Budapest is a dynamic city offering a diverse range of attractions offering a blend of history, culture, and fun! If you’re looking for the best things to do in Budapest with teenagers, you’ll have plenty to choose from. We had a fabulous time exploring the city and we think you will too!
You can explore hidden gems in the bustling Jewish Quarter or wander in the city’s charming, art-filled neighborhoods. Discover the treasures of its thermal baths or take in breathtaking views along the Danube River. Don’t miss the vibrant ruin bars, which are a must-see when in Budapest with teens! Plus, getting around Budapest is a breeze, with its excellent public transportation system and bike-friendly streets.
All of this and more makes this magical city the perfect destination for families seeking an enriching and memorable getaway. Interested in more things to do with the whole family in Budapest, Hungary? Keep reading for some of my family’s favorite attractions and things to do in this beautiful city.
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What Is There to Do with Teenagers in Budapest?
Budapest is an exciting and entertaining place for the whole family! We explored the city after our Eastern Europe cruise and loved it! Budapest is a welcoming and kid-friendly place and there’s a nice mix of historical and cultural attractions to keep everyone entertained. Below, you can read about some of our family’s favorite attractions and things to do in the Hungarian capital.
1. Take a City Tour
A great way to explore the city of Budapest is by joining a guided tour! We tried a tuk-tuk tour, to see some of the city’s highlights. It was a great way to get an overview of the city before heading out to explore on our own.
Segway tours are a huge hit with teens, as they can ride/steer their own. This tour is great at highlighting the best that both Buda and Pest have to offer.
For those that want a more intimate experience, you can opt for a guided tour in a private car.
There are a number of top-notch FREE walking tours, offered by locals who are passionate about their city. This is another fantastic way to see Budapest’s beauty up close, while enjoying inside details and captivating stories from knowledgeable guides. These tours are usually offered in a variety of languages, and you should book in advance, with a meeting point in mind.
2. Visit Budapest’s Famous Thermal Baths
Another well-known attraction is Budapest’s thermal baths which are a true treat for locals and visitors alike. The baths are connected to the city’s abundant thermal springs and are renowned for their soothing and healing properties. You can find them throughout the city, but a few stand out, such as…
- The Széchenyi Thermal Bath is the largest and most famous in Budapest. The Széchenyi baths feature a mix of indoor and outdoor pools, surrounded by beautiful Neo-Baroque architecture. It’s a beautiful setting in which to unwind in the warm waters, even during the colder months!
- Another well-known bath is the Gellért Thermal Bath, situated in the Art Nouveau-style Gellért Hotel and offers a luxurious experience. It boasts both indoor and outdoor pools, as well as numerous impressive mosaics, and a wave pool.
- Finally, there’s the Rudas Thermal Bath, dating to the 1500s. With its Ottoman-era charm, Rudas offers a more traditional experience in its Turkish bath section, while the modern section has an octagonal pool beneath a gorgeous glass dome. From this guests can enjoy spectacular views of Budapest and the Danube River!
3. Join a Boat Cruise on the Danube
Taking a boat cruise on the Danube River in Budapest is an unforgettable experience that’s perfect for travelers of all ages. Day and night cruises like this one offer a unique perspective of the city’s iconic landmarks, from both the Buda and the Pest side of the river.
As you glide along, you’ll pass under some of the city’s most famous bridges, and see iconic historical sites, including, but not limited to the Hungarian Parliament Building, Buda Castle, and the Fisherman’s Bastion.
You can do day or night cruises, but while the night is truly magical, the daytime cruises offer something of their own. During the day you can appreciate the intricate details of the city’s landmarks under the bright sun. The nighttime cruises are an entirely different experience with sparkling bridges and the city skyline brightly shining against the black of night.
4. Go on a Food Tour
One of our favorite parts of visiting Budapest was the food! Hungarian food is absolutely amazing, and Budapest is the perfect place to dive into the country’s diverse food culture.The best way to do this is through a guided tour.
There are different ones to choose from including walking tours, some of which may focus on Budapest’s vibrant wine culture, while This 3-hour Budapest walking food tour is perfect for families! Your guide will meet you in the city center, and then take you and your family to visit a handful of unique stops and shops.
Your guides will show you historical sights, and provide you with some insight into the history of Budapest along the way. You’ll eat at a local restaurant, get to enjoy strudel and Hungarian coffee, and sample regional wines (for those 18 and older). During your tour, you’ll stop at city markets, a wine bar, and pastry shops. This is a great way to learn about their favorite local restaurant!
