There are tons of things to do in Islamabad & Rawalpindi, the twin cities of Pakistan.
Talking about the capital city of Islamabad, first, it takes up the top honors for being one of the most serene cities. Hence, it stands on the list of being the second most beautiful capital in the world. The capital city is blessed with breathtaking natural wonders and attractions.
Whereas, situated hardly 15 minutes away, and connected in numerous ways, is the jewel of Potohar – Rawalpindi. Serving as the ex-interim capital of Pakistan, Rawalpindi stands equally in beauty. Even though it has transformed dramatically, no one can take away the historical touch of this vicinity.
The vibrant cultural hub has been inhabited by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains in the past, who migrated to this land in 1947, and the city has been transforming ever since. This article will explore some of the top things to do in Islamabad & Rawalpindi.
Table of Content
Cinemas in Islamabad & Rawalpindi
Malls in Islamabad & Rawalpindi
Markets in Islamabad & Rawalpindi
Historic Places to Visit in Islamabad & Rawalpindi
Places to Eat in Islamabad & Rawalpindi
Places to Visit in Islamabad & Rawalpindi
You are mistaken if you think Islamabad is pretty just because of the Margallas. It is one of the reasons but the city turns majestic when it rains. The pouring rain over the glorious hills makes the city mesmerizingly beautiful, be it in the mist-filled winters or the thunderous monsoons.
Here is a list of all places to visit in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Cinemas in Islamabad and Rawalpindi
Cinema and movie-making is the fastest-growing art form. So, let’s hit the cinema to catch up on all the latest trending movies. Considering the cinemas’ locations, they’re well distributed in both the twin cities, so finding a good one shouldn’t be a problem.
It is one of the Best Cinemas in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Situated in F/8-4, the Centaurus complex is on its way to becoming Pakistan’s first and only multiplex. The five-screen multiplex cinema with the latest technology and digital sound system and different luxurious seating capacity for around 700 people, is a place you need to go to with your friends.
It’s easily accessible via the Srinagar Highway and Expressway for the residents of both cities. In contrast, the residents of the sectors F/6, F/8, G/8, G/9, H/8, and I/8 have the benefit of being situated close to this amenity.
This cinema is the first dedicated Cineplex Company, and it has gained popularity over time among the people of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Located in Jinnah Park, Rawalpindi, Cinepax was the first posh cinema built and visited by the masses.
Because of its prime location, today, residents from all over Rawalpindi prefer going here, because, being situated in Jinnah Park, it has access to many good restaurants too.
Located in Bahria Town, phase 4, Arena promises to give the best entertainment experience to the residents of Bahria Town and Rawalpindi, as it’s closer to the city. With a great waiting area and excellent service, renowned restaurants, café, and shopping areas surrounding this cinema, Arena will guarantee you time well spent.
Located in phase 7, Bahria Town, Cinegold Plex offers a fantastic service. Being closer to the residents of Rawalpindi, the ambiance attracts customers from all over the twin cities.
So girls, if you’re looking to catch up on your favorite movie shows, these are the cinema houses people can swear by. As the weekend approaches, make sure you and your friends book a show in any of these to make the most of it.
Malls in Islamabad & Rawalpindi
If you’re not into movies but still want to zone out and feel good, the best therapy is retail therapy! And the only good thing about shopping right now is Eid sales. Almost every clothing brand right now has announced its sales.
As a personal choice, I prefer malls over roaming in markets because, very frankly, malls have every major brand lined up in one place, and more options always help one make the right choice.
Amazon Outlet Mall
Amazon Outlet Mall, Pakistan’s first themed mall, will combine fashion and architecture. It will be a one-stop destination for customers looking for designer brands and make their shopping a delightful experience by providing the best indoor environment and facilities. The Mall will have a vast area reserved for recreation and leisure facilities such as restaurants, a café, a sauna, a spa, a gym, kids playing area, and a library.
Amazon Outlet Mall Islamabad aims to create a fashion hub for the people of twin cities, replete with the latest and sought-after national and international brands. It will be a masterpiece of modern architecture and aims to become a vast mall in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, embodying cultural and commercial ideas.
Being the definition of leisure and luxury, Amazon Outlet Mall offers several opportunities to savor its recreational bliss, ranging from restaurants and cafes to spas and gyms. From a dining experience in rainforest-themed restaurants to relaxing in all-natural spas and salons, the mall has it all. The mall is set to become the Twin Cities fashion hub, attracting visitors to relish the cultural and commercial ingenuity that the Amazon Outlet Mall has to offer.
Located on G.T. Road and right next to one of the city’s most vibrant localities, the mall truly enjoys a splendid location. The project is CDA-approved and spearheaded by well-renowned builders – the Imarat Group.
Located in sector F-8, it’s viable for the residents of the neighboring sectors, as it provides a great shopping experience and a vast food court spread on the fourth floor, swung fully into action. It is one of the best malls in Islamabad.
Safa Gold Mall
Safa Gold is another mall located in Islamabad, probably 10 minutes from the Centaurus Mall, providing almost the same options with a little difference. Unlike the other, it’s situated right in the heart of F-7 Markaz.
Located on the GT Road, Defence Housing Authority, Phase II stands the World Trade Centre, more commonly known as the Giga Mall. As the location suggests, this is a breakthrough experience for the residents of not just DHA 1 and 2, but Bahria Town 1-8 and practically all of the Rawalpindi district. So, girls, that retail therapy is possibly everything you need with a group of your closest friends.
