One of Egypt’s flourishing suburbs, 6th of October City – west of Cairo, a little bit past the iconic Pyramids of Giza – isn’t your typical tourist destination. Established in 1987, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that residents really started moving into the gated communities and new-builds in the formerly-desert area. Meanwhile, the establishment of a handful of private universities ushered in the energy of a younger generation and with that, a whole host of dining, cultural, adventure and nightlife experiences.
About 20 miles (32km) out of downtown Cairo, getting to 6th of October City (and the adjoining Sheikh Zayed City, largely considered one and the same) might be a bit stressful during rush hour, but you’ll know once you’ve arrived: wide, largely traffic-free streets, modern architecture and lots of green areas make up the suburban sprawl. Named after the date of the successful Egyptian military campaign to cross the Suez Canal, the 6th of October is also the national day dedicated to the armed forces of Egypt.
Best restaurants and cafés in 6th of October City
As soon as you come off the main highway leading from central Cairo (26th of July Corridor), you’ll encounter a strip of dining complexes – a popular suburban phenomenon across Egypt. These privately operated plazas are a popular choice for families and groups of friends to spend the day indulging in gourmet foods and sipping lattes.
Don’t miss Capital Promenade’s 30 North for perfectly brewed single-origin coffees served every way, from your classic espressos to new-fangled chemex pour-overs. If you have more of a sweet tooth when it comes to hot drinks, try their Nutella Cappuccino – a classic Italian coffee quiet literally drenched in melted chocolate.
A few minutes’ drive down the main road, you’ll find Arkan Plaza – probably one of the oldest and most popular such dining destinations – which has a few more upscale eateries and a couple of bars to boot. Don’t miss Olivo Pizzeria for super thin Neapolitan-style pizzas that hit your table within five minutes of ordering and a pitcher of their signature sangrias from the fully-stocked bar.
Not to be confused with Olivo (above), Ovio is probably Cairo’s most popular breakfast and brunch destination. Located in Galleria 40, on weekends you might find a waiting list for breakfast (served until 2pm). Start with artisanal coffee or a green smoothie then delve into avocado toast, eggs benedict and probably the best bread and croissants in the city.
Get your sweet fix at Dara’s Ice Cream – a decadent artisanal gelato shop, famous for their innovative flavours, waffle cones and chewy cookies. The inaugural store in Galleria 40 (it’s since expanded to Zamalek) is an Instagram-worthy experience, complete with neon lights and polaroid pictures.
For a proper gourmet experience, look no further than resto-bar Izakaya in the Palm Hills gated community. Serving up five-star Nikkei cuisine (a unique fusion of Peruvian and Japanese), this upscale eatery might be pricey, but it’s worth treating yourself – especially to their delicate ceviches, sake-laced sushi rolls and exotic cocktails. On weekends, the bar gets packed with revellers and takes on a more nightlife vibe (reservations recommended)
Best bars and clubs in 6th of October City
At Al Guezira Plaza you’ll find Cairo Jazz Club 610 – a spin-off of one of Egypt’s longest standing nightclubs. Don’t let the name fool you – jazz is just one of genres playing at this hotspot. Most nights, you’ll find electronic music or live indie, rap or pop performers serenading the thirsty crowds (reservations recommended).
A stone’s throw away, in the same plaza, is a newcomer to the nightlife scene; La Taberna. Decked up like a typical gastro-pub, go here for great cocktails and awesome antipasti (revellers travel from across Cairo for their signature white wine mussels). Be warned though – the quaint, industrial-style pub changes vibe after 10pm when they start playiing Arabic and English pop music.
Upstairs you’ll find The Tap West, a favourite bar and live music spot, complete with foosball tables, retro arcade games and decadent bar food (their chicken wings are the stuff of legends). Order The Tap Tap for a metre of self-serve beer delivered right to your table (reservations recommended).
While this Palm Hills spot is touted as a resto-bar, the emphasis is really on the bar part. Go for the Italian delicacies, and stay for the buzzing vibe and creative cocktails. This newly-opened spot is definitely a place for a night on the town, but its boozy weekend brunches are a must-try.
Best malls in 6th October City
While 6th of October City’s dining and nightlife scene are thoroughly blossoming, it’s also a hotspot for shopping. Mall of Arabia is the longer-standing of the two, and combines recognisable high street names (think Zara, Mango and Gap) with their Egyptian counterparts for fast fashion. A huge food court and a seven-screen cinema make it easy to spend the day there.
Mall of Egypt has the high street staples and few higher end stores (Armani Exchange, Calvin Klein and DSquared2, to name a few), but what really makes this shopping centre special is its massive indoor skiing and sledding facility, complete with meet-and-greets with a real life penguin.
If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, hop into a cab to 6th of October City’s industrial zone where, hidden between factories and warehouses, is a barely-noticeable shopping centre that’s home to a handful discount outlets – Adidas, Nike and Sketchers to name a few – where you can pick up last season’s wares at a low price.
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