Shopping in Kyiv: get your money’s worth

So you are in Kyiv and actively proving that it is the cheapest European capital by constantly investing in bars, restaurants, clubs, making new haircut or totally changing your style? Good for you, but leave some of your investments for shopping.

Groceries in Kyiv

I knew you could start saying “I’m not gonna cook, eating out is cheap in Kyiv”, but what about facing the reality and buying some mineral water to save your morning after all night bar crawl in Kyiv? Isn’t it a good argument to make you go to the grocery shop?

I usually do it in different countries to see how things are organized there (and to show off my new local language skills on the counter).

silpo kontraktova

So remember these names and do not confuse it with the clubs in Kyiv or some entertainment centers you’re gonna visit later:

  • Auchan. The network of hipermarkets where you can buy everything from milk to instruments for renovating the airbnb apartment you managed to mess up after your big Kyiv party. Big lines might make you think it’s the Doomsday coming.
  • Silpo. The most popular chain of supermarkets in Kyiv, working either till very late or, even better, 24-hour a day. The prices differ in different districts, some of them are more simple, some are rather fancy supermarkets. Always fresh bakery and some “prediction” on the receipt that we love to read before even leaving the counter.
  • ATB, Billa, Furshet, MegaMarket, Велика Кишеня (Velyka Kyshenia) are some other supermarket chains in Kyiv. Apart from the networks, you can always find small shops and kiosks right near your home. Ah, and do not be surprised if this outdoor fridge with the water is closed, and people laugh at you when after your 5th try to open it (firstly ask the sellers what you want – then they unlock the door for you).

Markets in Kyiv

If Kyiv supermarkets do not satisfy your needs, and your soul craves for communication with locals, and language barrier does not scares you (because you got A+ in operating your body language), then head towards food markets in Kyiv. Authentic atmosphere, a little bit of a chaos and an ability to try a bit of everything and leave the place without the need to go for meal – what else can you need? Well, a bit of Ukrainian would not hurt.

bessarabkra market

  • Bessarabsky Market. One of the most expensive food markets in Kyiv. Located right in the heart of the city, it’s a good place to get a feeling what a touristy food market in Kyiv looks like. There are also different cafes/restaurants/food spots inside. Besides that, it’s a place we meet in front of before the start of Kyiv Backyards Walking Tour.
  • Muslim Food Market. Being held only on Fridays from 12:00 to 16:00, Muslim Food Market is the local place (with the exception that not even many locals know about it). Located near the Islam Culture Centre in Kyiv, this food market is a must do if you want to try the oriental cuisine in Kyiv.
  • Zhytniy Market. The oldest functioning market in Kyiv, and one of the most authentic. A real treasure for urban explorers and those who search for something different. Apart from buying food, you can also buy clothes, shoes, home equipment and other stuff. You’ll get a chance to visit it and learn about this Kyiv market on my Awful Kyiv Walking Tour.

Flea markets in Kyiv

petrivka market
Photographer – Oleh Tereshchenko

Flea markets in Kyiv is a great idea for those who either want to find something special or spend tons of money on some obvious trash from soviet times (though the sellers will keep persuading you about uniqueness of this thing – well anything can be unique, even trash:)

  • Petrivka. For locals, the first association with Petrivka is the biggest open air book market. However, it’s a real mix of food, books, antiques and not really. There is one of the biggest flea markets in Kyiv in Petrivka. Your journet to the market might be accompanied by the group of gipsies who really like to buy stuff from the passers-by (except that they do not like to pay for it), so be careful. 
  • Kurazh bazar. A modern flea market, where you can also buy new stuff from Ukrainian designers and try delicious street food in Kyiv. Every new edition of Kurazh bazar is specific and unites a lot of talanted people.
  • Dnipro Market. Apart from being the most budget food market in Kyiv, it’s also a great place if you are searching for flea markets in Kyiv. Also a great place for those who like to get lost in the middle of nowhere.
  • ExpoCentre. One of the biggest Kyiv flea markets is located near Livoberezhna Metro station and starts its work every Saturday at 4 a.m. in the morning. Yes, you read it right. It’s the time when the collectioners are coming to get the best haul. A perfect place to head after a Friday night in Kyiv, isn’t it?

Most Popular Kyiv Shopping Malls

ocean plaza

  • Ocean Plaza. One of the newest and most visited shopping malls in Kyiv. Great for spending a grumpy day in search of some stuff you will definitely find in your home country. Apart from that, you will find there Roshen candy shop, Cinema, Auchan, some beauty salons and eateries.
  • Gulliver. Centrally located entertainment and shopping centre is impossible to miss out if you are walking in the area of Olimpiysky stadium in Kyiv. All kind of stuff you can find in shopping malls+entertainment centres and cinema. There is Palats Sportu right in front of it – a popular venue for concerts in Kyiv.
  • Globus The most central, yet the most touristy shopping mall in Kyiv. You can enter either from a big Globe in front of Independance Monument, or on the other side of the square. A lot of eateries, overpriced souvenirs, branded shops, but also some hidden decent places like Ostannia Baryka Restaurant.
  • Dream Town. Another place for those who like to get lost, but twice as better, because divided into Dream 1 and Dream 2. There are really high chances you will spend a couple of hours searching for a shop, and never find it…because it’s in Dream 2 building. Simply a dream, just not simple, isn’t it? If you get tired of getting lost, just take a walk to the Obolon renewed riverside, which is really close to the mall.
  • Metrograd. People like to joke that locals in Kyiv spend more than half of their life underground. Well, if you get lost in this underground shopping mall in Kyiv, you will just like locals, spend half of your vacation underground.

Where to buy souvenirs in Kyiv?

IMG_2027

Your relatives and friends in your hometown (who are working while you’re having a vacation in Kyiv) probably hope that you are not greedy enough to spend all the money just on you, and are waiting for some presents from Ukraine.

So where to buy souvenirs in Kyiv? Here are a couple of places where you can buy some trivial (and not so much) gifts.

  • Andriivsky Descent. A place which is impossible not to visit (or you should be really talanted to miss it out). A lot of street sellers will offer you all kinds of souvenirs at prices that NEED to be bargained. Usually on a tour I help my guests negotiate about the price. Do not bargain till death, especially if the product is top-notch or really high-quality, however ask your local friend for help. Go all the way down, and you might find some more appealing things at more reasonable prices or turn right once you pass Saint Andrew Church and walk through the alley where you can see a lot of great paintings.
  • Vsi Svoi. A big shop on the main street of Kyiv that sells the things made by Ukrainian designers. It’s where you can find some really unique stuff and support the local producer. Once in a while they organize the Vsi Svoi Market at D12 Gallery.
  • Gara Concept Store. The shop with the weird (and expensive) things. A place to find some unique gifts from Kyiv for your beloved ones, for yourself or simply to pay a visit. In order to get to the shop, you need to register an choose day and time. There cannot come more than 3 people at the same appointed time.
  • Awesome Kyiv Souvenirs. If you booked your Awesome Kyiv Tour, you can contact me about available souvenirs. If you order it in time, your souvenir will arrive on a tour together with your guide. These are hand-made souvenirs, and, except painted bottles of vodka, you can order a lot of other stuff, or even give your suggestions.

Did you already started to worry that you might not have taken enough money for all this retail therapy? Don’t you worry, shopping in Kyiv is a wonderful experience. And once you get tired – welcome on Awesome Kyiv Walking Tour. No shops, promise. Unless you really beg for it.

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