Zagreb do list

The 71 best things to do in Zagreb

Discover the best of the city with our essential checklist of things to do in Zagreb, from galleries and museums to restaurants and bars

By Time Out contributors, Marc Rowlands and Justin McDonnell
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Compact and easy to navigate, Zagreb contains plenty of historic sights and fascinating galleries, complemented by destination restaurants, clusters of busy bars and numerous live-music venues. The main square divides the hilly Upper Town – museums, institutions of national importance, panoramic views – from the flat, grid-patterned streets of the Lower Town, with its gastronomic landmarks, designer boutiques and art galleries. Spread out east and west are areas of bucolic greenery while south over the Sava river stretches the post-war residential blocks of Novi Zagreb.

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You can also find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world, or take a look at our list of the 50 best things to do in the world right now.

The best things to do in Zagreb

Mirogoj
Mirogoj
© Fumie Suzuki/Time Out

1. Take a tour of Mirogoj

Attractions Cemeteries Zagreb

What is it? The final resting place for 300,000 souls of many religious backgrounds, Mirogoj is Zagreb’s equivalent of London's Highgate cemetery and encapsulates the city’s rich patchwork of history.

Why go? A 15-minute journey from the centre (take the bus from Kaptol, at the end of Tkalčićeva), Mirogoj is also an architectural gem. Behind a series of green, onion-shaped cupolas, which cap ivy-covered brick walls, are tiled arcades, monuments to Croatia’s most prominent citizens.

Don't miss: The best time to visit is on All Souls’ Day, November 1, when everything is shrouded in a halo of candlelight.

Dolac
Dolac
© Paul Prescott

2. Inspire yourself at the city's lagest daily market

Shopping Markets and fairs Kaptol

What is it? The city centre's daily market, Dolac, is just one set of stairs up from Zagreb's main square. It has been trading since 1926.

Why go? Farmers from surrounding villages come to sell their home-made foodstuffs and some of the freshest fruit and vegetables you’ll ever smell or taste. Need to find fresh coriander, rosemary, mint or thyme? This is the place.

Don't miss: In the covered market downstairs are butchers, fishmongers and old ladies selling the local specialty sir i vrhnje (cheese and cream). Flowers and lace are also widely available. Alongside, the renovated fish market, ribarnica, sells fresh produce every day but Monday. 

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Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
Image: M. Vrdoljak

3. Admire great art at the MSU

Museums Art and design Novi Zagreb

What is it? The MCA – MSU in Croatian – is the most significant museum to open in Zagreb for more than a century. Its collection includes pieces from the 1920s and gathered since 1954 when Zagreb's original MCA (in the Upper Town) was founded.

Why go? Croatia's outstanding 1950s generation of abstract-geometric artists (Ivan Picelj, Aleksandar Srnec, Vjenceslav Richter, Vlado Kristl) play a starring role in the collection, alongside photographs and films documenting the more outlandish antics of legendary performance artists like Tom Gotovac and Vlasta Delimar. The new-media and computer-art works produced by the Zagreb-based New Tendencies movement in the late '60s and early 70s reveals just how ahead-of-its-time much of Croatian art really was.

Don't miss: Of particular note are Carsten Höller's slides, similar to the 'Test Site' installation he built for Tate Modern's Turbine Hall but custom-made and site-specific for Zagreb – pieces of art patrons can ride to the parking lot.

Zagreb With Cathedral And Church Tower - Croatia
Zagreb With Cathedral And Church Tower - Croatia
© Zdenek Matyas

4. Marvel at the Cathedral

Attractions Religious buildings and sites Kaptol

What is it? If Zagreb has an iconic architectural feature, it’s the twin towers of its Cathedral, created by Hermann Bollé after an earthquake struck the city in 1880.

Why go? The Cathedral is Zagreb’s most visible tourist attraction. Though much of the exterior has long been veiled behind construction sheathing, not least since the 2020 earthquake, the neo-Gothic twin towers can be seen across the city and are as close as Zagreb gets to a visual identity worthy of calling-card status. They were added by architect Hermann Bollé in the post-1880 earthquake rebuild, while the interior received neo-gothic altars, 19th-century stained glass, and a relief by Ivan Meštrović.

Don't miss: The statue of Christ by the Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović.  

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5. Browse Britanski trg

Shopping Markets and fairs Zagreb

What is it? On Sundays, the fruit and veg stalls that fill the city centre's Britanski trg during the week are cleared away, and an attractive bric-a-brac and antique market is laid out.

Why go? In total, some 100 stallholders trade goods from first thing in the morning. Paintings, jewellery, old currency, badges, glass bottles, posters, crockery, silver, old farming tools and religious icons are all on display on wooden trestle tables. The morning is also a social occasion, locals gathering at nearby cafés such as Kava Tava to gossip and show off their purchases.

Don't miss: Look out for Yugoslavian film posters and original screenprints by Croatian graphic artists like Boris Bućan.

Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens
© Fumie Suzuki/Time Out

6. Go green at the Botanical Gardens

Attractions Parks and gardens Lower Town

What is it? The Botanical Gardens form the east-west anchor of the ‘Green Horseshoe’, a U-shaped band of greenery laid out by Milan Lenuci in the 19th century. About 10,000 plant species come mainly from Croatia, some from as far as Asia.

Why go? Near but removed from the bustle of the train station, it offers a wonderfully relaxing way to escape with your travelling companion amid the plots, plants, footbridges, lakes and ponds.

Don't miss: The English-style arboretum, and containing rock gardens, lily-pad-covered ponds, symmetrical French-inspired flowerbeds and ten glasshouses.

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7. Go underground at Grič

Attractions Zagreb

What is it? Opened as a tourist attraction in 2016, the 350-metre-long Grič tunnel has previously served the city in extremely different ways. Created as an air-raid shelter during World War II, it lay empty for decades until the earliest days of techno when it hosted the seminal Under City raves. Also in the 1990s, it again saw use as an air-raid shelter.

