A neighborhood of a million stories, a tragic past and a buoyant present: this is the Jewish Quarter of Budapest. What used to be the epicenter of the Hungarian Holocaust is the most lively district in Budapest today, full of bars, restaurants, nightlife, and still a stronghold of the present Jewish community in the Hungarian capital.
Once situated outside of the city walls of Pest it was the perfect location to settle down for Jewish merchants. They started to build a residential neighborhood with synagogues, schools, kosher butchers and mikves, ritual baths.
This thriving neighborhood got to a grim turning point at the end of WWII when the Nazis set up the ghetto here to gather the Jews for deportation – and many died within the walls due to terrible conditions or the violence of the militia.
Not many survived the Holocaust, and even fewer returned home to Hungary from the concentration camps. After the war the Budapest Jewish Quarter was a really sad looking area: the houses were in terrible condition, poor families were moved in, and the “Communist” regime did not help to renovate the buildings.
So when 1989 brought a political change, and finally it was easier to buy apartments, a lot of young people discovered this central but rather run-down vicinity, and as they started to move in bars, restaurants, galleries, and cool shops followed.
Today this corner of the 7th district is a true mess, in a good way. Between the famous ruin bars in Budapest, hip food trucks, and crazy clubs you still find synagogues, kosher shops, and little boys walking home from school wearing their kippahs.
You can learn about history, culture, and religion during the day, and try the famous Hungarian wines and spirits at night. The Jewish Quarter is also the area where all the national cuisines appear first, so you can have Iranian baklava for breakfast, Japanese ramen for lunch, and an Israeli hummus plate for dinner within a few blocks.
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Best overall hotel in Budapest – Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest
We stayed at the Kempinski hotel and love it for so many reasons but one of the best is there is a Christmas Market right out your door, from our room we could see down on to it. It’s also one of the best locations to stay in.
How to get to the Budapest Jewish Quarter
The Jewish quarter of Budapest is located in the very center of the Pest side, just a minute of walking from the main metro station at Deák square – this is the last stop of the 100E airport bus as well. The Great Synagogue is closest to Astoria where the M2 metro, the 47 and 49 trams and many buses stop.
The other end of the Jewish Quarter is by the “Grand Boulevard” (Nagykörút in Hungarian), the tram 6 runs there even at night; get off at “Király utca” or “Wesselényi utca” stops.
The most important streets of the Jewish district are Kazinczy street with many great places, including the famous Szimpla ruin bar; Király street with tons of shops and bars, and Dob street with nice restaurants.
Getting around Budapest’s Jewish Quarter neighborhood is best by walking – these narrow streets don’t have a lot of public transportation, but everything is really close, within a ten-minute walk. There’s even a whole set of courtyards, the Gozsdu Courtyard, where you find dozens of bars and restaurants within a few steps in a – sometimes crowded – pedestrian area.
Things To Do In Jewish Quarter During The Day
The district is full of history, and every house has something to tell us. Wherever you turn your head you’ll find beautiful Art Nouveau and 19th-century architecture, some renovated, some still crumbling. Street art is also the strongest here in Budapest, from big legal murals to sneaky paste-ups there’s a lot of creativity around.
There are a ton of things to do in Budapest and we think you should save a full day or minimum of half a day to explore the Jewish Quarter. Here are the best things to do in the Jewish Quarter during the day, as the nightlife in Budapest is amazing and no place is better than the Jewish Quarter.
1. The Great Synagogue | Dohány Street Synagogue
The largest synagogue in Europe offers guided tours in several languages, and it is included in the price. Women must cover shoulders and knees when entering, men get a free paper kippah to cover their head.
- Address: Budapest, Dohány u. 2, 1074 Hungary
- Admission: 4500 forints (appr. 14 euros).
- Opening hours depend on the season
- in summer they are open until 8 pm
- Fridays they always close earlier
- Closed Saturdays, Jewish holidays and some Hungarian National holidays it is always closed
2. The Kazinczy Street Orthodox Synagogue
Much smaller but more intimate than the Great Synagogue, it is a marvel of the Art Nouveau architecture from 1913.