5. Heroes Square and Vajdahunyad Castle
Nestled in Budapest’s City Park are Heroes Square and Vajdahunyad Castle, two must-visit landmarks. Heroes Square is one of the city’s most popular historical sites, with its grand Millennium Monument that pays homage to Hungary’s historical figures. This massive square is striking to see, showcasing the nation’s heritage with impressive sculptures and memorials.
Close by, Vajdahunyad Castle takes you on a journey through Hungarian architectural styles over the years! This stunning castle from the 19th century resembles a fairytale fortress. Today it houses the Hungarian Agricultural Museum.
But wait, there’s more! City Park also offers thrilling balloon rides that provide breathtaking panoramic views of the city, including Heroes Square and Vajdahunyad Castle. It’s a thrilling way to see Budapest’s beauty from a different perspective.
6. Try a Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
A Big Bus hop-on hop-off tour is a fantastic way to explore Budapest with teens. With a 1- to 3-day ticket option and simple-to-understand routes, you can hop on and off at their preferred attractions, tailoring the tour to your family’s interests!
The double-decker, open-top buses provide a fun and panoramic view of the city, making the experience exciting and engaging. It’s an easy way to cover major landmarks, like St. Stephen’s Basilica, Central Market Hall, and Heroes Square, especially if you’re short on time!
Overhead narration is given in English while audio guides are offered in a variety of languages. You’ll learn about the history of Budapest while enjoying the freedom to explore at your own pace. It’s a memorable and convenient way to make the most of your Budapest adventure!
7. Explore Fisherman’s Bastion and Buda Castle
Visiting Fisherman’s Bastion and Buda Castle, both perched atop Castle Hill in the Buda hills is an absolute highlight of any trip to Budapest. These main attractions are not only breathtakingly beautiful but also steeped in Hungarian history and folklore.
Fisherman’s Bastion is a fairytale-like terrace with seven towers, offering the best views of the Danube River and the Pest side of the city. Its neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque architecture creates a storybook feel, making it a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike!
Adjacent to Fisherman’s Bastion, the medieval Buda Castle stands tall, a symbol of Hungary’s royal past. The castle complex is free to visit and includes the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum.
8. Head to a Ruin Bar
Visiting ruin bars is undeniably one of the best things to do in Budapest with teenagers! These eclectic and artsy spots, one of the iconic ones being Szimpla Kert, are unforgettable attractions for young travelers.
Once abandoned buildings mainly in Budapest’s Jewish Quarter, ruin pubs have been transformed into vibrant social hubs filled with quirky decor and graffiti-covered walls!
The atmosphere is electric, with live music, open-mic nights, and diverse performances. Other favorites include Instant & Fogas Ház, Mazel Tov, and UdvarRom. If you don’t want to go alone, you can always join a ruin bar tour!
Ruin bars create a welcoming and laid-back ambiance, making it easy to mingle and meet locals and fellow travelers. You can sip on a refreshing drink and share stories with newfound friends!
Just a note: If you have younger teens, plan on going during the day (most ruin bars open for lunch). Many ruin bars don’t allow minors at night when these venues get busy!
9. Explore Margaret Island
Margaret Island, nestled in the heart of the Danube River, offers a serene escape from the bustling city. You can reach the island by foot across the Margaret Bridge or take a tram or bus.
This green oasis is a perfect place for parents and teens to unwind and explore. If you’re on Margaret Island during the warmer months, there’s a fountain that features music and synchronized water shows in the evenings.
You can explore walking paths or ride bikes while taking in beautiful gardens and fountains. Engage in outdoor activities like mini-golf, swimming, and jogging. The Japanese Garden is a favorite with visitors, and there are even medieval ruins of a 13th-century convent that you can explore! For a relaxing experience, visit the island’s thermal bath or simply lounge by the riverside.
10. Night-Time Vampire Tour
Nighttime vampire tours are wildly popular in Budapest because of the city’s dark history and gothic architecture, as well as regional folklore. Did you know that the inspiration for Count Dracula was a Hungarian nobleman named Vlad the Impaler?
After dark, this old and romantic city sets the perfect stage for tales of vampires and mysteries! On this 2-hour walking tour of the Buda Castle District, you’ll explore cobbled streets and dimly lit alleys, visiting shadowy landmarks and historical sites.
Your guide will entertain you with chilling stories of Hungary’s tumultuous past and infamous vampire lore. Dark tours like this one are a captivating way to delve into Budapest’s darker side while enjoying a unique nighttime experience.