Why go? Accessed from Mesnička or Radićeva, the Grič tunnel has already put on fashion shows and exhibitions. For the time being, it provides an atmospheric but well lit five-minute walk far below the most historic part of Zagreb.

Don't miss: The tunnel forms a part of the city's Advent festival, when it's illuminated with swirls of sparkling Christmas lights.

Zagreb City Museum
Zagreb City Museum
© Vanda Vucicevic/Time Out

8. Trace Zagreb's history

Museums History Zagreb

What is it? Zagreb City Museum is the former 17th-century Convent of the Clares. Situated in the Upper Town, it has a permanent collection of 4,500 objects illustrating Zagreb’s history from prehistoric times, laid out in themed sections.

Why go? Perhaps the biggest attractions at the Zagreb City Museum are the old packaging, automatic music machines and propaganda posters from the last century, offering a real feel for what life might have been like here in 1955.

Don't miss: Order tapas and Croatian wine at the courtyard bar. The sundial in the courtyard is the city’s oldest and is still showing the right time.

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Medvedgrad
Medvedgrad
Marko Vrdoljak

9. Ramble and slalom at Sljeme

Attractions Parks and gardens Zagreb

What is it? The highest peak of Medvednica Nature Park near Zagreb, Sljeme is also the name used to define a series of accessible slopes that welcome hikers and ramblers all year round.

Why go? They’re best known for their climbing and skiing – the hills are dotted with mountain lodges and Sljeme has been developed as a major international skiing centre, a noted fixture on the sport’s international winter calendar. It provides training slopes for amateurs, night skiing, sledging and snowboarding for enthusiasts of all ages and abilities.

Don't miss: Wooden taverns at the peak of the summit provide nourishing Central European fare such as veal, bean stew and sarma.

Upper town Zagreb
Upper town Zagreb
© Julien Duval

10. Visit a break-up museum

Museums Zagreb

What is it? Housed in one of the Upper Town's finest Baroque mansions, the thematic display here takes visitors through a series of different emotions associated with a relationship break-up, illustrated by objects donated by members of the public

Why go? By collecting mementos that sum up the experience of a break-up, the museum has assembled a poignant, sometimes funny and always unique insight into the mysteries of the human heart.

Don't miss: The gallery café has an excellent range of ice-creams and cakes, providing temporary salvation to the broken-hearted. The adjoining restaurant, Brokenships, offers adventurous takes on traditional Croatian cuisine.

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Strukli A.jpg
Strukli A.jpg
Vanda Vucicevic

11. Sample štrukli

What is it? This distant relation of Austrian strudel and Turkish borek is made from rolled dough, delicious when filled with cheese, fruit and more. Whether boiled or baked, sweet or salty, or with added poppy, pumpkin or spinach, all versions usually deserve attention.

Why go? Many venues pride themselves on their štrukli, although the kitchen at the Palace Hotel (the city's oldest) serves one of the best - if not the best - in town. Its recipe has not changed much in the 100 years they've been preparing it.

Don’t miss: The more contemporary La Štruk also specialises in this local pastry, providing more unusual choices such as cheese-and-nettle and cheese-and-paprika varieties.

Church of St Mark Zagreb, st mark's
Church of St Mark Zagreb, st mark's
© pixabay

12. Admire St Mark's Church

Museums Zagreb

What is it? Two coats of arms grace the red-white-and-blue chequered roof of this emblematic Upper Town church: Zagreb's and Croatia's.

Why go? Since the 1200s, when the Romanesque original was built, the church has gone through many architectural styles – note the Gothic south portal and Baroque, copper-covered belltower. The square outside, housing the Ban's Palace and the Croatian Parliament, has been the hub of political activity since the 1500s.

Don't miss: Inside are hand-painted walls and a crucifix made respectively by famous artists Jozo Kljaković and Ivan Meštrović.

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Spica
Spica
Nikolina Mimiæ, Time Out

13. Get involved in špica

What is it? The local custom of špica is the Saturday-morning habit of having coffee in Zagreb’s city centre. It takes place where Gajeva meets Bogovićeva and Preradovićeva, by the flower market on Cvjetni trg between 11am and 2pm.

Why go? Though nominally about drinking kava and enjoying a morning off from work, this ritual is more about looking sharp, of seeing and being seen. It’s an impromptu stage for fashionistas, wannabe glamourites, local paparazzi and hush-toned trend mongers.

Don't miss: To mingle, grab a seat at the Charlie café or a stand-up table at Crêpes de Paris.

Krsto Hegedušić, Poklade, 1935
Krsto Hegedušić, Poklade, 1935
© Muzej moderne i suvremene umjetnosti Rijeka (MMSU)

14. See a century of Naive Art

Museums Art and design Zagreb

What is it? Formerly housed on the second floor of the 18th-century Raffay Palace, Zagreb's collection is a solid introduction to Croatian Naive Art, mostly the work of self-taught peasant painters from villages north-east of the capital.

Why go? This is the oldest collection of Naive Art is the world. Fantastically bizarre rural scenes that verge on the psychedelic, the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art's collection is unlike anything else. It offers a true reflection of the lives, festivities, imaginations and landscapes of the people.

Don't miss: The collection is frequently rotated but there are usually plenty of representations of rural life executed by the big names of the genre: Ivan Generalić, Mirko Virius and Ivan Rabuzin. Also included are international contributors such as Polish-Ukrainian artist Nikifor.

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Maksimir Park in Zagreb
Maksimir Park in Zagreb
© Igor Zirojević

15. Relax at Maksimir Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Zagreb

What is it? Maksimir Park comprises an attractive 18 hectares (45 acres) of welcome greenery, opened to an appreciative public in 1794. Its woods, meadows and lakes were landscaped in what was then considered the English style.

