Each of the 23 Vienna districts and their neighborhoods (Grätzels) displays a distinctive character. Hence, to get a grip on real Wien and connect with local lifestyles, venture beyond Ringstrasse boulevard. But where to go and what to do? In fact, some Grätzels perfectly emulate quaint village life, with locals taking their melange at postcard church squares and chatting with their green grocer. In contrast, others throw together colorful migrant communities with primeval Viennese and young bobos shopping at bustling street markets and hanging out underneath psychedelic street art. To discover Vienna’s most intriguing spots, I have profiled and characterized each district, along with selected tips and addresses of best neighborhoods to visit.
What Is The Best District To Stay In Vienna?
Usually, travelers on a short city break stick to the city centre, aka Innenstadt. Preferably, either in the luxury Ringstrassen hotels or in the quiet side streets of Kärntner Strasse and Graben. Digging deeper, some travelers unearth insider hotels and apartments in the more secluded University quarter and areas around Judenplatz and Rudolfsplatz squares. Having said that, staying in central neighborhoods is often as viable, even if touching Vienna for only two to three days. Thanks to Vienna’s excellent public transport connections many places especially in districts 2 to 10 are a less than 10 minutes ride from the center.
Table of Contents
1st district: Power House Innenstadt
2nd district: Reimagining Leopoldstadt
3rd district: Patchwork Landstrasse
4th district: Bobo Wieden
5th district: Design&Crafts Hub Margareten
6th district: Bohemian Mariahilf
7th district: Art (de Vivre) In Neubau
8th district: Bourgeois Josefstadt
9th district: Melange Alsergrund
10th district: Multiethnic Favoriten
11th district: Spirit Of Simmering
12th district: Sprouting Meidling
13th district: Villa Paradise Hietzing
14th district: Tranquil Penzing
15th district: Crossroads Of Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus
16th district: (Counter) Culture In Ottakring
17th district: Pulse Of Hernals
18th district: Reloading Währing
19th district: Lush Döbling
20th district: Land of Hope Brigittenau
21st district: Soul Searching Floridsdorf
22nd district: Limitless Donaustadt
23rd district: Industrious Liesing
With the central first district in the middle the other districts twine around it in two circles. While Ringstrasse boulevard embraces the first district, the outer ring road Gürtel surrounds districts 3 to 9 . The historic center is called Innenstadt (inner city), the neighborhoods are known as Grätzel.
Housing the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna’s iconic Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral), and the Vienna State Opera, the historic city centre has lost nothing of its glamour. Throughout the pedestrian area and along Kärntner Strasse, Graben and Kohlmarkt former suppliers to the Imperial Court sell their finest: from Demel’s mind-boggling cakes to Rozet and Fischmeister’s shiny silverware.
If you dig deeper, you will stumble across Roman excavations as the Innenstadt represents Vienna’s old town. For the best point of entry, start either right in the center, or let some of Vienna’s most prestigious landmarks roll past as you tour circular Ringstrasse boulevard. To discover the smartest walking routes go to Vienna City Centre and pick out some of these local attractions.
Just north of St. Stephen‘s the medieval University quarter is punctuated by lovely passageways and courtyards, aka Pawlatschen. Just Bäckerstrasse alone channels savvy pedestrians through three enchanting passageways, at no. 6, 7 and 10. In between, the medieval street lines up quiet local institutions such as restaurant Oswald&Kalb and Café Alt Wien along with contemporary eateries such as Labstelle, and notorious tourist attraction Figlmüller. And while nearby Schönlaterngasse may be tiny it represents Vienna’s most beautiful curve. To unearth a baroque gem off the beaten track, sneak into the old University Church, aka Jesuit Church.
Best Places To Stay
Top Addresses in 1010 Vienna
Hofburg Wien (Imperial Palace) and Spanish Riding School: Michaelerplatz 1, 1010 Vienna
Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera): Opernring 2
Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral): Stephansplatz
Jesuit Church: Dr-Ignaz-Seipel Platz
Demel (cake shop): Kohlmarkt 14
restaurant Oswald & Kalb: Bäckerstrasse 14
Café Alt Wien: Bäckerstrasse 9
Labstelle: Lugeck 6
restaurant Figlmüller: Bäckerstrasse 9
Just between central Danube Canal and the New Danube, former Jewish quarter Leopoldstadt has celebrated an incredible revival in the past years. Because young families and urban professionals moved to this district adjacent to the city centre, the local infrastructure has boomed: Mostly preserving their character, local cafes and restaurants reinvented themselves. Subsequently, urban independent shops and art galleries set up in what was once called ‘Matzoth Island’. On Saturdays, bustling Karmelitermarkt street market attracts hundreds of visitors. Still, Leopoldstadt is mostly known for Prater amusement park and the Giant Ferris Wheel, as well as lovely Augarten, Vienna’ oldest baroque garden housing Augarten porcelain manufactory. To remember Leopoldstadt’s once thriving Jewish community, follow the Path of Remembrance, or join a Jewish Vienna tour that bundles the most essential sites. In the evenings, jazz fans should sound out tiny jazz club Zwe.
Until about 15 years ago, hardly anyone would have set foot into Praterstrasse, the shortcut from the city center to Prater park. But since quirky cafes and shops like Cafe Balthasar and Supersense moved in the area regained its former color and vibrancy. Early secessionist jewel Nestroyhof reopened its theater and called it ‘hamakom’ (the place in Hebrew and one of the euphemisms for God). At Dogenhof palace, visitors of the new cafe dwell in a wondrous setting reminiscent of Venetian palaces and Prater’s former ‘Venice in Vienna’ area. Perhaps the area’s regained vibe will lure more fans of waltz king Johann Strauss into his long forgotten apartment/museum in the same street.