11. Visit the Local Markets
The best way to experience the authentic flavors and culture of Budapest is through its local markets. These bustling hubs act like a journey through Hungary’s food and traditions, making it a great place to visit for an authentic experience of Budapest’s day-to-day life!
One of the most famous is the Great Market Hall, located near the Liberty Bridge. It Is a must-see for both locals and visitors, located in a beautiful building, that’s almost 200 years old.
While the first level offers local produce, such as meats, cheeses, pastries, and more, the second level features clothing and accessory boutiques.
A tip for visiting the markets, don’t be afraid to barter! Visiting markets means engaging with vendors, savoring traditional dishes, and witnessing the ebb and flow of daily life in Budapest.
12. Go Stand-Up Paddle Boarding on the Danube
For the crew that seeks out cool and unique outdoor activities on a family trip, there’s nothing quite like stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) on the Danube River! The river’s calm waters and great views make it perfect for this adventure.
Teens can have fun paddling on this small group SUP tour while checking out famous landmarks on the shore. It’s a chance to see the Hungarian Parliament Building, Buda Castle, and the Chain Bridge from a different angle, As the sun sets, the city’s architecture is breathtaking from the water.
13. Day Trip to Szentendre
Embarking on a day trip to Szentendre is undeniably one of the best things to do in Budapest with teenagers. It’s an opportunity for everyone to appreciate a different side of Hungary.
On top of that, it’s an easily accessible outing through Budapest’s easy-to-use public transportation system. Hop on one of the metro lines and a bus, and in less than an hour, you’ll be exploring Szentendre. Other options for reaching Szentendre include a guided tour from Budapest or in the summer there’s an option to take a boat.
This charming town provides an excellent escape from Budapest’s hustle and bustle! When you visit Szentendre, it feels like going back in time to a simpler era, with its cobblestone streets, baroque architecture, and colorful houses set on the picturesque Danube River. Everything just slows down there.
You’ll spend the day exploring Old Town, with its artisan and souvenir shops, museums, and studios. Also, don’t miss out on the chance to sample traditional Hungarian pastries and foods at local cafes!
14. Take a Jewish Heritage Tour
The Jewish Quarter is an important part of Budapest. Exploring this area, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of Hungary’s past, including the challenges faced by its Jewish community. Consider going on a tour like this half-day Budapest Jewish heritage tour for a well-rounded exploration of the city’s complex history and rich cultural tapestry.
This is a walking tour with two different routes through the former ghetto. Both tours cover major historical landmarks, such as the Dohány Street Synagogue (also known as the Great Synagogue, the largest in Europe), as well as a fascinating museum and a historical cemetery. There’s also a chance to stop at a kosher bakery and try Jewish delicacies!
Throughout your tour, your guide will share stories on the impact of Nazi occupation and communist regimes on Budapest’s Jewish community. You’ll also learn about the struggles and triumphs of Budapest’s Jewish community under such hardships.
Today, the Jewish Quarter is thriving, with unique shops, cafes, and famous ruin bars. A tour is a chance to witness the district’s revitalization and learn more about it as an important part of the city.
Tours like this one provide a unique educational opportunity, whether you’re curious about your own Jewish heritage or simply interested in the history of Budapest. Amidst the bustling streets and trendy ruin bars, a Jewish Heritage tour offers a meaningful perspective on the long history of Budapest.
15. Visit the Pinball Museum
A more unique attraction for your teenagers to enjoy in Budapest is the Pinball Museum! This interactive museum houses a diverse collection of over 130 vintage, and modern pinball machines spanning the late 1800s through to the modern day.
Visit with your kids, and try your hand at different pinball machines from various eras. It’s free to enter and you just pay a small fee for access to the games. You can also buy snacks and drinks at the counter, and lounge about on an eclectic mix of chairs.
16. Museum of Sweets and Selfies
If you’re looking for something a little lighter to do with the family in Budapest, check out the Museum of Sweets and Selfies. This is a playful installation museum, where you explore rooms themed with a variety of sugary treats! It features rooms filled with oversized candy, vibrant installations, and dreamy backdrops designed by local artists.
You can find your favorite treats and capture picture-perfect selfies! From candy walls to larger-than-life dessert displays, every corner is a visual gem. There are 2 locations for this popular attraction, with the original (No. 1) being great for kids of all ages.
The Museum of Sweets and Selfies No. 2 BUBBLES has a slightly different feel with more unique exhibits and features a cocktail bar. You can also order non-alcoholic drinks for underage visitors.