Why go? Today, rolling hills cradle footpaths and cafés, providing ample room for jogging, romancing and relaxation. At one end you’ll find the city's zoo, with daily feeding times posted up for the seals, sea lions and otters so that you can time a family visit. On the other side of the road stands Croatia’s national football stadium, also called Maksimir, base of home-town club Dinamo Zagreb.

Don't miss: A cluster of great restaurants have settled around Maksimir, including Pizzeria Duksa and AbOvo Bistro.

Slastičarnica Zagreb torta
Slastičarnica Zagreb torta
© Slastičarnica Zagreb

16. Try the Zagreb torta

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Pâtisseries Lower Town

What is it? One of the oldest café-patisseries in the city (and renovated to convey an almost lounge-bar feel), Slastičarnica Zagreb has always been held in high regard by locals who value a good ice cream or an elegant slice of fine cake.

Why go? Pretty much everything in the enticing counter display is worth a try.

Don't miss: Reserve space in your stomach for the Zagreb Torta, a chocolate sponge cake layered with hazelnut cream and apricot jam that was dreamt up in 1987 in culinary celebration of the Zagreb World Student Games. A whole Zagreb Torta in a presentation box is not a bad option if you’re thinking of gift ideas.

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Tkalčićeva, Zagreb
Tkalčićeva, Zagreb
© xbrchx

17. Drink your way down Tkalčićeva

What is it? The fairytale street of Tkalčićeva, which snakes up from the city's central, main square - Jelačić trg - was once the flowing stream of Medveščak. The little side streets leading off it, Splavnica (from splav, raft) and Krvavi most (Bloody bridge), link to both its watery origins and colourful past as the flashpoint of historic local disputes.

Why go? For two decades, this atmospheric thoroughfare has provided Zagreb with its prime bar crawl, a constant current of revellers moving from spot to spot.

Don’t miss: Venues move in and out of fashion, but you're pretty much guaranteed a good time at the Funk Club, a regular café by day, a lively DJ basement by night. The gargantuan Medvedgrad, one of Zagreb's oldest breweries, spreads across several venues, offering independently produced beer and pub grub. Rakhia Bar specialises in rakija grappas.

Art Park Zagreb
Art Park Zagreb
© Art Park Zagreb

18. Hang out at the Art Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Zagreb

What is it? Boundary-breaking art collective Pimp my Pump team up with street art studio Lapo Lapo each summer to turn a city centre park into a vibrant open-air gallery, event and hang-out space. A diverse menu of activities, workshops and open-air exhibitions take place here. 

Why go? You can peruse the make-shift sculptures, watch artists at work, or even get involved yourself. Entrance to this creative oasis and all events, talks and workshops are totally free.

Don't miss: Keep an eye on their Facebook page for special one-off events.

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Atelijer Meštrović
Atelijer Meštrović
© Atelijer Meštrović

19. Admire Meštrović's work and mansions

Art Galleries Zagreb

What is it? Croatia's most internationally renowned sculptor, Ivan Meštrović, lived and worked in this restored trio of adjoining 17th-century mansions in Gornji Grad between the years 1923 and 1942.

Why go? The collection here is spectacular, representing major works from the artist's prolific first four decades. As well as marble, there are stone, wood and bronze sculptures. There are also reliefs, drawings and graphics gracing the two floors of the house, the front atrium and his atelier, just off the ivy-covered courtyard.

Don't miss: The Woman by the Sea sculpture in Carrara marble greets you as you enter the actual atelier.

Dubravkin put
Dubravkin put
© Dubravkin put

20. Splash out on seafood at Dubravkin put

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Mediterranean Zagreb

What is it? Dubravkin put is one of Zagreb's top addresses for seafood. Located in a wooded dell between the Upper Town and the Tuškanac woods, it features a cool, minimalist interior full of dark-brown furniture tones and low-key lighting.

Why go? Seafood remains the kitchen's strong point, and both the premium baked fish (420kn/kg) and 12-course tasting menu (465kn per person) are well worth splashing out on. Otherwise, choose between exquisitely prepared and presented mains such as monkfish in olive paste, rack of lamb or oxtail, all in the 130kn range.

Don't miss: It's also a stylish venue for an intimate drink, with hundreds of wines to choose from and a tempting menu of nibble-snacks chalked up on a board beside the bar.

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21. Play mind games at the Museum of Illusions

Museums Art and design Lower Town

What is it? A museum with mirror mazes, gravity-defying rooms, bottomless pits, holograms and mirages.

Why go? It's an incredibly fun way to spend an afternoon. The interactive exhibits provide explanations in English so you can understand the science behind the mind-trickery.

Don't miss: The museum gift shop is full of puzzles, baffling accessories and science books.

22. Slurp spaghetti at Carpaccio

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Italian Zagreb

What is it? Carpaccio delivers stylish Italian-themed dining in a wonderfully convenient bang-in-the centre location. Chic black furnishings, reproduction Art Nouveau posters, and a soundtrack of Italian pop provide the backdrop.

Why go? For starters, there's a generous list of carpaccios, with marinated Adriatic fish or salmon among the most-succulent choices. There is a lengthy list of quality Croatian and Italian wines, a reasonable number of which are available by the glass.

Don't miss: Leave room for dessert: the house semifreddo and tiramisu are difficult to choose between.  

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Kino Kinoteka
Kino Kinoteka
© Nikola Madunovic / Kino Kinoteka

23. See a vintage film at Kino Kinoteka

Things to do Film events Zagreb

What is it? Kino Kinoteka is a charming independent cinema, located near Franjo Tuđman park, just to the west of Zagreb city centre. The building it inhabits was constructed in 1941 and has been a cinema ever since.

