Experience the sights, sounds, and smells of Cold War-era Warsaw in the fascinating Museum of Life Under Communism, a compelling collection of objects from a contradictory time for Poland.
Like the Neon Museum in Praga, Muzeum Życia w Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa (lit. Museum of Life in the Polish People’s Republic) started out as a personal passion. This time, tour guides Rafał and Marta Patla began to collect objects from the four decades of the Soviet era in Poland. Known to English-speaking visitors as the Museum of Life Under Communism, it was also located for a while in Praga, before moving to its current home. This compact museum includes mock ups of apartment rooms, numerous examples of household gadgets, a car, and a telephone box. For older Poles, it is a bittersweet nostalgia, with long-lost brand names. For everyone else, it is time travel.
The objects are fully contextualised with generous captions, and you can hire a Walkman audioguide, which shows how much love has gone into the museum. Equally delightful is the period cafe with cakes and fizzy drinks authentic to the era.
The museum is also appropriately located, adjacent to the MDM (‘Marszałkowska Residential District’), a showpiece of Socialist Realist architecture, with wide avenues, monumental lamp posts, and reliefs of heroic socialist communities – one of the key examples of Soviet-era Warsaw.
In fact, the museum is run by the Adventure Warsaw crew who organise a Communist tour of Warsaw in a Nysa 522 military van. The 3-hour tour includes a visit to the museum.
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How To Visit the Museum of Life Under Communism
The Museum of Life Under Communism is located next door to the KFC on Piękna, at the Plac Konstytucji end of Marszałkowska. You can reach it via one of the Plac Konstytucji bus or tram stops.
Museum of Life Under Communism address: Piękna 28/34, Warsaw 00-547, Poland
Entry tickets cost 26zł (concessions 18zł). Children under 5 get free admission. Reduced group and family tickets are available. See the official Life Under Communism site for details.
You can also buy advance tickets online.
The Museum of Life Under Communism is open as follows:
- Sat-Thu: 10am-6pm
- Fri: 12noon-8pm
Information is subject to change, so check the official site for the latest information.
Southern Śródmieście District: The southern end of Śródmieście contains a number of important attractions, not least Łazienki Park, a huge complex of gardens, palaces, and museums. The area is also one of Warsaw’s best for eating and drinking, with Michelin listed restaurants, including Rozbrat 20 and kontakt wino & bistro. You’ll also find the full range of accommodation here, from the Sheraton Grand to the more budget-friendly Hotel MDM.
Tips For Visiting the Museum of Life Under Communism
- There are a maximum of 50 visitors to the museum at any one time, with a limited amount of tickets sold per hour.
- Audioguides are available for Android and iOS. See the official website for links – and don’t forget your headphones!
- Alternatively, you can hire a retro Walkman audioguide for 10zł at the museum.
- You can also hire a personal guide to show you around the museum for 170zł.
- The museum cafe is excellent. Done out in a retro-style with a 1960s coffee machine and authentic treats from the time.
Where Is This Place Located?Find this location on the Warsaw Visit Google map:
- Open the Warsaw Visit map
- Click on a marker and it will give you the name of the landmark, with a brief description and links for more information and directions. You can pan, scroll, and zoom around the map, or use the + or – buttons in the bottom left of the map to zoom in and out
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side, sorted by category. Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Each category is on a different layer, which can be switched on and off. So you can just see the Hotel or Restaurant pins, for example
- If you are using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location
Map pins are color coded:
- YELLOW: Warsaw Sightseeing
- BLUE: Warsaw Hotels
- RED: Warsaw Places To Eat – Michelin restaurants are DARK RED
- ORANGE: Warsaw Nightlife
- PURPLE: Shopping In Warsaw
- GREEN: Warsaw Transportation