My 16 year old son and I have an Airbnb booked in the center of Kiev for 2 days in July. I'm looking for suggestions on sights, restaurants etc
First off, just to get it out of the system, 2 days is decidedly little :-)
That said, if I only had two full days, on the first day I'd do the historical center walk (about 5 hours) just to get the feel of the city - Podol, the main cathedrals (Mikhailovsky, Vladimirsky, Andreevsky, Sophia), Andreevsky spusk, the Golden gate, Khreschatik, the Lavra... Everything is very walkable and little cafes and restaurants are everywhere if you get tired. A boat ride is also nice (iirc, these start from Pochtova Ploschad metro). These are all "touristy must sees", but you will be immersed in regular city life.
The second day I would do something less touristy, but meaningful to you - what are your interests?
I agree 2 days is very little. Besides Kiev is in Europe, not beyond Europe.
Even with only two days, you have chosen well. I don’t know about your AirBnB, but I hope it is near Maidan or between Maidan and St Michael’s as I think, especially for a short trip, that is where you want to be. Remember even a good hotel will only cost $30 to $40 a night.
I know an outstanding guide and an absolutely wonderful human being: Irina Kravchenko: http://kyivexplorer.in.ua/new-page-1/
My top of the list places to visit are:
1. Pechersk Lavra Monastery and Catacombs
I’ve seen so many churches in my life that I am getting a little burned out on them. But religion is alive and well in Ukraine so the church visit is still a sacred event and that adds so much to the context of Ukraine and now place is more beautiful or more interesting than the Lavra monastery.
Okay, first you have to see two movies: The first, Winter on Fire (NetFlix) is about the 2013/2014 Euro Maidan Revolution that resulted in part to the then president’s attempt to tie relations to Russia as opposed to Western Europe as promised. The second move; Orange Revolution (Amazon) is about the citizens overthrowing a corrupt election process.
from Maidan south is an interesting street with restaurants, shops, some good remaining Stalinist Revival Architecture, and street life.
St. Michael's Cathedral
A stunning cathedral complex and related to the Euro Maidan Revolution.
Great Patriotic War Museum
Originally established by the Soviets to promote their interests in Ukraine, it now leans more towards the informing on the Ukraine’s current war against Russian and Russian backed insurgents in the far east of the country. Very well done.
Andrew Descent and Podil
Great architecture, shopping, art, street vendors. A great place to spend a morning.
Babi Yar Memorial
Chronicles one of the most extreme examples of Nazi mass murder during the holocaust. Not exactly a profound our informative a memorial so you will need to educate yourself in advance, but a place to go and remember.
National Museum "Memorial to Holodomor victims"
A very well-done monument and museum dedicated to the 7 million Ukranians murdered by the Russians through imposed starvation in 1932 / 1933. Again, a nextflix movie will add something to the story, it’s called Bitter Harvest.
You asked about restaurants.
I had hands down one of the best steaks i have ever had outside of thee US at Pache: http://en.pache.com.ua/ru/#/
Then there is Krym, a Tartar restaurant which was very interesting and very good. http://www.krim.kiev.ua/
Otherwise we just walked and stopped in where ever we were and ate. Never had a bad meal or a disappointing experience.
Others have beat me to the punch.
Be sure you have Chicken Kiev, it's great. Love the Ukrainian people.
geovagriffith; what's bringing me back is indeed, the people. Simply amazing. I already have one return trip booked and one planned. .