Why go? The cinema itself has a long tradition of holding a very diverse programme and supports independent filmmakers, world cinema and takes part in city-wide cultural programmes and film festivals.

Don't miss: The building also holds a great and incredibly popular bar area which has a great terrace utilised in warmer months.

Masters
Masters
© Masters

24. Dance above a tennis court at Masters

4 out of 5 stars
Nightlife Late-night bars Out of the Centre

What is it? The intimate Masters club is located next to the clay courts of the Maksimir Tennis Centre, in a loft bedecked with wooden floors and a tree-house-style bar.

Why go? The DJ presides over a relaxed vibe and offers largely underground music from deep house, dub and disco to techno and reggae. International names make appearances in this relatively secret dance enclave.

Don't miss: The sets of the club's promoter and resident DJ Pepi Jogarde are often epic affairs.

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Lisinski
Lisinski
Spinaker

25. See world-class ballet and music at Lisinski

Music Music venues Zagreb

What is it? Opened in 1973, this 2,000-seater theatre is the main classical music venue in town and also hosts visiting international ballet companies.

Why go? World-class opera, ballet, classical music, pop, folk and theatre are staged here, and the Lisinski, named after the 19th-century Croatian composer, also serves as a convention centre. There's a smaller, 300-capacity hall here too.

Don't miss: Unlike some major concert halls in European cities, events are reasonably priced - meaning you can see world-class ballet without applying for a bank loan. Be warned - Croatians take the tradition of dressing up for classical events seriously.

INmusic
INmusic
© INmusic

26. Party at INmusic festival

What is it? Zagreb’s seminal international music festival INmusic promises three days of big indie, rock and hip hop fun in fields around Lake Jarun. 

Why go? One of the most popular rock festivals in the region, INmusic has definitely put Zagreb on the international music map: each year organisers coax the best modern rock bands, cult heroes and world musicians to the beautiful host site on the west of the city centre.

Don't miss: There are plenty of afterparties and activities happening in and around the city.

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Zagreb Film Festival
Zagreb Film Festival
© Zagreb Film Festival

27. Celebrate celluloid at Zagreb Film Festival

What is it? The biggest event on the Croatian film calendar is autumn's Zagreb Film Festival, which attracts some 35,000 visitors to watch features, shorts and documentaries, many screened in English (or with English subtitles).

Why go? The programming is interesting enough without being too obscure.

Don't miss: The Checkers national competition - it champions domestic productions.

Lotrščak Tower
Lotrščak Tower
© ilijaa

28. See the midday cannon fire from Lotrščak

Attractions Historic buildings and sites Zagreb

What is it? Lotrščak is a look-out tower built in the 13th century, reached by climbing a winding wooden staircase (the entrance to this route is on Radićeva) or by walking up from Mesnička.

Why go? Every day since 1877, a couple of loud cannon blasts sound out at midday.

Don't miss: Leafy Strossmayer runs by the tower and gives a lovely view of the city and its centre's rooftops.

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sofra, cevapi, grill, mixed meat
sofra, cevapi, grill, mixed meat
© Sofra

29. Devour ćevapi and grilled meats at Sofra

Restaurants Balkan Zagreb

What is it? The best Bosnian grill restaurant in town is hugely popular despite its hidden location in a residential quarter - take a taxi.

Why go? Grilled meats are the order of the day here, pljeskavica and ćevapi (both comprised of seasoned, minced beef), served with traditional bread and sides like kajmak (a thick cream). A sharing plate, usually for a minimum of two, is usually the best way to sample a range of the menu in the region's grill houses.

Don't miss: Order the ćevapi.

Hrelic
Hrelic
© Time Out Croatia

30. Go second-hand shopping at Hrelić

Shopping Markets and fairs Novi Zagreb

What is it? A mammoth Sunday flea market on the outskirts of Zagreb's city centre.

Why go? Many of the goods here are cheap – clothes, CDs, sports shoes, home furnishings, electrical goods – but you’ll also find piles of oddities and rarities from all over the Balkans.

Don't miss: A Balkan-brass band are often seen rambling around the market. Carnivores will also be delighted by the range of grilled meats on offer at the shacks surrounding the morning bustle. Arrive early - like Zagreb's main outdoor markets, most of the best action is over by midday.

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MK Krolo
MK Krolo
© Srdjan Subotic

31. Drink beer in a historic bar

Bars and pubs Café bars Zagreb

What is it? Known by all as 'Krolo', after the writer Miroslav Krleža who lived here, this beautiful, old, wooden bar near the main square gives its many patrons a flavour of pre-1991 Zagreb.

Why go? The bar staff are easy-going, the older clientele religiously scan the day's newspapers and the younger regulars gather round the semicircular bar. No DJs, no hipster-attracting tricks, but still crowded and raucous at weekends. Timeless is the word you're looking for.

Don't miss: Upstairs, the cigarette-yellowed artwork on the walls features striking examples of Yugoslavian graphic design.

Greta Gallery, art, things to do, croatia
Greta Gallery, art, things to do, croatia
Greta Gallery

32. See fresh modern art at Greta

Art Contemporary art Zagreb

What is it?  A gallery in a former clothes shop that opens a new exhibition every Monday night.

Why go? Greta doesn’t follow too strict a curatorial framework, ensuring the widest possible variety of artistic approaches. It regularly receives more visitors than many of the more established galleries, with opening-night celebrants spilling out onto the pavement outside.

Don't miss: Keep an eye on their Facebook page for fresh exhibition openings.

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Alcatraz
Alcatraz
© Novković

33. Drink rakija at Alcatraz

Bars and pubs Café bars Zagreb

What is it? This cult bar is a real locals' hang-out. The interior of Alcatraz is crowded with American number plates, beer flags, and mannequins – one of which wears a Mick Jagger mask and seems to be a part of the party.

