The first city most people think of when they hear the word Morocco is Marrakesh. The alliteration makes it easy to remember and the name itself falls of the tongue like waves crashing onto the shore. There is plenty to do in Marrakesh, so the brief weekend I was there felt rushed. I couldn't enjoy each of the attractions as I felt like I was being hurriedly shuffled from place to place. If you want to get the most out of your stay in Marrakesh, I would reccomend staying at least three days.
During the day, there are plenty of locations to take dazzling pictures and learn more about the historic city. The main attraction is the Koutobia Mosque. The sandy colored minaret overlooks the city and is an icon. There is a replica of it in Epcot in Florida (which I recognized instantly). The mosque itself used to also function as a bookstore. The name Koutobia is derived from the koutub which means book.
Another famous attraction is the Majorelle Gardens. Inside, there are gardens with a variety of flowers. My favorite section was the cacti and succulents. Moreover, the walls are painted in vivid cadet blue and canary yellow. There are plenty of photo opportunities. There's even a koi pond in the middle of the garden. If you are a fan of Yves Saint Laurent, there is a museum dedicated to him where you can purchase artwork in many forms: postcards, posters, paintings, and much more.
The most well known feature of Marrakesh is the Jemma el-Fenna souk (market). It is a UNESCO World Heritage sites and the largest open air bazaar. The souk extends in all directions, with vendors shouting at passerbys to enter their stalls and others playing music or games. While I was there, there were multiple stages set up with shows and music. Another man was walking around with a monkey on his arm. As the sun set, the souk only became louder and wilder. Every food stall was packed with customers and the bargaining continued. If you enjoy pandemonium and lots of stimulation, Jamma el-Fna is the place for you. Just make sure to not become lost.
If outdoor markets aren't your favorite place, there are plenty of large indoor malls. Fancy restaurants dot the street. There's a strip of land with grass, benches, and trees between the streets where many families enjoy a picnic or relax in the grass. Near the city center is the typical flashing lights of any city. Cars are honking and the city is reminiscent of Times Square. It's easy to forget which city you are in until you see another sign in Arabic and the often, blatant disregard for traffic rules and pedestrians.
Planning out your itinerary for Marrakesh is important to keep from becoming overwhelmed over what to do in the city. Once you know what you want to see, it will be much more manageable and enjoyable.