Islamabad Things to Do
Pakistan has seen thousands of years of human civilization, which is evident in the ancient Mughal period art you can see in its museums as well as some of the deeply rooted traditions of the rich Pakistani culture. Many visitors may be surprised then by the quiet yet modern city they find when they enter Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, which offers a unique mix of ancient and modern.
In the City
There is much for visitors to see and do in the city of Islamabad and its neighbor Rawalpindi, whether you are there for the history, the adventure, or the shopping.
For those interested in history, the Islamabad Museum and The Museum of Natural History should be the first places you go. Both museums house incredible treasures from some of the world’s earliest civilizations, and it is fascinating to view these items in their home region.
For other sightseeing, there is also the Islamabad zoo and the very popular Rose and Jasmine Garden. This must see landmark of Islamabad is 20,360 sq. meters of garden, which has 250 different varieties of roses as well as a dozen types of Jasmines. It is a very popular spot for tourists and locals alike to relax, get outside, and enjoy the lovely fragrances. Spring and Autumn flower shows are arranged here by the Horticultural Society of Pakistan every year, and there is also a Tourist Camping Site nearby.
If your chief interest is in culture, shopping, and food, your first stops should be the covered markets and Rawalpindi. Islamabad’s covered markets are easy to get to and have all kinds of fresh vegetables and groceries. Most of the foreigners living in Islamabad prefer to buy their produce here; the noise and activity of so many shop owners and shoppers makes for a shopping experience no western grocery store can match. However, some locals say that Islamabad is too calm and slow, and that when you get bored you should go to Rawalpindi. It is more alive than Islamabad and you will find cheaper prices.
There is also some great architecture to be found in Islamabad. Many photographers and tourists love to see the Faisal Mosque and National Monument, and some of Pakistan’s main government buildings are also worth going to see. Some buildings that stand out are the Pakistan Supreme Court building, Saudi Pak tower, and the Quaid-i-Azam University.
If you head just a little ways outside the city you will find Daman-e-Koh, a spot in the hills around Islamabad. It is a well-maintained garden with a small golf course that makes a great picnic spot, and provides a great overview of the whole city. Rawal Lake is another nice picnic spot. It is a large artificial water reservoir that has become a popular place to get away from the city and watch a nice sunset. In the hills around the city there is good hiking and some lakes to go to when the weather gets hot.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Traveling by Bus, Pakistan – Transportation
- Islamabad Nightlife – Bars & Nightlife Tips
- Islamabad Travel Guide
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do in Islamabad.