Why go? The weekends see it packed with locals, who stop by for bottles of Belgian speciality brews and craft ale, plus the DJs jamming rock and dance tunes. On most nights, it's usually the latest bar still working.

Don't miss: The large menu of home-made rakija (grappa), which includes mild liquors like honey, cherry or blackcurrant plus the to-be-feared šljivovica, which you'd do well to guess comes from plums.

zagreb puppet theatre, theatre, zagreb, croatia
zagreb puppet theatre, theatre, zagreb, croatia
© Zagreb Puppet Theatre

34. Watch a show at a puppet theatre

Theatre Zagreb

What is it? Croatia's oldest professional puppet theatre.

Why go? The puppet theatre has been in operation for over sixty-five years and benefits from having a 200-seater arena. It has the technical facilities to stage live actors and chamber orchestras, along with award-winning puppetry.

Don't miss: The International Puppet Festival brings its diminutive magic here every September.

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Cogito Coffee
Cogito Coffee
© Cogito

35. Sip the finest coffee in Croatia

4 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Café bars Lower Town

What is it? The flagship city-centre cafe bar of the Cogito bean-roasting outfit, this place is a clinic for unrepentant caffeine-a-holics.

Why go? Minimally decorated, save for some salvaged furniture and a few pictures, it serves a hard-to-beat brew, plus leaf teas, and some freshly-squeezed juices.

Don't miss: A bag of Cogito's special blend is worth buying and taking home.

Moderna Galerija, art galleries, zagreb, croatia
Moderna Galerija, art galleries, zagreb, croatia
© Vanda Vucicevic/Time Out

36. Discover local modern art

Art Galleries Zagreb

What is it? The Moderna Galerija holds one of the most precious collections of modern Croatian art, the heart of which are the paintings of the generation of cosmopolitan young artists active around 1900. It kicks off in spectacular fashion with huge canvases by late-19th-century painters Vlaho Bukovac and Celestin Medović which dominate the sublimely proportioned hexagonal entrance hall. From here, the collection works its way chronologically through the history of modern Croatian painting, taking in Ljubo Babić's entrancing 1920s landscapes and Edo Murtić's jazzy exercises in 1950's abstract art.

Why go? The gallery is unique in attempting to bridge the artistic eras of the modern and the contemporary, including conceptual and video works appearing beside the painted classics.

Don't miss: The Moderna Galerija's most innovative feature is the tactile gallery, a room containing versions of famous paintings in relief form (together with Braille captions) for unsighted visitors to explore.

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Croatian Association of Artists
Croatian Association of Artists
© Matt Field/Time Out

37. Marvel at the mosque

Art Galleries Zagreb

What is it? Known locally as Džamija (mosque), visit for the building alone, a circular pavilion standing in the middle of an island in Victims of Fascism Square (it's less than ten minute's walk south-east of the main square). The handsome gardens surrounding have been updated with lawns and a water fountain.

Why go? The building was designed by sculptor Ivan Meštrović just before World War II as an exhibition space in honour of the then Yugoslav King Peter I.

Don't miss: Inside, the circular walls contain three galleries that span two floors. They provide an outstanding venue for a dynamic program of contemporary art exhibitions and events organized by the Croatian Association of Artists (HDLU). The central hall features natural light which filters through the cupola.

Advent
Advent

38. Get into the spirit of Christmas at Advent

What is it? Zagreb's annual celebration of all things yuletide won the award for best Christmas market in Europe several years running. It gets better each year. The whole thing kicks off in the last week of November and carries on right into the early New Year.

Why go? The music programme features a month of outdoor gigs and DJ high-jinks. Stalls on the pedestrianised streets around Cvijetni trg sell everything from craft toys to traditional sweets, fruit preserves, speciality biscuits and gingerbread hearts. The city-wide lighting display is stunning.

Don't miss: The walk from Zagreb's main train station, through three parks, to the main square is always special but, at Christmas, is an unforgettable experience.

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39. Sip fruit brandy at Rakhia Bar

3 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Café bars Tkalciceva

What is it? This first-floor flat in a charming old Tkalčićeva building has been transformed into a warren of quirkily decorated sitting rooms, with mix-and-match furnishings, paintings on the walls, and agreeably low-key lighting.

Why go? Rakija is the star of the show: if there’s a fruit or vegetable from which you can make brandy then, rest assured, it will be on the menu here.

Don't miss: Try the honey-based medicaorahovica from walnuts and biska from mistletoe leaves (not its poisonous berries).

40. Eat a local lunch

2 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Croatian Zagreb

What is it? Cheap and satisfying, gableci are cut-price lunches that are sold at outlets around town. They're often half the price of an à la carte midday meal. Usually advertised on boards during the working week, it's normal for there to be three or four gableci options for that day. You'll find vendors of gableci around the Dolac market, serving bean stew (grah), turkey with Zagorje pasta (purica s mlincima), and squared pasta with roasted cabbage (krautflekerli). 

Why go? One good place to try them, Gostionica Purger (Petrinjska 37), is titled after the local name for someone from Zagreb. The food is sturdy and the dishes traditional.

Don't miss: In this eatery's no-frills, three-room interior, you can expect classics such as sarma (sauerkraut stuffed with minced meat), lamb, veal and seafood.

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Lake Jarun
Lake Jarun
M. Vrdoljak.

41. Discover Lake Jarun

Things to do

What is it? Jarun is Zagreb’s great green getaway for recreation, a man-made lake centrepieced by a string of verdant islands, ideal for all kinds of outdoor activities and also the setting for June’s INmusic festival.

Why go? Jarun is a popular public park, a place for picnics and pedal boats, roller-blading and jogging.

Don't miss: INmusic, June’s high-profile, three-day music festival is the best of both worlds, an event that’s urban – 15 minutes by tram from the centre of the capital – yet with a rural feel.

