Dance, Theater, and Music
State Opera House
Top performances in one of the most sumptuous opera buildings in the world. Gustav Mahler was the director for three years from 1888. Prices still relatively low by international standards. VI. Andrássy út 22; tel. 36 1 331 2550. www.opera.hu
Academy of Music
“Hungarian cultural heritage in a nutshell … pupils of founder Liszt were teachers of Bartók and Kodály, whose pupils now teach here.”—Judit Petrányi, freelance journalist. The Academy’s concert hall plays host to outstanding musicians from Hungary and around the world. VI. Liszt Ferenc tér 8; tel. 36 1 462 4600. www.zeneakademia.hu
Palace of Arts
“Its superb acoustics make it one of the most sought after concert venues in the country.”—László Harkányi, editor, Fidelio music program guide. IX. Komor Marcell utca 1; tel. 36 1 555 3001. www.mupa.hu
Fonó Budai Zeneház
“The key venue for all folk musicians and dancers.”—László Harkányi. Mostly Hungarian, Gypsy, Balkan, and klezmer, with occasional Irish, Indian, and Cuban nights. XI. Sztregova utca 3; tel. 36 1 206 5300. www.fono.hu
Trafó Kortárs Művészetek Háza
“The place in Budapest to see contemporary dance and avant-garde theater, local and from elsewhere. A place to dance, watch, and be seen.”—Alenka Dorrell, dance teacher, American International School of Budapest. IX. Liliom utca 41; tel. 36 1 456 2040. www.trafo.hu
Intimate jazz club, performing and visual arts venue, and a friendly tearoom in one. Comfortable, welcoming atmosphere. XII. Ráth György utca 4; tel. 36 1 214 0676. www.nyitottmuhely.hu
“One wouldn't expect a Ukrainian carrier ship on the Danube to be the most vibrant cultural center in Budapest, but for jazz and funk, electronic, ethno, and rock, this is the scene.”—László Harkányi, editor, Fidelio music program guide. Buda side of Petőfi Bridge; tel. 36 1 464 3940. www.a38.hu
“Among the top choices of the city’s refined partygoers; nighttime lounge serving top-shelf spirits and pálinka.”—Daniel Freeman, deputy editor, Budapest Funzine. Club attracts a polished, international clientele. V. Szent István tér 4-5.
“Dread-headed DJs surf the web on their Macbooks while rubbing elbows with art students and bicycle messengers downing shots of Unicum and cheap draft beers.”—Daniel Freeman. First of the city’s “ruin gardens”—gritty, open-air clubs operating in courtyards of abandoned buildings. VII. Kazinczy utca 14; www.szimpla.hu
“By far at the most scenic spot in town, yet the real reason to go is the lineup of musicians.”—László Harkányi. The best of Hungarian jazz each night. V. Vigadó tér, landing stage no. 4; tel. 36 1 266 9013. http://www.columbuspub.hu/
Budapest Spring Festival
March. A long-established annual cultural event involving top-class Hungarian and foreign artists. Takes place over several days in March, particularly in the second half of the month. The varied program includes ballet, music, opera, theater, and folk dance performances as well as special exhibitions. www.fesztivalvaros.hu
Sziget (Island) Multicultural Youth Festival
Mid-August. Budapest’s version of Woodstock is central Europe’s largest pop/rock/world music festival. Staged on Óbudai Island. www.sziget.hu
Summer on the Chain Bridge
July-August. On summer weekends the Chain Bridge closes to traffic at each end of the bridge. Free, live music performances ranging from classical to jazz and ethnic, take place trhroughout the day.
Festival of Folk Arts
Mid-August. Displays and sales of folk art and crafts from different regions of Hungary. Held in the Castle District.
Jewish Summer Festival
Late August to early September. Concerts, films, book displays, food days, and exhibitions celebrating Budapest’s Jewish culture and community. Held in the city’s main synagogue and elsewhere. www.jewishfestival.hu
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