The Great Market Hall in Budapest is a lovely sight, with lots of colors, tastes, smells and people. As a traditional market hall the building itself was not designed to entertain children specifically, and there is no playhouse for kids in the spacious market hall either. That said, it is not impossible to enjoy the market hall with a child.
Budapest Great Market Hall with Kids
Visiting the Great Market Hall with your children can be a pleasant experience if you plan ahead.
First of all, visiting the market hall can be interesting for an older child or a young teen, but may be too much for younger kids and toddlers, unless you pick an hour when there are fewer people at the market. Crowds can make it impossible to navigate well with children.
If you come to the Central Market Hall with kids, please make sure that your little one(s) are with you all times, as they could more easily get lost in the packed market. Avoid the peak hours of the Great Market Hall (early morning on weekdays and in general, Saturdays). If you have a baby carrier, it might be better to bring than a buggy.
Secondly, just like for any kid in a candy shop, it is hard to resist to touch the goods, which vendors may not appreciate from children (fragile pottery, expensive tablecloths, etc.). So as a mom, I would say, it may be a good idea to let the children play outside on the Playground by the big market hall (if they are too young to appreciate the sights only), and when they have run enough, go upstairs for a snack or a cheap lunch to try some home made Hungarian meals. It is always a great experience for a kid to get into a huge building with high ceilings. The big market hall of Budapest has a unique roof structure and lots of inner space, which is a great sensory experience in itself.
Thirdly, visiting a market with school aged children can be a superb study tour. For instance, in recent years, there were some study tours for Hungarian schoolchildren organized in the Budapest Market Hall. Children aged 9-14 learn about the goods sold, fruits and vegetables in season and off season, about edible mushrooms (with Imre Rimoczi professor), etc. They can also see fresh goods and more tired goods, price competition, etc. They can learn that some vegetables that can be bought at home, may not be bought in Budapest, or look different, and vice versa. So there is a lot to learn in real life for young teens, which is great, and a lot more tangible than from school books.
On Saturdays, there are more people, but every Sat there is also a cultural event (each week a new country showcases its products at the Budapest Great Market Hall). There are concerts, which some children may like (12+) or at least tolerate for a while.
Elevator in the Great Market Hall
If you have a buggy / pram / pushchair, you can use the lift in the market hall. The elevator is on the street level (ground floor) which goes either down to the basement (fish, pickles, etc.), or to the first floor (food stands, take away restaurant, souvenirs).
There is also a glass elevator – by the edge of the playground, next to the road by the bridge) to get down to the Streetcar stop under the Liberty Bridge. Tram 2 and Tram 2A run quite frequently along the river Danube, which seems like a land based Budapest Danube cruise.
Toilet in the Great Market Hall
On the upstairs you can find a fee paying toilet in the market hall with a somewhat grumpy lady sitting outside and guarding the toilets.
Inside the Budapest Market Hall
This video of the market hall shows the spacious interior of the market, the numerous stalls and stands, and at the 2nd min you can see the simple take away restaurant which is a popular lunch place (long benches without a back, with long tables, often shared with others)
Playground by the Great Market Hall in Budapest
Those who are visiting the Great Market Hall with children will love the big playground and a small recreational park right in front of the market, on the other side of the Fovam Square (Fővám tér) where the market is situated. The playground has swings, wooden toys (a big wooden car with springy ‘wheels’), slides, see-saw, sandpit, etc. There are many benches to sit on if the weather allows.
The recreational park with benches is next to Vaci utca shopping street, which ends in Fovam Square where the Budapest Great Market Hall is.
Last updated: December 2012