1. VISIT THE CAFESJIAN CENTER FOR THE ARTS
The Cafesjian Center for the Arts is dedicated to bringing the best of contemporary art to Armenia and presenting the best of Armenian culture to the world. You can visit its open air exposition of sculptures in front of and on the stairs of the Cascade, as well as visit the galleries inside. The galleries on the first two floors are free.
2. WANDER AROUND VERNISSAGE MARKET
Almost every traveler who comes to Yerevan, visits the Vernissage market. Located just next to the Republic Square, the market operates on weekends. From old Soviet items to souvenirs and art pieces, here you can almost everything. And although the prices for the souvenirs are always overpriced here (be prepared to bargain), it is still fun to walk around the stalls and communicate with sellers.
3. EXPLORE ARMENIAN CARPET WEAVING
The Tufenkian Carpets Armenia showroom, located about 2-minute walking distance from the Republic Square, is the right place for those who are interested in the ancient art of carpet weaving in Armenia. The large showroom is somewhat a museum of Armenian carpets and coverlets and you get a chance to witness the process of carpet weaving.
Address: 48 Hanrapetutyan St.
You can contact them via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone number (+374 60 501 030). Learn more on Tufenkian Yerevan’s website or Facebook Page.
4. WATCH the SINGING & DANCING FOUNTAINS SHOW at the REPUBLIC SQUARE
The singing and dancing fountains at the Republic Square of Yerevan attract both travelers and locals. Operating between spring and fall, the fountains include a colorful light show and feature not only classical music, but also pop, rock and jazz. The shows begin at around 9 PM.
5. LEARN ARMENIAN FOLK DANCES
Every year, between the months of May and September, the KARIN folk dance group organizes a series of mass dancing events at the Cafesjian Sculpture Garden in front of the Cascade. Known as “We and Our Dances”, the events are open to everyone willing to learn traditional Armenian dances. The dances take place every last Friday or Saturday of the month at around 7.00 o’clock in the evening. For further information about the events proceed to the official Facebook page of Karin Folk-Dance Group.
6. FEEL the BREATH of OLD YEREVAN
Located within the boundaries of the city center, Kond is one of the oldest districts of Yerevan. Wandering along the narrow streets of Kond, you can discover its hidden secrets and meet its inhabitants, who will gladly invite your over to their homes for a cup of coffee.
Some of Yerevan’s old buildings can be found around Buzand and Aram streets, while such important streets of the Old Yerevan as Abovyan St., Tumanyan St., Nalbandyan St. are today a part of the modern city. Among the remains of the old city are the Yerevan Fortress in the Hrazdan gorge and the Red Bridge below the NOY brandy-wine-vodka factory.
7. TAKE A FREE WALKING TOUR IN YEREVAN
Photo provided by Vako Armeno
The free walking city tours are organized by the co-founder of the Travelers’ Club of Armenia; Vako Armeno, a diasporan Armenian artist who moved to Armenia 17 years ago. The tours last around 2.5 hours and include over 25 Yerevan points of interest and stories as well as general information about Armenia – from history to culture, from art to recent events… You can join them any day, but by reservation ONLY by calling or sending an sms to +374 93 498985 or a message to Yerevan Free Walking Tour’s Facebook Page. The group usually meets by the public drinking water fountains on the Republic Square of Yerevan.
8. LEARN ABOUT THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute opened its doors in 1995, concurrently commemorating the eightieth anniversary of the Genocide. The museum provides guided tours in Armenian, Russian, English, French and German. It is open on Tuesday-Sunday from 11.00 AM till 4.00 PM and is closed on Mondays. Also, the museum is closed on official holidays (December 30, 31, January 1-6, March 8, May 1, 9, 28, July 5, September 21), but holds extended hours of operation for April 24th. Admission FREE for everyone. To get here you can take minibuses 27, 46 and the bus 57 from the bus stop near the Opera House, and get off at the Sports and Concerts Complex after the Kiyevyan bridge, and then walk up the hill to the memorial.
9. EXPLORE ARMENIAN CULTURE AT NAREGATSI ART INSTITUTE
The Naregatsi Art Institute – a nonprofit organization created in 2000, is devoted to presenting Armenian culture to the world and bringing a world of culture to Armenia through education and the arts. They organize various exhibitions, concerts, movie screenings, workshops and master classes – a great opportunity to explore the cultural life of Yerevan. All events are FREE of charge. For more information, visit Naregatsi Art Institute’s website, or Facebook page. And check out their events calendar.
