budapest for kids

 
 
 

When they were young and we dragged them along with us on trips, our children tended to seem miserable and resentful and to gravitate exclusively to Room Service, Gift Shops, and Malls.  This came to feel logical as I thought it through ... we were taking time away from our stresses and burdens, but they were being wrenched out of their lives and away from their friends ... the less they enjoyed vacations with us, the more evident it seemed that they were enjoying their lives at home.


Here’s a brief listing of things to do with kids on one of the Budapest Travel websites:


http://www.budapestinfo.hu/en/free_time/for_children


More expansively, there's a terrific kids' guidebook to Budapest:  Benjamin in Budapest, sadly not easily available outside Hungary, but digging up a copy might be your first order of business on arrival (or you can pre-order it for delivery to your hotel or apartment): 


http://www.mijnwinkel.nl/shop35282/


In the meanwhile, there is a website, complete with calendar of events, published by the Benjamin in Budapest crew:


Budapest Family Calendar: http://www.benjaminguides.com/component/option,com_eventlist/


And here are a range of other web resources for families traveling together in Budapest:


BudapestInfo children’s page

Frommers on kids

Frommers guide to parks and playgrounds

Family Outings in Budapest

Budapest Tourist Guide for kids


To fill up your sack of trinkets to toss back over your shoulder, or to assuage the combination of guilt and the need to feel welcomed when you return home if the kids were left behind,  you may want to know where the great Hungarian toy stores are.  I have two suggestions:


First, there’s a marvelous store for hand-crafted toys.  Two Teddy Bears (http://ketmacko.hu/index.php?set_lang=en) is on the Magyar utca side of Károlyi kert.  Unusual and beautiful wooden and ceramic and crafted toys. 


Second, a large manufacturer and distributor of wooden toys, Fakopancs has three shops in Budapest.  The largest is on Baross utca, at the intersection of Maria utca, walking distance from Kalvin ter.  Two smaller shop shops on the ring road still have enchanted objects: at Jozsef krt 50 and at Erzsebet krt 23.  Their Hungarian language website is at http://fakopancs.com/fakopancs.php?module=elerhetoseg&PHPSESSID=476634f8aafa3a1516c396917e729b1c but offers little more than a map (and opening hours).


Children’s clothing, and particularly baby clothes fall into three categories, more or less: 


First, there is a chain of massive all-things-baby superstores called Brendon, one of which is in Budapest, on the outskirts, by the Gyöngyösi utca Metro stop on the Blue Metro, on Vaci ut (NOTE, Vaci út is NOT Vaci utca; it is the continuation of another major street, Bajscy Zsilinszky út).  The store is actually in a kind of strip mall behind Vaci, so it’s relatively hard to find.  The website is in Hungarian but gives a small map:


http://brendon.hu/Stores.aspx?page=store_BpVaciut.htm&key=szki


It has an excellent selection of everything from furniture to toys to clothing.


The second category is new clothes in shops and boutiques, and there is a string of baby and maternity shops across the street from the maternity hospital on Baross utca, between Kalvin ter and Jozsef krt.  And there are lots of chain shops, including Gaps in the malls and Marks & Spencer on Vaci utca (and a newly-opened H&M on Vörösmarty ter; one of the only places open on Sunday in downtown Budapest).


Third, there are second-hand shops scattered throughout the city.  Some of the ones that we have uncovered include: On So utca, at the end of Vaci utca, next to the Post Office on the corner, there’s a used clothing shop with great selection of baby/children’s clothes.  Nearby on Raday utca, just past the Pink Cadillac Pizza restaurant, beyond the Gelati place nearby, on the same side of the street, there’s a tiny used-baby-clothes shop. Further out on Raday, on the far side of Bákats ter, almost all the way to the back of the square, there’s a tiny little baby and children’s second-hand shop.  And there are several upscale used clothing shops (as well as a range of trendy fashion shops) on Arany Janos utca between Nador utca and the körut.  On Becsi utca (which is the street Petöfi utca turns into at Szervita ter) there is a clothing shop called Humanic, just across from the Kempinski Corvinus Hotel.  No kids' clothes in Humanic, but on the same side of Becsi, across from the Humanic, there’s a second-hand clothing shop with a large selection of baby/children’s clothes.





 

Traveling with children is always a challenge.  What passes for quality time together for adults is more often wrenching time away from their friends and passions for the kids.  I tend to view it as being like running from a bear in the woods...every so often I toss something tasty or interesting over my shoulder and don't look back, hoping that if I can divert their attention consistently enough they'll never overtake me...