We’re not here for the beer: Fun things to do in Pilsen with kids

There's more than enough fun on tap in this West Bohemian city which offers a great family getaway from Prague

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas
Published on 13.08.2020 19:20 (updated on 13.11.2020)

While most of us equate a long weekend in Pilsen, the birthplace of Czech liquid gold, with lifting a draft beer to the lips and repeating, the city has plenty to offer pint-sized visitors as well their parents.

And now is the perfect time to go, with a whole roster of events taking place later this month and well into autumn including the Raven Fest Beer festival (August 20-21) and the open-air Street Festival (August 21-29).

We recently explored the Czech Republic’s fourth-largest city — not only home to the Pilsner Urquell brewery but a historic WWII frontier town, liberated by the US army in 1945 — with a 5- and 8-year-old in tow.

Sadovy okruh / photo via Plzen.eu

While Techmania Science Center and the Pilsen Zoo are the main attractions, each meriting individual day trips, the city’s affordability, proximity to Prague, and its lesser-known, though no-less interesting, attractions make it worth a longer stay.

We stayed at Vienna House Easy Pilsen, within a few minutes’ walk from the train station. It’s located across the street from the brewery which can be accessed by a convenient pedestrian bridge.

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Photo via Vienna House Easy Pilsen

The hotel is also adjacent to a major tram line, though you can easily get to the city center on foot by walking along its lively Radbuza embankment. The hotel is currently offering a special for summer that’s valid through the first week of September.

These are our kid-approved tips for where to go and what to eat in Pilsen, with some grown-up highlights included for parental pleasure.

10 tips for exploring Pilsen with kids:

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Silvia Singing

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The Museum of West Bohemia’s Puppet Museum

Puppet Museum Pilsen / photo via author

The Museum of West Bohemia comprises a number of locations, all of them worth a visit, but one of its outlets is particularly kid-friendly.

The Puppet Museum is an ode to the Czech puppet tradition largely considered to have originated in Pilsen. The museum invites patrons on a wonderful stroll through the history of puppet theater in the Czech lands, with exhibits focused on its native sons Jiří Trnka and Spejbl and Hurvínekcreator Josef Skupa.

PRIVATE PROPERTIES

Apartment for rent, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 63m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 63m2

Šafaříkova, Praha 2 - Vinohrady

Apartment for rent, 4+kk - 3 bedrooms, 125m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 4+kk - 3 bedrooms, 125m2

Pod svahem, Praha 4 - Braník

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 57m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 57m2

Heřmanova, Praha 7 - Holešovice

Apartment for rent, Flatshare, 0m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, Flatshare, 0m2

Příběnická, Praha 3 - Žižkov

Our hands-down favorite was the puppet playroom where kids can operate a variety of the marionettes, rod puppets, and hand puppets used in actual performances. 

Read more here.

Brewery Museum

Brewery Museum Pilsen / photo via author

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The Pilsen brewery museum is located not on the grounds of the iconic brewery but in a former medieval malt house in the center of town. While parents will thrill to the sight of the smallest jug in the world and an original malt kiln, as well as the beer tasting for those who sign up for the tour, the upper level of the museum houses a fun attic space for kids.

Play with a large-scale Pilsen street map covered with building-shaped blocks that can be placed along the city’s American-themed streets — Rooseveltova, Americká — or just hang out and color. 

Read more here.

Depot2015

Depo2015 / Photo via Facebook

In the year 2015 Pilsen was designated a European City of Culture — and this “creative zone” designed for residential artists concerts, conferences, and theater, sprung up as a result. Right now as a substitute for the postponed Blik Blik festival (Pilsen’s answer to the Signal Fest), Depot2015 is hosting a digital playground with interactive light exhibitions.

It’s also got a hands-on exhibit devoted to the history of Czech football, where kids can kick around at Individual stations laid out across 500 m2 of space. With a special area just for Viktoria Plzeň fans, naturally. 

Read more here.

Zoo Plzeň

Chimpanzee / Photo via Facebook Zoo Plzeň 

This leafy, hilly zoo has been making headlines of late for its noble efforts to breed the endangered maneless zebra. But Indian rhinos, pygmy hippos, Siberian tigers, and a Madagascar pavilion with resident chimpanzee also count among its exotic menagerie.

A unique “Underground World” reconstructed from a former wartime bunker lets visitors view nocturnal animals or those that burrow beneath the ground while a climbing playground and a terrace restaurant with spectacular city views offer nice spots for a time out.

History buffs will find a surprise at the zoo as well: An M4 American Sherman tank is kept on the grounds, a nod to the liberation and the German anti-aircraft observatory that once stood on the site of today’s zoo.

