tour, the cinematic city tour, the Last and Lost photography tour, and the modernist architecture tour.
Although Cluster no longer leads these tours, you can go on their website and print the maps they provide and walk the tour yourself!
The maps are also available in their office, downtown.
4. Explore historic Cairo
Home to the greatest concentration of medieval architectural treasures in the Islamic world according to a United Nations study, Moez Li Din Allah Alfatimi street was originally conceived of as a palatial city exclusive to the Fatimids.
This area remained the center of power in the Middle East throughout the medieval period, and is home to what is widely considered to be some of the most beautiful historic buildings.
But if that's too mainstream for you, then you should explore the masterpieces in the alleys and back streets of that area.
You won't need a map, or a tour guide, as almost every corner is filled to the brim with culture. Consider it an urban adventure with you as the main explorer.
5. The City of the Dead awaits your visit
The City of the Dead is another amazing example of an urban adventure just waiting to happen. This underrated area boasts some of the greatest Mamluk architecture.
Need an example?
Take out a one pound note and look at the mosque on the back. If its good enough to be printed on it, it's clearly a place you should visit!
Also known as Al Arafa, or the northern cemetery, the City of the Dead is built among a sprawling and historic cemetery of Cairo's past.
Must see attractions include: the mosque of Sultan Qaitbay, the Khanqah of Sultan Farag ibn Barkuk, and the complex of Amir Qurqumas.
6. Go gallery hopping
Both Zamalek and downtown Cairo are filled with contemporary art galleries. Plot your route-hop through several galleries and end your day with a meal at one of the local restaurants.
See what this city's art scene has to offer and support our local artists - you will not be disappointed.
7. Go (oldschool) bar hopping
If drinking is a preferred pastime of yours, you are no doubt well acquainted with bar hopping.
But have you been to any of the old bars in downtown Cairo? It's a not-to-be-missed experience. Grab a quick drink in each of these spots before moving onto the next.
8. Early Friday morning stroll
Soak up the early sun in one of Cairo's most beautiful places and it'll definitely put you in the right mood to enjoy the rest of the day, or maybe even week!
Cairo is vastly different when most of its residents are tucked away in bed.
Go to the usually hustling and bustling city center and enjoy its haunting stillness. Take photos, look around, get curious, walk in the middle of the street (just because you can), and appreciate the hodgepodge of store signs - things you can't really enjoy during normal hours.
Recommended spots include: Zamalek, Downtown and Korba.
9. Picnicking at AlAzhar Park
Cairo is in great need of more public gardens. Luckily for us, Al Azhar park is still as beautiful today as it was on the day it opened.
Pack a lunch, gather some good friends and spend the day enjoying the weather and spectacular views. The sunset skyline of minarets is not to be missed.
10. Wekalet AlGhuri traditional dance performances
Who doesn't love a good tanoora show? Wekalet AlGhuri, located near Al Azhar mosque, hosts a spectacular tanoora show every Saturday, Monday and Wednesday at 7:30pm.
This is a rare example of an historic building being used for such a purpose and should be taken advantage of - the ambiance is spectacular to say the least. Make sure to get there early as seats are usually fully booked!