Like Vienna, Budapest enjoyed a thriving coffeehouse culture during the Austro Hungarian Empire — around the turn of the 20th century, more than 500 cafés swarmed across Budapest. Apart from low-priced caffeine, coffeehouses offered a home away from home to the city's fast-growing populace. These high-ceilinged spaces were central to social life: Many artists and journalists camped out for the whole day, even directing their mail to their favored café.
Most coffeehouses shuttered during the communist era (1947-1990). The few that have reopened since quickly became tourist attractions, especially the New York Cafe. But I do recommend that you visit them for a coffee, a cake, and a travel back in time. If you're also curious about the contemporary "coffeehouses" of Budapest, drop by some of the best specialty coffee shops, too.