Having a Cup and a Debate at the Kavárna Slavia
(Národní at Smetanovo nábrezí, Prague 1; tel. 224-218-493). The reincarnation of Prague's favorite Communist-era dissident cafe retains its former Art Deco glory. The cloak-and-dagger interactions of secret police eavesdropping on political conversations may be gone, but there's still an energy that flows with the talk and java at the Slavia -- and it comes with a great view.
Crossing the Charles Bridge at Night
At night, the bridge takes on a completely different persona. The crowds thin out (a little) and musicians, street performers, and flower people come here to sit under the statues and sing or just hang out. Why not join them?
Enjoying New Year's Eve in Ceský Krumlov
At midnight in Bohemia's Ceský Krumlov, the Na Plásti Bridge at the castle overlooking the town turns into a mini-United Nations, as revelers from all over gather to watch and light fireworks, see who can uncork the champagne the fastest, and just plain celebrate.
Exploring Antiques Shops
If you like old stuff, you'll enjoy finding something "out of this world" in many of Prague's antiques shops (starozitnosti) or bookstores selling more-or-less-old publications (antikvariáts).
Have a Beer at Letná
In summer, you'll find the city's best beer garden on the far eastern edge of Letná Park, across the river from Old Town. While the beer's not free (too bad!), it's not all that expensive either, and you're free to sit at one of the picnic tables or along the park benches. The views down to Old Town are simply superb.
Treat Yourself to a Svarák
Svarák, short for svarené víno, is the Czech version of mulled wine, a traditional Christmastime treat that's best drunk outside in the freezing cold from a plastic or Styrofoam cup. Vendors on Old Town Square start selling the stuff in early November and svarák season lasts through the new year or longer. Okay, it's not free, but a good-size cup of the stuff will only set you back about 40Kc.
Drop in at St. Vitus Cathedral
Most of the Castle complex requires an expensive combined-entry ticket to visit, but not the biggest site of all, St. Vitus Cathedral. Be sure to take in the amazing stained glass windows and the St. Wenceslas Chapel.
Feed the Swans
Okay, the bread won't exactly be free, but it's worth a couple of crowns to buy some rolls and head down to the river (for the best swan sightings, try the banks on the Malá Strana side just south of the Malostranská metro station along the street U Luzického seminare). The Vltava is home to hundreds of white swans (if not more), but be careful with the bread, since the birds might bite.
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