- Address: Budapest, Kazinczy u., 1075 Hungary
- Opening times:
- Sunday to Thursday 10 am -6 pm in summer, 10 am -4 pm in winter
- Friday 10 am- 4 pm in summer, 10 am – 1 pm in winter
- Saturdays and Jewish holidays: closed.
- Entrance fee: 1000 forints or 4 euros
3. Sunday Farmers Market at Szimpla
Szimpla is a ruin bar known for the crazy nightlife, but every Sunday morning it turns into a food market. It’s just so nice to see families shopping for groceries and local producers selling their fruits, veggies, meat, cheese, and pastries where normally people party!
They also cook lunch in the back of the garden, what you pay goes for charity.
- Address: Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075 Hungary
- Every Sunday 9 am – 2 pm
- Free admission
4. Franz Liszt Music Academy
Music education has a great tradition in Budapest, the Academy itself was founded by the famous Franz Liszt, composer, and pianist. The gorgeous Art Nouveau building is open for guided tours every day.
You can also book a concert ticket for the evening if you like classical music, you won’t be disappointed. Some of the smaller concerts by the students are for free.
- Address: Budapest, Liszt Ferenc tér 8, 1061 Hungary
- Open for guided tours every day at 1:30 pm
- Guided Tours Admission: 2900 forints (appr. 9 euros)
5. Budapest 101 Jewish Tour
If you are interested in the history, culture, and culinary of the Jewish district it’s a good idea to book a private tour with Budapest 101. They tell you about past and present, show you the more hidden corners as well, and you get to taste the Hungarian Jewish delicacies like flódni, a cake of four different layers.
- Price: 2 people 160 euros that include entrance fees and food.
- Book Online Here
- Duration: 4 hours
Best Places To Eat In The Budapest Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter has a huge selection of Hungarian and international restaurants, some really casual to stuff your tummy before (or during) a long night out, and others a bit more upscale to enjoy a really nice meal.
In the warmer months, two food courts are open to trying typical street foods: Karaván has a bit of everything, and Vegan Garden offers only plant-based dishes – it is said to be the first fully vegan food court in the world.
They modernized the butcher shop eating experience. Mainly meat dishes, but vegetarians also find some options. Don’t miss the chicken liver paté on sourdough bread!
- Address: Dob street 31
- Sunday – Wednesday: 11:30 am- 11 pm
- Thursday: 11:30 am – 12 am
- Friday – Saturday: 11:30 am – 1 am
A trendy restaurant with grandma-style dishes specialized in stews and goulash. Surprisingly wide vegetarian selection. The túrógombóc dessert is a classic: cottage cheese balls with sweet sour cream. They offer a very affordable lunch menu on weekdays.
- Address: Wesselényi street 18
- Sunday – Thursday: 12pm – 11 pm
- Friday – Saturday: 12 pm – 12 am
Their motto is “From the Ararat to the Atlas”, and their menu covers the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and the Caucasian countries. The easy-going atmosphere, tapas-style food to share, don’t miss out on the Muhammara. Booking is highly recommended.
- Address: Dob street 5
- Monday – Sunday: 12 pm – 12 am
The best gourmet sausages in Budapest made from scratch in a tiny space. The shitake mushroom wild boar version is probably our number one choice.
- Address: Wesselény street 31
- Monday – Thursday: 11:30 am – 9:30 pm
- Friday: 11:30 am – 10:30 pm
- Saturday: 12 pm – 10:30 pm
- Sunday: 12 pm – 9 pm
Gulyás Tunkoló Büfé
Hungarian stews in a hole-in-the-wall type of place. The red wine beef and the juniper wild boar stews are big favorites, but you can also try something more unique like tripe or goose gizzards. Mushroom paprikash for vegetarians.
