What’s a sojourn in Prague without a stop at a local beer garden? A wasted trip that’s what! Consider this: Czechs drink more beer per capita than any other country. Drinking beer and socializing is an integral part of their culture. Lucky for you, there are many places throughout the city. However, we recommend the tried and true Riegrovy Sady and Letná Beer Gardens. Now go out and explore Czech culture with a nice buzz on!
David Černý is the l’enfant terrible of the contemporary Czech art scene. He manages to piss some people off with his sculpture pieces and causes others to break out in laughter. Luckily, you can see a whole hell of a lot of his stuff around town: most visible are his alien babies crawling up the Žižkov TV Tower or the upside down horse with St. Wenceslaus in Lucerna Passage. If you come across a weird statue in Prague, then it’s a safe bet that it’s Černý’s. Want to see some of his work? Check out our „David Cerný – Tour of Controversy.“
3. Žižkov TV Tower
Loathed by some and admired by others,whatever your opinion may be, the Žižkov TV Tower in Vinohrady is now a dominant part of the Prague skyline. At night it’s lit up in white, red, and blue representing the colors of the Czech flag. Hailed as the tallest building in Prague and tallest tower and viewing platform in the whole of the Czech Republic, a ride to the top for a mere 150 kč provides you with a 360 degree view of the city. The observation deck is open from 8:00-midnight. Don’t forget to check out David Černý’s alien babies crawling up the side. As of 2012, there is a newly reconstructed bistro, bar, restaurant, and hotel in the tower.
Located in Holešovice, a former industrial heart of the city, Cross Club is a mecca of alternative culture. Even if you are not into the music pulsing out of the club that night, it’s still worth a proper exploration. Get lost in the weird interior and mechanical contraptions – there is something eye-catching to be found around every corner. For more on Cross Club…
5. Vyšehrad Cemetery
Located on the grounds of the often overlooked national monument of Vyšehrad – a place purported to be first settlement of Czechs in Prague – Vyšehrad Cemetery is one of the most beautiful and calmest places in the whole of Prague.The idea for a national cemetery sprung up from the National Revival in the 1880s, when the Czech people mobilized and worked towards an independent state and revived their own language and culture. Come and see the tombs of a very important group of Czechs, such as art-nouveau artist Alfons Mucha; Karel Čapek, writer and inventor of the term robot; and composer Antonín Dvořák. The art work and tombstone sculptures make the cemetery alone worth a visit. Check out the entire area of Vyšehrad while you’re there – no running into hordes of tourist here!
6. Prague Metronome
Once the site of the largest Stalin statue in the world, the metronome now inhabits the former dictators post from which he once looked out over the city. Located in Letná Park, the Prague metronome and the area surrounding it is a concrete playground. Skateboarders and other tricksters like to use the space for their acrobatics. Others simply drink beer and dangle their legs over the precipice, gazing out at Prague from their perch. The Prague metronome really has some of the best views of the city. While you’re there, check out the Letná Beer Garden a few paces away.
„Sapa, but that’s in Vietnam,“ you say. Well, you are right and wrong. Due to the Vietnamese being the third largest group of immigrants in the Czech Republic, you’ll find on the outskirts of Prague, Sapa, an enormous authentic Vietnamese market pulsing and thriving like those you’ll find right in Vietnam. Sapa is great for a day trip, a place to experience Vietnamese culture and life outside of Vietnam. Get lost in the stall land. Buy a bunch of crap you don’t really need. Have a hearty bowl of pho bo. Stock up on fish sauce, green tea, seafood, coriander, and fresh tofu. Sapa is a world onto itself and worth the bus ride to the suburbs.
8. Ss. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral
This is off the radar for most travelers in Prague. It’s a shame, because if you are interested in modern Czech history this cathedral should definitely be at the top of your list. For a little WWII history, the Czech lands were basically handed over to Hitler by the allies by way of the Munich Agreement. The Nazis said they wanted Sudetenland and if they got it, they wouldn’t start a war. Well, we all know how that worked out. But not only did Hitler take back Sudetenland, he also occupied the Czech lands. Flash to 1942 when the cathedral saw a dramatic standoff between the Czech parachutist-assassins of Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi protector of the Czech lands. They ended up hiding out in this cathedral afterwards. Want to hear the whole heart-wrenching story? Go to the cathedral and visit the exhibit! Jeez!
Not so much off-the-beaten-path anymore, the John Lennon Wall continues to be a piece of art and history all rolled up into one. Started in the 1980s by the disgruntled youth of communist Czechoslovakia, the John Lennon Wall remains as a site of inspiration to this day. In 1988, students and security police purportedly butted heads on the nearby Charles Bridge, all because the students were using the wall as a canvas to complain about the repressive regime they were living under. Today, the face of the John Lennon Wall constantly changes as tourists and locals alike leave their messages of hope and artistic scribbles upon it. However, you can usually find the face of Lennon peaking out somewhere.
Quality, non-mainstream concerts. Art studios and galleries. Rollerskating parties. This is Meet Factory. Get acquainted. There’s always something cool going on here in this multi-purpose space started by that aforementioned weird Czech artist, David Černý. Meet Factory will help you party with the hipster crowd until the wee hours of the morning.