Most travelers visit Independence Square to admire Independence Memorial Hall and its statue of D.S. Senanayake, Sri Lanka’s first prime minister, ringed by four stone lions, a symbol of the island. Visitors can stroll around the open-sided hall—designed to echo the royal court of Sri Lanka’s Kandyan kings—to view its carvings and ornamental pillars. Other attractions here include the Arcade, a shopping mall converted from the colonial-era Auditor General’s building, and Independence Memorial Hall’s basement museum.
Virtually all Colombo tours stop at Independence Square. Aside from conventional city tours, travelers can check out the square aboard a vintage Jeep or tuk-tuk or cycle around the floodlit hall and gardens on an evening bike tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
Independence Square is great for sightseers and history aficionados.
Wear a sunhat or sunscreen as the square is short on shade.
Pay-to-enter restrooms are available in the nearby Arcade shopping complex.
Set aside an hour to explore the hall, its basement museum, and gardens.
Independence Memorial Hall is free to enter, but the Independence Memorial Hall Museum charges an entry fee.
How to Get There
Independence Square is on Independence Avenue in central Colombo, opposite the Sports Ministry Ground. A parking lot is available, but the easiest way to visit is via cab, tuk-tuk, or on a city sightseeing tour. Local buses stop at Torrington, near the Arcade complex, and you can walk through or past the mall to reach Independence Memorial Hall.
When to Get There
Independence Square and Independence Memorial Hall are open around the clock, but if you plan to visit Independence Memorial Museum, avoid Sundays and Mondays, when the museum is closed. It’s open Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm. The Arcade mall is open daily from 10am to 11pm and closed on public holidays.
Visit the Independence Memorial Museum and Arcade
After exploring Independence Memorial Hall, descend into its basement museum to see sculptures and displays charting the figures and events behind Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948. It’s then an easy stroll to the Arcade shopping mall, where you can admire its restored historical architecture and fountains and enjoy its upmarket shops and cafés.
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