A re you curious to explore Budapest off-the-beaten path? Budapest is a multi-faceted city. Whether you are looking for fascinating history, architecture, European charm, or alternative and hipster things to do, Budapest has something for everyone. Venturing out and experiencing some of the unique things to do in Budapest is a great option for travelers visiting the city for several days, looking for something different on their second trip, or engaging in sustainable tourism. So, if you are a fan of street art, farmers’ markets, craft cocktails, and sustainable local businesses, this guide is for you!
I’ve been to Budapest several times, and each time I was able to experience a different side of the city. My favorite experiences in Budapest were when we explored some of the hidden gems and alternative experiences. As I wandered between the influential street art adorning old brick buildings, and barber shops, twisting magnificent man buns, I spotted a classy cocktail bar with a cozy seating room for 10. I sat down and was left gawking at their unique and impressive shelf of alcohol. Behind it, a clever periodic table of alcohol charts hung on the wall. My partner and I ordered two one-of-a-kind drinks and chatted with the two Hungarian gentlemen as they shook us some of the best cocktails in town. It wasn’t long after my first sip I realized that I was visiting the new king of hipster cities in Europe, Budapest.
Millennial travelers are flocking to the world’s top hipster destinations. This movement has accounted for a considerable chunk of travel to cities like Berlin, Barcelona, Stockholm, and Amsterdam in recent years. These reigning cities are moving over to make way for the new king of Europe, Budapest’s glorious VII district. (I know, I’m thinking about FF too) This guide will lead you to everything that makes Budapest “The Hipster King.” Like any of my hipster guides, we start with brunch and breakfast, continue to local markets & food trucks, visit local and sustainable businesses, explore our inner nerd, and end the night with a craft cocktail and a killer club.
Hipster City Guide to Budapest
Eat the Best Brunch in Budapest
Start your day with a unique breakfast or brunch experience in Budapest. These locally-owned restaurants prioritize healthy and local foods for a sustainable and tasty experience.
eggOist – Closed
Sadly my favorite place for breakfast in Budapest seems to have not survived the pandemic and closed. This is a shame as they had fresh and healthy meal choices in sustainable meal packaging with a fun theme. I’ll update this post if they re-open.
Cirkusz is another favorite brunch place of ours when traveling to Budapest. Cirkusz is co-founded by a Hungarian duo passionate about global and local cuisine and coffee. Their menu is an eclectic selection of egg-based dishes, smashed avo, and savory baked goods. They have plenty of vegetarian options and substitutions for vegans. They roast their specialty coffee, Bagira, in-house. Award-winning baristas craft that coffee into delicious drinks to fuel your day.
Their decor is chaotic and fun, and the atmosphere is welcoming and feels like a home-away-from-home.
Cirkusz has won awards for its coffee and brunch experience. Both locals and travelers enjoy starting their day at Cirkusz.
I usually don’t recommend “Instagram-able” locations, but I made an exception for Vintage Garden. This cafe and bakery are not only cute and charming, but their food is creative and fresh. My favorite part about Vintage Garden is that they cater to all diets and have loads of great vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Do not miss their loaded American-style pancakes… yum!
A fun and lively joint that serves up unique twists of the traditional benedict. The chalkboard menu and wooden decor make breakfast an enjoyable and welcoming experience. With the help of their charming Frenchie (dog), the two friendly faces of Stika brew tasty coffee while wearing their cute bow ties. Stika also has a great lunch menu and extensive wine list, and it’s tasty enough to return for seconds! Enjoy their outdoor seating during the long summer days. Great options for vegetarians
A cozy and welcoming little nook that features simple and quick menu items. A popular hangout for uni students and young adults, you may even make some new friends. Grab a book off one of their shelves to practice your Hungarian, or bring your own and settle in with a cup of coffee for a morning read. Be sure to order the pancakes and smother them with their selection of local jams and syrups.
Drink the Best Coffee in Budapest
On one of our visits to Budapest, I was traveling with my coffee-obsessed Australian in-laws, so finding quality coffee was of the utmost importance.
Some epic coffee nerds run Mantra Coffee – and I am here for it. They have mastered the art of coffee and serve incredible roasts in various methods, including Chemex to V60. Don’t worry; they have milk-based options for those that can’t drink black coffee. I love the vibe at Mantra, and you could easily hang out there all day. Come here for good quality coffee without the pretentious or exclusive feel.