Best Place To Stay
For a close encounter with Leopoldstadt, stay at charming Karmelitermarkt outlet of Grätzelhotel a unique urban hotel concept that connects guests closely with the local neighborhood.
Top Addresses in 1020 Vienna
Augarten Porzellanmanufaktur und Museum: Obere Augartenstrasse 1
Wiener Riesenrad (Giant Ferris wheel): Riesenradplatz
Johann Strauss Apartment and Museum: Praterstrasse 54
Jazz Club Zwe: Floßgasse 4
Café Balthasar: Praterstrasse 38
Supersense: Praterstrasse 70/1
Café Dogenhof: Praterstrasse 70
Kunstraum Nestroyhof: Nestroyplatz 1/1/4
Where once Count Leopold’s men captured English king and crusader Richard Lionheart the most diverse neighborhoods now shape Vienna’s third district between Ringstrasse and the Danube Canal. On the one hand, Landstrasse’s countless town palaces host many foreign embassies and consulates. On the other hand, former workers’ neighborhoods gentrified into modern residential areas for young professional families. Likewise, local museums reflect this diversity: from elegant Belvedere Palace, which houses the Austrian National Gallery, to colorful blobby Kunsthaus Wien, and the Museum of Fakes and Fake Art. Close to the city centre, Wiener Konzerthaus has long established itself as one of Vienna’s major concert venues for top classical, contemporary, jazz and world music.
At Stadtpark along Ringstrasse, lush picnic lawns and a modern children’s playground attract locals. For many tourists, the golden sparkle of a larger-than-life Johann Strauss and Kursalon’s Strauss concerts prove irresistible. Every Monday and Friday, the Third Man movie tour starts at Otto Wagner designed Stadtpark station. About 400 meters up the Wien river promenade, Vienna’s former milk pump room Meierei im Stadtpark offers fine cheese and dairy specialities, and some of the best Wiener schnitzel in town. For a **Michelin star Austrian dinner, walk around the building to Steirereck im Stadtpark.
Roaming the patch between upper Landstrasser Hauptstrasse and Rochusmarkt you get the essence of the district’s different vibes. Right at the start, the local Joseph Brot outlet of baker shooting star Joseph Weghaupt cultivates Austria’s obsession with bread on a top contemporary level. At no 28, a gorgeous yellow Biedermeier building opens up charming Sünnhof passageway with restaurants and small shops that leads to Ungargasse. Further down Landstrasser Haupstrasse, fresh tomatoes, sauerkraut, Viennese sausages and a sea of flowers mix with outdoor cafés and bars in front of baroque Rochus church at Rochusmarkt street market.
Best Places to Stay
Either revel in Biedermeier romantic at Grand Hotel Mercure Biedermeier right at Sünnhof. Alternatively, why not grab a piece of legendary 19th-century steam bath and concert hall Sofiensäle, turned into urban chic Ruby Sofie Hotel?
Top Addresses in 1030 Vienna
Schloss Belvedere: Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27
Kunsthaus Wien: Untere Weissgerberstrasse 13
Fälschermuseum (Museum of Art Fakes): Löwengasse 28
Kursalon Hübner: Johannesgasse 33
Meierei im Stadtpark: Am Heumarkt 2A
Steirereck im Stadtpark: Am Heumarkt 2A
Joseph Brot: Landstrasser Hauptstrasse 4
Sünnhof passageway: Landstrasser Hauptstrasse 28
Rochusmarkt: Rochusmarkt 18-19
Just south of the city centre, Wieden is the smallest of all Vienna districts. More than anywhere else, this cocktail of old-world town palaces, trendy food places and vintage vibes produces an irresistible buzz. To show its diversity, this district is home to not just Vienna’s famous Naschmarkt and splendid baroque Church St. Charles Borromeo. Over the last decades, Wieden has nurtured a community spirit that best comes alive in places such as quirky Vollpension café or boho Café Anzengruber, praised as one of the top places to eat Wiener schnitzel. Just opposite Naschmarkt, on Rechte Wienzeile, Herr Lagler produces traditional Karlsbader Oblaten in his tiny shop, hand pressing translucent crispy wafers, sweet or savory.
For vintage fans, Wieden’s is a favorite haunt. In the past years, a growing flurry of independent shops and vintage stores has made Kettenbrückengasse and Margaretenstrasse a paradise for fans of local design. Take biscuit porcelain shop Feine Dinge and lovely dress maker Elfenkleid as examples. As for culture spots, don’t miss The Third Man museum, an impressive private collection of all things related to 1949 film noir The Third Man. However, to best savor Wieden’s character wait until the evening and head for iconic retro bar and cinema Schikaneder.
Best Place to Stay
Make yourself at home in a former couture dressmaker shop or a tobacconist’s at Grätzelhotel beim Belvedere
Top Addresses in 1040 Vienna
Karlskirche (Church St. Charles Borromeo): Kreuzherrengasse 1
Café Vollpension: Schleifmühlgasse 16
Café Anzengruber: Schleifmühlgasse 19
O.Sacher Original Karlsbader Oblaten: Rechte Wienzeile 25-27
Feine Dinge: Margaretenstrasse 35
Elfenkleid: Margaretenstrasse 39
Dritter Mann Museum (Third Man Museum): Pressgasse 25
Schikaneder: Margaretenstrasse 22-24
Rubbing elbows with its slightly more posh neighbor Wieden, young and diverse Margareten blends historic gems with a dynamic community spirit. Home of internationally renown social architect Margarethe Schütte-Lihotzky and her economically designed Frankfurt kitchen, Margareten has outgrown its past as the district of the ‘little people’. Together with Leopoldstadt, the area was gently gentrified in the past 15 years. Between landmarked Art Nouveau gem Café Rüdigerhof along the Wien river and 14th-century Schlossquadrat a range of cool cafes and bars have mushroomed. Cult bar and restaurant Motto keeps attracting a hip crowd, not least because it continuously and boldly redecorates its space. If you love retro cinemas, head for 1950s architectural jewel Filmcasino, which regularly screens fine avantgarde films.
