Travellers visiting Morocco tend to avoid Casablanca because it is a crowded economic capital where they rarely get the chance to see something exotic and typically Moroccan. Streets are busy, American fast-food chains in every corner, modern ways of transport like the tramway, open-minded people,… It is the most westernized city in Morocco but still there are loads of things to do there that are unmissable! Casablanca is my hometown and I’m able to draw a selection of the best attractions for travelers. Here is my top 8 things to do in Casablanca from a local point of view…
1- Hassan II Mosque When travelling to a new city, I always look for a new and unique experiences to try. So I thought, what is unique and would definitely be a new experience for someone visiting my hometown? Definitely Hassan II Mosque! This is the biggest mosque in the world (excluding Saudi Arabia) with the tallest minaret on earth, the mosque is seen from every corner of the metropolis. The architecture inside is Islamic-inspired with a Moroccan touch of Zellige from Fez. The best thing to do to experience this place deeper is to take a guided tour for around 120 dhs (11 euros) and explore the whole mosque. An unmissable attraction worth a stopover while visiting Morocco!
2- Art Deco Buildings At a certain time of history, Morocco was a French colony. Therefore, Casablanca has preserved an architectural heritage from the colonial times in the 30s. The Art Deco Buildings are dominating the center of the city so a walk is recommended to see how beautiful some buildings are! Start from The United Nations Square and walk towards Mohammed V Street.
3- Rick’s Café, Old Town If you’ve heard about Casablanca it’s probably because of Casablanca, if you’re a fan of this movie you had probably noticed Rick’s Café! This café does really exist! A replica of this mythical café as seen on the movie is in the Old Town… Its location is strategic, between the walls of the Medina (old town), the Sqala fortifications built in the 18th century and the Port of Casablanca that has been operating for 100 years. I have been there for a drink and I do recommend this place! I’ve had a great welcome at the door and the restaurant takes you back to the 40s, plus, you get to see the most romantic movie of all times once again as Casablanca is on repeat over the screens of the restaurant.
4- Habbous An interesting area to discover another side of the white city. This is a neighborhood built by the French around the 30s to create a new Medina. It looks like the traditional old Moroccan towns with some extras: larger streets and modern facilities. Moreover, it is home of various traditional markets and also the Royal Palace worth checking out while walking around.
5- La Corniche From Anfa Place to Morocco Mall lays an area full of entertainment looking over the Atlantic Ocean. Go on a pleasant walk or even a run in the morning to experience a fresh weather followed by a swim as it gets warmer at Ain Diab Beach and a brunch at one of the cafes in the street.
6- Museum of Judaism The only museum in Casablanca and the only Jewish museum in the Arab World. Morocco is a multi-cultural country where Amazigh, Jewish and Arabs lived for years together in peace. The Jewish history is very rich and has an impact in Moroccan history therefore a museum is dedicated to Moroccan Jews in the residential neighborhood of Oasis. I had visited this museum and I’d say go for it!
7- SKY28, Twin Center The tallest building in Morocco are the Twin Towers in Maarif. One tower is a luxurious 5 stars hotel and the other is full of business offices. At the last floor of the hotel, you can take a drink with an amazing view over the whole city. The bar is named Sky 28. The best time to visit is during the rush hour around 6pm to witness the traffic jam from above and the lights of the city on. I have also tried the restaurant on the 27th floor, Sens, the food is nice and fairly cheap for the exceptional view at the highest restaurant in Morocco.
8- Shopping Casablanca is getting famous for fashion and shopping, therefore, it is host of one of the biggest malls in Africa. Morocco Mall is a temple of shopping and leisure. Check out the aquarium, have a drink or a dinner in its giant food court or watch the show of the fountain outdoors, a large choice of things to do inside this mega mall. The mall has lot of brands from basics like H&M and Zara to Louis Vuitton and Dior. I personally like this mall but I avoid it during week-ends as it gets very crowded. Besides from the Morocco Mall, there is Anfa Place Shopping Centre, The Twin Center and the whole area of Maarif for shopping addicts. To buy traditional Moroccan clothes or souvenirs, the Old Town is the main spot for that however it is advised to purchase traditional things in another city where products are produced locally.