When I spoke to some travelers they said not to “waste my time” in Casablanca, however, I knew I had plenty of time and every city has something to see and experience. Also, my father was born in Casablanca so I naturally wanted to see the streets he walked and where he worked when he lived here. I am so glad I had that connection to the city because I would have been mad at myself if I listened to the haters that told me to skip it.
Why did they say to skip it? Some said it was dangerous, others said it was just a big city, and others simply thought all there was to see was the Hassan Mosque 2. However, I began to dig down deep to find a lot of unique areas of the city, places to visit and met some very friendly people that lead me to have an enjoyable time in Casablanca. It is funny that a city so famous and recognizable around the world isn’t more of a destination.
However, Casablanca is the financial capital of Morocco, and some may say it lacks the traditional charms of cities such as Chefchaouen, and Marrakech. But if you look hard you can find some things to do in Casablanca that make it worth a few days or at least an overnight trip.
Visit The Hassan 2 Mosque
The number one place you must visit when you are in Morocco is the Hassan 2 Mosque. This is the second-largest functioning mosque in Africa and is the only mosque that allows non-Muslims to enter. Trust me when I say you do not want to miss this opportunity to see this magnificent work of art. The attention to detail, the fact it rests on top of the ocean and has a towering minaret that can be seen from miles away makes it an impressive structure to tour. That is one thing you need to be prepared for, you need to get a tour to see the place and come during non-prayer hours. My tip is to check the website to know the exact times you can visit.
Walking through the mosque with walls made out of marble, and the wood ceilings carved with the care I could only imagine the mosque in action with 25,000 worshipers inside with the roof retracted (yes there is a retractable roof that opens to the sky), and hear the call to prayer as over 100,000 gather outside surrounding the mosque grounds.
While guided tours may not be your thing, I found it extremely helpful to have a guide to explain more about the religion and the religious function of the building. While my father is Moroccan and Muslim, I knew a little bit about the religion however it was nice to get a refresher.
Feel Swanky In The Corniche Neighborhood of Casablanca
One of my favorite days was just relaxing and exploring the Corniche area spending the day with the Four Seasons Casablanca. Just a short 10-minute taxi drive along the oceanfront from the bustling city of Casablanca is a ritzy beachfront community with luxury hotels, restaurants, and shopping. Want to treat yourself to a spa day or maybe just a very luxurious BBQ? Well, a trip poolside at the Four Seasons Casablanca will check that box off.
I was able to visit the Four Seasons for an epic day of relaxation, and the best bbq and food service by the pool I ever had. The Four Seasons Casablanca has some of the most decadent rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows with sea views and a modern take on Moroccan decor. Every Sunday the Four Seasons offers a bbq at the poolside restaurant Latitude 33.
When you are finished eating the golden leaf desserts, amazing lamb, fish, and other Moroccan favorites at the BBQ, head to check out the Malecon with a walk along the beach. The Anfa Mall offers shops perfect for buying any supplies for your trip. If you are looking to have a good time, many trendy restaurants can be busy on the weekend.
Walk Through The Medina and Visit Rick’s Cafe
When you visit Casablanca, there is still a traditional old medina worth exploring. I found alleys of blue and it allowed me to see a more local traditional way of life within the walls of the medina. Walking through the medina you almost would forget you are in the middle of the largest city of Morocco. Here you can find two very popular restaurants. If you are a fan of the movie Casablanca, visit Rick’s Cafe. The decor in Rick’s Cafe will make you feel like you are living in the movie but be prepared it will be a bit expensive. Another place that I liked a lot was dining in the walls of the old medina at La Sqala. It is one of the most instagrammable restaurants in the city with beautiful mosaics, traditional Moroccan details, and amazing Moroccan Cuisine.
However, one of my favorite things about wandering the winding streets of the medina were the small cafes, street food, and just taking in the unique sights and sounds that made me realize I had arrived in Morocco, a place I have been waiting for to go my whole life.
Explore the Muhammad the V Square and Arab League Park
The best two parks inside the city center of Casablanca were Arab League Park and Muhammad V Square. Begin by exploring the Arab League Park and see the art deco-inspired Sacred Heart Cathedral. The cathedral is no longer in use and has not been since the French Protectorate ended in 1956. It looked like they were turning it into a shopping center when I walked past, but the building is very beautiful.
Arab League Park is a 30-acre park and one of the oldest in the city. It is a great place to walk around, enjoy the palm tree-lined walkways, and take in daily life in Morocco. It is close to Muhammad the V square which was perfect at the Golden hour and is a square of significance with important buildings surrounding it, a beautiful fountain, as well as history. The square was established in 1916 where the former barracks for the French soldiers lived. Now families gather, people enjoy their day, and there is a cool sign for the city of Casablanca to take a photo with. It was close to the beautiful nearby Hyatt Regency and the Old Medina Market.
Try some awesome Restaurants and Explore the Cosmopolitan life in the big city
The best thing to do in Casablanca is to experience the city life and check out everything from the Old to New. When you are in town it is worth exploring the new city of Casablanca, and visiting or staying at the Kenzi Tower Hotel. Here you can have one of the most beautiful views in the city and the Hassan 2 Mosque from Sky 28. There are many restaurants I tried while I was in town including The Gatsby for brunch which had one of the best views of the grand mosque.
Know This Before You Go To Casablanca, Morocco
Is Casablanca Safe?
I found Morocco to be extremely safe. When you are visiting any big city, I recommend not doing anything that you would not do at home. For instance, I would recommend not walking around with your head engrossed with your phone’s google maps while walking down the street. This is a big city, and petty crime does exist.
My other note is while it is a large city, be respectful of the culture and not wear something too revealing. If you want to go to the mosque you need longer dresses that reach below the knees and should have your shoulders covered.
How to get to Casablanca?
When I first arrived in Morocco I was tired, confused, and could not find the easiest way to get to the city center since the airport is almost a 45-minute drive from the city. However, by the end of my time in Morocco, I was a pro. There was a train that cost me less than 100 dirhams versus the private taxi I got which cost me 300 dirhams.
How to get around Casablanca?
There are Grand Taxis, the large white ones, and the Petit Taxis which are red. They will always be out on the prowl looking for tourists and before you enter either make sure they turn on the meter if they are a red taxi or negotiate the price before you enter. The Grand taxis are usually for longer trips as well versus the red taxis.
Who’s ready to come to Morocco?
Hopefully, this comprehensive guide to Casablanca convinces you to add this to your Morocco Itinerary. It was a great way to see the modern side of Morocco. If you have been before or are from there let me know in the comments what you would add.
Where to stay in Casablanca?
If you want to do a budget-minded trip you could stay at the Ibis located in the Casablanca city center, however, if you want to visit a luxurious property the Four Seasons Casablanca is a great property located right on the beach in Corniche.
Depending on if you are looking to explore the attractions in Casablanca, and the city life I would recommend you stay in the city center near the mosque. There are many amazing places to stay however for my first few nights I chose the Ibis Casablanca City Center.
The Hyatt Regency Casablanca is also very beautiful, central, and has a great restaurant. My father actually worked at the Hyatt Regency when he was younger.
Would you go to Casablanca? Let me know your thoughts or tips in the comments.
In conclusion, I would recommend at least a night and two days to explore Casablanca. I believe a visit and experiencing these 5 things will make for the perfect trip to Casablanca. Also, if you have a flight arriving or leaving from here it is worth exploring the largest city in Morocco.