My Little Melbourne
Of course, while traveling with Australians, we found a cafe called My Little Melbourne. This was a small hipster cafe tucked away under a historic arch. The coffee met the approval of my Aussie family and it was an added bonus they served Byron Bay cookies to dip in your strong flat white.
You feel like you’ve been invited to a good friend’s house for coffee when you enter Selah. I love this alternative atmosphere as you cozy up on one of their couches with a library shelf display in the background. Order a French Press, find a hidden corner in this 2-story cafe, and savor the elements of slow travel in Budapest.
Shop at the BestMarkets and Local Shops in Budapest
Budapest is home to a bounty of unique local shops and markets. Feel free to wander around the VII district and poke your nose in one of the many shops that appeal to your style, but here are a few of my favorites.
Szimpla Kert Sunday Farmers Market
The hip and trendy BoHo nightlife spot, Szimpla Kert, transforms every Sunday, bringing local farmers and artists together for a one-of-a-kind market. Grab your morning coffee as you peruse booths nestled in the Ruin courtyard teeming with local and organic honey, syrups, meats, cheeses, and crafts. The goal of the market is to bring the community together, so you will also have the opportunity to contribute to charitable and local causes. There are also performances by musicians and street artists.
This location tends to be a bit more popular with tourists, but it’s still an excellent spot to find antiques and locally crafted art. On most days, this charming side street is filled with fun restaurants and bars that appeal to everyone in your group, but you will see a different side on weekends. It’s a great place to add to your antique collection with historical European charms and find new art pieces for your global collection.
This market is on a small side street near the Káldy Gyula and Király Ute intersection. You enter under a gate with a big sign saying Gozsdu Udvar.
Fashion makes us all unique, and Szputnyik acknowledges this by creating a fashion line that plays with vintage and modern styles. This allows you to create a look that is just for you. With two stores in Budapest, you can shop as much as you want and take your new kick-ass, foreign style back to your hometown!
This trendy shop focuses on eco-fashion, up-cycling, and screen printing. All their designs are inspired by Budapest’s hipster aspects like street art, street maps, and typography. Take a break from clothes shopping with a delicious cup of coffee and a local art gallery display. If you have extra time to kill in Budapest, sign up for one of their screen printing classes and learn the skill to take back home with you!
Impact Shop Budapest
If you are looking for local, sustainable, ethical, eco, zero-waste, and any other environment buzzword you can think of; then Impact Shop Budapest is your one-stop shop. Skip the cheaply made souvenirs and shop Impact Shop for a sustainable souvenir for yourself or your friends. Impact Shop has candles, soaps, home design, ethically-made clothing, chocolates, jams, teas, art, and much more!
Enjoy Geeky Things to Do in Budapest
Did you know that the inventor of the Rubik’s Cube was Hungarian? Pretty cool, huh? And that is just one of Hungary’s many contributions to the nerd culture, including advances in astronomy and engineering. Its history is so rich that any visit to Budapest isn’t complete without exploring this other side of the city. Along with my ideas below, check if any special events are happening during your stay. Budapest hosts video game conventions, tech and startup conventions, and many other nerdy things to do at various times throughout the year.
Comic Shops & Events in Budapest
Check out Kilencedik Comics and Trillian Comics for all your comics needed in Budapest. Both are locally owned and feature a bevy of different events alongside their comic collection. Also, check out the Budapest Comic Festival to see if it’s happening at a time during your stay!
Visit the Busapest Planetarium
Take a break from Budapest’s fast-paced life and sit underneath a 1,000m2 dome depicting the universe. With a wide range of activities for all ages and intelligence levels, the Budapest Planetarium strives to bring the awe of the universe to all its visitors. The Planetarium offers several shows in English, but let them know in advance you’ll be coming!
Bonus! Step up your Rubik Cube game and learn to beat your personal record here. Perhaps a trip to the next speedcubing event is in your future.
Eat Street Food and Local Goods in Budapest
Budapest has some fantastic street food vendors that come and go through and city and even some that set up permanent shops in District VII’s alleyways. You’ll also find some great local brews and wine to wash it down.
Karavan Street Food
Located in a small ally near the iconic Szimpla Kert, this place is perfect for a quick, easy, tasty lunch. With several food carts serving hot fresh, and local food, there’s something for everyone. We enjoyed ordering the flatbread with local cheese and washing it down with a local craft beer! The area is decorated with lights and has benches so you can take a break and relax while you enjoy your food.
