5+1 alcohol-free activities for summer evenings in Budapest
Photo : Norbert Juhász/We Love Budapest
We Love Budapest
24/6/2016, 8:51 AM●4-minute article
During the sizzling-hot Budapest summer, it is always nice to start the evening by cooling down with a frosty fröccs or a cold beer, but many of the city’s amazing activities are a lot more memorable when enjoyed without alcohol. There are plenty of nighttime programs in the Magyar metropolis that are not only about devouring drinks, and many of them actually require two steady hands and a clear head. If you wonder what the best booze-free activities are, read on!
From May to August, the Zugliget Chairlift up to the peak of János Hill operates until 7pm every day, and even though it is not yet dark by then, during the early evening the sun slowly sinks behind the Buda Hills, so the last rays of sunshine are not so sizzling amid the breeze. Upon reaching the top of the hill, it is well worthwhile to go a little further and climb up the Elizabeth Lookout Tower, because while it is an extremely elevating experience to gaze across the Budapest landscape from there in the daytime, admiring a sunset from up there is truly marvelous. (It is important to note that every second Monday is maintenance day and the Chairlift does not operate, so it is recommended to check ahead before you are planning to go on a Monday.) Alternatively, a hike up to the new lookout tower of Hármashatár Hill also provides panoramic bliss, although this is a much more active sundown activity.
Every Wednesday night between July 6th and August 24th, you can attend colorful concerts in the Budapest Zoo. The gates open to audience members at 7pm, but the concerts only start at 8:30pm, so guests have enough time for a stroll in the charming gardens, and to go for a wander to see the world of the amazing animals that wake up at night. This summer, visitors can enjoy the concerts of talented Hungarian musicians such as the Budapest Klezmer Band, Kátya Tompos, Ági Szalóki, András Kern, and Budapest Bar.
Due to the current restoration works of Saint Gellért Square, the Liberty Bridge is closed for traffic between June 16th to August 28th. The traffic-free tram tracks provide a perfect spot for lovely picnics, dates, and late-night chats. The bridge always attracts a few night owls, but now that the whole length of the bridge is empty of vehicles, it entices even bigger crowds, just as it was seen at the first organized picnic day. Instead of going to a restaurant you can go to the bridge with a blanket, food, and any type of virgin refreshments to have a divine dinner above the rapidly rushing Danube.
We are excited about the annual Night of Museumsevery year, when countless participating educational institutions entice everyone with varied cultural activities at night, and this year is no different. However, in case you would like to avoid the crowds but still want to enjoy museum visits at night, you still have many options to choose from all the time: the Hungarian House of Photography and the Capa Center await visitors every day until 7pm, while the Ludwig Museum’s temporary exhibitions are on view from Tuesday to Sunday until 8pm, and the Hospital in The Rock keeps its gates open from Monday to Sunday until 8pm.
Zooming around in a go-kart
In Hungary it is strictly forbidden to drink and drive, but driving a go-kart gives you such an adrenaline rush that you won’t even miss any alcohol while enjoying this speedy sport. You might not become a Formula 1 driver in one night, but you still get to drive a go-kart around a track, which is very enjoyable even for amateurs. Most of the racing circuits are open until late at night, so if you gather a group you can take laps even until 11pm, or midnight at SilverKart or G1 Gokart Center. A few minutes away from Budapest, in Mogyoród, you can even race under the night sky at Hungaroring until 8pm.
+1 for the day after: rise and shine on Margaret Island
There is nothing more inspiring than to start a day nice and early without a hangover, and it is worthwhile to take full advantage of this freshness. You can go to Margaret Island early in the morning or on the weekends with swimsuits or running gear for a few rounds or laps, and after some exercise you will appreciate not boozing the night before even more as you feel the warm sunshine on your back.