Whether you’ve been living in Budapest for years or have just arrived and want to meet new people, these expat events and groups are great for doing just that! There’s everything from weekly social meet-ups to groups specifically for sports fans, bookworms or women in business. No matter what, most of these groups are friendly and welcoming to anyone who just wants to go along for a chat and a good time. While you can find plenty of special events on Facebook to match your idea of fun, here are some of the regular – and bigger – expat events in Budapest.
International Meeting Point
International Meeting Point is a real meeting point for people from ALL over the world who find themselves living in Budapest for a time. Their fortnightly events (every second Wednesday, starting at 8pm at Anker’t) welcome literally everyone – whether you’ve just arrived in Budapest and keen to meet some new people, Hungarians who want to practice English or another foreign language, long-time expats, and foreign students. Really anyone who’s open to making new friends.
This is a free event and there’s usually a free shot on arrival, and you also get a wristband when you get there so you know who is with the IMP crowd. Plus there’s often a raffle. Check out their website for details and join their Facebook group for information on upcoming events.
The Budapest Monthly Party (BPMP) organises events, well, every month for expats, couch surfers, tourists and foreign students in Budapest. No matter who you are these events are usually CRAZY fun. They welcome people of all ages, all backgrounds… the key is to be open to having a really fun night, best yet it’s free!!! Join their Facebook group to stay updated with the date and location of upcoming events.
InterNations is a global company but its local arm in Budapest is very active with organising events for expats here. There is a membership fee and once paid-up most events are free to attend, BUT you can also just attend events if you pay the higher cost per event. The InterNations online network is also worth mentioning because it’s a way you can contact other expats living here, filtering by industry etc so this could be a great way to network and potentially find a job! There’s also a forum where you can chat and ask questions.
Another great benefit of InterNations is that people create specialty groups with those who share similar interests. For instance there are groups for women in business, dog walkers, a wine club, a photography group, a cricket club, an outdoor activities group and even an aviation group. Signing up to the site is free and easy – it’s just the extras that have a relatively small fee – membership starts at 3.95 euros per month. Check out their website for more information.
Brody Studios events
Brody Studios is an invite-only art studio, which organises regular events for members. Members can often invite guests along to individual events or to just to have a drink or snack at the amazing bar there. The events are regularly attended by expats who have an interest in the arts of all genres: film discussion nights, comedy nights, DJs and more. Brody is a cool venue to check out and the kind of place you can meet interesting people and perhaps even start a joint creative project.
We must say that it’s also a great spot to work on your laptop, you can go and have a coffee and spend the day in a relaxed environment. Two of their major events for expats are the Laugh, Brody ,Laugh English Comedy Nights and the Brody Underground Cinema nights. Details on everything here.
Friday nights at The Club
The Club used to be associated with the British Embassy’s Britannia Club. Now, those who sign up for membership get some special benefits, although if you’re a guest or friend you can attend the weekly gatherings for free. The meet-ups usually occur at Champs Sports Pub on Friday nights from 5.45pm to 8.30pm in a separate section of the venue, and Champs offers discounts on drinks and food during the get-together. Find out more here.
International Quiz Nights at Jack Doyle’s takes place on the first Thursday of every month. The cost is just 500 forints per person. The quizzes start at 8pm and there are some good prizes up for grabs!
There’s also The Caley Quiz Night mostly on Thursday nights at the Caledonia. There are some good prizes. It starts at 8pm and entry is 500 forints.
Gift of the Gab
Fancy yourself as a public speaker? Want to challenge yourself to a prepared speech and an impromptu speech? Or just want to watch and see what other orators have? All in the name of charity!? Well Gift of the Gab is the event for you! Over a series of about five rounds, various speakers fight it out vying for a spot in the Gift of the Gab finale. While the finale from the 2014/15 season will be March 2015, it’s like a new season will commence after summer in 2015. If you want to speak, contact the organisers, if you want to book a seat or table it also pays to reserve. Make sure you check back on the event’s Facebook page or website to see if there are any changes next season and for details on venue, dates and times. Earlier we mentioned charity and this is because all proceeds go to IHBC’s Give a Little campaign which supports the Tophaz orphanage in Göd.
The Friday Night Crowd
Want to have some friendly Friday after work drinks at an Irish pub? The Friday Night Crowd is a really great option. Expats and some locals mingle for a drink and chat from about 5.30pm onwards at Jack Doyle’s Irish Pub. Join this group for updates.
Budapest English Theatre
A collaboration of actors, writers and directors making theatre in Budapest – in English. They don’t always have shows on, but when they do they are very popular (and good) so it’s worth checking out. Sometimes they invited shows from other parts of the world too or organise theatre-related events, so theatre-lovers should not miss Budapest English Theatre. Find upcoming shows here or like their Facebook group to keep abreast of updates and ticket sales.
