Skip to content

Exploring Addis Ababa in One Day

Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, boasts a rich culture and history behind its modern-day hustle and bustle. Located in the highlands of the Rift Valley, Addis Ababa is also known as the “Political Capital of Africa” because this city is the headquarters of the African Union, United Nations Economic Commissions for Africa as well as various other continental and international organizations. Going on an Addis Ababa day tour is a great way to experience Ethiopia’s capital!


Seeing the city within a day is definitely a challenge, but it is possible with a well-planned itinerary that showcases what the city and Ethiopian culture have to offer.


Visit the National Museum of Ethiopia

The museum houses Ethiopia’s artistic and cultural treasures in its four main exhibitions. Here, tourists can learn not only about the country’s history but also its local culture and global impact. This is where “Lucy”, a skeleton of a female of the hominin species Australopithecus afarensis,  the most ancient early human ever found. The discovery made at the Afar region of Ethiopia was a major breakthrough in solving the human evolution puzzle.


Other displays in the National Museum of Ethiopia include memorabilia from former rulers of Ethiopia, cultural crafts, and traditional to contemporary artworks.


Getting there: The museum is located in the north of the city center and many bus routes ply the area. There is a direct bus stop along King George VI Street.


Stop by at the ethnological Museum Of Addis Ababa


Located in Addis Ababa University at Genete Leul Palace, The Ethnological Museum of Addis Ababa focuses on showcasing Ethiopia’s cultural and social history across two floors. Artifacts and handicrafts from Ethiopians are displayed in a chronological manner based upon the life cycle. From the Childhood section, which focuses on birth, games, rites of passage and traditional tales to the Adulthood section, which focuses on beliefs, nomadism, traditional medicine, war, pilgrimages, hunting, body culture, and handicrafts.


Getting there: Addis Ababa University is a few minutes’ walk away from the National Museum of Ethiopia. Just head south down King George VI Street.


Do some shopping at the Merkato

After working up an appetite by going to two museums, it is time to head the largest open-air market in Africa. It is a busy market place where people come to trade or sell goods such as spices, incense, produce, and jewelry. It is also a perfect place to get a hearty Ethiopian meal with various food stalls and restaurants that are scattered in the market area. Ethiopian cuisine is famous for its rich flavor and typically consists of spicy meat dishes and vegetables.


This is also a perfect place to do your souvenir shopping as the market is riddled with different handicrafts, snacks and delicacies you can take home to your friends and family.


Getting there: From Addis Ababa University, get on a bus at the Arat Kilo station and ask to be dropped off at Merkato.


Check out Mount Entoto

Mount Entotooverlooks the city of Addis Ababa. Hiking up and down the mountain is a must but for those who do not wish to get tired from the afternoon excursions, taxis are able to take tourists up and down the mountain.


The peak is home to magnificent views of the city below. Legend states that this is where Emperor Menelik II and his wife Empress Taitu saw Addis Ababa for the first time and decided to make it the capital of the country.  Here, you can also see the Entoto Maryam church, Entoto Maryam museum and the Entoto Observatory of Ethiopian Space Science Society.


Getting there: The nearest bus station to Mount Entoto is the Shiromeda bus station. Even so, the peak is still very far away. The best way to commute to this destination is by taxi.


Experience an amazing Ethiopian dinner

Finish your one day in Addis Ababa tour with a traditional Ethiopian dinner catered in many restaurants around the city. Guests are usually greeted with a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. It is said that coffee originated in Ethiopia and the drink is deeply rooted in their culture and tradition.


After the coffee ceremony, a variety of delicious Ethiopian food is served while dancers and musicians entertain guests with traditional music and dances. Performers usually showcase the distinctive cultural dresses of different Ethiopian tribal groups. End the night by toasting ‘Tej’, the Ethiopian honey wine with friends and family.


Looking to Explore Addis Ababa?


This ancient and glorious city offers a wide range of activities for every type of traveler. And spending even one day in Addis Ababa can open your eyes to the rich culture and wondrous sights of Ethiopia. Book your Addis Ababa Day Tours for a hassle-free city excursion today.


Check out these Addis Ababa tours for you!


2 Days Tour From Addis Ababa to Senbete & Bati Market

Two Days Tour From Addis Ababa To Awash National Park