Katowice's Old Town is a great place to start sightseeing during a stay in this Polish town. Starting at Market Square (which often hosts open-air events), there's a sprawling network of cobblestone streets packed with outdoor coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques and bars.
The Old Town is the perfect place to sample traditional Silesian food, known for being hearty and flavourful. Some local dishes to try include stuffed dumplings, Silesian-style zurek soup, beef roulade, pierogi and pork chops. Katowice's Old Town also has a wide selection of restaurants serving international cuisine, from Italian to Thai, Turkish or Japanese.
A short 5-minute drive north of the Old Town takes you to another cluster of tourist attractions. Some must-sees in this area include the Silesian Museum, where you can discover the city's history and its mining past, Bogucki Park and the Polish Folk Art Museum.
If you have your car or van rental in Katowice, you can also go on day trips and explore the surrounding areas at your own pace. Some of the most popular nearby attractions include the old silver mine at Tarnowskie Gory, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tyskie Brewing Museum, where you can learn all about one of Poland's most famous beers and Krakow's Old Town, also designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you're in Katowice with the family, it's worth driving your car rental 96 kilometres to Moszna Castle, an impressive 18th-century fairy tale-style building surrounded by equally impressive grounds. Kids will love spending time outdoors at Katowice forest park or at Valley of the Three Ponds, where you can go swimming and hire a boat or kayak if the weather allows it. Between April and October, Legendia Silesian Amusement Park is another worthwhile option. For indoor child-friendly entertainment, you only need a short drive to JumpCity, an indoor amusement park near a suburban shopping area on the southern side of town.
Shopping options in Katowice include Silesia City Centre, which is one of Poland's largest shopping complexes, Katowice Gallery, a shopping centre within walking distance of Market Square and the Designer Outlet at Sosnowiec. Please note that most shops are closed on Sundays.
Katowice hosts a number of important annual events, most of which are held either at the city's International Conference Centre or at the Spodek Arena. These venues are home to concerts, congresses and trade fairs.
Popular events in Katowice include the city's Book Fair, the music festivals Metalmania and Mayday, Rawa Blues Festival, known as the world's largest festival of its kind and Ars Cameralis Festival, devoted to contemporary music and visual arts. That's in addition to the regular classical music performances held at the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra building.