Morocco’s biggest city and commercial capital, Casablanca is most famous for the movie bearing its name. But the city has so much more to offer than romantic spies and charmingly corrupt bar owners during WWII. Take in the city’s Mauresque and Art Deco architecture dating back to the colonial period, visit the massive Hassan II mosque, the second-largest mosque in the world, get lost in the maze of streets the make up the medina, and so much more!
Rock Out Casablanca Style: Boulevard of Young Musicians Festival
Pop, hip-hop, electronic dance music, rock, heavy metal! Not what you usually associate with Morocco, but they can all be found at the vibrant Boulevard of Young Musicians Festival – known simply as The Boulevard. This five-day festival of urban music and arts showcases young music groups of all genres as well as theater productions, art exhibitions and graffiti workshops for children. The festival takes place in September at various locations throughout the city, but you’ll find most of the action at La Fabrique Culturelle des Anciens Abattoirs de Casablanca, the city's historic abattoirs. Time to rock out Casablanca style!
Shop Like a Local: Casablanca Central Market
Casablanca's busy central market is a must for anyone who wants to experience the city the way Casawis – as residents of Casablanca are called – do. Located in the city center, this is where locals come to pick-up fresh fish, meats, fruits and vegetables. You’ll also find plenty of craft shops selling everything from African wood carvings, Argan oil and decorative pot plants to plastic bowls and Moroccan slippers. The vibrant colours and lively people make for great photo opportunities, while the bustling atmosphere will surely make you want to bring home some mementos!
Contemporary Art with a Moroccan Twist: Villa des Arts de Casablanca
The Villa des Arts de Casablanca forms part of the ONA Foundation, one of Morocco's primary cultural foundations, whose primary aim is to promote creativity and culture in the country. Built in 1934, the Villa des Arts is an excellent example of the city’s distinctive Art Deco architecture. Inside the impressive building, you’ll find bold and expressive contemporary art that, in keeping with the aim of the Villa des Arts, maintains a reference to Moroccan culture and heritage. It’s a perfect place to steal away from the bustle of the city outside and contemplate some mesmerizing pieces of art.