- Mercato. The mercato (Italian meaning market, since the main covered market still in use originates from the colonial government of the late 1930s) is the world’s biggest outdoor market, and it sells everything from tourist items (t-shirts, wood crafts, etc.) to cloth to metal goods. Haggling and negotiating are commonplace, and outsiders (particularly those of European heritage) may expect to pay higher costs. Maintain a sense of humour, don’t be afraid to bargain vigorously, and above all, don’t be intimidated by the numerous “brokers” who visit the market and will attempt to guide you towards specific businesses in return for a kick-back from the merchant. If you can avoid brokers, and particularly if you have a local friend or guide to purchase products on your behalf, you will be able to negotiate cheaper costs. Sunday is a holiday.
- Shiromeda Market. Between Mt. Sidist Kilo and Mt. Entoto. If the craziness of Mercato isn’t for you, Chiromeda is a nice alternative. Haggling and haggling are still the norm, but you may walk away with a traditional outfit for as little as 100 ETB.
- Friendship Supermarket. The Bole Road (airport end). They take Visa and have a well-stocked western-style grocery.
- Edna Mall on Telebole. There is a huge bookstore on the premises, as well as Ethiopia’s first 3D multiplex theater (three screens), which shows both Amharic and English-language films. Western films are normally broadcast within a week to a month of their initial U.S. release, however they may sometimes follow European release timetables (for instance, Skyfall began showing at Edna Mall over a week before its U.S. premiere). The mall’s center has an arcade zone and an indoor amusement park with a carousel, climbing tubes, and bumper cars; it’s a nice area for little children, although it becomes quite busy on weekends and holidays. Several dancing clubs are also nearby.
- Dembel City Centre
- Getu Commercial centre
- Addis Sheraton Shopping
- Loyal Shopping centre
- Arat Kilo Shopping centre
- Piassa Shopping centre
- Bambis department store, a pricey euro-style supermarket in Kazanches, close to the Radisson, Hilton, and Sheraton hotels. Features a large assortment of Greek items as well as high-quality fresh/frozen meats.
- New York Supermarket, near Bole Olympia
- Shoa Supermarket on Bole Rd.
- Novis Supermarket is located on Bole Road, near Friendship. This market offers a wide range of high-quality goods, the most of which are imported from Italy or Dubai.
- Fantu Supermarket is located on Bole Road, near Friendship. This store, which is situated on Bole Road and opposite the Canadian Embassy in Old Airport, sells significantly cheaper items of the same quality.
- Lafto Mall, South Africa Street (located adjacent to St.Bisrate Gebriel Church), +251 11 372 8777. This is a multi-purpose mall including a grocery shop, various clothing and toy stores, a liquor store, and a cell phone store. This shopping center includes numerous floors, each with a number of tiny rooms offering merchandise. A huge outdoor swimming pool is also available in Lafto. none.
Money in Addis Ababa
Ethiopia has a cash-based economy. Domestic credit cards do not exist, while foreign credit cards are accepted at just a few places (mostly those catering to expatriates).
ATMs/cash machines may be located all across Addis Abeba. Dashen Bank is a VISA and MasterCard International primary member, and it operates ATMs. ATMs accept both VISA and MasterCard at D.H. Geda Tower (next to Friendship City Center), Dembel City Centre (very hidden, use the main door, then to the left, at the window), Edna Mall, and in various hotels (Hilton, Sheraton, Intercontinental, Wabi Shebelle Hotel, Ethiopia Hotel, Semein Hotel, Harmony Hotel). Also close to the National Museum (Lucy Gazebo Restaurant), the ground level of Getu Commercial Centre immediately inside the entrance, and various Dashen Bank branches. It is important to note that not all cards are accepted everywhere; for example, Dashen Bank ATMs accept VISA/MasterCard/Cirrus/Plus, whilst Zemen Bank ATMs do not take MasterCard (which seems to be hit or miss in Ethiopia). Most ATMs have a daily limit of 4000-6000 birr, although most do not levy a local ATM fee (international or third-party ATM fees from your financial institution may apply, however).
Some ATM machines are being targeted for “skimmer” schemes, which enable hackers to obtain your ATM card information. To be safe, utilize ATMs in the Hilton (Dashen, Zemen, CBE), Radisson Blu (Dashen, Zemen, Wegagen), or Sheraton (Dashen) hotels.
You may obtain a little better deal if you haggle on the illicit black market. Check your money carefully before leaving, and don’t let it leave your palm until you’ve completed your final count. The majority of souvenir businesses on Churchill Rd and Zambia St do it.