Ukraine — Shopping and Leisure
Ukrainians like to shop and all tourist towns have malls. Kiev has the most options, with a slew of modern malls, Soviet-style malls, bustling markets, and a growing number of boutiques. Popular Ukraine items include ceramics, jewelry, art, and carved Russian matryoshka dolls. Soviet keepsakes, such as badges and caps, make great souvenirs.
Shopping is a good value, but visitors should always bargain at the Ukrainian markets as items are marked up heavily in tourist areas. This is particularly true on Andrew’s Descent in Kiev, which is renowned for its open-air art gallery. Hand painted pyansky eggs can be found on the street, along with embroidered clothes. For the latest fashions, check out the malls, department stores, and boutiques along Kiev’s wide Khreschatyk Street, which have local and international brand names.
Visitors will find shopping in all areas. Lviv has a number of shops right downtown, while the Arcadia Plaza in Arcadia, Odessa, is always buzzing, as is Babushkins’kyi district in Dnipropetrovs’k. Ukraine malls and big box stores are open seven days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., with some staying open until 9:00 p.m. in Kiev and the other big cities. The smaller places may close for an hour at lunchtime, at 1:00 p.m. or 2:00 p.m.
Soviet keepsakes (both fake and genuine) can be found all over the Ukraine, at markets and in legitimate stores. Usual items include badges, medals, military caps, and figurines, along with iconic t-shirts like Yuri Gagarin. Be aware, though, that anything of historical importance cannot be exported, including religious artifacts. The price is generally a giveaway: if it’s only a few hryvnya, then it is likely a Chinese knockoff.
Spas in Ukraine
Saunas (often Russian, Finnish, and Turkish) and health clubs are popular in Ukraine and can be found in every town and paid for by the hour. They typically feature steam baths, Jacuzzis, swimming pools, and a massage parlor and are a good value. Myslyvskiy Dvir (Slavgorods’ka St., Kiev) is always busy and works out to be a fraction of the price of hotel spas.
There aren’t many full-blown spa resorts in the Ukraine, though there are standalone services in Kiev, such as Spa Naturel (5 Alla Tarasova St., Kiev) and KINARI Thai (40 Ivana Franka St., Kiev). In the southern town of Donetsk, the Donbass Palace Spa (Donbass Palace Hotel, 80 Artema St., Donetsk) is easily the best there.