Pinball Museum Budapest, Unicum House and Retro Design Center
Coolest museums for backpackers in Budapest!
Who said that museums have to be old-fashioned, mind-numbing institutes of dust and boredom? We’re just about to show you the coolest side of Budapest museums so you can add more great spots to your ever-growing itinerary. Learn about the surprisingly interesting history of most unique Hungarian drink (conveniently called Unicum for over 200 years), play video games and old school pinball, and indulge your inner Ostalgia with the best of 70’s retro, all with our help. Hungarian art and Budapest museums can be really cool, just watch and learn!
Pinball Museum (Flippermúzeum): time machine back to the 80’s!
Do you want to see the world’s biggest pinball machine? Think 235x210x100 centimeters, with the fitting name ‘Hercules’. It was produced in the US in 1979, but is now a happy inhabitant in the coolest ever sanctuary for old and weary pinball machines, right in the heart of Budapest! Actually, it’s not just pinball machines that await you here – the organizers are also crazy about old-school video games, so you can play those as well. They charge an entrance fee (it’s not too high and there is a student/elderly discount), but once you’re inside, you get to play as much as you want for free. The machines/video games come from all around the world, so you get to use various currencies and you can also look for the stuff from your own home!
Address: 18 Radnóti Miklós utca (close to Margithíd/Margaret Bridge)
Pinball museum opening hours: Wednesday-Friday 16-24h; Saturday 14-24h; Sunday 10-22h; closed Monday and Tuesday
Pinball Museum on Vimeo
Zwack Unicum Museum: learn about the most Hungarian drink!
Have your heard about the Hungarian drink made of a secret combination of over 40 herbs, originally designed to be a stomach strengthener? If not yet, you haven’t been hanging out with local Hungarians for long enough, because they love to make foreigners taste it! Unicum means unique for a reason, it can be challenging to those used to softer flavors. Important: NO joking around!! The last syllable is pronounced “coom” and not “come”. To impress your local friends with your expertise, you might want to simply visit the museum dedicated to Unicum. Or: you could even drag them along for a premium tour that includes free tastings of various new versions of the 220-years-old recipe at the most booze-filled Budapest museum ever.
Address: 1 Dandár utca, Budapest
Zwack Museum hours: 10am-5pm, closed Sunday
Credit: Facebook @unicumhouse
Retro Design Center: the very best Socialism ever had to offer!
Budapest is just about to open a gigantic retro museum in the very center, between the Chain Bridge and St. Stephen’s Basilica. While they’re getting ready for the vernissage, there’s already a really cool Retro Design Center dedicated to everyday objects from the Communist era that Easterners will find oddly familiar, and Westerners – hilarious and super interesting. From cars to household appliances and toys, from hippie vans to cycles, you’ll find every little detail that was missing from your mental image of the 70’s.
Credit: Facebook @retrodesigncenter
The museum is a short suburban train ride away from downtown, in Szentendre, a beautiful cobble-stoned town with Serbian roots and thus great Balkans food, and a bunch of cool museums (it used to be a painters’ haven and still holds collections from several great Hungarian painters like Ferenczy and Czóbel and many others). If you’re not into paintings, there’s museums devoted to MicroArt and even marzipan with life-size marzipan statues of Jacko, princess Diana and random Austrian figure skaters. When you’re done visiting museums, you can take a stroll by the Danube, in the scenic old town or up the hill - the place is definitely worth a day trip if you have the time! And of course, once the downtown Budapest Retro Museum opens, we’ll be the first to bring you the good tidings.
Address: 4 Rév utca, Szentendre
Retro Design Center opening hours: 10am-6pm every day
Credit: Facebook @retrodesigncenter
Free bonus tips
Yep, if you’ve seen all these and yearn for more, here’s our list of the stuff that almost made the top 3: Statue Park for the original gigantic Communist statues all in one place, Mai Manó Ház and Robert Capa museum for cool contemporary photography, and Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art for really well-curated art exhibits. Enjoy!
Hostel recommendation in Budapest
Maverick Hostel & Ensuites Budapest a great choice if you want to be close to the festival and right in the heart of the city.