- Address: Kazinczy street 35
- Sunday – Monday: 12 pm – 10 pm
- Tuesday – Thursday: 12 pm – 12 am
- Friday – Saturday: 12 pm – 2 am
Best Bars and Nightlife in the Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter is full of bars and clubs, but you have to choose wisely. Some just want to sell as many drinks a night as possible, others create something special with live music, cool interiors, cultural events.
Budapest is a relatively safe city, but like in every city in the world, you have to be careful, especially at night. Luckily smoking is not allowed in closed spaces anymore, but people can smoke in the garden areas, and on the terraces.
You should know that all drugs are illegal in Hungary, even weed. Also, be aware of the fake drug dealers: they sell some really expensive marjoram and baking soda.
Ruin bars are the main reason why the Jewish Quarter in Budapest is so popular at night. They are usually repurposed residential or industrial buildings turned into a bar. Originally they were not supposed to last long, so they didn’t invest in any furniture or design, they would use whatever was around or whatever they found at flea markets.
Crazy art pieces are always welcome as well. That’s how the bohemian atmosphere was born, and no more popular than ever! When planning your Budapest itinerary remember a trip to Budapest wouldn’t be complete with a few drinks at a ruin Bar.
Best Ruin Bars in Budapest
“People used to live here” – says the sign on the facade. The number one ruin bar in Budapest has been around for 15 years now in a 200-year-old apartment building. You can have a beer in somebody’s former living room or kitchen.
The whole place is like a magical labyrinth with dozens of corners to discover. They have several counters inside, one is specialized in Hungarian wine and another one in craft beer. Many evenings there’s a free live concert in the back. Shisha is available and very popular.
- Address: Kazinczy street 14
- Monday – Friday: 12 pm – 4 am
- Saturday – Sunday: 9am – 4 am
A tiny cocktail bar with the most exquisite selection and a touch of pharmacy inspiration. They have a great drink menu, but if you request something they are usually happy to come up with something special, just for you!
- Address: Kazinczy street 35
- Monday – Thursday: 5 pm – 2 am
- Friday – Saturday: 5 pm – 4 am
- Sunday: 6 pm – 2 am
More hidden from tourists, a small place with the ruin bar atmosphere.
- Address: Nagydiófa street 32
- Monday – Wednesday: 5 pm – 3 am
- Thursday – Saturday: 5 pm – 5 am
- Sunday: 6 pm – 3 am
Among the many wine bars of the Jewish district, this one has the most personal feel, run by two enthusiastic ladies. They are in love with natural wine and they choose every bottle of the selection visiting the wineries.
- Address: Holló street 3
- Tuesday – Wednesday: 4 pm – 12 am
- Thursday – Saturday: 4 pm – 2 am
Tucked away in a basement this pub is the locals’ favorite because of the live concerts almost every evening. From jazz to folk, punk to open mic.
- Address: Dob street 15
- Sunday – Wednesday 5 pm – 2 am
- Thursday – Saturday 5 pm – 4 am
Shopping in the Jewish Quarter
Having all the cool kids around, of course, there are some great shops in Budapest’s Jewish Quarter as well, often with local designers’ products for an affordable price. Also heaven for vintage lovers!
Printa Design Shop
The epicenter of sustainable fashion, most of their materials are recycled or upcycled. The clothes and posters are printed in their silk screen printing workshop in the back. Great Budapest themed products as well for those who want to avoid the cliché souvenirs.
- Address: Rumbach Sebestyén street 10
- Monday – Saturday 11 am – 8 pm
Lollipop Factory 2.0
Really hip and colorful clothing and accessories, often upcycled pieces.
- Address: Király street 24
- Monday – Saturday 10 am – 8 pm
- Sunday: 12 pm – 6 pm
Retrock Designer Vintage Store
The biggest vintage selection you can find in Budapest, and some local designers’ work as well.
- Address: Anker köz 2-4
- Monday – Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
- Sunday: 11 am – 8 pm
More on Budapest
If the Jewish Quarter your favorite part of Budapest? If we missed any places that you think are a must-visit leave a comment below. We’d love to check them out on our next trip to Budapest.