At the district’s epicenter around Margareten square adjacent creative institutions together with young local residents enabled a diverse range of restaurants, bars and cafes to thrive. Right at 700-year-old Schlossquadrat, the former Margareten castle, local stalwart restaurant Silberwirt keeps luring fans of Viennese cuisine into its traditional inn and breathtakingly beautiful Pawlatschen courtyard. Opposite Margareten square, Margaretenhof in its romantic chalet style and Margareten fountain create a rare village feel for such a central neighborhood. Just up Pilgramgasse from the square, coffee lovers can indulge in nitro coffee and homemade cakes at third wave coffee bar Coffee Junkie.
Best Place To Stay
Attuned with Margareten’s design scene, small hotel Room 55 surprises with beautiful rooms and suites, some of them even with garden access.
Top Addresses in 1050 Vienna
Café Rüdigerhof: Hamburgerstrasse 20
Schlossquadrat / restaurant Silberwirt: Schlossgasse 21
restaurant and bar Motto: Rüdigergasse 1
Filmcasino: Margaretenstrasse 78
Coffee Junkie: Pilgramgasse 3
Nibbling away some of Naschmarkt’s eastern territory, Mariahilf district extends from Theater an Der Wien along Otto Wagner’s marvelous houses and former speakeasy Café Drechsler on Linke Wienzeile to Vienna’s outer ring road Gürtel. Named after the eponymous local baroque church, the area soon turned to more secular delights. First and foremost, Mariahilfer Strasse represents Vienna’s most bustling high street. In this low traffic zone and pedestrian area expect everything from large department stores, international fashion chains and fast food eateries to a few independent shops. Both history buffs and fans of marine life get their money’s worth at Haus des Meeres, Vienna’s aquarium housed in a monumental World War II air defense tower boasting a spectacular roof terrace. What’s more, Mariahilf’s nightlife attracts both theater and opera fans, and bar flies, thanks to opera house Theater an Der Wien, musical stage Raimundtheater and bohemian boltholes such as Tanzcafe Jenseits and Puff Bar.
To catch up with Mariahilf where it’s most characteristic roam the area around Gumpendorfer Strasse. While more central Café Sperl and contemporary book café Phil have long stepped out into the limelight there are still exciting hidden corners to be discovered. For example, climb up the Art Nouveau staircase Fillgraderstiege, explore historic passageway Raimundhof and its shops, and sink into Café Jelinek‘s green velvet upholstery. When strolling through the area you will stumble across countless imaginative street art, especially around Capistran staircase, Hofmühlgasse, Stiegengasse and Mollardgasse. For a more concerted approach, join a Vienna street art tour.
Best Place To Stay
Where Museumsquartier meets Mariahilfer Strasse high street, small luxury hotel Das Tyrol splashes vibrant colors and modern art across comfortable rooms.
Top Addresses in 1060 Vienna
Theater an Der Wien: Linke Wienzeile 6
Majolikahaus (Otto Wagner): Linke Wienzeile 40
Café Drechsler: Linke Wienzeile 22
Haus des Meeres: Fritz-Grünbaum-Platz 1
Raimundtheater: Wallgasse 18-20
Tanzcafé Jenseits: Nelkengasse 3
Puff Bar: Girardigasse 10
Café Sperl: Gumpendorfer Strasse
Café Jelinek: Otto-Bauer-Gasse 5
Up north of Mariahilf, Neubau district also moves along the cultural scale from bohemian to fine and commercial art. Definitely, Museumsquartier marks the area’s cultural hotspot. As one of Europe’s largest museum complexes, the former Imperial Stables impress with 19th and 20th century as well as modern master pieces, from Klimt and Schiele to Austrian enfant terrible Nitsch, and Warhol. Outside the museum walls, some of Vienna’s most established artists amuse with often quirky extravaganzas: for example Galerie Winter’s contemporary art installations, or Barbara Beranek’s funny ceramic figurines. Serious photography fans revel in the world-class photo exhibitions and a unique collection of hundreds of historic cameras at Galerie Westlicht.
Further into Neubau’s urban undergrowth, Andreasgasse strikes six-centuries-thick roots of design inspiration. At Hofmobiliendepot, one of the world’s largest collections of historic furniture unites hundreds of interiors, from swanky Imperial sofas and floral Biedermeier wallpapers to ground breaking social designs of the 1940s.
Among the plethora of art hubs large and small, Neubau also holds exciting architectural finds. Just off Burggasse, for example, some of Vienna’s most romantic squares serves up baroque church St. Ulrich. Between Neustiftgasse and Lerchenfeldergasse, connect with history through a three-court spanning passageway, starting from restaurant Durchhaus at Neustiftgasse 16.
Behind Museumsquartier, popular Spittelberg area sends visitors across cobble stones and past elegant Biedermeier townhouses. Once the favorite haunt of gamblers, crooks and prostitutes, Spittelberg’s sheer architectural charm pulls locals and visitors over the barrel. Apart from cute houses the area is rich in art shops and peppered with intriguing eateries, from traditional Zu Ebener Erd und Im Ersten Stock to savory beer pub Plutzerbräu, fine vegetarian Tian Bistro and contemporary Das Spittelberg. To explore the area in full and discover more shops and galleries, follow this art walk.
