Is there any other city as charming as Prague? I think not but of course I am biased. I was born there (and lived there until I was 5), studied abroad there, and have visited countless times including just a few weeks ago. Depending on my age, Prague has represented a magical fairytale land, the epicenter of Bohemian cool, or a moody maze of adventure and discovery. Visually, it's darn pretty - those rooftops, steeples, bridges, and cobblestone streets. Culturally, it is strong and unapologetic (the vegetarian option at all Czech restaurants continues to be fried cheese with tartar sauce). And then there's what all Czechs are most proud of and consume daily - the beer. It's a city where you don't even need a guide, as it's fun to explore the small city and discover places and scenes yourself, however, here are a few of the must dos and must sees in my opinion.
We like to stay at the Hotel Aria, a music themed hotel in the best location in Mala Strana. The beds are so very comfortable and the breakfast buffet is delightful. Do not miss the rooftop restaurant- for a drink, lunch, or just a photo- best view in Prague hands down. The Mandarin Oriental, built on the site of a 14th Century Dominican monastery is beautiful as well. It is located in a more quiet part of Mala Strana, close to the park. The Fairmont Golden Prague, recently renovated according to the website, formally the Intercontinental, in the Jewish Quarter is a large hotel in a busier location, however it has an indoor pool (great to have with little kids who just need a break from city walking), spa, and gym.
EAT + DRINK
For an authentic, updated Czech food and beer experience, Lokal is the destination of choice (there are a handful of them throughout the city). U Bílé kuželky, located in Mala Strana is the one we love. Hot tip - sit downstairs in the cellar, which to me is like the original "man cave". It's cool (temperature wise) and it's where you can see the BEER BEING MADE. For a more family friendly option, Restaurace U Mecenáše, in Mala Strana was really good; we ordered kids size portions of the Czech classics like svíčková (marinated beef in a vegetable cream sauce, reminiscent of tikka masala)
You'll be tired of Czech food, so the next best thing is Italian. There are many delicious pizza places throughout the city, we really liked Laboratorio della pizza, Piknik Park (sit outside on the canal for the best experience), and San Carlo Mala Strana (conveniently located next to the Hotel Aria).
My favorite ambience/decor place to grab breakfast or lunch at is the Art Nouveau style, built in 1893, Cafe Savoy. Tall ceilings and divine details throughout, it has quintessential old world vibes. You do have to make reservations for this place, as it's one of the most popular in Europe.
SEE + HEAR
My recommendation is to take the tram or metro or both to St Vitus Cathedral first thing in the am. The interior of the Cathedral is beyond dramatic and don't miss the stained glass windows created by Alfonso Mucha in the 1930s. Next up, do tour Golden Lane, these adorable 16th century build homes made for the Castle Guards. I also highly recommended the Toy Museum on the castle grounds - it's absolutely vast and fascinating. I think they only take cash - so be sure to bring some. Spend as much time as you want up in the castle area, and then do the incredible walk (pick your path) down to Mala Strana and the famous Charles Bridge. From the Charles Bridge you wind your way into Old Town Square where the famous Astronomical Clock sits. Definitely be there for the hourly scene when the clock bells ring (controlled by a skeleton) and the 12 apostles are revealed. Truly is magical.
On this past trip we visited the National Film Museum and it was delightful for all of us. Spend an hour or so here learning, seeing, and interacting with each phase of the evolution of film making. We had so much fun here - 10 out of 10 as the kids say.
And those are the highlights....reach out if you're going and want more recommendations!