Fancy a romantic train ride? Craving some street food in an authentic train restaurant car? Want to dance at a concert by the railroad tracks? Up for reading a book or listening to some music on a platform? Vilnius’ train station and the whole district around it are open for whatever you have in mind. Visit the most fashionable area of the city, where creative energy turns into bright ideas, free concerts, new flavours, and contemporary projects. What should you expect from a place that never sleeps?
Until 30 September
Platform’s cultural inception at the Railway Museum has shaken up the area with a novel idea. Authentic retired train cars and steamers that now serve as hosts for leisure activities that last until dawn. Listen to how different the music sounds from a stage on a real railroad platform, or hop on the train car that was used in the exercises of the Lithuanian.Taste gourmet street food – even the usual pastry with meat you get at the train station becomes a high-end treat with chopped mutton and Turkish cheese. You can try food prepared by local chefs, but Platform will also bring guest chefs from famous street food markets around Europe.
Don’t forget to poke your nose around the other wagons – some of them have co-working spaces, while others have been turned into contemporary art galleries. Take the train back to the 80s and buy some exclusive souvenirs, like vintage clothing or works by local artists, to remind you of your trip. For children, Platform is almost better than an amusement park – they will get to know more about the trains, have an opportunity to go roller skating, and learn about street culture. Freedom is unrestricted, so you can release your inner street artist and paint on a special wall to leave a message to other visitors.
Let the party go on, especially since the summer nights are short and it’s best not to waste them on sleep. On the other side of Platform, Peronas Bar is perched right along the railroad tracks. You can’t miss the huge statue of James Gandolfini that stands right outside it, surrounded by crowds of people chatting over drinks. The terrace under the high roof is the perfect place to listen to live bands or hide from the overheated city centre. Hostel Jamaika is another hotspot famous for its trademark parties filled with contemporary art, a relaxed atmosphere, and a mixed international crowd. Not too far from the station, famous Lithuanian and foreign performers regularly raise the roof at the legendary club Kablys.
As you head down Pylimo Street your eyes will be drawn to the colourful head of a pig-faced Stalin and a mural of Trump and Putin. You can also smell Keule Ruke’s burgers and ribs from afar, so you might want to grab a bite while stopping by to take a picture of the building. The nearby Vijokliai Beergarden terrace is another ideal spot to relax on a warm summer evening. Or you can look for the small neon sign next to a set of stairs leading to a basement and end up at Love Bar, home to some of the best cocktails in town. Further along if you see some plastic yellow curtains draped over a door and people standing around, you’re in the right place – the bar Deveti is great for pre-parties, parties and after parties.
Until 29 September
Dive into the modern food market community. Every Sunday, traffic gives way to a festive atmosphere on Pylimo Street, from Hales Market to the train station. This open-air market is where you’ll find unique dishes, delightful street food, the freshest farmer’s goods, and a great group of like-minded people. This food market is advocating for responsible consumption: single-use plastic is avoided and farmers work with the chefs to create new combinations from seasonal products. Get ready for a gastronomic adventure in the industrial part of Vilnius this summer.
Even if you aren’t going anywhere, go to the train station waiting area to read a book or play the piano. When people rush and the setting changes so quickly, it’s easy to relax and stay in the moment. If you have more time, visit the Railway Museum to learn more about history, see authentic relics, or explore spectacular railroad miniatures.
When the party goes until morning, great food will get you back on track. The station district is known for some of the seriously best brunches in Vilnius. Treat yourself to some oysters and bubbles at the Comfort Hotel’s Restaurant Time, which has locals lining up to try new dishes and old favourites every weekend. Holigans offer you the heartiest of brunches that are balanced for vegans and vegetarians. If you can’t agree with your friends on what to eat, check out Uptown Bazaar and bring dishes from various restaurants to one table.