Best Things To Do in Vienna: A Guide to the City’s Must-See Attractions
Vienna, the city of music, art, and architecture, is a place that never fails to impress its visitors. Whether you are a history buff, a foodie, or a culture aficionado, Vienna has something to offer to everyone. The city is home to a plethora of historical landmarks, museums, art galleries, and parks, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. In this article, we will guide you through the best things to do in Vienna, so that you can make the most of your trip to this beautiful city.
Looking for the best things to do in Vienna? Discover the top sights and activities in this historic city, from visiting grand palaces to exploring charming neighborhoods.
Things to do in Vienna – We have the best tips for you!
#1 Visit the Hofburg (Vienna’s Imperial Palace)
Vienna’s magnificent Hofburg was formerly the residence of the Habsburg dynasty. Today it is the location of the Austrian Federal President’s office. It’s almost a “city in a city”: the vast complex covers almost 240,000 square metres and houses numerous museums and attractions.
#2 Climb the South Tower at St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Vienna’s opulent centerpiece has stood in the same location for more than 700 years, albeit having undergone many alterations and renovations. Make sure you pace yourself when you’re climbing up the South Tower! The city’s tallest building is an unmistakable element of the Vienna skyline.
#3 Do some shopping at the Naschmarkt
The Naschmarkt is a famous open-air market in Vienna that has been in operation for over 100 years. It is located in the heart of the city, and is known for its wide variety of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other specialty foods. Visitors can also find here plenty of restaurants, cafes, and street food vendors, as well as shops selling everything from spices and herbs to kitchenware and souvenirs.
When shopping at the Naschmarkt, it is usually a good idea to arrive early in the morning to get the best selection of high-quality goods. Keep in mind that the market is only open Mondays to Fridays.
Visiting the Naschmarkt is definitely one of the best things to do in Vienna!
#4 Explore Schönbrunn Palace and its gardens
Take a tour through some of the 1,441 rooms in the splendid baroque palace Schönbrunn and treat yourself to an exclusive glimpse into the life of the Austrian monarchy, something to be on top of your bucket list of the best things to do in Vienna.
Schönbrunn Palace is a former imperial summer residence located in Vienna, Austria. It is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historical monuments in the country, and it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of its most notable features is the Grand Tour, a set of 44 state rooms that were used for official functions and ceremonies. Visitors can take a guided tour of these rooms to learn about their history and see the opulent decor and artwork that adorns them. The palace also features a number of other attractions, such as the Imperial Apartments, which were used by Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife, Elisabeth; the Imperial Furniture Collection, which contains a number of important pieces of furniture and decorative art from the palace; as well as the Sisi Museum.
The palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens which were designed in the Baroque style and include a number of notable features, including the Great Parterre, a formal garden with geometric patterns of flowers and hedges; the Palm House, a 19th-century greenhouse that is home to a variety of tropical plants; and the Maze.
#5 Visit the animals at Schönbrunn Zoo
Schönbrunn Zoo, situated in the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace, is the oldest and one of the most beautiful in the world. Originally created in 1752 as a royal wildlife park, nowadays around 750 different species live here, from pandas and elephants to giraffes, lions and polar bears. In addition to animal exhibits, the zoo also features several gardens and a playground for children.
Known for its commitment to conservation and animal welfare, Schönbrunn Zoo is involved in several breeding programs for endangered species, as well as in active research and study of the animals in its care.
#6 Experience culture in the MuseumsQuartier
The MuseumsQuartier (MQ) in Vienna is a large cultural complex that is home to several museums, as well as a variety of other cultural institutions, such as theaters and galleries. Some of the most notable museums located in the MQ include the Museum of Fine Arts (Kunsthistorisches Museum), the Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum), and the Leopold Museum, which is dedicated to Austrian Art Nouveau and Expressionism. The complex also features a variety of outdoor spaces, including a large courtyard that is used for concerts, performances, and other events.
The MuseumsQuartier was built between 1871 and 1891 and underwent a major renovation and expansion in the late 1990s and early 2000s, which transformed it into one of the largest cultural areas in the world.
Best Museums To Visit in Vienna:
- The Kunsthistorisches Museum: This museum is one of the largest art museums in the world and is home to an extensive collection of European art and artifacts from ancient times to the present day.
- The Museum of Fine Arts: This museum is known for its extensive collection of Austrian and international art, including works by Rembrandt, Rubens, and Schiele.
- The Austrian National Museum: This museum showcases the cultural and historical heritage of Austria, with exhibitions covering everything from prehistoric times to modern times.
- The Museum of Natural History: This museum is a must-visit for those interested in the natural sciences, with exhibitions showcasing everything from the evolution of life to the wonders of the universe.
#7 Take a ride on the Giant Wheel in Wiener Prater
This is one the best things to do in Vienna! Soar above the city in the Giant Wheel: the gigantic wooden wheel, which dates from 1897, is an absolute must for all visitors to the city. The wheel turns so slowly that a complete rotation takes 20 minutes. It reaches a height of 65 meters.
#8 Watch a performance at the Vienna State Opera
Visitors to Vienna can take a tour of the Vienna State Opera, which includes a visit to the auditorium, the stage, and other areas of the opera house.
The Vienna State Opera opened its doors for the first time in 1869. It is the city’s most important stage for performing arts and has been home to many famous composers, singers, and conductors over the years, including Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, and Herbert von Karajan. The performances – although not particularly cheap – are truly an unforgettable experience, something to be listed under the top things to do in Vienna!
How To Get Vienna Opera Standing Room Tickets On The Cheap
Getting cheap tickets to the Vienna Opera may initially appear challenging, but with a little bit of planning it is actually rather straightforward. You will adore these absurdly low-cost Vienna opera tickets as long as you have some comfy shoes, seeing as standing-room tickets only cost about 10€!
Standing room tickets, or Vienna opera last-minute tickets, are generally available only a few hours before the performance. However, some people have season passes for standing which allows them to book in advance.
To get the tickets you will need 10€ in cash. Austrians are very specific about the rules, so there is no cutting and no holding places – make sure your whole party is already with you when you head towards the Staatsoper building (U1, U2, U4 Karlsplatz), and look for separate standing-room box office.
This box office is located on the Operngasse side of the building and is marked with a sign saying “Stehplatz-Kasse | Standing Area.”
#9 Best Cuisine To Try in Vienna:
Vienna is famous for its rich culinary tradition, with a wide range of delicious local dishes to try. Here are some of the best cuisine to try in Vienna:
- Wiener Schnitzel: This dish is a must-try for those visiting Vienna, consisting of a breaded and fried cutlet of veal or pork.
- Tafelspitz: This dish is a traditional Austrian dish made from boiled beef and served with potatoes, carrots, and a sauce made from the cooking liquid.
- Apfelstrudel: This dessert is a staple in Austrian cuisine, consisting of a sweet pastry filled with apples, cinnamon, and raisins.
- Sachertorte: This cake is a famous dessert originating from Vienna and is made from a rich chocolate cake with a layer of apricot jam and a chocolate glaze.
#10 Charming Neighborhoods and Iconic Landmarks
Vienna is also home to many charming neighborhoods and iconic landmarks that are worth exploring.
- Stroll through the Naschmarkt: This bustling outdoor market is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide variety of fresh produce, artisanal foods, and street food.
- Visit the Stephansdom: This iconic Gothic cathedral is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Vienna, and its towering spire is visible from all over the city.
- Explore the Jewish Quarter: This charming neighborhood is home to many synagogues, museums, and other cultural institutions, and it is a must-visit for anyone interested in Jewish history and culture.
Curious to find out if you can see everything in Vienna in one day?