Note: While you can easily get to the zoo via the city’s top-notch public transit network, during the summer season a little tourist train departs regularly from the square and will take you there for a 30-CZK/ride. 

Read more here.

Dino Park

Dino Park / Photo via author

PRIVATE PROPERTIES

Apartment for rent, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 63m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 63m2

Šafaříkova, Praha 2 - Vinohrady

Apartment for rent, 4+kk - 3 bedrooms, 125m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 4+kk - 3 bedrooms, 125m2

Pod svahem, Praha 4 - Braník

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 57m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 57m2

Heřmanova, Praha 7 - Holešovice

Apartment for rent, Flatshare, 0m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, Flatshare, 0m2

Příběnická, Praha 3 - Žižkov

If your kids love the Dino Park atop Prague’s OC Harfa then this branch of the attraction will surely delight (or terrify, whatever the case may be). It’s integrated into the zoo and boasts a much wider range of life-like Mesozoic model dinosaurs plus fantastic views of Pilsen, a paleontological playground, a 3D cinema, and some water attractions.

The park-like setting — with its Brachiosaurus viewing platform over the entire city — somehow makes these mechanical creations feel even more life-like. 

Dino Park can be accessed from within the zoo, and you can buy one admission for both attractions; you can also enter Dino Park on its own but from the Vinice station entrance.

Read more here.

Techmania Science Center and 3D Planetarium

Techmania Science Center / photo author

You really could spend an entire day marvelling at the touchable, movable, and highly entertaining exhibits here which illustrate principles of biology, physics, math, and science in a thoroughly engrossing way. From sink-ship and wind-tunnel attractions to a water world and other brain-boosting wonders spread out across 10,000 square meters of a formerly factory space, kids will be captivated. 

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Parents will appreciate the affordable gift shop with its shelves of non-fiction English-language titles as well as the David Černýsculptures (including the controversial “Entropa”) on display. 

The planetarium located next to Techmania is one of just a few European science centers that boast a highly sophisticated form of 3D projection technology, considered among the best in the world. Films focused on the galaxy and star observations are displayed across a 14-meter dome.

Note that the museum and 3D Planetarium close in the middle of the day so plan your lunch break accordingly. There is a budget-friendly canteen located on the top floor of the Science Center.

All projections are available in English and all exhibits at Techmania are also English-friendly.

Read more here.

Pilsner Historical Underground

Historic underground photo Plzensky Prazdroj / Facebook

You certainly can’t escape the brewing history in Pilsen. And while the historical underground which has existed beneath the city of Pilsen since the 14th century may not seem like an obvious choice for kids, it’s a rather enjoyable subterranean space that seems designed for explorations — and splashing in puddles of condensation. 

A tour takes you through a labyrinth of nooks and exhibits and ends, for parents, with a complimentary beer tapped at precisely the right temperature. The nearby Na Splice restaurant located on the grounds has a play area for enjoying dinner after.

Read more here.

Pizzeria Da Pietro

Pizzeria Da Pietro / photo author

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Pizzeria Da Pietro will be opening a branch in Prague’s Vinohrady district in 2021 but if you can’t wait that long, it’s worth the trip to Pilsen alone to experience the authentic Neapolitan pies served up at this tiny kitchen on Pilsen’s Smetanovy Sady.

The original Neapolitan with hand-crushed San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and torn fresh basil was a big winner, paired with orange soda.  A glass of the Tuscan house white helped the child-handlers go the distance for the zoo!

Note that the kitchen closes daily from 3-4 pm and that reservations are absolutely required. For dessert, we discovered Campione Gelato on nearby Americká street.

Read more here.

PRIVATE PROPERTIES

Apartment for rent, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 63m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 63m2

Šafaříkova, Praha 2 - Vinohrady

Apartment for rent, 4+kk - 3 bedrooms, 125m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 4+kk - 3 bedrooms, 125m2

Pod svahem, Praha 4 - Braník

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 57m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 57m2

Heřmanova, Praha 7 - Holešovice

Apartment for rent, Flatshare, 0m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, Flatshare, 0m2

Příběnická, Praha 3 - Žižkov

Getting there and practicalities

  • The trip to Prague to Pilsen takes roughly 80 minutes from Prague’s main station via an express train.
  • All tourist attractions are now open, as are hotels, and while you are no required to wear a face mask it is advised that you bring one with you.
  • Hand sanitizer was available at all of the venues we visited.
  • The Plzen.eu website is a helpful resource for planning your trip and there is a wealth of other options to explore including St. Bartholomew’s Gothic cathedral tower, the Adolf Loos apartments, and the Patton Memorial Museum.

Have you been to Pilsen with kids? Where did you eat, drink, stay?