Everyone nowadays seems to meet in the Old Town, which is usually vibrant, lots of fun, but also very crowded. So apart from the all-purpose Old Town, where else is there to meet before going out in the city? Here are some of the suggested meeting points in Bucharest, which are very popular among Romanians. Most Romanians who've been living in Bucharest for more than six months (and foreigners, too), will know these.
Probably the number one meeting point in Bucharest is at the Universitate Square (in fact, the correct name is Piata Universitatii, which translates as Universitatii Square; the simpler form is Universitate. You guessed it, this is the word for University in Romania).
If someone sets a date there, make sure you ask exactly where you will meet, as there are several specific meeting points at this very downtown Bucharest square.
Probably one of the most used is in front of the National Theater, at the metro exit. Day in and day out, there will be people waiting for their friends there. Most people sit on the large stairs that you can see immediately after existing the metro station, facing the tall Intercontinental Hotel. It's also an interesting place from where to observe the social dynamic of meeting in Romania, or just to see what people wear, how people look like in Romania. Or just to sun bathe, if you can find a spot during spring. The code name for this place is Universitate, teatru, scari/University, theater, stairs.
When it rains, the meeting usually moves underground, into the passage (in Romanian Universitate Pasaj), where the several cafes serve as landmarks and meeting points.
Other meeting areas in the region are, of course, the other three exits of the metro station, one near the Coltea Hospital ( in the small park with the violin sculpture in the middle), one near and in front of the University building and going further on the boulevard towards the crossroad with Calea Victoriei, and the third one at the exit towards the Bucharest Museum. This museum hosts all sorts of open air sales (antique objects, hand made items) now and then in its yard, so you could hang around there while waiting.
On that side of the square, the large pedestrian area above the car park is yet another, yet new meeting place, as the area was turned pedestrian about a year ago. In the past, the four statues in that square were however a landmark for meetings, and they still are. “Where do we meet? At Universitate near the statues! Keywords: Universitate Statui!
When making plans to meet there, keep in mind that around Martisor, Easter and Christmas, these areas become the sales ground for itinerant businesses, selling trinkets and all sorts of seasonal gifts. That is to say the area will be extremely crowded. The same applies for other meeting points which involve a metro exit downtown Bucharest.
'In front of the Unirea Shopping Center, at McDonald's' This is another landmark meeting place in Bucharest. The place was recently revamped and some benches were installed.
Every day there will be an impressive number of people waiting for their friends there, some go into the shopping center and stop at the cafes and restaurants at the last floor, others head to the Old Town (which is accessible via the meeting point at Universitate as well, same distance). This meeting point has the advantage of being near the metro and near a cab station in case you decide to go to another part of Bucharest.
The Romana square and its respective metro station are not as popular as Unirea and Universitate, but still important ones to take into account, especially when you'd rather avoid the crowded areas. It can still be crowded at times, as it is in the vicinity of another university center – the Academy of Economic Sciences ASE – but it gives access to some quieter cafes, bars and restaurants on Dacia boulevard, and on the little streets between the Magheru boulevard and Calea Victoriei.
Yet another square in Bucharest. This one hosts several office buildings and the Government building, so quite popular for after work meetings of people who work in the area. The square is very large, so not always a great choice especially if you mistake the exact point where you're supposed to meet, you have to cross a lot of streets to get to the other side. But it is close to a greener area of Bucharest, and it can be the starting point of a nice weekend walk to the Village Museum, Triumphal Arch and Herastrau Park. All these three landmarks can also become meeting points.
Herastrau park & Charles de Gaulle
This is probably the most popular entrance to the Herastrau park, as it is close to the Charles de Gaulle metro exit, close to the office tower by the same name. You will recognize this park entrance by the large statue of French general Charles de Gaulle.
The most common meeting point is at the entrance towards the Regina Elisabeta boulevard, as you walk down from Universitate square.
Cinemas and malls
With many meetings ending up at the movies, meeting places are usually close to the cinema too. CinemaPro is close to the Universitate square, while Patria cinema, Scala and Studio are close to the Romana square. The Cinemateca is easily reachable if you meet at Universitate and then walk towards the Cismigiu park
To get to the Bucuresti Mall and its Hollywood Multiplex Cinema, you can meet at Unirii and take the 123 bus from there.
You can also meet directly at the mall: Bucuresti Mall is in the East, Plaza Romania and AFI Palace Cotroceni in the west, Sun Plaza, Grand Arena and Vitantis to the South, and Promenada and Baneasa Shopping City to the north.
We saved it for last, as this hotspot has several possible meeting points. Less crowded is the Roma square at the crossroad between the Lipscani street and the IC Bratianu boulevard, which connects Universitate and Unirea squares. You will recognize this meeting spot by the statue of the she wolf and of the twin brothers Romulus and Remus. The square was revamped and is a good entry point to the Old Town. (Roma here is the name of the Italian capital, hence the She Wolf statue)
Then you could meet at Universitate and walk past the BCR and National Bank headquarters.
Another possible meeting point is at the National Central Bank on Lipscani street, very close to the central square of the Old Town (which is at the crossroads between Lipscani and Smardan streets). Some benches are in front of the BNR (this is in fact the back of the bank, as the official entrance for staff is on the other side, on Doamnei street).
You could also meet on Stavropoleus street, which also has a few benches, and a nice little church by the same name as the street (you could explore the church if you happen to arrive earlier).
Then it's another meeting point many Romanians like to use, at the Old Town entry towards the Dambovita river (it's called La bariera – at the barrier, there used to be a barrier there).
A new entry among possible meeting places is the Sfantu Anton square just in front of the Hanul Lui Manuc /Manuc's Inn. Make sure you and your friends refer to the same 'front' of the inn when setting a date. The official entrance to the inn's inside courtyard is inside the Old Town, while another entrance to some restaurants hosted by the Manuc Inn building are on the side to the Unirea Square and park.
Whatever meeting point you choose, make sure you ask the exact name of the street and google map it – it's safer this way.
As you will become an expert and a Bucharest connaiseur, these will become second nature to you whenever you need to set up a meeting point.