17. Ride the Ferris Wheel in Elizabeth Square
Another exhilarating way to enjoy stunning views of Budapest’s City Center is by riding the Ferris wheel located in Elizabeth Square. As the Ferris wheel gently ascends, you’ll be treated to some of the best views this beautiful city has to offer!
There is a small fee per ride, but it’s more than made up for one you take in the sprawling urban landscape, landmarks like St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the winding Danube River, all unfolding beneath you.
It’s a completely different experience to ride the Ferris wheel at night than it is to ride in the day, so go more than once! You’ll take in the sprawling urban landscape, iconic landmarks like St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the Danube River, all unfolding beneath you. It’s a fun way for families to enjoy an exciting activity that lets you see Budapest from a new point of view.
18. Explore Pál-Völgyi Cave
Exploring the Pál-Völgyi Cave is an extraordinary experience that ranks among the top things to do in Budapest with teenagers. Nestled beneath the Buda hills, this remarkable cave system unveils an entire hidden world of geological formations, ancient history, and a delicate ecosystem.
While visiting, you’ll take self-guided audio tours along winding hiking paths through chambers filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and fossils. As you go, your audio guide will teach you about the history of the caves. If you choose to go remember your good hiking shoes, and be prepared to climb up and down ladders. Visitors must be 5 years and older.
19. Experience the Historic Budapest Circus
The Capital Circus of Budapest in City Park is Hungary’s oldest and most famous circus. The modern circus was invented in Budapest in the late 1800s. Come here for a mix of classic and modern acts that you know and love, from acrobats and jugglers to silly clowns and daring aerial tricks.
The circus is a big deal in Budapest, as it has a long and rich history, deeply ingrained in the city’s culture. It’s not just about entertainment, it’s a tradition that’s been passed down for generations.
20. Go Shopping
Shopping in Budapest offers a diverse and exciting experience, with there being options for all tastes and preferences. Head to Fashion Street and the WestEnd Mall, both located in the city center, for some retail therapy.
Fashion Street boasts a range of high-end boutiques and global brands, it’s perfect for fashion lovers. The WestEnd Shopping Center is your classic indoor mall, featuring a wide variety of retail brands, clothing stores, and eateries.
21. Take an Alternative Budapest Street Art Tour
Embarking on a street art tour is a must-do in Budapest with teens. It’s truly the best way to delve into Budapest’s culture and see a more authentic side of the city. You can book a walking tour like this small group street art tour through the Jewish Quarter.
Your guides will show you iconic landmarks like the Kazinczy Street Synagogue, and take you to notable avenues showcasing the murals that bring the city’s walls to life.
That’s not all the tour has to offer! You’ll also visit an artist collective, stop at a ruin bar, which are popular art hubs in the hip Jewish Quarter, and a local coffee shop. Along the way, your guide will share the meaning behind each art piece, and take pictures for you!
Beyond traditional attractions, a street art tour immerses you in the present, showcasing Budapest’s evolving identity. It’s an extraordinary opportunity to embrace local artistry and develop a deeper appreciation for the city’s history.
Where to Stay in Budapest with Teenagers
For a central location that can’t be beaten, we highly recommend Aria Hotel Budapest by Library Collection. This stunning property is within walking distance from Budapest’s Ferris wheel, the Hungarian Parliament Building, and Dohány Street Synagogue. It’s just around the corner from St. Stephen’s Basilica.
The boutique hotel is music themed, and it’s evident in every corner of the property. Each room is dedicated to a famous musician, and details throughout the room give a nod to the artist and their work.
About Aria Hotel Budapest by Library Collection
There are four different themed wings – Classical, Contemporary, Opera, and Jazz. We had a classical room dedicated to Russian composer Serge Prokofiev. Our room was generously sized with two queen beds and a seating area, a 55″ television surrounded by a marble fireplace mantle, an in-room iPad, a Nespresso coffee maker, and a desk. The bathroom is breathtaking with floor-to-ceiling Onyx marble, a shower, a bathtub, and a bidet.
Hotel amenities include complimentary breakfast, a pool, spa, fitness center, access to a music library and concierge, and complimentary wine and cheese every afternoon.
Perhaps my favorite amenity was the hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant, High Note SkyBar. This is one of the best places in Budapest for sunset and it overlooks the rooftop of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Don’t miss this!
Finally, the staff of Aria Hotel in Budapest goes above and beyond when it comes to customer service. No request is too big and they are happy to help. Unfortunately, we only had one night in Budapest, but when we come back this will be the hotel I book! CLICK HERE TO CHECK RATES
We didn’t have nearly enough time to explore all of the fun things to do in Budapest with teenagers, and we can’t wait to go back and explore the city again!