Best Places To Stay
Especially Neubau offers exciting accommodation options: If you love sophisticated luxury and a swimming pool, head for Hotel Sans Souci next to Museumsquartier. For crazy fun and a spectacular roof terrace, settle at 25 Hours Hotel. Alternatively, move in with Angela and Thomas at their lovely boutique hotel and tavern Schreiner’s Essen und Wohnen.
Top Addresses in 1070 Vienna
Museumsquartier: Museumsplatz 1
Bonanza Keramikkunstraum (Barbara Beranek): Neubaugasse 64-66/3/5
Galerie Hubert Winter: Breite Gasse 17
Galerie Westlicht: Westbahnstrasse 40
Hofmobiliendepot: Andreasgasse 7
Church St. Ulrich: Ulrichsplatz
Historic Passageway: Neustiftgasse 16
Zu Ebener Erde und Erster Stock: Burggasse 13
Plutzerbräu: Schrankgasse 2
Tian Bistro: Schrankgasse 4
Das Spittelberg: Spittelberggasse 12
Carrying Emperor Joseph I’s name, Vienna’s smallest district by size reveals charming and historic finds at almost every corner. The district that many of Vienna’s senior figures in the cultural and legal world, actors, journalists and academics call their home, spans a square between Vienna City Hall and outer ring road Gürtel. To explore this typical Viennese Vorstadt start just behind the Vienna City Hall. While main streets such as Josefstädter Strasse and Florianigasse make for a fine walk, do venture out into smaller alleys such as Tulpengasse. For example, Josefstädter Strasse lines up traditional neighborhood Café Hummel, charming dumpling deli Knödelmanufaktur (no 88), historic pharmacy Alte Löwen Apotheke (no 25) and Viennese restaurant Fromme Helene (no 15), which boasts a spectacular historic courtyard.
In the evenings, visit either a play at Theater in Der Josefstadt, one of Vienna’s oldest and most prestigious. If your German is patchy visit Vienna’s wonderful English Theatre in nearby Josefsgasse.
If you love romantic squares, head for Maria Treu Platz in Piaristengasse. From there, use the secret passageway along the church walls through to Lederergasse. A few minutes walk from there, behind Palais Schönborn’s crumbling façade, brilliant Volkskundemuseum (Museum for Folk Art And Folk Culture) lets you dive into the Old Crownlands of the Habsburg Empire. At nearby Lange Gasse no 34, you will find lovely baroque house ‘Our Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit’ (To The Holy Trinity), dating back from 1710. On the way back, have coffee and cakes at Art Deco jewel Café Florianihof in Florianigasse.
Best Place To Stay
Especially wine fans in search of a quiet contemporary place will love Hotel Rathaus Wein und Design.
Top Addresses in 1080 Vienna
Café Hummel: Josefstädter Strasse 66
Knödelmanufaktur: Josefstädter Strasse 89
Alte Löwen Apotheke: Josefstädter Strasse 25
restaurant Fromme Helene: Josefstädter Strasse 15
Theater in Der Josefstadt: Josefstädter Strasse 26
Vienna English Theatre: Josefsgasse 12
Volkskundemuseum: Laudongasse 15
landmarked baroque house: Lange Gasse 34
Café Florianihof: Florianigasse 45
In the north of the 1st and 8th district between the Danube Canal and outer ring road Vienna’s Alsergrund has gradually moved from grandma’s place hosting students’ digs to the playground of academic and expat families. Leading the way from Ringstrasse boulevard, neogothic Votivkirche reminds of Emperor Francis Joseph’s attempted assassination in 1853. By the way, the marble altar with glass mosaic inlays regularly impresses visitors.
In the Western part, medical institutions still dominate the scene, from the Medical University and private clinics to the Pathological and Anatomic Collection and the Josephinum, a historic collection of wax anatomical models. Each winter, the university campus at Altes AKH, the former General Hospital, hosts one of the most charming Vienna Christmas markets. East of high street Währinger Strasse, Sigmund Freud, the ‘Father of Psychoanalysis’ lived and ran his famous practice, now turned into a museum. A few hundred meters from there in Mullnergasse, you can learn about waltz king Johann Strauss and his musical family at boutique Museum of the Strauss Dynasty.
A bit further down, the local Lycée Francais de Vienne in Liechtensteinstrasse has procreated a fine French enclave of bistros, cafés and shops. Now how does that go with street graffiti? Not quite, but after 10 minutes walk, the most psychedelic art sprays its gritty vibes across the Danube Canal’s waterfront at Rossauer Lände. At Spittelauer Lände 12, an artfully dissected Sigmund Freud from Nychos’ spray can analyses passers by.
In the evening or for Sunday brunch, head for marvelous private dining experience to Martin and Thomas at Mezzanin 7, and follow through with a visit to former speakeasy Krypt Bar. Operetta fans will love an evening of Strauss and Lehar at Volksoper Wien.
To experience the best of Alsergrund’s lifestyle head for romantic Servitenviertel neighborhood, often cited as Vienna’s most best Grätzel. Named after the Catholic order of the Servites, lovely baroque Serviten church graces a cobble stoned square where large trees shade several outdoor cafes. Through Grünentorgasse continue to Liechtenstein Palace, which belongs to the Princes of Liechtenstein. Its fantastic, and mostly baroque, art collection is open during special guided tours. Before you head back climb Vienna’s most beautiful Art Nouveau staircase – the Strudelhofstiege, next to the palace, just off Liechtensteinstrasse.
Best Place To Stay
Located in Otto Wagner designed Harmoniegasse, Hotel Harmonie promises comfort and great value for money.