The Garden Brewery
The Garden Brewery
© The Garden Brewery

42. Sample craft beer at The Garden Brewery

4 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Breweries Zagreb

What is it? A craft brewery run by the team behind the legendary Garden Festival and its various offshoots.

Why go? Housed in a red brick factory in Zagreb's industrial east, it's a characterful venue for after-work drinks and high-octane club nights.

Don't miss: The fruity Citrus IPA, and seasonal specials - the porter is award-winning. 

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43. Order gelato at Vincek

Restaurants Ice-cream parlours Zagreb

What is it? A Zagreb institution. Vincek has been producing sweet treats for many years and claims a loyal following among the locals.

Why go? Arguably the best ice-cream in the city centre, the display counter seduces passers-by with its bounty of glazed treats and homemade cakes.

Don't miss: The gelato is some of the best you'll find outside Italy.

Zagreb Eye Viewpoint
Zagreb Eye Viewpoint
© Hrvoje Joe Topić/Zagreb Eye

44. Admire the views from 360°

Museums

What is it? Get to grips with the layout of central Zagreb by visiting the panoramic terrace bar on top of the 16-storey Neboder (Skyscraper), an icon of Communist-era modernism that has dominated the main square since 1959.

Why go? The Zagreb Eye offers a spectacular view of downtown Zagreb and is one of the most beautiful ways to see the city 360°.

Don't miss: It's also a great place for a relaxing drink, day or night.

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Mimara, Zagreb
Mimara, Zagreb
© Fumie Suzuki/Time Out

45. Marvel at Mimara

Museums Art and design Zagreb

What is it? Set in a neo-Renaissance former school on Rooseveltov trg, the Mimara Museum contains the most impressive art collection in town.

Why go? When it comes to historical art collections, the Mimara is certainly Zagreb's biggest in terms of quantity. Donated to the city by wealthy patron Ante Topić Mimara, the collection includes 1700 paintings, statues and archaeological finds, organised chronologically and thematically (although with little by way of explanation in English).

Don't miss: Highlights on the ground floor include oriental carpets, south-east Asian sculptures and Chinese porcelain. The picture galleries upstairs display works from every era since the Gothic period, with artists like Velázquez, Rubens, Rembrandt and Manet each putting in an appearance. It's also an important venue for temporary art or archaeological exhibitions.

Croatian National Theatre
Croatian National Theatre
© Matt Field/Time Out

46. Have a night at the opera

Theatre Public and national theatres Zagreb

What is it? This neo-Baroque landmark, opened by Habsburg Emperor Franz Josef in 1895, played a vital role in the establishment of Croatian national identity.

Why go? What you find today is a sumptuous interior – a suitably ornate backdrop for local-language theatre, international ballet and opera.

Don't miss: Tchaikovsky's 'Nutcracker' has become something of an institution. The sell-out production takes place throughout November and December.

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Okrugljak
Okrugljak
© Okrugljak

47. Dine classically at Okrugljak

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Balkan Zagreb

What is it? The grande dame of Zagreb restaurants attracts old money and the new jet set. They munch and mingle in two high-ceilinged, wooden-clad halls situated in a suburb below Sljeme. Reservations at weekends are a must.

Why go? Top-rated international cuisine and traditional dishes from Croatia's continent and coast are prepared with special care – from juicy barbecue meats and uplifting blood sausages to super-fresh tuna fillets and delectable swordfish carpaccios.

Don't miss: Expect to see fresh lamb roasting away on spits in the yard on spring weekends. The pasta is made on the premises.

Booksa
Booksa
© Matt Field/Time Out

48. Attend a free lecture at Booksa

5 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Café bars Zagreb

What is it? Zagreb’s prime literary club also doubles as a café.

Why go? There is a symbolic membership fee of 10kn/year, but members can then enjoy carefully chosen music, a laid-back atmosphere and regular events that include readings by the big beasts of the local literary scene – with occasional ones by visiting English speakers.

Don't miss: Good coffee and several varieties of leaf tea help to make Booksa well worth the quick tram ride or ten-minute walk from the centre.

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Take Me Home
Take Me Home
© Take Me Home

49. Pick up Croatia-inspired gifts at Take Me Home

Shopping Home decor Zagreb

What is it? An exemplary little souvenir shop near the lower station of Zagreb’s funicular.

Why go? Their aim is to stock quality products made by Croatian designers which also work well as souvenirs – in the sense that they’re small enough to fit in your luggage and might also actually be useful once you get them home.

Don't miss: Lidia Bosevski’s ceramics convey arty elegance; while Filip Gordon Frank’s Mini Me desk lamp is already something of a Croatian design icon. 

borovo
borovo
© Dzavic / Borovo

50. Get a pair of Croatian kicks at Borovo

Shopping Fashion Rijeka

What is it? Subject of a major cult in the former Yugoslavia, Borovo stock the Croatian-made Startas shoes, a brand of slinky canvas tennis shoes reinvented with a funky range of patterns and classics.

Why go? The wacky pattern work-shoes have been touted by international fashion media, including Vogue USA.

Don't miss: Special edition releases, including collabs with local artists.

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Bestija
Bestija
© Bestija

51. Try the best of Zagreb's bistro scene

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Mediterranean Zagreb

What is it? A newish addition to Zagreb's ever-evolving bistro scene, everything about Beštija screams fresh.

Why go? The menu is reassuringly small and changes daily, but you can expect a cast of Adriatic classics (grilled fish, Pag lamb) prepared with flavourful, fruity embellishments

Don't miss: The pannacotta, if available, is heavenly.

amelie
amelie
© Amelie

52. Have coffee and a cake at Amelie

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Pâtisseries Zagreb

What is it? This delightfully twee, French-flavoured place is the ideal spot to sip tea and munch your way through some of the Croatian capital's best lemon meringue pies, cheesecakes and quiches.

