As I wandered between the powerful 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. I knew I was at home. 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 huge chunk of travel in recent years to cities like Berlin, Barcelona, Stockholm, and Amsterdam, but these cities are moving over to make way for the new king Europe, Budapest glorious VII district. (I know, I’m thinking about FF too) This guide will lead you to all the things that make Budapest “The Hipster King.” As with any of my hipster guides, we start with brunch and breakfast, continuing to local markets & food trucks, explore our inner nerd and end the night with a craft cocktail and a killer club.
Hipster City Guide to Budapest
Best Brunch and Breakfast in Budapest
My number one pick is a new joint in town. This place specializes in real, fresh, and healthy flavors. Cure your hangover with a bite into their fluffy Benedict accompanied by fresh arabica coffee, or start your day off right with their fresh lean grilled chicken breast and quinoa breakfast salad and fresh-pressed orange juice. If you are feeling bold, try their sushi omelet. If you’re not a morning person, don’t worry, they’re open well into the afternoon and even have a massive burger topped with a fresh, local egg. Their decor appeals to my inner geek with a funky yet tasteful Alice Through the Looking Glass theme. All meals are served in adorable and sustainable cardboard boxes and wooden cutlery. This place is small, but they have outdoor seating, and it’s worth the wait.
Ignite all your senses at this luxurious 1920s villa. As a family-owned restaurant, they are dedicated to fresh, wholesome, and artisanal food. The lush purple and white decor, crowned with glistening chandeliers, calm you as you choose from their large selection of home-baked goods or sit down for a gourmet brunch. Pair their champagne breakfast with a silky cappuccino, and you’ll be set for the day. This place is perfect for a group of friends looking to spend their weekend pampering themselves.
A fun and lively joint that serves up unique twists of the traditional benedict. The chalkboard menu and wooden decor make sitting down for breakfast an enjoyable and welcoming experience. The two friendly faces of Stika, along with their charming Frenchie (dog), are usually there making 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 come back for seconds! Enjoy their outdoor seating during the long summer days.
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 the selection of local jams and syrups.
Experience Hungarian Food and Drink
Looking for something a little more authentic while staying off the beaten track? Try one of these Hungarian food and beverage experiences.
Best Markets and Shops 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.
This location tends to be a bit more popular with the tourists, but it’s still a really cool 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 whole different side on weekends. It’s a great place to add to your antique collection with historical European charms and find some new art pieces for your global collection.
This market is located 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!
Geeky Things to Do in Budapest
Did you know that the inventor of the Rubik 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 whole other side of the city. Along with my ideas below, be sure to check if any special events are happening during your stay. Budapest hosts video game conventions, tech and startup conventions, and a ton of 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!
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.
Street Food and Local Goods in Budapest
Budapest has some amazing 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 and tasty lunch. With several food carts serving up hot fresh, and local food, everyone has something, including local beer! The area is decorated with lights and has benches so you can take a break and relax while you enjoy your food. Be sure to order the local flatbread with goat cheese and arugula.
The Sweet by Vintage Garden
If you need a sugar pick-me-up to get through the day, stop by this romantic spot for local sweets and treats. Try the cake pop!
My little Melbourne
The BEST coffee in Budapest. If you’ve been to Melbourne, you know they have some of the best coffee in the world. This coffee shop, inspired by the hipster city down under, holds to its name. Just stick to their classic cappuccino or try some of their high-tech cold brews. Don’t forget to grab one of the Melbourne cookies straight from Straya.
Festivals and Markets
Be sure to keep an eye out for local food and wine festivals through Budapest in the summer. Often located in the large park out by the famous Széchenyi Thermal Bath and castle, you’ll find everything from local wine festivals, craft beer events, and street food trucks.
If you’re looking for Ramen, Manga, AND Cowboys, stop by Manga Cowboy for lunch. While their ramen isn’t as good as it would be in a peak hipster city like SF, they do a decent job. The decor makes this place so much fun, with their Manga Cowboy theme the entire bar and alternative out in classic Manga comics. They have outdoor seating and are located in an alternative hip neighborhood to District VII.
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.
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.
Also, head over to Budapest flow for a massive street art map showing you all the best spots to find street art.
Best Craft Cocktails in Budapest
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 their 25 amazing cocktails that compose their world-winning cocktail menu. Try the Sub Rosa for a light floral drink.
My favorite place on the list Bar Pharma some of the best cocktails I have ever tasted. They use local Hungarian products and flavors to come up with creations never seen before. With their own 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.
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 and can get creative 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.
Thur-Mon: 2:00-20:00 with seatings available at only certain times.
Budapest, Hungary, Hess András tér 1, 1014 Hungary
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 to get lost in. Szimpla Kert was also fun to check out and is an amazing concept, but to be honest, I enjoy it more on Sunday for the market than I do the overcrowded party. Seriously in peak season, I could not even move at one point.
Corvin Night Club
Corvin Club is an amazing 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 that Guy Gerber was playing 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 7 flights of stairs in an old brick warehouse, but it’s totally worth it. Enjoy dancing your face off with the wild Budapest locals.
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 “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 mean punch. It is teaming with cocktails bars, food trucks, design and concept stores, and so much 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.
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