Updated: Oct 14, 2020
When I first arrived in Budapest in 2014, I was single. I came to this country without knowing anyone here. I think I had only met 2 Hungarians in my life!
I was hired overseas to work at the American International School of Budapest as their Elementary and Middle School Spanish teacher. I could not be any happier to be returning back to Europe since I had spent the last 7 years working in Myanmar and India.
I found an apartment in district VII. It was literally one corner away from Kazinczy street, -where all the party happens!- and I had the best friends I could possibly find for those particular endeavours: Jamela and Jordanka!
I have never been much of a drinker, but I am very social and I will go wherever the crowd and the music are. My first year in Budapest, I spent it working 7:00am-7:00pm and discovering this fascinating city on the weekends. Oh, and traveling wherever possible during our school breaks!
Now, looking back I can say I have been to all the happening spots in BP, and I have also gained the mama knowledge on where to go as a family. So, here is my list:
The first time I met my now husband, we were in Szimpla. This place is no secret to any traveler who comes to Budapest. It appears in all the travel guides, websites, and we all recommend it. Well, there is a reason for that! It is truly like nothing you've ever seen before. I used to go there at night to have a drink, or during the day, to have a coffee and buy some vegetables and cold cuts. Apparently, you can do it all at Szimpla ;)
The Grund is an indoor and outdoor bar that offers multiple options to those coming in small or large groups, or as a family with kids seeking for space to run around freely. This place is super cool and I don't think that many expats know it. You should go!
On our second date, Laci took me to the Fishermen's Bastion. To date, it is still my favorite spot in Budapest. It's so magical! So, this is why I have put it in my "single list" because that's where Laci and Budapest stole my heart! If you're considering a date soon, grab a bottle of wine, a couple of glasses, and sit under the arches and enjoy the view, the wine, and the many kisses while the sun goes down. Magical!
Now, the Fishermen's Bastion is a place to go single or with the kiddos. To find the hidden playground -with the church to your left, walk straight towards Matthias statue, and after the ticket booths, take the little path to your right. It's a mud pathway. A few meters after the toilets, you will find the playground. Have fun!
If you have partied in Budapest, you probably know what goes on at Szechenyi at night. It is by definition "The Bath of Budapest" and I know very few tourists in their 20s who have visited this city and have skipped Szechenyi. It is fun, it is beautiful, but in myexperience, I had enough once I had ticked that box. If you ask me, my favorite bath in Budapest is Rudás.
Now, let me tell you about Palatinus, first and most importantly, avoid going during the weekend. It is way too crowded for my taste. What I like about Palatinus is that you can easily spend the day there. You can find a comfortable spot under a tree, on the grass and camp there for the day. If you stay by the toddlers' pool, most of the people around you will be families too, which makes it safe to leave your belongings unattended. If I am not mistaken, the outdoors area includes: 1 Wave Pool, 2 Thermal Pools, the Marguerite Pool, 2 Kids' Pool, 2 Swimming Pools, 1 Fun Pool, 1 Beach Pool, 1 Slide Pool.
Budapest is not a shopping destination, but once you are here, Váci street is definitely the place to go if you get the shopping bug. Mostly because it is a nice walk up and down the street. And you can sit along the way to have a coffee or a meal. You can start your shopping experience at Vörösmarty tér if you are coming with the M1. Also, if you are in Budapest during Christmas, you should definitely check out the Christmas market in that same square!
I am not much of a brand name person. I prefer to shop local or from small business but, this outlet actually has some good bargains. It is worth a visit because it is convenient. It's large enough to spend a half day, and you can spend the other half of the day visiting Aprópolisz Játszóház (the Playmobil playhouse). What we usually do is split, and one of the two goes shopping (usually me!), and the other one stays in the playhouse with our child.
Hello Baby Bar (although more like a pub or disco) has always been one of my favorite places for a night out. I'll have to admit that there is magic in that space: The grand stairs, the unique design and trendiness. It is located in the interior yard of a stunning Budapest building, on Andrássy Avenue.
As a mom, my nights out are rather limited. And that is by choice. I am lucky to have a supportive husband who wouldn't mind me partying as much as I used to, but mom guilt sets in when I am not with my baby at night, or any time of the day! A good compromise nowadays is the afternoon-evening salsa matinés at Gozdu Udvar. We usually go around 5:00pm, have an early diner (6:00pm) and dance with the kiddos and friends. Not the same, but hey, it still gets your body moving!
That's actually 10 places. And oh, I still visit all of them! (wink, wink)
Did you know all of them? What are your favorites?