The city offers many places of special interest such as the Sts. Cyril and Methodius National Library (which houses the largest national book collection and is Bulgaria's oldest cultural institute), the Sofia State Library, the British Council, the Russian Cultural Institute, the Polish Cultural Institute, the Hungarian Institute, the Czech and the Slovak Cultural Institutes, the Italian Cultural Institute, the French Cultural Institute, Goethe Institut, Instituto Cervantes, and the Open Society Institute.
Sofia currently enjoys a booming film industry as the filming ground of several international film productions. Vitosha Boulevard, also called Vitoshka - ranked as the world's 22nd most expensive commercial street - represents numerous fashion boutiques and luxury goods stores and features exhibitions by world fashion designers. Sofia's geographic location, situated in the foothills of the weekend retreat Vitosha mountain, further adds to the city's specific atmosphere.
- The Church of St George is a late Roman rotonda dated from 4th century situated in the courtyard of the Sheraton Sofia Hotel. It was constructed with red bricks and is considered the oldest building in Sofia. It is known for its Medieval frescoes in the central dome dating from 12-14th centuries.
- The early Byzantine Church of St Sophia was built in the 6th century on the place of an ancient Roman theatre and several earlier churches. During the Second Bulgarian Empire the structure served as the cathedral of the city but was later converted to a mosque by the Ottoman invaders.
- The gold-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was built in the early 20th century in memory of the 200,000 Russian soldiers, who died in the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–1878. It is the largest church in the Balkans and the second largest Orthodox cathedral in the world. The cathedral's gold-plated dome is 45 m high, with the bell tower reaching 50.52 m.
- St Nedelya Church is a medieval church that has suffered destruction through the ages and has been reconstructed many times. It was razed in the assault in 1925 that claimed over 150 victims. After the assault, the church was restored to its modern appearance. Today St Nedelya is a cathedral of the Sofia bishopric of the Bulgarian Patriarchate.
- The tiny Church of St Petka of the Saddlers from the 14th century featuring some fine frescoes. It is a one-nave edifice dedicated to St Petka, a 11th century Bulgarian saint
- The Russian Church or the Church of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Maker, built in 1914 is dedicated to the patron-saint of the Russian Tsar at the time Nicholas II. The construction was supervised by the architect A. Smirnov, who was building the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral nearby.
Museums and galleries
Sofia houses numerous museums, notably the National Historical Museum, the Bulgarian Natural History Museum, the Museum of Earth and Men, the Ethnographic Museum, the National Museum of Military History, the National Polytechnical Museum and the National Archaeological Museum. In addition, there are the Sofia City Art Gallery, the Bulgarian National Gallery of Arts, the Bulgarian National Gallery for Foreign Art as well as numerous private art galleries.
- The National Historical museum is among the largest museums in Eastern Europe and possess more than 650,000 artefacts. Ancient Thracian treasures, old armoury and weaponry, medieval church plates are among the most valuable objects in the collection.
- The National Archaeological Museum occupies the largest and oldest former Ottoman mosque in the city built in 1474. It has a large collection of archaeological artifacts from all over the Balkans including some of the golden Thracian treasures. The museum is among Bulgaria's oldest and was inaugurated in 1905.
- The National Gallery of Foreign Art occupies an imposing 19th century building. The gallery's permanent exposition features European, Asian (Buddhist, Japanese and Indian) and African art, as well as separate contemporary art and engraving sections.
Miscellaneous places of culture: The Ivan Vazov National Theatre; The outdoor book-market on Slaveykov Square; The National Palace of Culture cultural and congressional centre - the largest multifunctional complex in South-eastern Europe, inaugurated in 1981 and situated in a lush green park surroundings.
- Vitosha mountain, one of the symbols of Sofia, just a short drive or lift trip away, open year round. Ski and snowboard are popular in the winter, and hiking in the summer.
- Borisova gradina, Sofia's main and oldest garden, the construction of which began in 1884.
Other places of interest: Sofia Public Mineral Baths, decorated with the finest majolica tiles and completed in 1911; TZUM, Sofia's oldest and largest department store; The Largo, an architectural complex in downtown Sofia which includes the headquarters of many national institutions; Sofia Zoo.