suggestions for a cooking class or food tour,
For a tour of the market and a fun day cooking with lots of palinka to lubricate the day, check with Agnes: http://budapestcookingclass.com/
a small group or even private tour of Jewish Quarter,
there are a lot of good tours and tour guides. all other things being equal, i would go straight to the source: https://www.greatsynagogue.hu/jewishquartertours.php#stand
and a small boat night cruise on the Danube, if there is such a thing.
(without dinner. )
I've been on a couple of them and I dont prefer on one over the other. yes, without dinner is possible. just make sure you get a cruise time after sunset. one its cooler, two, the lights at night are what its all about. Just google and choose one leaving at the right time.
The baths are a must, maybe two!
Yes, great cultural experiecne. Go here, look for the pull down at the top, choose two. http://www.bathsbudapest.com/mixed-budapest-thermal-baths
We definitely want to see a folk dance show at the Danube Palace
Here I wont comment. For me it was a 30 minute show that they dragged out to an hour. It dragged on and on and on till I wanted to crawl out the back door. Others love it.
and we would like to take a day trip to Szentendre.
From your apartment take a short walk to the Astoria M2 Metro stop. Get on in the direction indicated as "Deli" get off at the third stop which is Batthyány tér, then follow the signs to the H5 Suburban Train. You will pass a ticket window along the way to the train tracks. Show them your TRAVELCARD and get your discounted ticket to Szentendre (about 300 ft if I remember correctly). For the trip back take the boat. https://www.mahartpassnave.hu/en/timetable/danube-bend-excursion-boat-lines/budapest-szentendre/
We don't need to see all the museums that Budapest has to offer, but
we do want to see the sites like Parliament, Heroes Square, House of
Terror, Shoe Memorial, Castle Hill, (and the sites nearby).
If you want to tour the parlaiment, get your tickets early http://parlamentobudapest.com/en/?gclid=CjwKCAjw1f_pBRAEEiwApp0JKDl-7ehpA1FOZfVhaGIKrP2XlEAiujfkFvRZZoDgRzP9DaYfIPKitBoCqYkQAvD_BwE
House of Terror can have long lines. Suggest you get there when it opens http://www.terrorhaza.hu/en
Does it make sense to use the Hop On/Hop Off bus to get around? Should
we get a Budapest card?
NEITHER. Get a 7 Day TRAVELCARD. It will get you on all of the public transportation. All the HOHO busses do is follow the same routes that the trams take (for the most part). https://bkk.hu/en/tickets-and-passes/prices/ Your can get it at the Deak Ferenc ter metro station. Go down the stairs by the 47/49 tram and you should run right into it. Its a bit of a maze down there, if you get lost just ask an officer for the tourist information office.