Address: 16/1 Vardanants street, Yerevan.
10. ENCOUNTER PERSIAN CULTURE
The Blue Mosque of Yerevan, completed during the years of 1764-1768, is located in the center of the city, on Mashtots Avenue, just in front of the former Covered Market (now a Yerevan City supermarket). The mosque is open to visitors every day from 10.00 AM to 1.00 PM and from 3.00 PM to 6.00 PM. Activities include praying ceremonies, Persian language classes, exhibitions.
11. LEARN NEW SKILLS WITH “HARTAK” FESTIVAL
12. DRINK CHINESE TEA WITH STRANGERS
“Tea with Strangers” is a project that was funded by Awesome Foundation’s Yerevan Chapter. In fact, this project is run by me and Nane. The idea is simple: we take our tea sets, go sit in public places (parks, squares, streets, etc.), prepare tea according to Chinese traditions, and invite complete strangers to join us for a cup of tea! We introduce the tea, ourselves, they introduce themselves. We share our stories, they share theirs. We take photos. People leave, we’ll probably never see them again. They continue their way, we stay and greet new strangers. Same-same, but different. Different stories, different lives.
Check out the project’s website for more information:
Usually, the sessions (date/time/location) are announced on the Facebook page of the project, so if you want to enjoy free Chinese tea and meet new friends in Yerevan, follow the “Tea with Strangers” Facebook Page.
13. ATTEND FREE MOVIE SCREENINGS & EXHIBITIONS
Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art
ACCEA is a contemporary art institution active in Yerevan. The Center hosts art and photo exhibitions, performances, movie screenings, book presentations and various other events. Check the ACCEA events schedule on their website or Facebook Page.
The Screenery is an independent project that helps and supports artists and their works in Yerevan by way of film screenings and art exhibitions. You can check their Facebook Page or WordPress Blog for art exhibition & movie schedules.
14. VISIT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ARMENIA
OK, this one is a little tricky. The usual entrance free is 800 AMD for adults and 300 AMD for schoolchildren, students and pensioners. But entrance is FREE for children of age 7 and under, art students, Artists Union Members, veterans, disabled people, museum workers, delegations and servicemen. So if you belong to any of the mentioned groups, you can get in for free. And if you don’t, well, entrance is FREE for all the visitors of the National Gallery of Armenia on last Saturdays of each month.
Working hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11:00-17:30 (last admission 17:00) ; Sunday 11:00-17:00 (last admission 16:15). The gallery is closed on Mondays.
Address: 1 Aram Street (Entrance from Republic Square).
For more information about ongoing exhibitions, visit the website of the National Gallery of Armenia.
15. ENJOY FREE CONCERTS at CALUMET
“Calumet” ethnic lounge bar, one of the most popular bars in Yerevan, hosts free acoustic concerts every Monday – a good chance for a traveler to get introduced to local bands and music culture. The bar is located in the center of Yerevan.
Address: 56A Pushkin Street.
Check schedule in their Facebook group.
16. VISIT AEON TIME CLUB FOR FREE
If you’re a member of Couchsurfing, BeWelcome, TrustRoots or WarmShowers, you can visit Aeon Time Club and spend half an hour for free there. Only one condition – your profile needs to be at least 1-year-old. All you have to do is show your profile to the manager at the entrance, go inside and spend your free 30 minutes for whatever you need – drink tea/coffee with biscuits, check your mail/social networks, play boardgames, etc. AEON is a time club, first of its kind in Yerevan. Here you only pay for the time spent and use the services for free. You can check AEON’s Facebook page, or their website.
Address: 3A Teryan Street (entrance from Pushkin st.; next to Pushkin-Teryan intersection).
17. MEET THE CYCLING COMMUNITY OF YEREVAN
Photo by VeloClub
If you’re a cyclist, then this one’s for you! Velo Club – an Armenian cycling club based in Yerevan organizes free cycling tours around Yerevan and Armenia every week. You can learn about their upcoming tours and trips on their Facebook page. If you don’t have a bicycle, they’ll help you find (or rent) one. And if you still don’t know how to ride a bike, they organize free lessons when the weather is warm (check the date/time via their facebook page dedicated to free lessons). This is also a great opportunity to meet with the members of the cyclists’ community of Yerevan.