Festivals and Markets
Be sure to watch for local food and wine festivals through Budapest in the summer. Often located in the large park by the famous Széchenyi Thermal Bath and Castle, you’ll find everything from local wine festivals, craft beer events, and street food trucks. We happened to be in town during their annual wine festival. We spent a few hours sampling local wines and eating street food from the vendors at the wine festival.
Stop by Manga Cowboy for lunch if you’re looking for Ramen, Manga, and Cowboys. While their ramen isn’t as good as it would be in Japan or a N. American city, they do a decent job. The decor makes this place so much fun, with their Manga Cowboy theme the entire bar and alternative in classic Manga comics. They have outdoor seating and are located in an alternative hip neighborhood to District VII.
Admire Street Art in Budapest
No trip to Budapest is complete without checking out their street art. You’ll find the towering walls of Budapest District VII covered with fantastic art, from political and social pieces to downright trippy pieces.
Head over to Budapest Flow for a massive street art map showing you all the best spots to find street art.
Thanks to Becky the Traveller for lending me this interactive 3D street art (glasses required). Read her guide to spending three days in Budapest for more fun things to do in this hip city.
Drink the Best Craft Cocktails in Budapest
My favorite place on the list is Bar Pharma. They have some of the best cocktails I have ever tasted. They use local Hungarian products and flavors to develop creations never seen before. With their take on homemade bitters and a captivating drink menu, you’ll want to order several drinks. This place only seats about 10 people, so come early and stay late. Order the Pumpkin Plum for a cinnamon-infused drink made with local Hungarian pumpkin liquor.
This massive space with exposed brick is a modern-day meeting place for hip individuals. Come for the food and company, and stay for one of the 25 unique cocktails that compose their world-winning cocktail menu. Try the Sub Rosa for a light floral drink.
If you’ve heard of molecular cocktails, you know – those little bubbles filled with boozy goodness, this is your place to try them out. The bartenders are incredibly creative, making up drinks on the spot if ordering off the menu is a bit too boring for you.
Faust Wine Cellar
This place makes my hipster list because it is one of Budapest’s most sought-after wine cellars, and they only have 5 tables. Call ahead and book your exclusive tasting tour through Hungarian wine. Located in a brick underground cellar, the location is perfect for a romantic date night. The shop owners are a delightful couple who take time to educate each of the tables, individually about the various wines on the list. Reserve Your Spot Here!
Ruin Pubs in Budapest
I won’t go into too much detail about these pubs since I think they are on just about every travel blog about Budapest, and I found them to be a bit overrun by drunk annoying tourists, but they are worth checking out for the experience. My favorite had to be Kuplung, with a hidden entrance leading to a quiet courtyard in front and a wild party with live DJs and bands in the back. I also enjoyed Fogashaz, which has some great DJ parties and two full floors, including a Kert. Szimpla Kert was also fun to check out and is a fantastic concept, but honestly, I enjoy it more on Sunday for the market than I did the overcrowded tourist party at hight.
Corvin Night Club
Corvin Club is a unique 3 room venue with a rooftop bar that bumps some amazing techno and deep house. I was lucky enough to check out the venue on a night Guy Gerber played until the wee hours. Be prepared to walk a lot of stairs before you start dancing as the venue is located away from the happening city center, and you have to climb about seven flights of stairs in an old brick warehouse, but it’s totally worth it. Enjoy dancing your face off with the wild Budapest locals.
Sleep at Boutique Hotest in Budapest
Bohem Art Hotel
With the word art in their name, you know Bohem will be a trendy, hip place to lay your head. Each room is decorated with unique local art providing a different ambiance from room to room. Centrally located and with roots running deep in the city, you will feel the BoHo carefree lifestyle pulsing through you as you enter the lobby.
SoHo Boutique Hotel
Boasting to be the “seventh sense of Budapest,” SoHo offers dark amenities for the young hip crowd. Be prepared to live out your fantasy in one of the dark, luxurious new vampire suites oozing sexuality. Book the entire vampire package for the entire experience, including tickets to the show, “Dance of the Vampires,” and namesake cocktails. Centrally located, this hotel is a great launching point for all your adventures.
Hipster Neighborhoods in Budapest
It may be one of Budapest’s smallest districts, but District VII packs a punch. It is teaming with cocktails, bars, food trucks, design and concept stores, and more. This is one of the most popular districts for locals and tourists alike. Most of the places I mentioned are contained in this district but don’t get pigeonholed in, and make sure to get out and explore the whole city.