Top Addresses in 1090 Vienna
University Campus at Altes AKH: Spitalgasse 4
Sigmund Freud Museum: Berggasse 19 (to reopen in May 2020)
Museum der Strauss Dynastie: Müllnergasse 3
various street art at Danube Canal waterfront: close to Augarten and Rossauer bridges
private dining Mezzanin 7: Liechtensteinstrasse 12/2/7
Krypt Bar: corner Berggasse / Wasagasse (grey metal door)
Liechtenstein Garden Palace: Fürstengasse 1
Strudlhofstiege: Strudlhofgasse 8
Starting from the 10th district, you are now moving to Vienna’s ‘outer circle’. As the city’s largest district, southern Favoriten not only has more inhabitants than any other district, but also its most diverse share. Because of its large industrial area and vast residential blocks Favoriten doesn’t score highly in tourist guide books. However, if you’d like to explore ‘little Balkan’ and a few marvelous gems, spending a few hours in this part of Vienna will add a few unique stories to share with friends and family. Among the highlights is historic Ankerbrot factory’s vibrant cultural space for art, photography, sound and vintage finds.
If you have children and like green space, head for the Bohemian Prater amusement park (photo) and adjacent city hiking path no 7. In rural Rothneusiedl, it gets even greener and more exotic at Vienna’s famous Gugumuck snail farm, where foodies a food tradition at the Farm-2-Table bistrot.
To get a feeling for the district, start with a stroll through bustling Viktor-Adler-Markt at Favoriten’s very center. Next to Austrian farmers’ delicacies Favoriten’s favorite street market sells colorful Eastern Mediterranean, oriental and Indian specialities. One of the loveliest historic finds is Art Nouveau Amalienbad near the market. Surrounded by stunning Art Nouveau interiors take a swim in the historic pool, or warm up in a Finnish steam bath and infrared sauna. Just around the corner, relaxed tavern Meixner’s Gastwirtschaft dishes up a wonderful mix of fine Alpine/Adriatic cuisine.
Best Place To Stay
Erwin Gegenbauer’s Wiener Gästezimmer invites foodies with a hang for authentic spaces to raw industrial chic, homemade beer, honey, jam and vinegar, at his own boutique food manufactory.
Top Addresses in 1100 Vienna
Brotfabrik Wien (Ankerbrot): Absberggasse 27
Böhmischer Prater: Laaer Wald 216
Wiener Schneckenfarm und Manufaktur (Andreas Gugumuck): Rosiwalgasse 44
Amalienbad: Reumannplatz 23
Meixner’s Gastwirtschaft: Buchengasse 64
To be upfront, some locals describe Vienna’s South Eastern district as the city’s ‘dustbin’, not least due to the local waste incineration plant, a purification plant, and the crematorium. And yes, between giant community building blocks and trade centers the old Viennese community spirit needs to fully embrace migrant influences for a healthy revival. So, where are Simmering’s most interesting spots to explore?
If you love classical composers, the local Central Cemetery connects you with the lives of Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Strauss, Johannes Brahms, Arnold Schönberg and more celebrities in a peaceful green setting crowned by a stunning Art Nouveau church. Right next to the main compound, the old Jewish Cemetery with its ivy-covered graves reminds of an era when the Jewish community shaped the city.
Just opposite from the main cemetery, historic Concordia Schlössel lures with morbid charm and – Vienna’s weirdest Schnitzel creations. Once the seat of the Imperial court’s stone masons, a giant petrified Jesus greets the guests in the front garden, climbers entwine the entrance, and wooden floor boards creak under every step.
Just behind the gothic eatery, one of Vienna’s typical allotment communities invites for a peek into the realm of garden gnomes and stone lions presiding over family homes and manicured gardens. At the other end, Renaissance castle Neugebäude changes the scenery with a gigantic unpretentious façade and well-sized gardens, where locals gather for seasonal and folkloric events.
From holy spirit to community spirit: architecture lovers should head for a guided tour of Gasometer City (photo), a collection of four monumental brick cylinders turned into residential space by four top architects. Among them are French star architect Jean Nouvel’s slick designs and Viennese architect Manfred Wehdorn’s interpretation of our historic Pawlatschen courtyards.
Best Place To Stay
Top Addresses in 1110 Vienna
Wiener Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery): Simmeringer Hauptstrasse 234
Concordia Schlössel: Simmeringer Hauptstrasse 283
Neugebäude allotment association: Kleingartenverein Neugebäude
Schloss Neugebäude: Otmar-Brix-Gasse 6
Gasometer City: Guglgasse 6
Huddling against glamorous Schonbrunn Palace and its splendid gardens in the West, and the 5th and 10th districts of Margareten and Favoriten in the East, Meidling is an odd space. Since a few cool cafes and delis like Anna am Markt shook up the broccolis and apples of street market Meidlinger Markt a hip urban crowd soon followed. Most unlikely for the traditional labour district Meidling, fine dining restaurant Wirtschaft am Markt was the first street market eatery in Vienna to earn a Gault Millaut cap. With this wind in its sails, Meidling is set to upgrade its cultural and retail offer in the future. In the summer of 2020, for example, the annual Vienna Festival (Wiener Festwochen) will set its district focus on Meidling.
To unearth the secrets of a local family run manufactory, and keep hydrated, look behind the elegant façade of Alt Wiener Schnapsmuseum. Between old copper pot stills and historic cash registers taste a few glasses of lovely schnapps after your tour. At Café Nahid, locals love to delve into Eastern Mediterranean food as well as into Austrian cuisine, and listen to regular live gigs.
Best Place To Stay
Just next to Meidlinger Markt, wake up at the local suite of Grätzelhotel. In the case of the Meidling location, your ‘reception’ will be gorgeous tiny cake shop Huftgold at Meidlinger Markt.
