Life in Egypt is getting more and more expensive with every breath we take. For us to find fun or relaxing activities, we gotta pay a lot of money in return for the simple joy of doing something new. And we don’t live in Dahab where there is a beach we could run to when life closes on us. So, we’re always stuck at the fork in the middle of the road with undecided minds on where to go or what to do. Here are 11 things you could do in Cairo that won’t cost you more than 100 LE.
All the decent restaurants will seriously leave a dent in your wallet. Instead, opt for cheap eats places. There are so many delicious yet affordable food places such as The Streat, Yokal, Lido, Shawarmaister, etc. For instance, the most expensive combo at the Streat costs 24 LE. And if you want to go the extra frugal mile, order it take away so you won’t have to pay any service charges.
Experiencing Egypt’s Street Food
Although we live in Cairo, Not all of us have gone on a real Cairene street food experience. The city offers diverse delicious street food options (but keep in mind that it’s not the most hygienic experience in the world, so it’s not recommended for those with sensitive stomachs). You have El Brince in Imbaba and Zezo in Islamic Cairo.
Then go watch a movie
Forgo theatres and cinemas that cost you 60 LE to watch a movie. One of the perks of living in Egypt is that downloading is not illegal. If you want to watch a new release, you can download it high copy and go watch it at coworking spaces such as Chameleon in New Cairo, where they have a projector and a cozy setting in exchange for 40 pounds. And if you’re in the mood to watch a good movie, try Balcon in Heliopolis where they host both public (on Mondays) and private film screenings.
The next best thing after taking a trip to the beach or going for a swim, is renting a felucca just before sunset. While you’re at it, try to ignore all the sha3bi music playing so loudly from passing feluccas to have a decent experience or make the most out of it anyway. Sunset is the best time so you would experience first-hand the sun as it sets over the capital’s skyline. This time of the year would be a bit chilly; gear yourself up with warm clothes and go for it!
Wadi Degla Protectorate in Maadi
Mornings in Wadi Degla Protectorate are perfect for walking, hiking and mountain-biking as you bask in the scorching sun. Nights are made for campfires and BBQing with friends. You can spend a full day there and pay next to nothing. This time of the year is ideal for spending the nights with friends as you roast marshmallows and stare at the starry sky.
For bookworms, if you’re tired of your usual hangout space and despise the atrocity that is how much books cost, El Diwan is your savior. You can grab whichever book you want from their array of shelves, sit down and read the book from cover to cover without buying it. The only thing you will pay money for will be whatever drink you order while you’re there.
Music and live performances
Sakiet El Sawy and Cairo Opera House used to be THE places for live performances in Cairo, but they’re not as good as they used to be. However, they still hold gigs and concerts almost daily and you should go check them out whenever you’re in the mood. Fortunately though, the music scene in Egypt has been thriving recently and because of this, tons of new spaces where people enjoy good music, food and live performances are opening everywhere. These places include, but are not limited to, Darb1718 and Room Art Space.
El Moez Street
If you ever find yourself at a loss for what to do today, go for a walk in El Moez Street. The northern section of the street is brimming with fine Mamluk buildings that have been painstakingly restored to their former glory. The street is filled with endless activities for you to do and scenery for you to capture. The hustle and bustle of Islamic Cairo will leave you filled with so much energy afterwards.
Free Animal Petting
The Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals shelter is one of many other shelters that allows volunteers to help out any day of the week and lets you goof around with the rescued cats and dogs they’re taking care of. This is a pretty pleasant way to spend an evening, eh?
The Egyptian Museum + Groppi
We’ve all been to the Egyptian Museum on a field trip with our school as kids. But, only some of us have taken it upon ourselves to actually visit the staggering collection of antiquities displayed in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. For the love of knowledge, take a day to stroll the infinite rows and rooms inside. Don’t forget to visit the Royal Mummies Collection in Rooms 56 and 46; they’re the best part.
Your feet will be pretty sore after all that walking around so head on to Groppi, the ultimate go-to date spot for our ancestors. The food is not of the best quality, but the ambience of old Egypt filling up the place will refresh you.
Take a Walk in Zamalek/Maadi
Cairo’s streets are not made for walkin’, that’s for sure. There is traffic, pollution, hustle and bustle of cafes and restaurants, catcalling, etc. But the residential and side streets of Maadi and Zamalek are still a breathe of fresh air. In this weather, getting coffee to-go and talking a walk with the right person will surely cheer you up.
Remember that happiness is an illusion so you can be happy anywhere especially if you invest your time in discovering the hidden gems in every corner of Cairo.