48 hours in Prague
Prague is serious about its cultural programming, and as such, you’ll find that opera and ballet tickets are astoundingly affordable, especially for students. Some events at the National Theatre revive classic performances in their original formulas, and others take refreshing and modern risks with staging. Fear not: if you don’t understand the language, the theatre has a real-time translator scrolling just above the stage. Check for performances and tickets online.
Just a short walk away from the theatre is Hemingway Bar. There are of course dozens of bars around the world dedicated to the prolific writer and noted cocktail lover, Ernest Hemingway. This one draws from his favourite liquors, like rum and absinthe, incorporating them into cocktails with subtle nods to the man’s life and works. You can make reservations to avoid lines.
Wake up early to catch morning views at Žižkov Television Tower. The tower was, in fact, long-hated by residents until the provocative contemporary Czech artist, David Černy put giant, faceless sculptures of babies crawling up the building (unsurprisingly, some still dislike the look). Though the building is undoubtedly ugly, it has an Observatory floor with three separate viewing platforms to see different angles of the city.
Located at Jiřího z Poděbrad square is one of the most popular farmers’ markets in Prague. Jiřak Farmers’ Market pulls from local Czech farms, meaning an array of eats ranging from custard-stuffed baked goods, microbrews, berries and other seasonal fruit, and steaming trays of Czech fare like halušky, a sheep’s-cheese dumpling dish often studded with cabbage and slab bacon. Once you’ve gathered your loot, you can park at one of the tables provided, or sit in the grass to eat, drink and listen to the music that sometimes comes with the market.
Near the market is Beer Geek, a shop and bar featuring 32 local and European microbrews on tap. They brew under their own Sibeeria Brewery label, and the staff is more than happy to walk you through the different offerings. They have bottles, too, if you want something to take back to your accommodations for later.
Take the train back to central Prague for dinner at Cafe Louvre. Cafe Louvre opened in 1902 and still stands: though it was shut down during occupation in 1948, the restaurant was revived just a few years after the Velvet Revolution in 1989. The cafe is a known hangout of writer Franz Kafka as well as Albert Einstein. It’s also known for its season specials and classic Czech fare in a beautiful art deco setting. Here is where you order Czech-style gulaš with a traditional Pilsner Urquell.
Getting to MeetFactory is undoubtedly a trek from wherever you’re staying in Prague, but it’s more than worth it. You can check online for their calendar of events, but in a nutshell, the nonprofit arts space acts as a gallery as well as a nightlife spot with contemporary theatre and musical performances. In terms of music, you’ll see acts ranging from synths and DJs to R&B and European rap.
Cafe Imperial is another architecturally gorgeous restaurant, a nod towards the city’s art deco past, but one that caters specifically toward breakfast and lunch crowds. If you’re missing home, you can find English, French and American-style platters, but try the sausages with mustard and horseradish for a kick to start the day.
From Cafe Imperial, take a short bus ride across the river to Petřín Hill. One of the largest park complexes of the city, Petřín Park’s expansive greenery includes plenty of beautiful gardens to wander through as well as the Štefánik Observatory Tower. From there, you can see the entirety of the city sprawling from the base of the hill.
Climb down from the top of the hill to Strahov Monastery Brewery. Nearby the Prague Castle, the microbrewery is a part of the Strahov Monastery and like many other spots, is noted as a place where Czech intellectuals and artists stopped by for a drink. The entire complex was reconstructed in 2000, and its first beer since then, the St. Norbert, is still available alongside seasonal specials. You can see much of Prague from the Monastery while you drink.