18. TAKE FREE YOGA CLASSES
If you’re into yoga then you might want to get a free yoga class at “Rainbow Inside You” yoga school. The school now holds its classes in the parks. Classes start at 10:00 AM on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and at 6:15 PM on Mondays and Thursdays. Note, that only the first class is free of charge.
Another option is to visit the Yoga Federation of Armenia and get one yoga class for free there. For more details, contact the Vice-President of the Federation via his Facebook Profile
19. BUILD YOUR MUSCLES WITH STREET WORKOUT ARMENIA
Photo by Street Workout Armenia
Street Workout Armenia is a non-profit public organization founded in 2012. Their mission is to promote mass sports, outdoor workout and healthy lifestyle in Armenia. The outdoor workouts and training sessions take place every Saturday and Sunday. People of all ages are welcomed to join the workouts. It’s FREE of charge, and all you have to do is visit their workout playground located in the Buenos Aires park next to the “Armenia” state medical center on Margaryan street. For more information, check out Street Workout Armenia’s Facebook Page.
20. REST IN THE PARKS
Lover’s Park, Mashtots Park, English Park, Saryan Park, Victory Park, Children’s Railway… these are only few of the parks in Yerevan located within a walking distance from the city center. Lover’s Park, Mashtots Park and Saryan Park are good for those who need to take a rest after walking and exploring the city, while the Victory Park and Children’s Railway can be nice options for outdoor picnics within the city.
21. PLAY OUTDOOR CHESS
Armenia is known to be the first country in the world to make chess mandatory in schools. Those who follow the chess world happenings probably know how popular is this game among Armenians. And it’s no surprise that in Yerevan there’s an outdoor chess set for everyone to play. It’s located just next to the Moscow Cinema on Abovyan street.
22. PLAY the PUBLIC PIANO
The idea behind Hasmik Evoyan’s Public Piano project is simple: put a piano in one of the public areas of Yerevan and motivate strangers to play it. This project, too, was funded by The Awesome Foundation’s Yerevan chapter. The public piano is available at the Mashtots Park in the center of the city.
23. TEA SOSPESO – VISIT CHINESE TEA ROOM FOR FREE
Aeon Tea Club recently launched a new offer – hanging tea. Similar to the concept of the caffè sospeso (suspended, or pending, or hanging coffee) that originated in Italy, the tea club offers free entrance if there’s any hanging tea available. Basically, it’s an entrance fee paid for in advance as an anonymous act of charity. If you’re tight on budget, but want to have a few cups of Chinese tea, you can check if there’s any tea sospeso available at the tea club. The quantity of available pre-paid tea is announced on the tea club’s Facebook page or here.
24. PICK UP FREE BOOKS
There are free books are available at AEON Time Club mentioned above, where they have a book exchange corner. You can pick up a book from there, or leave your book for others to read. AEON is located next to Teryan-Pushkin intersection.
There are sometimes also free books and magazines in Armenian, Persian and English available at the entrance of the Blue Mosque, located on the Mashtots avenue, just in front of the former Covered Marked (now, Yerevan City supermarket).
25. BROWSE the WEB
Every hostel, hotel, cafe, restaurant, pub or bar in Yerevan offers free WiFi. Public WiFi spots are also available near the Cascade Complex, at the Lover’s Park, Republic Square, in the metro stations, at the Swan Lake near Opera. Some buses and bus stops in the center of the city are also sharing free WiFi connection, just look for the appropriate sign.
26. FREE CITY/COUNTRY MAPS AND TOURIST INFORMATION
You can pick up free city/country maps for Yerevan and Armenia in every hostel and hotel of the city. Unfortunately, there’s isn’t a proper tourist information center in the city, but you can get all the information you need at the Envoy hostel. A small tourist information corner is also present at AEON Time Club. Their staff members are travelers themselves, and what’s more important – they can provide you with hitchhiking related information.
27. GET A FREE HAIRCUT
If you need to get a new haircut, you can actually have it for free, too. The students of the Zverev Hairdressing Academy located in the center of Yerevan offer free hairdressing service to anyone who is brave enough to trust his head to the newbies of the hairdressing world. In this way, students get a chance to practice their skills, while visitors get free haircuts. I visited the place last year, and although I felt myself a guinea pig, nevertheless I got exactly what I wanted! Oh, and don’t worry, the more experienced masters are always there to observe the process, and if anything goes wrong, they will fix it.
Address: 24 Saryan Street.
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