Budapest Bookworms is, of course, for lovers of books – and it doesn’t just have to be English books! Share reviews, ask questions, give book tips and more. They often have book-club style meet-ups (currently at the Caledonia) so you can meet and share your love of reading in person. Approximately every month a new book is selected for discussion. Check latest details here.
Fórum Társulat drama workshops
Fórum Társulat is a group of drama enthusiasts who often organise drama workshops in English (in addition to their numerous Hungarian-language endeavours). The workshops happen on a semi-regular basis and are always advertised on their Facebook page (although you could contact the friendly administrators to find out more if you’re super keen).
They welcome students of all nationalities, expats or Hungarians wishing to play in English. They invite you to play, to exchange experiences, and to tell stories using the language of drama. Pretty much everything you could expect a drama workshop (forum theatre, trust games, playback theatre, situation exercises) and more! You don’t have to be a budding actor, you just have to have an interest in the theatre. There is generally a small fee for workshops.
Operation Budapest organises events around Budapest to connect both Hungarians and expats with local businesses. Events include quiz nights, scavenger hunts that teach people about Budapest, pub crawls, wine tours, Bloody Mary Sundays, hangover recovery sessions, karaoke nights and more. Two Americans, who now live in Budapest, started this group with the aim of sharing the great, smaller local haunts of Budapest with everyone. If you’d like to get to know the city with them head along!
You might miss your favourite team sports, but in Budapest there’s a group for pretty much everything. Sports fans should check out these groups and feel free to head along:
Budapest Exiles The Budapest Exiles R.F.C. play in Hungarian Extra League division. The Exiles is a welcoming mix of Hungarians and expats and the social scene is legendary. It’s an English-friendly group that is a diverse melting-pot of people from all over. Basically it’s all about an avid love of rugby.
Budapest Hash House Harriers These fun people say they are drinkers with a running problem, and you can just about get the idea of what they’re about. We don’t know about the drinking part, but in any case they organise regular walks and hikes.
Budapest Frogs This group are all about getting together and playing rugby sevens, they have training sessions and matches and the full bit that you’d expect from a competitive yet fun team… We reckon there’s a fair bit of rugby-watching and beer drinking here too.
Hungary4Cricket Love cricket? Then no matter your age or where you’re from you can get involved. There are men’s, women’s and children’s teams.
IHBC Hikes These semi-regular group hikes are open to expats of all persuasions not just those involved in the Irish-Hungarian Business Circle. Join the events and they’ll let you know where the meeting point is and what time to be there. They take place at the weekends and it’s a really nice way to spend a day somewhere in the Buda Hills, for example, getting some fresh air and making some nice contacts.
Budapest Celtic FC Describing themselves as “possibly the most enjoyable amateur football club in Hungary,” we reckon that this could be just about true! This group of expats take their sport seriously but not too seriously. If you’d like to join (they have training twice a week) contact them!
Irish – Hungarian Business Circle Supporting Irish-Hungarian networks – both business and social. Aside from business and social activities they also support charities. They have two major events around St Patrick’s Day and the Day at the Races to coincide with the Hungarian Derby. On the first Friday of each month, they have a pub meeting where members can get together. It’s also a good opportunity for new members to join up. Hiking, biking and running events are organised monthly. More info here.
Viking Club Are you a viking that finds yourself in Budapest? This group is for business and social networking with other vikings just like you.
Women in Business Budapest This is a network of women in Budapest’s business community this is group where you can network, get support and share your experiences.
Budapest Business Party An invite only, annual event that brings together the leadership of the top foreign businesses in Budapest.
Toastmasters Hungary Do you want to improve your confidence and get better at public speaking of all kinds? Toastmasters is a well known international group that has helped thousands with just that. Their Hungarian chapter has events focused on English-speakers. They meet regularly and while there is a membership fee, you can head along once for free just to check it out.
Other events and resources
For major sporting events (eg rugby, soccer, Super Bowl, tennis finals etc), St Patrick’s Day, ANZAC Day, Australia Day, Halloween, Carnivale, 4th of July and so forth, there are usually groups or individuals among the expat community who organise special little events to mark whatever big occasion has captured their interest. Of course if you have an idea for such a party, perhaps you could organise one and invite other expats! They’re usually a pretty happy bunch who are glad to find any excuse to get together over a beer or two!
The other thing we should mention is speed dating. While these fun rapid dating nights have taken a bit of a hiatus over winter, it’s expected they’ll kick off again as the weather warms up. And another one is the talent quests, which have been on hold for a while but could return in the coming months.
Join some groups like this to keep on top of anything new happening and of course we’ll post events in our calendar of events also: