I got an email tonight from a friend of a friend asking on behalf of other friends:
Do you have any tips on cool things to do in Prague? They’re traveling wtih teenagers.
Hm. Don’t really know where to start with that one. I could write a guidebook. Maybe I could call it The Lonely Eyewitness In Your Pocket or something. Here’s what I wrote back:
I guess a lot depends on what these folks are interested in. One suggestion would be to focus on the revolution of 1989, starting from Karlovo namesti, where the first demonstrations were held, heading toward the student dormitories near Narodni divadlo (National Theatre), then walking down Narodni trida toward Vaclavske namesti. On Narodni trida there’s a moving shrine to the 1989 revolution. You can’t miss it. It’s a series of hands, some making the V for victory, with only a caption reading “17.11.1989”
There’s a pretty good account of it in a sermon, of all places, at this address: http://home.att.net/~uustoughton/Sermons/Archives/199911281989.htm
Other cool things to do:
– Sip coffee (or maybe some Becherovka) at the Cafe Slavia, across from the National Theatre.
– Drink beer at one of many pubs. One of my favorites is “U Vejvodu” on Vejvodova street. Another great pub is “U Medvidku” just down the street from U Vejvodu. You never know what kind of people you’ll meet there.
– An excellent and not-very-well-known spot is the rooftop terrace on top of U Prince restaurant on the Old Town Square. It’s kinda touristy, but the views from there are spectacular.
– If you’re interested in art, there are museums galore, with everything from Gothic paintings to modern photography. Blogger Nicmoc says the current show at the Rudolfinum (across from StaroměstskÃ¡ metro), A Strange Heaven, spotlighting modern Chinese photography, is a must-see. The museums and galleries at Prague Castle tend to focus on the National Gallery’s permanent collection. Up at the castle, one of the cooler museums is the Toy Museum, which has a collection of nearly every Barbie ever made, as well as all kinds of cool toys from throughout history.
– Restaurants have gotten much better over the years, but generally it’s a good idea to avoid the restaurants on the Old Town Square, which are expensive and nothing special. If you’re interested in a good meat-eater’s meal, try U Sadlu (www.usadlu.cz), just off Revolucni trida at Klimentska (it’s actually down in a cellar at Klimentska 2.) It can be tough to get into, though, so you may want to make a reservation. Then again, you can drink Budvar while you wait, which isn’t so bad either.
If you have teenagers coming, it might be good to show them that the club in the movie “xXx” isn’t a club at all, but the ancient Gothic Tyn Cathedral. If you’re interested in clubs, you might want to check out the Roxy, on Dlouha trida near Revolucni, and the Central Lounge on Soukenicka also near Revolucni. Both clubs are within staggering distance of each other.
Other good clubs to check out would be Radost FX, near I.P. Pavlova metro. Radost has a vegetarian restaurant, which is still a bit of a rarity out here. Just remember that your pork levels have to be high enough in order to be allowed to exit the country ;-).
A bit further afield, (but depending on whether your tastes go to electronica or not it may be worth the trip) would be the Akropolis in Zizkov (disclosure: I’m a resident DJ there). It’s very close to the TV tower. Near there, at namesti Jiriho z Podebrad (the green line metro stops there), my good friend David Holeček has just opened his excellent bar, Černa kočka bilÃ½ kocour (Black Cat White Cat). Best mojitos in town, IMHO.
Prague has excellent public transport, and you should either buy a day pass or several metro tickets and avoid taxi drivers in general. Just watch out for gangs of pickpockets, who infest the touristed areas of town like Malostranske namesti. Generally, keep an eye on yourself and your stuff and you should be fine. Unfortunately, with so many beautiful sights in Prague, it’s easy to forget this.
Most of this stuff should be in the guidebooks. My favorite guidebook is still the “Eyewitness Guide to Prague” by Dorling Kindersley publishers. I usually have a couple of copies of this around the house to give to guests.
Hope this helps,