Top Addresses in 1120 Vienna
Anna am Markt: Meidlinger Markt, Stand 25/27
Wirtschaft am Markt: Meidlinger Markt 89-92
Alt Wiener Schnapsmuseum: Wilhelmstrasse 19-21
Café Nahid: Meidlinger Hauptstrasse 32
Although Vienna’s no 1 tourist attraction Schönbrunn Palace and the Vienna Zoo cover a good part of Hietzing district most tourists never reach beyond it. Given that the 13th is one of the city’s greenest and most splendid places to live it deserves more attention. After visiting Schönbrunn and the zoo, simply exit the park through Hietzing Gate (Hietzinger Tor) and you will land right on main high street Hietzinger Hauptstrasse. On weekends, don’t miss Otto Wagner’s Art Nouveau jewel, the Hofpavillon.
Over all, the district’s many gorgeous villas and townhouses stem from the 18th and 19th century, when affluent Viennese built their summer residences in the former village. Like Gustav Klimt, for example, although his local cottage was more moderate and was upgraded to a villa only later on. Today, the Klimt Villa hosts a lovely exhibition about Klimt’s life, and the only reconstruction of a Klimt studio. Further west, where the Vienna Woods and 19 of its hills meet Lainz nature reserve, discover Empress Sissi’s ‘Palace of Dreams’ – Hermesvilla – in the middle of lush park land.
Between Am Platz square next to Hietzing Gate, and Anna Strauss square, Hietzinger Haupstrasse and Altgasse condense its noble village character. Starting from local parish church Maria Hietzing and Vienna’s last original gaslight lantern turn left and then left into lovely Altgasse. Boasting a few charming town houses and nice shops, Waldemar Tagesbar makes for a great stopover for coffee and light lunch. Alternatively head on to Anna Strauss Platz, where Viennese Tafelspitz king Plachutta serves Emperor Francis Joseph’s favorite meal, and of course Wiener Schnitzel. Right next to it, traditional Café Dommayer‘s chandeliers add sparkle to an already mind-boggling selection of cakes.
Best Place To Stay
At Parkhotel Schönbrunn, you lodge right in Hietzing, and just opposite Schonbrunn Palace.
Top Addresses in 1130 Vienna
Schloss Schönbrunn: Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse 47
Tiergarten Schönbrunn (zoo): Maxingstrasse 13b
Hofpavillon (Imperial Court Pavilion): Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse, close to Hietzing metro station
Klimt Villa: Feldmühlgasse 11
Hermesvilla: Lainzer Tiergarten
Waldemar Tagesbar: Altgasse 6
Plachutta Hietzing: Auhofstrasse 1
Café Dommayer: Dommayergasse 1
More down-to-earth than Hietzing though almost as green, Penzing sits just on top of the 13th district in Vienna’s West. Curiously, Penzing’s most glorious spot hides on a hospital compound on top of Baumgartner hill: There at Steinhof, fin-de-siècle architect Otto Wagner left an Art Nouveau church to the mentally ill patients that truly lifts the spirits. But not just the church is worth a visit, the whole Art Nouveau hospital with its dark Nazi past produces the most unexpected insights. Further west, where the 49 tramway ends, it gets truly surreal: Where Otto Wagner once built a serene historistic villa, Fantastic Realist Ernst Fuchs populated the space with amazing artwork, from drawings and paintings to furniture and a mosaic fountain. Learn more in Otto Wagner Villa.
Down at Breitensee neighborhood close to metro station Hütteldorfer Strasse, Breitenseer Lichtspiele present a more mundane highlight: As the world’s oldest continuously operating cinema this retro jewel regularly plays original mute films with live piano music, apart from documentaries, Modern Arthouse and Austrian films. Just a few meters up Breitenseer Strasse, Anna & Jagetsberger created a living room-style neighborhood café serving contemporary Austrian cuisine.
Best Place To Stay
Just a few minutes from Schönbrunn Palace, Radisson Blu Park Royal Palace Hotel displays exciting contemporary designs. Leaving the palatial feeling to the Habsburgs, the hotel does proudly wear the Austrian Eco Label medal.
For many Vienna residents of the central neighborhoods (3 to 9), the 15th district is still ‘the hood’, or as the Vienna say, ‘Hieb’. With a lively young migrant community from mostly Turkey and the Balkans, tempers in the former labour district can run high. But then, like in Simmering, certain local institutions light up the scene. For example, the large communal allotment Auf der Schmelz, which has its own popular community space and restaurant Schutzhaus Zukunft Auf der Schmelz (photo) – you can’t get any closer to real Vienna. Close to central Schwendermarkt, farmer shop and market café Landkind lures with a fantastic breakfast selection and a mostly vegetarian weekday lunch menu.
For a whiff of local history, turn to coffee, snacks and cake at Turnhalle, where in former times factory workers peeled peas, and later on Jewish girls enjoyed physical education.
Best Place To Stay
Lifting Fünfhaus’ Turkish element to a different level at their bistrot Wunderkammer, the Marriott group’s Renaissance Wien Hotel scores high with both locals and hotel guests. Feel transported to nothing less than a culinary journey in the Orient Express.
Top Addresses in 1150 Vienna
Schutzhaus Zukunft Auf der Schmelz: extended Gunthergasse
Café Landkind: Schwendergasse 29, stall 16 at Schwendermarkt
Turnhalle: Herklotzgasse 21
Just north of Vienna districts Penzing and Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, Ottakring shares a similar mix of Balkan cultures to the 10th and 15th district. The home of Ottakringer beer, Staud’s fine jams and our iconic Meinl coffee boasts a lively urban scene. Just as importantly, local stalwarts uphold Ottakring’s old vibes while new eateries and bars blow fresh wind around areas like Yppenplatz and Brunnenmarkt.
