Catch a Cup. As you prepare for a day’s adventure, snag a quick cup of coffee or tea from Lobby Lounge at The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo. It’s an elegant setting for a look at your guidebook or map as you savor a sweet breakfast treat and plan your day.
The Star Atrraction. For some, a visit to the Great Sphinx is a bucket list item — the history, magnitude and meaning of the site are all significant. Indeed, the massive limestone sculpture of a lion with a man’s head is just one of the many points of interest on the Giza Plateau, just southwest of Cairo. Snap a photograph with the man-cat, then enjoy a tour of pyramids, too.
Shop the City. While Cairo is best known for its souqs, or bazaars, Oum El Dounia gallery is also a wonderful place to pick up a souvenir. Housewares, fabric, jewelry and glassware are among the top selections at this second-story boutique. And although the shop lacks the hustle and bustle of the souqs, it’s a relaxing, air-conditioned experience.
Lunch Along the Nile. Culinary fusion is popular in Cairo, and at Sequoia, you’ll find a mix of Italian, Mediterranean and Lebanese cuisine. The best part about the restaurant, though, in addition to its chicken shawarma, is its location on the banks of the beautiful Nile.
History, Squared. Tahrir Square has long been known as a center for change in Cairo. The site of many political demonstrations, the square has a rich history. It was a grassy patch of land in ancient Egypt and an encampment for Napoleonic soldiers in the 18th century. In the 20th century, it witnessed its first serious demonstrations, including one that resulted in the Great Fire of Cairo in 1952. Most recently, the square was a flashpoint for the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. Explore its statues and surrounding buildings, including the Folklore Arts House and campus of the American University in Cairo.
Mangia. Return to The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo for a decadent meal at Vivo. Michelin-starred Chef Oliver Glowig offers a carefully curated menu of rustic Italian cuisine in a beautifully appointed setting. Chase your meal with a cocktail at Bar’Oro before heading out for the evening.
Aida, Anyone? Established in 1988, the new Cairo Opera House is a destination for ballet, opera and symphonies. It replaces the Khedivial Opera House, which was the host for the very first performance of Verdi’s “Aida” in 1871. Sadly, the opera house burned to the ground a century later. Today, the new venue also hosts poetry readings and small concerts, in addition to its spate of theatrical offerings.