Things to do in Budapest in January

Chain Bridge and the Lions in snow - winter Budapest - photo by Neil Howard

Chain Bridge and the Lions in snow – winter Budapest – photo by Neil Howard

Budapest is buzzing even in the chilly months, but you need to research a bit on the current January events. Except for the long awaited Budapest New Year Concerts on or around January 1.

Our handpicked list for things to do in Budapest in January only enlists the annually recurring festivals and fairs, for the January current events, please take a look at our Top Budapest Event Calendar / Event Guide, consult your Budapest concierge, or private tour guide, the hotel receptionist, ask locals in pubs, etc. You will definitely find something interesting to do even if there are not many events promoted towards tourists in English.

Things to do in January – Winter Events in Budapest

  • New Year Concerts, Budapest at various concert halls – January 1 & 2 are the days to start the new year and its resolutions with beautiful music. The New Year’s Concert at the Palace of Arts and at St Stephen’s Basilica are probably the most popular classical music events in January in Budapest.

    Szechenyi Bath Winter: minutes before snowing

    Szechenyi Bath Winter: minutes before snowing – photo by Andrew Hall

  • Taking an open air warm bath at the Szechenyi Baths – the main pool is outdoor, heated up, so even in cold weather, like in November, December, January and February, when any time snow may start to fall, it can be a magical and merry thing to stay in the thermal bath and get the softly falling snowflakes on top of you, as if getting a gentle stroke or blessing. Once in a lifetime experience. Of course, the snow is not guaranteed by Szechenyi Bath, it is still a fantastic thing to do. The bath has long opening hours, so you can also see the stars if the sky is clear. How gorgeous is that? See the photo of Szechenyi Bath minutes before snowing.
  • The tail of the Budapest Christmas Market by St Stephen’s Basilica can be still enjoyed as the Christmas Market in Budapest is open until Jan 2. The handcrafted gifts are of good quality and unique to take home from Hungary – any time.
  • Jazz Showcase – young and talented jazz musicians perform for 3 days at the Palace of Arts in January – the participants of the jazz music festival are from Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic.
  • Mini Festival Budapest: the Mini Festival is a talent show, just like the Jazz Showcase, but this time it is focusing on classical music. Concerts of the Mini Festival are held at the Budapest Palace of Arts (MUPA) at the end of January. Young and talented – classical – musicians, choirs, chambers and composers will share their latest contemporary works with the daring experimental audience.
  • January sales, Budapest shops: after the Christmas sales are over, there comes the even more tempting January sales – more discounts at markets, shopping malls, design boutiques in Budapest.Budapest Ice Skating Rink by the Vajdahunyad Castle Try the Budapest Central Market Hall or the WestEnd City Shopping Mall for big sales in a warm place, which is not so bad in the cold January weather prevailing in Budapest.
  • Skating in the City Park – in winter time you can skate on the more than 140 year old open air artificial ice rink in the City Park of Budapest (the lake is a boating lake in spring, summer and autumn months, while in winter it turns into a popular ice rink. The ‘Varosligeti Mujegpalya’ ice rink is quite big, and is packed with locals (skates can be hired on the spot).
  • Solo-Duo Contemporary Dance Festival, Budapest organized by the Orkesztika Fund every January. The SoloDuo festival is a showcase of all sorts of dance pieces.
  • StageDiving Metal Festival in January at Durer Garden in Budapest (Dürer Kert) – a thing to do for metal music fans, mainly extreme metal is celebrated at the fest.
  • Wedding Fair & Exhibition, Budapest is an annual fair at Papp Laszlo Budapest Sport Arena. During the two day event you can see international and Hungarian wedding dresses, decor, accessories, get ideas for your planned dream wedding etc. and meet wedding professionals from Hungary and other countries.
  • Top Budapest Event Calendar / Event Guide to the current January events in Budapest, Hungary: click to see the currently highlighted events in Budapest in January this year.

Here are some winter photos of Budapest, Hungary – snowy, windy and chilly weather can be a challenge for taking good photos, but not a true obstacle:

The Christmas Market on Vorosmarty square, Budapest (the Xmas Fair at the Basilica is open until Jan 2)

Christmas Market Budapest by Budapest Moments

Christmas Market Budapest photo by Budapest Moments

Views from the Citadel on Gellert Hill in January winter time Budapest:

Panoramic views over Budapest from the Citadel, Gellert Hill - winter photo

Winter views over Budapest from the Citadel (photo by Neil Howard)

The Liberty Bridge, Budapest in January winter time:

Liberty Bridge - Budapest winter

Liberty Bridge – Budapest winter (photo by Frantisek Fuka)

The St Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest in January winter time:

St Stephen's Basilica in January Budapest

Photo at the top: the Lions in a snowy cap at the Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary.


will any of the ice skating rinks be open as late at the 17th of january?

Top Budapest Travel Guide

Hi Orlaith, it seems that the ice rink in Budapest City Park will be open on Jan 17, the whole cooling system has been upgraded in such a way so that no changes in the temperature of the winter weather would result in melting the ice, so ideally the ice rink should be open all through January, including the 17th.
Having said that, the Ice rink might be booked for private events, so whether or not the Jan 17th Sunday will be a private closed event or an open public day there is no knowing at this moment.
Hopefully it will be open as usual.

I am visiting budapest at the end of January and would like to know where I might be able to listen to live music I.e. jazz, folk or whatever so long as it’s live

Top Budapest Travel Guide

Hi David, if you want to listen to live music you may choose a bar in Budapest, from Thursday to Saturday many bars offer live music, e.g. jazz bar for rock / metal we would suggest visiting Durer Kert bar in Budapest, by the riverside you may wish to go to A38 Music Club with a great range of music styles from hiphop to alternative / indie / world music, also, there are a few bars and clubs in Gozsdu Udvar and its vicinity with live music featured. Please google them before making a visit to make sure that the day and hour of your visit will be accompanied with live music.
In addition to these options, you may also take a cruise on the river Danube in Budapest with various live music options, like the a la carte dinner cruise on Legenda, or the salon music of a Gypsy band on the buffet dinner cruise, or the bar piano on another evening cruise. More info about cruises with live music:
Have a nice time in Budapest!

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