3 Days in Yerevan, Armenia

3 Days in Yerevan, Armenia

A 3-day wander through the pink city


Tucked in the Caucasus Region (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and a bit of southern Russia), this small city of 1 million is an understated pleasure. I spent the weekend there on a whim, driven by my desire to visit the country of my ancestors, who fled in 1915 when Turkey waged an epic genocide on the nation. I went with few plans, a couple of recommendations, and no expectations. 


I had the best weekend and felt deeply connected to the city and the people there. When I travel, I like to have the most authentic experience possible and often that means skipping museums and other tourist attractions. Read on to hear what I did, and why I can’t wait to go back. 


Yerevan Cascade 

Part outdoor sculpture museum and part stair workout, this is a cool way to get an elevated view of the city. It’s part of the Cafesjian Museum of Art, which is housed underneath the 5 level outdoor area. Each level has different modern sculpture and fountains, complete with beautiful landscaping and increasingly expansive city views. If you power on towards the top, you’ll notice an abandoned construction site and a reminder that this is a former part of the USSR and still recovering from that transition. 


Manicure at Sona Beauty Salon - @sona_beauty_salon 

I LOVE getting my nails done when I travel. There’s something universal about a beauty salon and I wanted to check out the vibe in Yerevan. Recommended by my Air BnB host, Sona Beauty Salon was great. They do nails a little differently than in the states, I loved hearing Armenian all around me, and had fun communicating with the ladies using Google Translate. 


Opera and Ballet House 

This beautiful theater is located in the city center and wonderfully sized to see a performance. Since I’m a dancer, I was delighted to learn the ballet would be performing Romeo and Juliet while I was there. I went to the box office to buy my ticket the day before (cash only, and ticket printed on an 8x11 piece of paper). The price was so cheap compared to NYC and the performance exceptional. It’s worth a visit for the chandelier alone. 


Vernassie Bazaar 

Stalls upon stalls of local crafts, flea market oddities, and tourist souvenirs span several streets. I spent a couple of hours wandering though, trying to find the smallest items possible to bring home in my tiny carry-on. There were beautiful leather and sliver stalls, cheap crap with the flag on it, random dolls, and a surprising number of stalls dedicated to chess pieces. I was told to bargain, but it failed each time. No matter, I was happy to support the local artists. 


Convenience Stores 

I have never in my life seen so many kinds of cheese at the small convenience stores that are on many corners. It’s worth popping in to pick up something you don’t know, can’t tell what it is, and have your life changed.


Republic Square 

Encircled by the grand famous pink clay buildings, the square was alive from morning to night. With a large fountain in the center, people of all kinds gathered there to relax, eat ice cream, let the kids play, and enjoy conversation. It’s illuminated at night, with music playing (of all kinds - including the theme to Star Wars at one point), and packed with people. There’s no commerce or restaurants, only community gathering. It’s great. 


Soft Serve 

Speaking of ice cream, you can’t walk a block in Yerevan without passing somewhere selling soft serve. As such, you’ll see people eating ice cream at every turn. I am a great lover of soft serve and always get a vanilla/chocolate twist in NYC, so when I had an option to get a fruit twist (non-specific fruit, I learned) I literally jumped at the opportunity. The dram to USD conversion worked well in my favor and the cost was around $0.70 for a basic cone. 


Bird Cage Bar - @bar.tbc

This Hawaiian themed bar could have seemed really out of place, but it worked. I stopped by on a stormy night after the ballet and was glad to be traveling alone, as it was the only way I got a seat. It was dark, sexy, and a DJ played low-fi chill-vibe records. High level craft cocktails were the name of the game, and I gladly helped myself to two (three?). Like most places I went, ther other folks there were primarily people who lived in the city and the scene was cool and unpretentious. 


Unpretentious is how I would describe the city as a whole. It’s a place with nothing to prove, and everything to offer. While not widely visited, it's home to many cool and creative people. In many ways, if felt like stepping back in time when things were simpler, and people were more present. A weekend is hardly enough time to take it all in, but worth the visit*


*Other things I did - email me if you want any information about them! 

-Genocide Memorial

-Dinner out (traditional, fancy, bar food) 

-Got a tattoo

-Ran with a local run group 

-Check out the coffee culture 

Back to blog