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The New Budapest

THE FACTS
With its fast-changing cityscape of crumbling landmarks and constant renovations, Budapest can be difficult to navigate. Consider hiring a tour guide; one of the best in town is Kristin Faurest (36-209/582-545; www.firsteuropeanshipping.com), a longtime American expat.

WHERE TO STAY
Andrássy Hotel The 1937 façade is streamlined Bauhaus, and the 70 rooms are whimsically furnished with wrought-iron bedsteads and jewel-toned fabrics. Doubles from $225. 111 Andrássy Út; 800/525-4800 or 36-1/462-2100; www.andrassyhotel.com

Art'otel Budapest Doubles from $239. 16-19 Bem Rakpart; 36-1/487-9487; www.artotels.de

Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest Opens December 2003, 5-7 Roosevelt Tér; 800/332-3442 or 36-1/411-9000; www.fourseasons.com

Le Méridien Budapest Doubles from $258. 9-10 Erzsébet Tér; 800/543-4300 or 36-1/429-5500; www.lemeridien-budapest.com

Novotel Budapest Centrum Doubles from $142. 43-45 Rákóczi Út; 36-1/477-5300; www.novotel-bud-centrum.hu

WHERE TO EAT
Baraka Dinner for two $45. 12-14 Magyar Utca; 36-1/483-1355

Café Kör Dinner for two $66. 17 Sas Utca; 36-1/311-0053

Carlo's The plush crimson-and-purple boîte was formerly a Soviet-era coffeehouse; now it's an Italian-style bistro. Dinner for two $70. 30 Bem Rakpart; 36-1/488-0115

Hauer An eclectic pastry shop where display cases are cluttered with vintage ads, menus, and sweets. Dessert for two $6. 47-49 Rákóczi Út; 36-1/323-1476

M. This tiny hangout is popular with the intellectual crowd. Dinner for two $20. 48 Kertész Utca; 36-1/342-8991

Ópium Asian Bistro Dinner for two $40. 34 Király Utca; 36-1/413-2949

Tom-George The chicest spot in town has Op Art, shag carpets, and an eclectic menu of soups, sandwiches, and sushi. Dinner for two $65. 8 Október 6 Utca; 36-1/266-3525

NIGHTLIFE
Buena Vista Selections from Hungary’s recently revitalized wine regions are served in the rustic stone-walled wine bar. 4-5 Liszt Ferenc Tér; 36-1/344-6303; www.buena-vista.hu

Café 57 The country’s most sought-after DJ’s spin nightly. 57 Pusztaszeri Út; 36-1/325-6078

WHAT TO DO
Municipal Zoo The newly restored circa-1866 animal habitats include a multidomed elephant house and a glass-enclosed palm house engineered by Gustave Eiffel’s firm. 6-12 Állatkerti Körút; 36-1/363-3710; www.zoobudapest.com

Mai Manó Hungarian House of Photography Galleries display images by Hungarian pioneers of modern photography: Kertész, Brassaï, and the Capa brothers. 20 Nagymezö UTCA; 36-1/473-2666; www.maimano.hu

Hungarian National Museum 14-16 Múzeum Körút; 36-1/338-2122; origo.hnm.hu

Szabó Ervin Library 1 Szabó Ervin Tér; 36-1/411-5000; www.fszek.hu

House of Terror 60 Andrássy Út; 36-1/374-2600; www.houseofterror.com

Uránia cinema 21 Rákóczi Út; 36-1/486-3400; www.urania-nf.hu

MEO Contemporary Art Collection A former tannery turned gallery showing Hungarian and foreign contemporary art. 4-6 József Attila Utca (újpest); 36-1/272-0876; www.meo.org.hu

Millenáris Park 20-22 Fény Utca; 36-1/438-5335; www.millenaris.hu

Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music 8 Liszt Ferenc tér; 36-1/462-4600; www.musicacademy.hu

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