Prague off the beaten path: Letna and Holesovice Districts

OK, the winter may not be the best time of the year for a long walk, but honestly, the temperatures are not at all bad and if you wear an extra layer, you can see a part of the town that is not on the radar for most foreign visitors. If you've done all the major sights (and we're guessing you have) and wish to see something less crowded, one of the options is our home district, Prague 7. It isn't far and we think it offers a great variety of things to see and do. (And eat, too, don't worry - we know how hungry you can get after a walk, ok?)

We start at the famous Metronome above the Jewish Quarter. Virtually every generation had some plan with this place from a Champs-Elysees-type avenue to statues of Stalin and Michael Jackson (not kidding with either), today, it is a place popular mainly for the view of the city and skateboarding.

From the metronome, turn right and enter the lovely park with some children's playgrounds, and enjoy the views of the city below through the trees. In less than 10 minutes, you will reach the Letna Chateau and beer garden. Did we mentioned they serve beer? Nothing is more satisfying that enjoying the view over a plastic cup full of good lager, trust us.

Two two huge twin buildings behind the Chateau are the very popular and newly refurbished National Technical Museum (on the right), and the far less popular National Agricultural Museum (on the left). Kids absolutely adore the former while forgetting the latter, although the petting zoo behind the latter building does help a bit.

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From the museums, walk back to the park and turn left. In about five minutes, you'll reach the end of the park and the lovely Expo 58 building, the former restaurant of the Czechoslovak exposition and the Brussels 58 World Expo that was later taken apart and then reassembled in Prague. Enjoy the view from the terrace. To see what we call the "Brussels style", definitely visit the Kaaba café at the Vinohrady district).

By now, you must surely feel hungry. If you do, just walk a few meters to reach Bistro 8, our favorite place in Letna (next to Lokal nad Stromovkou for beers and sausages). This is a very small, family bistro that offers homely dishes at reasonable prices. Is it fine dining? Is the quality consistent? No. But we love it anyway for the atmosphere and the people that meet there. The shops immediately around Bistro 8 are also worth a visit: the Veverkova street has become so cool recently we wrote a separate post about it. Still, if you feel like another beer or drink, walk up to the Bio Oko movie theatre bar. It's kinda raw but nice. Czech pastries can be had a bit up the hill at Erhart café, a local favorite. 

From there, walk down for about two minutes to reach the Veletrzni palace, the seat of the modern arts collection of the National Gallery. Although it does not look like it, the palace dates back to 1928. Worth a visit alone. The next stop: Elektrické podniky building. Another functionalist jewel at Prague 7. Today, it's a hot spot for young designer and artists. If you brought the wrong shoes for Prague (that happens a lot, actually) you can find relief in a new pair of spanking sneakers available at the Foot Shop on the corner. Our secret tip: have coffee at Pausá 412. Just look if the website is green and if it is, just go there and knock. We won't spoil it for you.

Just one tram stop, or a 10-minute walk, from the Elektrické podniky building (the Vltavska tram and subway stop), you'll find the Holesovicka trznice market where we recommend four things: (1) Hall no. 22, which houses a fruit and veggie market that offers produce of local farmers in season; (2) SaSaZu, our favorite Asian fusion restaurant in Prague with a popular club next door (if you visit the restaurant, definitely have MomoFuku, SaSaZu rolls and Saigon rolls... you can thank us later); (3) the Alza cafe, a noisy outlet of the famous Muj salek kavy café and Doubleshot roasters; and, finally (4) the mythical Vietnamese stand behind Hall no. 8: one of the first Vietnamese food stands in Prague, which has now shut down and instead opened the Trang An restaurant in one of the central buildings of the market. Not a fine dining experience, but an experience nonetheless!

Walking from the market through the Osadni street, you'll find several things worth mentioning in the area: first, the M Factory, recently refurbished by the local designers of Olgoj Chorchoj (a visit of their studio on the nearby Libensky ostrov nearby with old Communist statues in the garden might be worth a trip), that is the home of the Looox shop with cool home accessories, along with other interesting local shops.

Several cool things can be found in the Komunardu street running parallel to the Osadni: the Megapixel camera shop sells just about anything and serves good coffee. We also like the Biblioteca del vino nearby, but they have recently gained new competition in the nearby Bottega Tusarova from Riccardo Lucque's empire. The Ton shop displays creations by a traditional-turned-modern furniture manufacturer, and the coffee in Bitcoin Coffee is one of the best in the area (a Syneso machine in a very interesting Paralelni Polis space)... but you have to pay in bitcoins. Yup. And the new location of the Home Kitchen bistro we wrote about some time ago is a great stop for soup or a quick meal, too. 

Finally, our walk ends at the Dox centre for contemporary art, a privately-owned museum of modern arts that is seated in a wonderful, modern space, and includes several exhibitions, a great design shop, and a lovely café. You can easily spend a few hours there alone.

Now that you have visited the Prague 7 district, how do you get back to the centre? Easy. Just take the 12, 14, or 17 trams back to the centre from the Ortenovo namesti stop just around the corner. The ride back to the Lesser Town (tram 12), the Municipal House (tram 14) or the Jewish Quarter (tram 17) should not take more than 15 minutes.

Whatever you do and wherever you go, have fun!