Why Everyone Needs to See Budapest’s Pinball Museum

There are some things that every tourist in Budapest experiences. A walk through Castle Hill is essential for the views and architecture. A river cruise on the Danube is also a highlight for many people. For foodies, some goulash and other Hungarian dishes in the Great Market Hall are worth dealing with the crowds. Those are all fun enough, but one of the best things in Budapest is the Pinball Museum.

In a city full of amazing things to see, the Pinball Museum (also known as the Flipper Museum) was one of my favorite sights. I absolutely loved this place. For about $9 I had access to about 130 machines from the past 50 years for as long as I wanted. All these machines were set to free play, so visitors just pick any table and start playing. There was also a few retro arcade games rounding out the collection.

Oh yeah, my kind of game.
Oh yeah, my kind of game.

Some of these pinball machines I remembered from my childhood, such as the Elvira and Indiana Jones tables. Some surprised me with how new they were – like the Family Guy and Shrek tables. A few I had never known existed. Guns N’ Roses had their own table, as did the immortal Super Mario Bros. There was even a pornographic pinball table from Italy with nude women painted on it.

On top of each machine was a placard detailing the manufacturer, the year the pinball table was released and how many were made. In many cases, there were less than several thousand ever produced. In that sense, this is a legitimate museum.

The locale is pretty cool too. It’s on a quiet street with a neon sign humbly marking the location. Inside, it’s a typical brick European basement, like countless bars in the region. My one complaint is that there wasn’t actually a bar inside. It would have been great to have a few drinks while playing.

The museum almost closed back in 2015 due to byzantine government laws that tried treating the place like a casino. The courts mercifully struck down the laws and the Pinball Museum has been going strong since. If you have a free evening or want something to do before hitting up the city’s great nightlife, the Pinball Museum is a must-see.

The Pinball Museum is located on 18 Radnóti Miklós. It’s a short 10-minute walk from the northernmost final stop on the No. 2 Tram. It’s open Wednesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 2 p.m. to midnight and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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Karge

Karge

I'm an American freelance writer who spent a couple years living in Cambodia. Now I'm on the move again and traveling all over the place. I'm willing to try any bizarre liquor that's presented to me. Any recommendations?