As in other parts of Europe, you’ll find various museums in Warsaw offer free admission on certain days.
The Poster Museum, is free to enter on Mondays, from 12-4 (as of 2017), and when we visited, housed a fascinating exhibition of posters dedicated to women’s issues from all over the world (which were quite interesting to compare) as well as the permanent collection of bold poster prints. On other days, it will set you back about $2.50 in price.
The museum is set in beautiful parklands, near the gorgeous Wilanow Palace, which is well worth having a look at (although entry attracts a fee), and when we visited, there was a small medieval fair you could also visit free of charge to see blacksmithing, old tents and so on. On Mondays, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews is also free entry, and comes highly recommended by our Polish friends.
The National Museum is free to enter on Tuesdays, although it is more of a gallery than a museum. It has some beautiful and very moving pieces from international artists, as well as works that reflect directly on Polish history and culture.
Warsaw has many places to eat well for relatively cheap prices, but my favourite of the lot was perhaps u Szwejka, where also on Tuesdays, you can get a free meal (if you’re eating with a friend). There is a two-for-one deal on Tuesdays – ask your server what it is when you visit. Or, if you’re traveling solo or prefer not to leave your meal up to chance, you can get a big discount on schnitzels on Mondays or Wednesdays instead. Our meal came with free bread, spreads, and cherry liqueur!
You’ll find a very extensive list of free museums in Warsaw on Hanna Travels. You can visit the Museum of Modern Art every day except Monday, and on Thursdays, the Royal Baths Park palace on the island, Zacheta Gallery, Cellars of the Old Town, and Museum of the Pawiak Prison all offer free times. If you book in advance, you may even be lucky enough to catch a free recital at the Frederic Chopin Museum (which also offers free entry on Sundays). The Royal Castle, Museum of the Polish Army, Museum Palac w Wilanowie, and Warsaw Uprising Museum also offer free admission on Sundays. The Museum of the Polish Army has a fee to enter, but there are many external exhibits to see for those interested in tanks, planes and so on.
Book lovers should make sure to visit the Palace of Culture and Science, which has some rather cool book-shaped benches out the front, which make for great photos. (Visiting the observation deck will attract a fee).
Of course, like many European cities, Warsaw has a beautiful Old Town, much of which isn’t that ‘old’ after all, but was rebuilt through a mammoth effort, using drawings, after the utter destruction of WWII. Despite its relative modernity, Warsaw’s Old Town captures a fairy tale feel, and is a truly moving testament to the efforts of those who rebuilt it, using as many original pieces as possible (a process called ‘anastylosis‘) although sometimes with artistic license to ‘improve’ upon the originals, or to reflect an even earlier version of Old Town’s architecture.
For fans of architecture and history, or just really, really long buildings, take a look at Kijowska 11, which is probably the longest residential building in Warsaw – it’s amazing! The nearby Praga area has a lot of cool street art and funky places to get a drink or a bite to eat. And for those who enjoy architectural sightseeing, there’s also the striking Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene nearby. A totally different style of church can be seen at Katedra sw, Floriana – its red brick structure is a sight to see!
Warsaw has a number of beautiful parks, the favourite we visited being Ogrod Saski. One place I wish we had been able to visit, but weren’t able to due to the extremely inclement weather, was Lazienki Park, which features the Palace on the Isle, a classical amphitheater, the Little White House, Myslewicki Palace, two orangeries, two temples, and various other monuments and structures, in addition to the natural attractions.
Finally, although it isn’t free to enter, the Neon Museum is an affordable attraction, around $3 entry fee, and a very interesting place. According to the museum, after the death of Stalin, there was a government policy of “neonization”, trying to modernize the cityscape. At first, the signs’ only function was decorative, because advertising was banned. After the fall of communism, the signs were destroyed by their thousands as they were a reminder of soviet times, but the museum has preserved and restored some examples of these pieces of art.