Tashkent’s history as the capital city of Uzbekistan dates back only to 1930. Before that, it primarily served as a bustling trade hub in the Central Asian region, while Samarkand held the position of the country’s capital and housed many of its significant monuments.
Due to this historical background, Tashkent may not boast the same level of historical infrastructure as some other Uzbek cities. However, it more than compensates for this by emerging as the dominant modern city of the nation. Tashkent stands out as the epicenter of contemporary culture, offering the best restaurants, the most modern cafes, and the trendiest bars for you to explore.
Even if you only have a short stay in Uzbekistan make sure you spend a couple of days in Tashkent as it has plenty of tourist activities to offer.
In this post we share 12 fun things to do in Tashkent.
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1. Amusment Parks
Whilst you probably weren’t expecting this to top the list of things to do when surrounded by Soviet and Muslim architecture, Tashkent is home to a curious number of theme parks.
Other websites rarely cover this fun aspect of the city so we thought we’d bring it to attention.
Dotted around the city are around a dozen small and medium sized theme parks. Unlike back at home entry is free and you just pay for whatever rides or activities you wish. There’s a really cheerful yet laid-back atmosphere in these places and you’ll see couples and young families strolling around enjoying sweets and drinks in the sun.
There’s a nostalgic Soviet feel to some of the older rides whilst the modern ones are similar to what you might expect back home. These parks are always busy and the local kids love them!
Three of the most popular parks are Ankhor Lokomotiv, Magic City Park and Central Park Tashkent, all easily reachable within the city.
Go to Ankhor Lokomotiv Park to find some of the biggest rides and rollercoasters as well as go-karting and central Asia’s largest Ferris wheel.
You can get a great view of the city if you ride the wheel and you’ll even find a mini city in the center of the park! Styled like the old cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, here you’ll find a labyrinth of restaurants and souvenir shops.
Magic City Park on the other hand is Tashkent’s version of Disneyland. Looking like an illuminated fairy tale street, the park offers a number of rides, an aquarium, a cinema and has regular firework shows.
If you’re travelling with kids this would be a great way to spend a few hours but might be a miss for a group of adults only.
2. Ride The Tashkent Metro
What’s the best rated thing to do in Tashkent according to Trip Advisor?
Ride the metro!?
The trains themselves are nothing out of the ordinary but the metro gains its popularity for its uniquely decorated stations including chandeliers, mosaics, artworks and more.
Each station has a different theme and they offer some really great opportunities for photos. The Kosmonavtlar metro station has a theme based on space, including murals for the famous Soviet cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin and Valentina Tereshkova.
A single journey between any two stations costs a flat fee of around $0.15 and your ticket is valid as long as you stay within the metro system.
So why not enjoy what is probably the world’s cheapest tourist attraction and go station hopping on the Tashkent metro.
We wouldn’t necessarily agree that it’s the top Tashkent tourist attraction but it’s definitely worth riding at least one time!
3. Enjoy an Elevated Dining Experience At Tashkent TV Tower
The Tashkent TV Tower, towering at a height of 375m, is a prominent landmark visible from all corners of the city. Besides serving as a broadcasting tower, it also doubles up as a popular tourist attraction, offering some of the most breathtaking views of the city.
Recently, in 2022, the tower underwent renovations, and the restaurant, in particular, received significant improvements. Positioned at an elevation of 109m, the restaurant offers an amusing and unique dining experience with its rotating floor, allowing visitors to enjoy panoramic vistas as they dine.
4. Alay Bazaar
Every tourist will hear about Chorsu Bazaar but fewer will experience Alay Bazaar (Oloy Bozori in Uzbek language).
This is the place to buy many local treats such as honey, nuts, yoghurt and spices.
Many locals go to Alay Bazaar for its good quality meat, fruit and vegetables. It’s apparently where the president also does his food shopping so it’s known to be incredibly well regulated and only stock the best quality foods.
Just like all bazaars, prices can be negotiated. If you don’t like to haggle, take an Uzbek friend or accept you’ll pay a little extra. In any case, the atmosphere at Alay Bazaar is friendly enough just for a stroll around and a glance at the rainbow of fruits and vegetables they sell.
In addition to that, the market also offers a variety of other products such as meat and dairy, fresh flowers and plants, as well as luxurious imported food items. Moreover, you’ll come across a separate building selling gold and silver jewelry.
Planning on visiting Tashkent? Find out the top hotels in Tashkent.
5. Parks and Gardens
Despite it’s population of over 2 million people, Tashkent rarely feels densely populated. The city is spread out over a large area and has well over a dozen parks and gardens where the locals go to relax.
Due to the heat, they’re quite empty during the day time but really come to life at night with young and old alike.
Our personal favourites are Park V Tashkente and Ecopark.
Park V Tashkente is a small lively park packed with families, couples, skaters, cyclists, buskers, street vendors and tourists. You can play table tennis, take kids on small rides, find shashlik restaurants, listen to live music or just relax on the benches.
Tashkent Ecopark is famous for its lake, fountain and bridges and popular for jogging, badminton, football, and volleyball. It also has a cafe with some really nice views of the lake.
RELATED POST: Best Areas and Where To Stay in Tashkent.
6. Take a day tour to the mountains
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Uzbekistan’s countryside and embark on an exhilarating 5-star rated mountain tour in Tashkent.