Markets in Islamabad & Rawalpindi
The Bazaar is an almost 2 km long stretch of the commercial area that extends from Muree Road to Sarafa Bazaar, which was the hub of gold and jewelry trading. Still, most importantly, this place serves the foodies very heartily.
Some very famous food corners exist that serve the very famous nihari, chats, and my favorite, kheer! There is also china market, Rawalpindi, visited by many tourists.
Sometimes, luxury brands are not what you always need. If the wedding season is coming up and you want to roam around different shops or shop for clothes for casual wear, but the help of your tailor is much needed, Saddar Bazar is your answer.
Historic Places to Visit in Islamabad & Rawalpindi
Talking about exploring the twin cities, if you’re a fan of history and old sights, this one is for you as I’m about to shed some light on all the existing historical places in the twin cities, where one can always hang out with a bunch of their friends.
Located about 7 km away from the parliament in Islamabad, right in the heart of the capital and just in the foothills of the Margallas, lies Saidpur Village.
Remodeled as an ‘Arts and Craft Village’ by the Capital Development Authority (CDA), it aims to preserve its centuries-old cultural heritage and promote tourism in the area while allowing visitors to have a glimpse of rural life of Pakistan amid the hustle and bustle of the capital city.
The village also has a two-storied building next to the Sikh shrine and Hindu temple. Buildings dating back more than 200 years add to the scenic beauty of the Saidpur Village Islamabad. The village’s architecture represents the fading footprints of four civilizations which include Gandhara, Ashoka, Mughal, and Greek.
This makes it an ideal destination for visitors interested in finding traces of fading history in ancient buildings. So, if your heart beats for history, a tour of this place is the first thing you need to check off your list.
Shah Allah Dita
Shah Allah Ditta village and caves may have been an ancient refuge, but in modern times, it can be called Islamabad’s peaceful sanctuary. If you are looking for a moment to clear your mind, reflect on your thoughts, and cherish or enjoy the natural beauty of Islamabad, this should be your go-to place, as it is at the end of the far-reaching Margallas.
The tall Banyan trees create a canopy over the head, as their shade provides excellent relief in the summer heat. Attached to these trees are long roped swings, and one can hop on them to enjoy gusts of wind in their hair. This 2400-year-old retreat is located just 15 kilometers away from the main Golra Intersection, near sector D-12.
Haveli Sujan Singh
Rai Sardar Sujan Singh Haveli was built around the 1890s and is located in Bhabra Bazar, whereas today, the present dilapidated condition of the Haveli may pain one.
Once a grand structure and awesome building, it gives a gloomy picture of the vibrant history. But efforts are being made to protect and preserve this historic building, which is a real asset to the heritage of this city.
Bagh Sardaran Haveli
An amazing architectural wonder is the Bagh Sardaran Haveli. It is a well-preserved structure today, with the servant quarters and the Gurdwara still intact, covered with a few of the date palm trees, a treat for the visitors there. The lawns may have been long gone, but the main building, with its majestic spires, is still awe-inspiring.
Places to Eat in Islamabad
If you crave desi food, Islamabad has the best desi restaurants.
A treat for the foodies, Beverly Center is a hub for some savoring eateries. To name a few, Burning Brownie serves the healthiest of salads and a fantastic chocolate shake; Asian Wok is a new pan-Asian eatery that ticks all the boxes right, while Crema and Khoka Khola in the basement, while Karamel puts the perfect lid on the sweet tooth craving, Beverly Centre is one of the go-to places in the Blue Area.
Situated in the heart of F-6 lies the very posh Kohsar Market, home to Tuscany Courtyard, Street One Café, and Mocca. With the elite society being the local customers, everyone there minds their business and is lost in their own world. So grab your friends and head out for the time of your lives.
Gol Market F/7 and F-10
The gol market is the answer. It serves some amazing treats that are not so expensive and tasty, like its chow mein and roll paratha. But there is some serious competition for the chicken burger, as Burger Fest could be everything for the burger lovers out there.
Heading towards the Fatima Jinnah Park in F-10 lies the Markaz. Again a very chilled-out place that serves fantastic roll parathas.
Gol Market F-7/3
Another hub for all the foodies out there, F-7/3 is a go-to place for the sake of CGC… their burgers are something that I would personally swear by. Neighboring it is the renowned Howdy restaurant, which again has chicken burgers and steaks to die for.
After all that food, one does need to satisfy their sweet tooth cravings. So rush to Hot Spot for their molten brownie and lose yourself in the chocolaty goodness.
Is Rawalpindi same as Islamabad?
Rawalpindi and Islamabad are two separate cities located close to each other in Pakistan.
Which is bigger Islamabad or Rawalpindi?
Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan, while Rawalpindi is the fourth largest city in Pakistan, and the twin city of Islamabad. Islamabad is a planned city, designed to be the capital of the country, while Rawalpindi is an old city that predates Islamabad by centuries.
What is Rawalpindi old name?
Islamabad is bigger than Rawalpindi in terms of area, population, and modern infrastructure. Rawalpindi, on the other hand, has a rich history and cultural heritage, with several historical landmarks and bazaars that attract tourists.
Which area is Rawalpindi?
Rawalpindi is located in the northern part of Punjab province, near the border with Azad Jammu and Kashmir.