Why go? There's invariably a strong showing of different cakes in the glass display cabinet, rendering the selection process tantalizingly difficult.

Don't miss: The rainbow-coloured spread of macaroons are devastatingly good.

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OKO
OKO

53. Tour Zagreb's street art scene

What is it? Bright and beautiful murals that add flourishes of colour to the city.

Why go? Local street artists like Slaven Lunar Kosanović, OKO and Lonac have developed distinctive styles, and the popularity of their work has justly exploded onto the international stage.

Don't miss: Although it's in crumbling disrepair, the wall that runs along Branimirova is a good place to start. Etien's whale in the Upper Town is a symbolic piece, as are works by OKO and Lonac.

54. See live demonstrations of Tesla inventions

Museums Transport Zagreb

What is it? The Nikola Tesla Technical Museum holds a collection featuring aircraft, vintage cars, an 80-year-old snowmobile, a World War II mini-submarine, 19th-century fire engines, a Dubrovnik tram from 1912 and a small planetarium.

Why go? This impressive collection of historic vehicles and interactive exhibits provides an excellent and unstuffy excuse to visit the just-out-of-town museum.

Don't miss: The section dedicated to Nikola Tesla illustrates just how advanced this turn-of-the-century pioneer of electricity generation and radio transmission actually was. Daily demonstrations in the laboratory involve a short lecture during which some of his inventions are put through their paces.

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Bacchus
Bacchus
© Fumie Suzuki/Time Out

55. Listen to live jazz at Bacchus

5 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Café bars Zagreb

What is it? Bacchus Jazz Bar is an ideal place to meet friends, listen to jazz and either have a civilised party evening or get revved up for what's to come.

Why go? The bar exudes a homely Dalmatian feel: the owner is from Split, and there's a fig tree next to the terrace, which is tucked into a passage off the street. Inside you'll find a hodgepodge of kinda tatty wooden furniture: a 1960s-era television and telephone, and wooden-plank floors under a brick ceiling.

Don't miss: Live poetry or spoken-word on Wednesday nights, live jazz or soul on Friday and Saturday.  

Swanky Monkey Garden
Swanky Monkey Garden
© KL-Photo

56. Order swanky cocktails

5 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Zagreb

What is it? Swanky Monkey Garden is an expansive outdoor bar with a buzzing vibe, thanks to its mix of backpackers and locals. And, if you like cocktails, it's a good place to drink them casually without breaking the bank.

Why go? The team behind this place are big music enthusiasts and are attached to several major events in the city's calendar. There are DJ-led parties here on some evenings, especially towards the weekend.

Don't miss: You might be staying at the adjoining hostel with friends, but don't limit your experience to hanging only with people you already know. This is a brilliant place to meet locals and fellow travellers.

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Zagreb Archaeological Museum, mummy
Zagreb Archaeological Museum, mummy
© Zagreb Archaeological Museum

57. Visit the Zagreb mummy

Museums History Zagreb

What is it? Established in 1846, Zagreb Archaeological Museum's extensive and well-labelled collection covers three floors, beginning with the Early Stone Age.

Why go? The section on ancient Egypt includes sarcophagi, statues and jewellery: the 4th-century-BC Zagreb Mummy, wrapped in a shroud bearing rare Etruscan texts, is the museum's coup de grâce and shouldn't be missed.

Don't miss: Other highlights include the Vučedol Dove, a 4,000-year-old ceramic vessel found near Vukovar and a symbol of peace in recent times; Greek and Roman artefacts; and coins from through the ages.

58. Hang out or get down at Pločnik

4 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Craft beer pubs Zagreb

What is it? Pločnik is as much a bar as it is an essential hub for alternative culture. There's a large collection of vinyl records (and some great clothing) for sale on the first floor.

Why go? The music programme is dizzyingly diverse and there's usually something clubby happening in the bar's basement at night. It's also one of the few places in the city where you can hear afrobeat, dancehall or grime music.

Don't miss: Craft beer by Nova Runda and The Garden on tap.

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Noel
Noel
Luxy

59. Sample modern Croatian gastronomy

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Fusion Zagreb

What is it? Noel is an achingly cool restaurant dedicated to the flux of contemporary trends in cooking.

Why go? The menu mixes the best of Croatian cuisine with European experimentation, such as the pork belly with shrimp, parsley and passion fruit. Portions are small but well presented and garnished.

Don't miss: Extravagant diners can opt for the taster menu - options include four, six or nine courses costing between 220kn and 450kn. The wine list is superb.

Mali Medo
Mali Medo
© Mali Medo

60. Try beer from Zagreb's first independent brewery

4 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Pubs Tkalciceva

What is it? Croatia's rapidly growing boutique-brewery scene is not entirely new - Zagreb’s Medvedgrad has been brewing its own lagers, wheat beers and porters for over 20 years.

Why go? The Mali Medo branch on Tkalčićeva spreads across several buildings with an extensive outdoor terrace - it's one of the most buzzing bars in the city.

Don't miss: You can sample a miniature selection of different beers to get a taste for what you like. The Fakin' IPA on draught is a reliable (although strong) choice.

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Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters / Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb
Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters / Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb
© Leonid Andronov

61. See the old masters at work

Art Galleries Zagreb

What is it? The neo-Renaissance palace which houses Strossmayer's Gallery of Old Masters was built in 1884 to accommodate Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer's private collection of European paintings. It holds Zagreb's foremost collection of old masters and also serves as the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb.

Why go? Pieces are hung in nine intimate rooms on the second floor. Italians fill the first six, with Fra Beato Angelico's 'Martyrdom of St Peter' in room 1, Bellini's newly restored 'Saints Augustine and Benedict' in room 3, and Carpaccio's 'Martyrdom of St Sebastian' right next to it. The collection continues with Flemish (Brueghel), Dutch and German painters, with a final room devoted to the French – 'Portrait of Madame Récamier' by Jean Antoine Gros is the stand-out picture here.

