Although Lodz is one of the biggest Polish cities, it’s often overlooked by tourists coming to Poland. Lodz, despite its history looking back as far as 14th century, has no medieval monuments, churches or buildings. There are, however, other interesting buildings among top things to do in Lodz – those are the remaining witness of the Second Industrial Revolution.
Lodz was destined to be a centre of the textile industry at the beginning of 19th century. Special privileges tempted settlers with textile industry experience to come to the city. And they were coming – mainly from Silesia, Germany and Czechia. This was followed by setting up textile factories that grew and worked until the Second World War. Most of the top things to see in Lodz today are somehow related either to those factories or to their owners.
Even if you don’t intend to see the street, you without any doubt will, as this is the longest street in the city, and one of the longest commercial streets in Europe (4,2 km). Piotrkowska Street was one of the main streets during the development of Lodz during the industrial revolution, but still, it was just one of many streets in Lodz. Its condition was gradually deteriorating until 1990 when the city renovated and partially closed the street for cars. Since then, Piotrkowska Street was gradually becoming a pedestrian area and central od commerce and social life.
Now Piotrkowska Street is full of bars, restaurants, cafes and stores, located in (mostly) recently renovated 18th and 19th-century tenements. We recommend that you stroll the street during your stay in Lodz. If you think it’s too long for you – catch a rickshaw taxi.
Along Piotrkowska street there are about 100 interesting tenements, among them the childhood home of pianist Artur Rubinstein, and Gutenberg house. The first Lodz newspaper” Lodzer Anzeiger was published here.
Top things to do in Lodz – visit Manufaktura
Manufaktura in Lodz is located in former textile factory complex built by Izrael Poznanski, one of Lodz textile tycoon during Lodz golden years. The factory complex included not only the factory but also a power plant, fire department and houses for workers. Some of those buildings were renovated in the early 2000s and now house one of the biggest and most interesting commercial centres in Poland. It consists of over 300 shops, restaurants, a cinema, hotels and museums.
The way in which old factory buildings were transformed into the commercial centre without losing any of their beauty has won many awards. Another successful transformation of that type was the Old Brewery centre in Poznan.
During summer Manufaktura is the centre of social life in Lodz, with concerts and other events taking place here. During winter there is a skating rink. The best way to enter Manufaktura is to use the gate at Ogrodowa Street. Thus you’ll pass through one of the most notable buildings of Manufaktura – the former weaving mill, now a 4-star hotel.
Top things to see in Lodz – Museum of Lodz
Just next to Manufaktura, in the mansion once belonging to Izrael Poznanski – former owner of Manufaktura premises – there is one of the best Lodz museums. Except for being the exhibition of the history of Lodz as an industrial town, it also presents the interiors of the luxury palace from the late XIXth century. Some rooms turned into exhibitions of artists living then in Lodz: polish poet Julian Tuwim, writer and Nobel Prize winner Wladyslaw Reymont, musician Artur Rubinstein and Marek Edelman.
The cellar part of the museum is dedicated to the multiculturality of Lodz before 1939
Top things to see in Lodz – Ksiezy Mlyn (Priest’s Mill)
Would you ever think, that one of the top things to see in Lodz would be a residential district? Well, indeed, it is. Ksiezy Mlyn (Priest’s Mill) was a self-sufficient part of Lodz built by Karol Scheibler, the richest textile entrepreneur in Lodz. It consisted of factory buildings (cotton mill, warehouses, workers’ houses), a school, fire station, hospital, shops, the residence of the owners and a railway station. The abandoned factory complex was recognized as a monument in 1971, and was later transformed into a residential area. However, part of the former factory complex is still waiting for renovation.
Top things to do in Lodz – visit Herbst Palace Museum
Neighbouring the Ksiezy Mlyn complex is the former residence of its owner: Karol Scheibler. He built the mansion for his daughter and her husband – Edward Herbst, who became the director in his father’s in-law factory. The neo-renaissance mansion now houses the Museum of Art. Even if you are not interested in art it’s worth paying a visit to the palace’s gardens.
Top things to do in Lodz – visiting EC1 Centre in Lodz
Visiting EC1 Centre is the best thing to do in Lodz if you come here with children. But even if you come as a group of adults, it’s worth visiting the place. EC1 is a former Power Plant of Lodz, which was built in 1906 and kept its pre-war style until today. It suffered heavy damages during the Second World War but reopened afterwards. In 1953 it was expanded with steam generators to produce heat for the city. This is when the name EC1 started to be used.
EC1 ceased to operate in 2000, and in 2003 the city took over. In 2008 the city established a big project: “EC1 Lodz – City of Culture” and EC1 complex became the heart of it. It was renovated and changed into The Centre for Science and Technology, with one of the best planetariums in Poland. Its permanent exhibition covers three educational trails: “Energy processing”, “The History of Knowledge and Civilisation”, and “Microworld – Macroworld”. The exhibitions are accompanied by numerous workshops, meetings and special events.
Below you may find a clip that was shot in the EC1 Centre, being the music video of the three most popular Polish pop artists: Daria Zawialow, Dawid Podsiadlo and Vito Bambino.
Tickets to EC1
Tickets to the Centre of Science cost 23/29 PLN (regular) or 17/22 (reduced) depending on the day of the visit. Planetarium cost 18/20 or 13/14 respectively. Special offers for families are available. You may obtain tickets online here. Unfortunately, the sales system is only available in Polish.
EC1 centre doesn’t open on Monday.