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17 Best Things to do in Vienna

Austria

Vienna is a city filled with both historic landmarks and fun family-friendly attractions. Top things to do in Vienna with kids include visiting Schönbrunn Zoo, Haus des Meeres aquarium, and Prater amusement park. Open seasonally, checking out the amusement park is also one of the best things to do in Vienna in July.

As for the Innere Stadt Vienna, things to do in the historic center include visiting the Imperial Palace and taking a tram ride around the Ringstrasse. There are many Vienna hidden gems waiting for you in this district. For things to do in Vienna in October, head inside as the weather gets cold and visit the multiple museums found inside the Imperial Palace and Belvedere Palace. Keep reading for more things to do in Vienna this weekend.

Schönbrunn Palace
By saiko3p

1. Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace was the summer residence of the Habsburgs from 1569. With 1441 rooms, the baroque masterpiece is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Now the city’s top tourist attraction, visitors are able to tour the palace and visit 45 of these rooms free of charge year-round. The palace grounds are also home to the Imperial Carriage Museum, Schönbrunn Maze, the Palm House, and multiple gardens like the Crown Prince Garden and the Orangery Garden.

The Hofburg
By Triff

2. The Hofburg

Located in the city’s heart, the Hofburg is the former Imperial Palace. Until 1918, the palace was both the residence and political center for the Habsburgs. One of the world’s largest palatial complexes, today it’s home to several museums, the Spanish Riding School, and the government seat of Austria’s President. Attractions open to the public include the Imperial Apartments and the Sisi Museum, which celebrates Empress Elizabeth and has over 300 personal objects on display.

Prater, Vienna
mRGB / Shutterstock.com

3. Prater

One of the most fun things to do in Vienna in summer is to visit the Prater. The large public park is home to Wurstelprater, an amusement park locals also call Prater. It has over 250 attractions to keep the whole family busy, including Madame Tussaud’s, a miniature railway, a go-kart track, a haunted castle, and innumerable thrill rides. However, Prater’s most famous resident is Riesenrad, the 19th-century giant Ferris wheel with amazing city views.

St. Stephen's Cathedral
By Anna Jedynak

4. St. Stephen’s Cathedral

An iconic landmark, St Stephen’s Cathedral is the mother church of the city’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese. With construction beginning in the 12th century, the gothic marvel features a stunning mosaic roof and four towers. Visitors are able to climb 343 steps to the tower room for spectacular city views. The interior has been redesigned many times over the years, but today has a spectacular 17th-century marble High Altar, ornate gothic columns, and stained glass windows.

Naschmarkt
Alberto Zamorano / Shutterstock.com

5. Naschmarkt

To experience Vienna’s premier outdoor marketplace, you need to head over to Naschmarkt. This colorful public marketplace can trace its deep roots back to the late 1600s where local farmers would peddle their fresh farm goods to the city dwellers. Now, the Naschmarkt feels like a modern farmers market with over 100 venders selling a variety of fresh wares throughout the sprawling downtown destination. The Naschmarkt is a great place to find a fresh meal, have a drink, and do some people watching.

Belvedere Palace
By jggrz

6. Belvedere Palace

Built as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy, the 18th-century baroque palace complex has two palaces (Upper and Lower Belvedere), as well as the Orangery and the Palace Stables. The buildings sit on landscaped grounds that feature tiered fountains and baroque sculptures. Today, the Belvedere Museum is one of the world’s leading museums; displaying artwork from the Middle Ages to the present day and housing the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt paintings.

Vienna State Opera
By Peter Siroki

7. Vienna State Opera

Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper in German) is one of the world’s leading opera establishments. Both the name of the building and the opera company, the Renaissance revival venue is also home to the Vienna State Ballet and the Vienna Philharmonic. Vienna State Opera offers a varied selection of first-class productions. In 2019 alone, it hosted 58 different operas and 21 ballet performances. Visitors can pick up affordable standing-room-only tickets or take a guided tour.

Seegrotte Vienna
ImpressionMall / Shutterstock.com

8. Seegrotte

For one of the most unusual things to do in Vienna, you can visit the strange and dark waters of the Seegrotte. This ancient lake was once home to a thriving gypsum mine, but the mine accidentally was flooded in 1912 by millions of gallons of water making the mine unusable. The Seegrotte lake now sits 60 meters below the ground above and you can tour this mysterious lake by boat and explore the remains of the old mine. We think a visit to the Seegrotte is a great option if you are looking for something a bit different to do during your stay in Vienna.