Holding up the flag of Old Ottakring, 280-year-old wine tavern 10er Marie appears like a picture book version of the ideal Heuriger. Dating from Empress Maria Theresa’s times, the building proudly displays Schönbrunn’s typical yellow and green. At the foot of Gallitzin mountain, the Association of Viennese Folk Song (Wiener Volksliedwerk) regularly hosts folk music and operetta events in the elegant mirror ballroom of fin-de-siècle Liebhartstaler Bockkeller. For spectacular views of the Viennese Basin walk up the 450 meter mountain and climb the stairs of Jubiläumswarte viewing tower.
Around Yppenplatz square and Brunnenmarkt street market the Orient unleashes a temptation of fragrant spices, fresh fruit and veg, fish and roast kebabs. Unlike at Naschmarkt with its landmarked cast iron pavilions, Brunnenmarkt’s pop ups and family bargains mean locals rather than tourists call the shots. To actually get a taste of the market, visit oriental café mani at Yppenplatz or An-Do at Brunnenmarkt.
Best Place To Stay
Although remotely placed on top of Gallitzin mountain, Schloss Wilhelminenberg promises a cheap castle hotel stay without the kitsch, and gorgeous views of Vienna. For a more central neighborhood bolthole, choose Hotel Zur Schwalbe.
Top Addresses in 1160 Vienna
Heuriger 10er Marie: Ottakringer Strasse 224
Liebhartstaler Bockkeller (Wiener Volksliedwerk): Gallitzinstrasse 1
Jubiläumswarte: Johann-Staud-Straße 80
An-Do: Brunnenmarkt, stall 169
café mani: Yppenplatz, stall 153-155
Unlike in bustling Favoriten or Ottakring, Hernals’ pulse follows its own smooth rhythm. In the old garden salon of a former bakery, for example, Hernals’ folk music heritage opens guests up to embrace jazz, blues and international folk alike. In the warmer months, guests of popular Wiener Metropol sway to the tunes in front of a historic Pawlatschen outdoor stage.
Taking tramway 43 along busy Hernalser Hauptstrasse high street will first take you to the heart of this unpretentious working-family district. Once the tram turns into Alszeile, lush vineyards and more green space announce the Vienna Woods. Clued up wine fans will now hop off to sneak behind the doors of winery estate St. Peter. During the wine tavern’s opening periods, locals keep flocking to the a more than 800-year-old Benedictan monastery for a glass of home made Riesling, Chardonnay or nut liquor.
At the terminal stop in Neuwaldegg restaurant Pichlmaiers Zum Herkner (photo) serves Vienna’s best Wiener schnitzel according to local surveys. Just a few meters up Promenadegasse behind the restaurant, private swimming pool and 1920s retro jewel Neuwaldegger Bad invites to cool swim strokes and a blissful garden idyll during hot summers. For even more greenery and a relaxed hike, venture further up Dornbach neighborhood to restaurant Klee am Hanslteich. Either take bus 43B or hike for 30 to 45 min from Pichlmaiers. Built right next to a pond in the woods, the popular weekend destination stuns with sophisticated country house chic and great Viennese cuisine.
Best Place To Stay
Local Appartements Ferchergasse make for a relaxed family stay.
Top Addresses in 1170 Vienna
Wiener Metropol: Hernalser Haupstrasse 55
Buschenschank Stift St. Peter: Rupertusplatz 5
restaurant Pichlmaier’s Zum Herkner: Dornbacher Strasse 123
Neuwaldegger Bad: Promenadegasse 58
Klee am Hanslteich: Amundsenstrasse 10
Because of its well looked-after townhouses and green leafy ‘Cottageviertel’ neighborhood Vienna’s 18th district has turned into a dream location for many professional families. Next to Pötzleinsdorfer Schlosspark, fine mansion and museum Geymüllerschlössel reveals an immaculately refurbished villa boasting beautiful art treasures. Representing the finest example of Biedermeier architecture, the summer residence of Viennese merchant and banker Johann Jakob Geymüller boasts polished period furniture, historic clocks and amazing paintings. As characteristic for the era, Indian, Arabian and Gothic elements decorate many rooms.
Close to the district’s center, Türkenschanzpark lets you go back in history even further. Uniquely for Vienna, local citizens rather than the municipality built the hilly park boasting various ponds and some rare plants. Named after the Turkish entrenchments from the Battle of Vienna in the 17th century you can still find monuments remembering the two devastating sieges by the Ottoman Empire in 1529 and 1683.
Quite visibly, Währing’s Kutschkermarkt (photo) incorporates the district’s up market family feel: Just off Währinger Strasse high street, fragrant flowers, elaborate cakes and organic delis line up in a neat row, right after quaint St. Gertrude’s church. In between, young local families populate the children’s boutiques left and right. At the end of the market street, the wooden benches, mosaics and bricks of Cafebrennerei Franze add a distinct taste to your cappuccino or freshly brewed matcha tea. If you love live music, head around the corner to Schulgasse, where local institution Konzertcafé Schmid Hansl regularly hosts local music and jazz events.
Best Place To Stay
A few minutes from Kutschkermarkt and a tramway station to the center, Edelhof Apartments are a lovely opportunity to test (family) life in Währing.