Leave the city behind and venture to the majestic Chimgan mountains for a day of awe-inspiring landscapes and exciting activities. Enjoy horse riding and thrilling quadricycle (buggy) rides in the picturesque Chimgan Valley, with the impressive Greater Chimgan peak towering above.
Explore the renowned Amirsoy resort, a world-class ski destination that brings joy to both locals and tourists. Then, indulge in optional boat rides, jet skiing, and paragliding sessions over the pristine blue waters of the enchanting Charvak Reservoir, known as the Pearl of Tian Shan Mountains.
This 5-star rated tour has received glowing reviews from solo travelers, families, and outdoor enthusiasts, making it a must-do adventure in Uzbekistan. Book now and get ready for an extraordinary journey through the heart of Tashkent’s scenic wonders.
7. Amir Timur Square and Monument
You can’t go to Tashkent without at least a short trip to Amir Timur square.
Born in 1336, Timur (also known as Tamerlane) was a descendent of Genghis Khan and an all around jolly chap. A barbarous conqueror famous for the Timurid Empire stretching from modern day Turkey all the way to India, he was also quite partial to art and literature.
You can visit his statue in the center of the city at Amir Timur Square which is a small green area with fountains surrounded by other grand buildings such as the Ministry of Justice, a university, a couple of trendy restaurants and bars, and even the Amir Timur Museum.
The park is not that big so once you’ve finished celebrating bloodthirsty warriors, you might want to stroll down Sailgokh Street alongside Kashgar park, which feels almost like a fairground.
The street is lit up at night and you can play street games, get a personal portrait, eat junk food and buy art from local artists. It’s open during the day but has a much better vibe at night when it gets busier.
8. Eat Tashkent Plov
Each region of Uzbekistan has a different variation of national dish plov and the Tashkent version fries and mixes the main ingredients from the start. It is traditionally cooked in a giant cast iron pot in the street, over a wood fire.
Located behind Tashkent Tower, Plov Center is a huge, no-frills plov restaurant, popular with foreigners and Uzbeks alike. The place can seat hundreds of guests and is a great place for a local experience of plov. They only open for two short periods a day and we advise to go for lunch between 12 and 1pm.
Read more about dining in Tashkent.
9. Shop For Soviet Souvenirs
Walk around some of the parks and you’ll spot elderly people selling all kinds of Soviet memorabilia such as war badges, old shoes, art work, telephones and all kinds of old and broken things you wouldn’t ever have a use for.
Here is where speaking a little Russian would be helpful but it’s not necessary. You can haggle over the price of a little second hand souvenir with a long backstory to it if you can understand the language. Either way it can be interesting just to look at what’s on offer.
Planning on visiting Uzbekistan? Read more about travel in Tashkent.
10. Soviet Architecture
Like all former Soviet cities, Tashkent offers an impressive number of not-so-impressive block-shaped buildings typical of the architecture of the times.
One example is the iconic ‘Hotel Uzbekistan’, which towers over Amir Timur square. Looking like a folded Lego brick, this previously grand hotel would have been highly regarded at its opening in 1974.
It’s still in operation but it’s not quite the behemoth it maybe once was. Google Maps rates the hotel at a paltry 3.7 stars so you might want to explore its lobby and surroundings rather than stay there.
At night time it is lit up almost like a giant billboard for advertisements. Although we haven’t been ourselves, it apparently has a 17th floor Soviet-style bar from which you can enjoy a drink with a great view of the city.
This block-like structure is typical of Soviet-style apartments that house the local population and you’ll see lots of them around the city, albeit much smaller versions.
RELATED POST: Best cafes and coffee shops in Tashkent.
11. Ankhor Canal
The Ankhor canal in Tashkent makes a cool place for an evening stroll, a picnic, or a relaxed night at one of the many restaurants that line its banks.
Spanning over 20km, it bisects the city roughly into its old and new districts.
It passes a ton of monuments including Tashkent Television Tower, Minor Mosque (and its famous turquoise dome), Pakhtakor stadium and Navoi park.
In warm weather you’ll sometimes spot locals swimming in it. We haven’t (yet) tried it but we hear that you can also kayak it!
It’s also great for jogging in the day time as the trees provide cover from the sun.
12. Walk Around the City For Random events
In my first 2 months walking around Tashkent I ended up being invited to a fashion show, watching Muay Thai fights, seeing Uzbek celebrity singer Rayhon for $1, winning a table football competition and stumbling upon a hippy music festival.
None of it was planned and just happened spur of the moment. There’s plenty to see and do around Tashkent, you just need to get out!
Tashkent has loads of live performances and events all for free. As a clueless foreigner I had no idea how to find them (I still don’t!) but befriend a local or just go walking around, especially in the evening.
Uzbek people are very welcoming to foreigners and unlike Istanbul where a ‘friendly stranger’ is best avoided, Tashkent people are curious and genuine.
Uzbeks are quite forward so don’t be surprised if a stranger moves fast to invite you some place. Be cautious of course, especially for women and solo travelers.
Read more on safety in Uzbekistan.
There’s a load of events in public spaces so make the most of it and enjoy the city if a local offers to show you around.
Are you planning a trip to Tashkent? Already been and think we missed something from the list?
Read our full guide to planning a vacation in Uzbekistan.