Tvornica kulture
Tvornica kulture
© Tvornica kulture

62. Catch a gig at Tvornica

5 out of 5 stars
Nightlife Nightlife venues Zagreb

What is it? Tvornica kulture (The Culture Factory) has established itself as Zagreb‘s leading medium-sized venue for live rock and pop.

Why go? Concerts take place several times a week, with club nights featuring DJs and visuals at weekends.

Don't miss: The price of a drink is unusually low for a concert hall: a draught beer will cost you 15kn (€2).

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Rakete
Rakete
©Daryl Mersom

63. Discover Zagreb's socialist-era architecture

What is it? Zagreb boasts fantastic examples of Communist-era architecture, mostly clustered around Novi Zagreb, south of the river Sava.

Why go? Brutalist structures pierce the skyline, it feels like a different city compared to central Zagreb. Functional, proletarian and to some viewers, aesthetically admirable.

Don't miss: The Rakete, three rocket-shaped towers that were modified after the 1963 Skopje earthquake to withstand further tremors. The nickname comes from the angled appendages on the sides of the buildings, which points them up towards the sky like rockets.

OKO
OKO
OKO

64. Rave in a drugs factory

4 out of 5 stars
Nightlife Nightlife venues Zagreb

What is it? Medika is a shrine to all things alternative. It grew out of Zagreb’s anarchist movement and is still run as a non-profit-making collective. A courtyard decorated by some of Zagreb’s best street artists has a café-bar and, at night, two concert venue-cum-club spaces.

Why go? Events range from anarcho-punk gigs and extreme metal to dub reggae DJs, live hip hop and cutting-edge dance music, with all kinds of other styles thrown in for good measure. Popular with a broad spectrum of Zagreb’s club-hungry youth and alternative students, Medika is much more than just a gathering point for the grungey underground.

Don't miss: Follow the Facebook page for special events and exhibitions. Visual arts association Otomptom throw impromptu film evenings which screen animation and shorts.

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Pod Zidom
Pod Zidom
© Pod Zidom

65. Sample Croatian wine at Pod Zidom

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Bistros Kaptol

What is it? Pod Zidom offers an affordable-to-expensive mixture of great Croatian wines and a range of Mediterranean-style dishes.

Why go? The wine list allows you to sample great Croatian wines by the glass. The wonderful outdoor terrace overlooks a street that’s very central but also slightly hidden from the hubbub of the main square.  

Don't miss: Syrah by Krauthaker is a fantastic dry red, produced by a winery in Kutjevo, eastern Croatia.

Maksimir Stadium
Maksimir Stadium
© D. Bajurin

66. Catch a game at Maksimir

Sport and fitness Football Zagreb

What is it? The home stadium of Dinamo Zagreb football club is set across from the leafy surroundings of Maksimir Park.

Why go? To bask in Croatia's second-place World Cup glory. Over the last year, the stadium has recorded an uptick in attendance and experienced its best atmosphere of the last decade. The team also had an unprecedented run in European competition. Stadium concerts are also held here.

Don't miss: Dinamo's international games or an appearance by the Croatian National Football Team.

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Tortureum, museums, things to do, Zagreb
Tortureum, museums, things to do, Zagreb
© Goran Vranic

67. Browse medieval torture instruments

Museums Science and technology Lower Town

What is it? Tortoreum is a small museum themed around historical violence and torture and has a raft of brutal instruments.

Why go? If that kind of thing appeals to you, it's a fun and relatively cheap way to spend a few hours - browsing a highly unusual artillery of torture instruments and exhibits.

Don't miss: The real-life 'Iron Maiden' (a reproduction of the fabled medieval execution device, not the operatic British metal pioneers in embarrassingly tight Spandex trousers). 

Tanzen Kollektiv
Tanzen Kollektiv
© Tanzen Kollektiv

68. Keep on dancing at Aquarius

4 out of 5 stars
Nightlife Nightlife venues Out of the Centre

What is it? The one club on the Jarun lakeside that works 12 months a year, this 2,000-capacity, two-floor venue, which opened in 1992, is still ahead in the field.

Why go? It's regular agenda has live music and DJ sets by international big names. The two floors – Aquarius 1 and 2 – pump out different sounds but do, on occasion, come together.

Don't miss: Saturdays usually see an eclectic mixture of cutting-edge house and electro. Fans of cool, contemporary house music should look out for the Tanzen nights.

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U Dvorištu
U Dvorištu
© U Dvorištu

69. Sip coffee in a secluded courtyard

4 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Café bars Zagreb

What is it? U Dvorištu is a mellow café hidden in an off-street courtyard.

Why go? They take their (free-trade, Ethiopian) coffee very seriously, and serious caffeine addicts will trek halfway across the city to get their regular fix. 

Don't miss: With poetry readings, jazz in the evenings and art on the walls, it's something of a cult cultural hub into the bargain.

Tomiceva street,  Lotrscak tower, funicular to the Upper Town.
Tomiceva street,  Lotrscak tower, funicular to the Upper Town.
© piotrvbero

70. Take the shortest train journey in the world

What is it? A fun way to access Gradec, the Upper Town, is by the funicular from Ilica (the main commercial street running west from the main Ban Jelačić square). 

Why go? The short ride takes you to the Lotrščak Tower a look-out tower built in the 13th century.

Don't miss: The view over downtown's rooftops as you ascend very quickly to Gradec.

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71. Have a cracking breakfast

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Contemporary Global Zagreb

What is it? Eggspress is a brunch spot devoted entirely to eggs.

Why go? For its world-spanning selection of egg dishes - and groan-inducing egg puns. Their English breakfast is listed on the menu as 'Breggxit'.

Don't miss: Fresh orange juice Mimosas provide speedy replenishment for your hangover.

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