I like to think that finding fun places to visit and entertainment in Prague is a bit like trying to locate sand while at the beach, if your eyes are open it´s simply impossible to miss. Live music is in abundance, bars exist to suit every taste, and the nightclubs are some of the craziest and most fun in all of Europe. The only possible issue that one might come across while out searching for somewhere to go in Prague is deciding just where to begin.
A highly recommended place to start for new coming students who are looking for a nice place to relax with a drink and good company would be Globe Café and Bookstore (www.globebookstore.cz). This cozy spot offers food, gourmet coffee, well priced happy hour beer, an international crowd, and friendly English speaking staff. They also sell new and used books in English, so you can sneak in a few pints while trying to find some mind expanding reading material. It´s really a win-win situation.
Great cafes to sip on a caffeinated beverage, study, and quietly chat with friends can be found throughout the city. Kavárna Medúza (www.meduza.cz), not far from Náměstí Míru, has an antiquely comforting feel to it, but is still modern enough to offer Wi-Fi and all of the varieties of coffee that you will need to power through your next cram session.
Týnská literární kavárna (www.knihytynska.cz/kavarna.html) is a classic café and Czech bookstore in a centuries old building just a hop, skip, and a jump from Staroměstská náměstí. Fortunately its inconspicuous entrance keeps it safe from leering tourists and inflated prices.
When it´s time to switch from mellow cafes to nightlife venues more electric, your options are virtually unlimited. Swing by the appropriately named Red Room, (www.redroomprague.com) which boasts big comfy red couches, red lights, and red walls, and a fun and outgoing atmosphere. Live music is on offer most nights of the week, including an open mic night on Sunday for the brave amateur musicians out there. Be sure to take advantage of the discounted prices for students on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
A great lounge for music of the DJ variety in the Old Jewish Quarter is Bar Fly (www.bar-fly.cz). Arrive early for a few cocktails and watch as it turns into a bustling and energetic nightclub full of people that come to listen and dance to some of the cities hottest DJ´s.
Le Mirage (www.lemirage.cz) next to the I. P. Pavlova metro and tram stop is a favorite for students from Czech Republic and abroad. Live DJ´s perform several nights per week, spinning anything that pops—from House to Breakbeat to Jungle.
Chapeau Rouge (www.chapeaurouge.cz/en) is a bar/disco/den of illicit fun not far from Staroměstská náměstí that is notorious for hosting perhaps the most eclectic group of patrons in Prague. There is an Erasmus student party night on Wednesdays at 8.30pm. It´s also handy to know that if you desperately need somewhere to grab a drink in the early morning hours after ever other place has closed, the people at “Chapeau” will always be there to receive you. Unfortunately they will not be there to take care of your excruciating hangover the next day.
Once you´ve thrown down a few drinks and are ready to find the all-night discos, there are clubs of every shape, size, and style to dance at for all hours of the night. Arguably the most popular of all student discos is Lucerna (www.musicbar.cz); set in an over 100-year-old theater that has been converted into a venue that packs in a young, wild and energetic crowd every weekend. If you´ve ever wanted to dance on a huge stage above hundreds of college students, in front of an enormous video screen playing 1980´s Madonna, then this is your place.
Zlatý Strom (www.musicclub.zlatystrom.com), just meters away from Charles Bridge, easily wins the award for the “place that looks most like an expensive touristy hotel from the outside, but actually is a rocking club on the inside.” Once you convince yourself that this actually is the club you´ve been trying to find and go inside, you´ll feel like you´ve entered a different world of debauchery and fun. Girls get in for free, drinks can be had for relatively moderate prices and a swaying dance floor full of people beckons you. Hopefully the scantily clad women dancing on poles in the side rooms won´t offend you too much.
If you are looking for something a little more alternative actually A LOT more alternative then head over to Cross Club (www.crossclub.cz). It´s a former warehouse turned bizarre dream world, punctuated by perpetually moving cranks and engines decorating the walls, glowing multicolored grids reminiscent of something from the movie the Matrix, and enough passages and levels to easily get lost in.
For the day after the party, should you be looking for a place to wiggle your toes in the sand and work on your tan, then grab your towel and hop on the 17 Tram to Žluté lázně (www.o2zlutelazne.cz). This riverside playground has lots of comfortable places to lie out, an ample supply of eye candy bouncing around in tiny bathing suits, sizzling food from the grill, and a huge offering of sports to enjoy under the sun such as ping pong, petanque and beach volleyball, amongst others.
To partake in real, serious outdoor activity one doesn´t even have to leave Prague city limits. On the road that leads to the airport and a quick bus ride from the metro stop Dejvická lies the national park Divoká Šárka (Evropská street, bus/tram stop: Divoká Šárka). Featuring over 250 square kilometers of forests, creeks, meadows, and fields, it´s a great place to leave behind the stress of the city for a few hours. Worth visiting inside the park is a refreshing stream-fed swimming pool, perfect for those hot summer days.
Should your aim for visiting the outdoors be less about activity and more about beer, a required visit are Prague´s most famous beer gardens. The two most well known and most visited are located at Riegrovy sady (at the streets Polská and Chopinova; Prague 2) and Letna Park (Letenskě Sady; Praha 7). Depending on your personality and mood, you´ll certainly prefer one over the other. Those that enjoy a great view of the center of town and a more chilled out ambiance will make the hike up to Letna. Those that like more of a buzzing, beer fueled BBQ party type of atmosphere will head over to the garden at Riegrovy Sady. I personally recommend a perfect balance of the more social Rigerovy Sady during the day and the more scenic Letna at night.
If you would like to experience bit of class and culture then dust off your fancy clothes and spend an evening enjoying a live performance at The National Theater (www.nationaltheatre.cz). Student prices will often go as low as 100kc, which is almost unbelievable considering the high quality of shows in this beautifully ornate and historic building. Subtitles for Czech language shows come in both English and German.
The suggestions listed above really are just the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to places to enjoy in Prague. Everyone can feel like an expert after some time spent here and with an adventurous spirit. All you have to do is pick a direction and go for it; Prague will take care of the rest.