Seaside Bur Sa‘id is a charming and lively town with a decidedly European feel—and fading glamour from the era of the big ocean liners. Much of the architecture is French colonial in style, giving the city a slight resemblance to the New Orleans French Quarter. It is a pleasant town to roam around in and to enjoy the seafront and canal-side promenades—think of it as a less-crowded, more tranquil alternative to Alexandria—but it isn't the kind of place that screams for a stop if you're in Egypt to see antiquities. The city was founded in 1859 by Khedive Sa‘id, in time for the start of excavation. Much of the area is built on sand fills from the digging of the canal. During the Arab-Israeli wars, most of the city was bombed, and parts of it still haven't been restored. At the north end of town, Bur Sa‘id's Mediterranean beach has limited appeal, in part because of its unswimmable, polluted waters.
Canal Cruise Floating Restaurant
The perfect way to combine sightseeing and dining, the glass-sided cruise launch glides along sections of the canal, offering arguably the best views of the historical buildings on both banks. You can get either soft drinks or a full buffet meal featuring a mix of Egyptian and international items. Cruises take two hours; call ahead for exact departure times.
Port Said National Museum
This small museum has an exquisite collection of artifacts spanning the history of Egypt from predynastic times until the 19th-century reign of Muhammed Ali. It's also the only place in Egypt to see finds from the Mamluk port of Teinis. The ground floor is dedicated to pharaonic history, the top floor to Roman, Coptic, and Islamic periods, including artifacts of the Khedival family.
Bur Sa‘id's sister city is on the other side of the canal, which you can cross by free ferry. You can see large vessels and pretty homes from the slightly malodorous and rundown ferry. Port Fouad was built for the employees of the Suez Canal administration. With its English colonial-style houses and front gardens, it is a stark contrast to Bur Sa‘id's bustling port-city/bazaar atmosphere.