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Warsaw has a good range of modern art galleries, with Galeria Zacheta and Zamek Ujazdowski Center for Contemporary Art at the lead. Many small private galleries are in the flourishing Praga district on the right bank of the Vistula. Among these are Galeria Luksfera and Fabryka Trzciny, which is also a performance space.
Don't miss Warsaw's landmark of Stalinist architecture, the Palace of Culture and Science. From the top, you can pick out other contemporary buildings to visit later. These should certainly include Daniel Libeskind's skyscraper (still under construction at this writing), Sir Norman Foster's Metropolitan Building in Plac Pilsudskiego, and Marek Budzynski & Zbigniew Badowski's Warsaw University Library.
Chopin's birthplace is at Zelazowa Wola, a charming country manor just outside of Warsaw. You will find many traces of the great Polish composer within Poland's capital as well, notably at the Palac Ostrogskich, which houses the Chopin Museum; the Palac Czapskich on Krakowskie Przedmiescie, where Chopin once played regular concerts; and—on the same street—the Church of the Holy Cross, where the composer's heart is buried inside a pillar on the left side of the main aisle of the sanctuary. Every five years, Warsaw hosts the International Chopin Piano Competition (the 16th contest will be held in October 2010).
Warsaw has some great restaurants. Biblioteka restaurant is right in the wonderful Warsaw University Library; admire the architecture, read a book, but don't miss your feast. The Zamek Ujazdowski Center for Contemporary Art houses Qchnia Artystyczna, which serves Polish and Mediterranean cuisine. And Fabryka Trzciny in Praga will serve you not only art and music but also "art-industrial" food.
Warsaw has two lovely boutique hotels, the smooth Rialto with its consistent art deco style, and the serene Le Regina, an oasis at the top of the Old Town. Old-world charm can be found at the glamorous Bristol and the resurrected Polonia Palace. International chains also offer top standards; look for the popular and upscale Westin, InterContinental, or Marriott.
Warsaw's Praga District has some interesting industrial heritage. The redbrick complex of the Koneser vodka distillery is worth a visit; it now houses, among other establishments, the Luksfera art gallery. Also in Praga, Fabryka Trzciny is a former factory turned art center. The whole city of Lódz is a real gold mine of industrial heritage, along with fashionable clubs, art galleries, and shopping centers.
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