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Courtesy of Wikipedia

9. Kunsthistorisches Museum

Translated to Art History Museum in English, the palatial building was built in 1891 near the Imperial Palace for the sole purpose of housing the Habsburg’s extensive art collection. It’s now considered one of the world’s most prestigious museums. It has exhibits displaying Greek and Roman antiquities, Egyptian art, historic musical instruments, and the world’s largest Bruegel collection. The Kunstkammer Vienna is a museum within the museum, housing a selection of the Habsburgs’ precious treasures.

Schönbrunn Zoo
Courtesy of Wikipedia

10. Schönbrunn Zoo

As you may guess from the name, Schönbrunn Zoo is located on the grounds of the aforementioned Schönbrunn Palace. Established as an imperial menagerie in 1752, Schönbrunn Zoo is the world’s oldest continuously operating zoo. Often described as the world’s most beautiful zoo as well, it houses more than 700 animal species. Its daily feeding schedule involves interactions with resident animals like the Peruvian and northern rockhopper penguins, elephants, Siberian tigers, giant anteaters, and koalas.

By groucho

11. Albertina

It’s obvious that this city is centered around museums, as the Albertina is an art museum with a different angle. It’s located in the largest Habsburg residential palace, which is found on the Imperial Palace’s southern tip. The Albertina focuses on paintings and sculptures, modern graphic design, architectural drawings, and photography; housing 65,000 drawings and one million old master prints. It’s also home to one of the world’s largest and most important print rooms.

Rathaus
By Jim Trodel

12. Rathaus

Rathaus is the Vienna City Hall – home to the local mayor and the principal meeting place of the city’s government and Municipal Council. The impressive neo-gothic landmark features an ornamental facade and an opulent interior, with five towers, seven inner courtyards, six floors, two basements, and 1575 rooms. If visitors want to take a peek behind closed doors, there are free guided tours of the Rathaus at 1 pm every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Historic Center of Vienna
V_E / Shutterstock.com

13. Historic Center of Vienna

The city’s historic center is home to a rich assortment of grand landmarks, as well as the 19th century Ringstrasse with its prestigious buildings, monuments, and parks. With a visit being one of the top things to do in Vienna, the designated UNESCO World Heritage Site is also the city’s leading shopping and dining destination. Its top attractions include St Stephen’s Cathedral, the Imperial Palace and its multiple buildings, and parks like Stadtpark and Volksgarten.

Haus des Meeres - Aqua Terra Zoo
Courtesy of Wikipedia

14. Haus des Meeres – Aqua Terra Zoo

Meaning House of the Sea in English, Haus des Meeres – Aqua Terra Zoo is an aquarium located not far from the city center. Surrounded by landscaped gardens and established inside a tall concrete flak tower from World War II, the aquarium is home to over 10,000 creatures. Step inside to visit the tropical house, crocodile park, the two-story shark tank, the surf reef, the hammerhead shark pool, and the 360° Ocean Sky restaurant.

Stephansplatz
By Filippo Diotalevi

15. Stephansplatz

Stephansplatz is both a square and the city’s geographical center. Located within the historic center, the aforementioned St Stephen’s Cathedral – one of the world’s tallest churches – clearly dominates the small square. However, surrounding the cathedral you will find boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Stop for a refreshment at the popular Haas&Haas Restaurant, or for a bird’s eye view of Stephansplatz climb the 300-plus steps to the top of one of the cathedral’s towers.

Ringstrasse
By kiril gorgickov

16. Ringstrasse

Known as the world’s most beautiful boulevard, the Ringstrasse stretches for 3.3 miles and loops around the city’s historic center. Its collection of beautiful buildings were constructed between 1860 to 1890. Some of its most famous residents include the State Opera, the City Hall, the Parliament, the Imperial Palace, and the Art History Museum. A great way for tourists to comfortably take in these sights is by hopping on board the Vienna Ring Tram.

The Spanish Riding School
Courtesy of wien.info

17. The Spanish Riding School

The world-famous Spanish Riding School at the Imperial Palace is the world’s only institution that’s practiced the traditions of haute école (advanced components of classic dressage) for over 450 years. Since 1920, the school’s Piber Stud Farm in Styria has bred Lipizzaner stallions for this prestigious role. Visitors can take guided tours or attend events like daily Morning Exercise training. Visiting the Spanish Riding School is one of the top things to do in Vienna.

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