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10 unusual experiences you must add to your bucket list

Pay a tribute to the King of Pop, visit the Michael Jackson Memorial Tree

Photos, letters, drawings and candles still decorate a tree across from the Hotel Kempinski, where Michael Jackson stayed while in Budapest in 1994 to shoot a video for the HIStory promotional tour in Heroe Square and where he also stayed 2 years later to give a concert as part of his History World Tour.  While Jackson was staying at the hotel, fans gathered around this tree to get a glimpse of the man waving from his window in the Presidential Suite. Fans established a memorial around this tree to honour his memory. The tree is still maintained to this day. The white paper on the tree states: “Michael was accommodated in hotel Kempinski Next to his [sic] tree in 1996 September. He had concert in stadion [sic] part of History World Tour. So Hungarian fans established his memorial place”

Michael Jackson Memorial Tree

1051 Erzsébet tér 7

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Get into the footsteps of Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna and Robert de Niro

Hotel Kempinski is famous for another international venue, Nobu Budapest is the first Central-European member of Nobu's worldwide dining empire, where you can enjoy and explore chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa's new-style Japanese cuisine where traditional techniques are redefined through South American flavours. The Budapest opening was attended among others by Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons, among the long-time fans of Nobu are Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna, just to name a few. Due to its popularity, booking is recommended. The signature dish, black cod in miso, combining the fish with the traditional Japanese miso seasoning. 

Nobu Restaurant

1051 Erzsébet tér 7-8.

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Learn from the pro, inherit the talents of Houdini and escape from the locked rooms

Harry Houdini, the famous illusionist was born in Budapest as Erich Weisz. You can learn about his story in the mini series starring the amazing Adrien Brody (who is also bearing Hungarian origins) and get to know his fame escaping from handcuffs, strait jackets and the Chinese Water Cell act. You can find several escape rooms in the city - around 100 (!) - , quite a few is hidden in district 7., players must be able to get out of the room or the room system by logical or skill tasks. Themes range from medieval to a pirate cave with a pricing of 28 EUR to 50 EUR per game per team. Here are a few ideas for the wannabe Houdinis:

Pirateroom     Exitpointgames    Napuche    Verem    Parapark     Paniq szoba

 
 

Bigger, louder, shinier, Vegas-feeling with pinballs

Hidden in a basement in district 13, this interactive permanent exhibition is featuring the predecessors of pinball machines from the end of the 19th century to the most state-of-the-art pinball tables of the 21st century. Have constant fun with 130 machines on nearly 400 square meters! The primary objective of the game is to score as many points as possible. Many pinball machines include a story line where you need to earn high scores for different methods of completing the game. Visitors from all around the world make a "pilgrimage" to Budapest just to visit this niche museum dedicated to keep pinball machines and its tribe alive. Expect to spend at least 2 hours or more as time flies quicker in this dim-lighted environment. This hidden gem is the best place for rainy days, the admission fee is 3000 HUF, after you don't need to worry to insert coins as the machines are set to free play, they don't accept coins or tokens.

Pinball Museum

1137 Radnóti Miklós utca 18.

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 The experience of piloting an 80 ton heavy aircraft by yourself

Put on your aviator and fly as much as you can in 60 minutes on a B737, or fly between the skyscrapers in New York with your friends! The Pilots Simulator Center operates realistic simulators based on the  two most popular commercial aircrafts: the Boeing B737-800 and the Airbus A320 including a fully operational passenger cabin with working PSU-s and emergency exits which allows not only one person to enter the world of aviation but smaller groups together. The cutting edge projection provides 210 degrees (!) perispherical vision experience, even including realistic view through the passenger cabin windows.

