Vienna is packed with history. The Austrian capital’s 23 districts burst with historical sites, museums, art exhibits, parks, and thrilling attractions lining the length of the iconic Danube River. You’ll want to be in dozens of different places at once, so choosing where to go first can seem overwhelming.
Explore Vienna more widely and you’ll soon discover that each of the 23 districts possess their own unique character and undeniable charm. Music lovers will want to be right in the city center, where gilded opera houses and musical exhibits coexist in perfect harmony. For the shoppers and sightseers exploring Vienna, personal paradise can be found in the buzzing streets of Mariahilf. No matter what kind of Austrian experience you’re looking for, you can guarantee there’s somewhere that perfectly provides everything you want to see and do.
Make Musical Memories at Innere Stadt
At the heart of the illustrious Austrian capital are tons of musical monuments, showcasing the city’s classical ancestry. Walk the corridors of Mozarthaus and gaze in wonder at the very place where one of classical music’s most important names created melodies that have been passed down through the centuries. If music is on your mind, the interactive, family-friendly, and fascinating House of Music will strike a chord. If you’re lucky, you might even have a chance to watch the professionals at work and indulge in a breathtaking show at the Vienna State Opera House.
While classical music is Vienna’s most famous export, it’s not the only thing the city is known for. Dance the night away at popular live jazz venue Porgy and Bess, or walk through Stadtpark, where you’ll find statues of revered historical musicians, including the marble-framed Johann Strauss Denkmal. As it’s in the city center, you’ll also find plenty of the best Vienna tours here – just ask your hotel to book one for you. Your guide will be able to provide an extensive backstory as you explore Vienna and its Baroque buildings and sights. You’ll feel like you’ve been taken back in time as you traverse these palatial streets. After a few days in musical Vienna, your heart will be singing for more.
Explore Vienna Amusements at Leopoldstadt and Prater
If you’re seeking family entertainment that never stops, check out Leopoldstadt: the fun-filled island wedged between the Danube River and Danube Canal. Dominated by the gigantic Prater Park and boasting more than 250 Vienna attractions, this thrill-a-minute region is packed with excitement around every turn. Strike a pose with Arnold Schwarzenegger at Madame Tussauds, challenge your kids to mini golf or go-karting, or zip through the air on one of the park’s countless extreme speed rides.
For a quick break (not to mention fantastic views of the city), hop on the giant Ferris wheel at the park’s entrance and watch the sprawling Austrian capital stretch out before your eyes from almost 65 meters in the air. For those looking for a slower pace, the park also offers a huge meadow and forest area – appropriately dubbed Green Prater – ideal for picnicking, hiking, and strolling under the sun.
Shops, Sights, and Smiles in Mariahilf, Wieden, and the Museums Quarter
If you believe the best trips are a blend of sightseeing and shopping, then Mariahilf is the place for you to explore Vienna. Bookmarking the region is the world-famous Mariahilferstrasse – the city’s longest, most popular, and oldest shopping street. Reserve a day of your itinerary to explore its boutiques, shops, restaurants, and undoubtedly some of the best Vienna coffee houses you’ll find.
Don’t forget to swing by Naschmarkt on the area’s far east, either. The capital’s famous market runs day and night with 120 stands delivering international cuisine from everywhere you can think of. Even the pickiest palates will be delighted.
Right on the region’s edge, you’ll come across the Museumsquartier (or Museum Quarter), which as its name suggests, is home to many of the city’s best museums for exploring Vienna and its history. Marvel at wild and wonderful exhibits at the Natural History Museum, learn a little of the city’s lesser-known modern culture at the Museum of Contemporary Art, or wander the prized halls of the gigantic Leopold Museum, which includes masterpieces by heralded Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.
Amble Among the Artistic at Landstrasse
Make Landstrasse your base for exploring Vienna, and you’ll be in one of the city’s most artistic and best-connected districts. A quick dash away from Prater and Innere Stadt, it’s perfect if you’re staying seven days in Vienna or more and want to mix up your trip. The region has plenty of entertainment to offer, especially if you’re an art lover.
Visit famous Danube-based museum Kunst Haus Wien to admire an impressive mix of contemporary photography. If that’s not your thing, swing by for the arresting architecture itself. Designed by the Austrian-born architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the building’s black and white patchwork design is visible from a mile off, giving the city’s skyline a striking visual appeal. Just a five-minute walk away, you can see the style on an even grander scale at Hundertwasser Village – a converted car tire factory which contains shops, cafes, boutiques, and even a rooftop forest, all behind Hundertwasser’s eclectic design. Sounds perfect for grabbing an ideal Instagram picture.
For an utterly off-the-wall art experience, don’t miss the Museum of Art Fakes, just around the corner. Filled with replicas made by famous fakers, this – ironically – one-of-a-kind exhibit is unforgettable.
History and Royalty at Hietzing
Although small, the Hietzing region is home to one of the best places for exploring Vienna and its grand history: Schönbrunn Palace. Choose from a range of guided tours (including the grand tour, imperial tour, and Sisi tour) and wander its 45 Rococo-style rooms, which have lost nothing of their original glory. The palace park, open all year round, is perfect for a quick break or saunter in the sunshine, too.
Walk between the impressive statues, fountains, monuments, trees, and flowers whenever you’re seeking a quiet moment to daydream about being an Austrian royal from years gone by. It’s free of charge, too. You’ll find an abundance of traditional Viennese homes and mansions in this area, alongside the world’s oldest zoo and breathtaking pre-war architecture. Beauty awaits around every turn.
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