Aparaaditehas (the Widget Factory) is an old 14,000-sq-metre Soviet-era industrial complex where refrigeration equipment and secret submarine parts were made alongside umbrellas and zips that didn't work, to fool the public. Now it's Tartu's hippest dining, drinking, shopping and cultural hub – smaller kin to Tallinn's Telliskivi Creative City. Broad painted stripes evoke its industrial past, while stencils and graffiti adorn its present.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Tartu attractions

1. Estonian Print & Paper Museum

0.11 MILES

A treat for word nerds, design hounds and print junkies alike, this interactive museum focuses on the history of printing and paper-making. Machinery from…

2. KGB Cells Museum

0.24 MILES

This former KGB headquarters and prison, known as the ‘Grey House’, was donated to Tartu City Museum by the family to which they were returned after the…

3. Cornflower Monument

0.24 MILES

In 1990 this metallic monument was erected near the KGB headquarters in memory of the victims of Soviet repression; the blue cornflower is Estonia’s…

4. Tartu Old Observatory

0.59 MILES

Built as part of Tartu University in 1810, this intriguing observatory on Toomemägi is a must for fans of astronomy and the history of scientific…

5. Rotunda

0.64 MILES

This pretty-as-a-picture rotunda serves as a summertime cafe.

6. University of Tartu Museum

0.66 MILES

Atop Toomemägi are the ruins of a Gothic cathedral, built in the 13th century by the knights of the Livonian Order after driving the pagan Estonians from…

7. Town Hall

0.68 MILES

Built between 1782 and 1789, this graceful building was designed by German architect JHB Walter, who modelled it on a typical Dutch town hall. The clear…

8. Town Hall Square

0.71 MILES

Tartu’s main square is lined with grand buildings and echoes with the chink of glasses and plates in summer. The centrepiece is the town hall itself,…