Pilots Simulator Center

Ipar str. 5, Downtown plaza, H-1095, Budapest

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Feel the magical powers of the Holy Right Hand

After the death of King Stephen, there were throne-stricken, chaotic times. At this time, fearing the embalmed and mummified corpse from desecration, the corpse was removed fro the marble sarcophagus in the middle of the basilica, where King Stephen was buried on 15 August 1038 and was hid in the tombstone under the basilica. The right hand left had been disbanded as it was attributed to magical powers and was taken to the basilica treasury. The treasurer was guarded by Merkur, who later stole the sacred relic and hid it in the fortress of Bihar. When St. László heard a news of his relic, he visited Mercury on his estate. He forgave the thief and in honour of our first king, he established the Szent Jobb Abbey at the very same place.  (The name of the abbey, and the market town around it is called Szentjobb, the Roman name in the territory of Romania today : Siniob) The mummified hand went through a number of owners before returning to Hungary. You can find the relic in the St. Stephen's Basilica.

St. Stephen's Basilica

1051, Szent István tér 1

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Explore underwater mysteries and imagine you are in the movie The Big Blue

Did you know that the largest cave system in Central Europe is located in Budapest? A wonderful video shows how adventurous divers are sinking into the depths to reveal the wonderful and forgotten world under the capital. Special finds, such as the blind shark make it more mysterious. Behind one of the gateways of Frankel Leó street hides one of the most exciting places in Budapest, most of the people in Budapest do not even know that the city has been built over a huge, large and deep cave system, which still has undiscovered parts of it. Here you can dive into the infinite cave system under the Rose Hill (aka Rózsadomb), where clean, warm karst water, huge rooms, scaled rock walls and fossils awaits. 

Molnár János Cave

1023 Budapest, Frankel Leó u. 48.

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Get on the world’s largest child’s railway operated by children

The Children's Railway is one of the capital's unique attractions of its kind. The small railway connecting the excursion sites of the mountain range of Buda, where school-aged children in school are performing in different positions. The 11 km long, narrow line runs through the woods and often called “the greatest child toy of the world”, has seven stations and two board stops.  The children aged 10 to 14 control the traffic and commercial services provided but strictly according to regulations of any other railway line of the State Railways of Hungary (MAV Zrt). A single trip for adults without a stopover is 800 HUF / person

Hűvösvölgy Children's Railway

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Do you have what it takes to handle the ultra-bitter taste of the real Unicum?

Book a tour at the Zwack Museum where you can dive deep in the Zwack family's history from the 17th century. Unicum was originally invented in the late 1700s by King Joseph II’s royal physician, Doctor Zwack. The super confidential secret recipe which famously contains more than 40 different herbs was passed through the family line (each member only knows a part of the recipe, to break the secret one would need all the members) becoming an unofficial national drink.  For groups and individual visitors the program contains a visit to the old distillery as well, namely the "Heart of Unicum" which is still in it's original conditions - it has been renovated based on the original photos that remained. More than 100 years old distilling systems, stone barrels - used for extraction - and aromatic herbs that might be (!) a part of the Unicum's secret recipe (see they are super cautious!) are exhibited in this tarnished building. In the Unicum cellar which is kind of a labyrinth with almost 500 oak barrels, this is where the Unicum is aged for half a year. You can taste the original Unicum and the Unicum Plum straight from the oak barrels.

Zwack Museum

1095 Dandár utca 1.

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Floating experience, where you can switch off your mind

Similar to the famous floating one may experience at the Dead Sea in Israel, but with the privacy of a floating capsule. The idea of ​​a floating cab, aka isolation tank, comes from American neuropsychiatrist John C. Lilly, who conducted research in 1954, studying the effects of sensory-deprivation. To demonstrate this, he built his first floating tank to examine the relationship between consciousness and the brain. The beneficial effects of floating therapy - termed as REST - Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy - has been underpinned by many experiments and measurements. REST has similar benefits as relaxation training, hypnosis, meditation, yoga and massage; both psychological and physical. 30 mins 4500 HUF, 60 mins 7500 HUF

NB: this experience is only available in Telki, which is 10 km away from Budapest at the Globall Hotel, where pre-booking is a must!

Globall Sport & Wellness Hotel

2089 Telki, Szajkó u. 39

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Photo credit: Jonas Svidras / Pexels

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