Top Addresses in 1180 Vienna
Geymüllerschlössel: Pötzleinsdorfer Strasse 102
Cafebrennerei Franz: Schulgasse 25
Konzertcafé Schmid Hansl: Schulgasse 31
Where hilly vineyards and lush woodland meet grand villas and romantic vintner villages you have landed in Vienna’s most beautiful district. Reaching from the Northern Vienna Woods to the Danube and Danube Canal, Döbling splashes out natural and architectural beauty, and excellent wine. Historically, the most ground breaking architecture is the Karl-Marx-Hof from the 1920s, reminding of of Döbling’s industrial heritage. Because of it’s groundbreaking social concept and gigantic size, the 1,2 kilometer long fortress-like building keeps attracting tourists with an architectural interest. To explore the Vienna Woods, lunch at traditional log cabin Josefinenhütte, then drive along Vienna’s longest road Höhenstrasse via Kahlenberg Hill from Nussdorf to Neustift am Walde, where more lovely wine taverns wait. Alternatively, go hiking or take an e-bike tour across the vineyards.
Since Döbling has Vienna’s largest share of vineyards, wine has shaped its character. This gets most visible in the Grinzing neighborhood around Pfarrplatz square. There, and in nearby Heiligenstadt neighborhood, Ludwig van Beethoven spent years of his life there in a baker’s house, now turned into a Beethoven Museum, and at the Eroicahaus. Apart from some of the best local wineries, Vienna’s first *** Michelin restaurant Amador serves mind-boggling taste creations in a dazzling former wine cellar.
Best Place To Stay
To get behind life at a Döblinger villa, stay at 19th-century Hotel Parkvilla.
Top Addresses in 1190 Vienna
Karl-Marx-Hof: Boschstrasse 1
Josefinenhütte: Josefsdorf 47
Beethoven Museum: Probusgasse 6
Eroicahaus: Döblinger Hauptstraße 92
restaurant Amador: Grindiger Strasse 86
Find addresses of top wineries in Vienna Wineries.
In a dramatic change of scenery, neighboring district Brigittenau across the Danube Canal couldn’t be further away from Döbling. Together with second district Leopoldstadt, Brigittenau shares the island between the two streams – Danube Canal and the Danube. Which is why locals sometimes call this interfluvial area ‘Mesopotamia’, probably discounting Otto Wagner’s very European Art Nouveau Nussdorfer Weir on the Danube. Like in the 15th district, Balkanese and Turkish communities have put their mark on a primeval Viennese community. Although more and more professional families gentrified the inner area, thanks to cheap and beautiful 19th century townhouses, Brigittenau still fights social challenges.
In any case, such a dynamic patch provides fertile ground. First and foremost, take wildly innovative **Michelin star restaurant Mraz & Sohn. Especially its next generation chef Lukas Mraz thrives on this rebel neighborhood, concocting the most anarchic tastes for a young urban audience. In the summer, chill out in street side café Vindobona on Wallensteinplatz square, close to Augarten’s northern edge. Among the places to watch is local Hannovermarkt street market which is yet to benefit from major refurbishment and fresh urban vibes. To get back to the good old days, find original Viennese restaurant Zum Nussgart’l in a time warp in Vorgartenstrasse close to the Danube.
Best Place To Stay
A few minutes walk from foot bridge Georg-Danzer-Steg to the Danube Island, and close to Handelskai train station, stay at contemporary Harry’s Home Wien Hotel & Apartments.
Top Addresses in 1200 Vienna
Nussdorfer Wehr (Otto Wagner): Josef-von-Schemerl bridge
restaurant Mraz & Sohn: Wallensteinstrasse 59
café Vindobona: Wallensteinplatz 6
Hannovermarkt: Hannovermarkt 1
restaurant Zum Nussgart’l: Vorgartenstrasse 80
Floridsdorf sits across the Danube in what the Viennese sneerily call ‘Transdanubien’. In the 19th and 20th centuries engineering, electric and machinery factories generated not just state-of-the art goods there but bold resistance fighters against Austro-Fascism and later on National Socialism. Throughout much of Floridsdorf, urban arteries like Donaukanalstrasse and Brünner Strasse cut through industrial areas and suburban shopping hubs. Because many of its idyllic farmers’ villages fell victim to wars and sieges in the past centuries, soul searching moved to Northern historic neighborhoods like Strebersdorf and Stammersdorf.
Unlike many wine taverns in tourism areas like Grinzing, these two neighborhoods have not only preserved their soul but their original tavern culture. On the Southern slopes of Bisamberg mountain, for example, winery Schilling offers some of Vienna’s best wine in its tavern surrounded by vineyards. In nearby Stammersdorf, award winning Heuriger Wieninger’s top wines and excellent tavern buffet attracts locals from all over Vienna. In one of the ravines leading up to Bisamberg, Stammersdorfer Kellergasse collects charming wine cellars and taverns with beautiful outdoor seating, such as Heuriger Zum 100 Eimer and Buschenschank Zum Hexenhaus. Note that a Heuriger is licensed to sell warm food whereas a Buschenschank sells wine and cold platters.
Best Place To Stay
At Vienna Grand Apartments Danube, you can rent modern, comfortable and spacious holiday flats minutes from transport hub Floridsdorf train station, Danube water park Floridsdorf and the Old Danube promenade. Alternatively, stay at local wine tavern Heuriger und Pension Fuchs in Jedlersdorf neighborhood.
Top Addresses In 1210 Vienna
Weingut Schilling: Langenzersdorferstrasse 54
Heuriger zum 100 Eimer: Stammersdorfer Kellergasse 64
Buschenschank zum Hexenhaus: Stammersdorfer Kellergasse 62
As goes with visiting all Heurige and Buschenschanken, check the Heurigen calendar first to see which one is open during your stay.
Vienna’s second transdanubian district covers the city’s North East. While traditional neighborhoods like Hirschstetten, Kagran, or Stadlau didn’t leave much village character Vienna’s largest – and most sparsely populated – district offers space. From vegetable and flower fields in the northern outskirts to architectural space at skyscraper town Donaucity. Before you skip to the 21st district, there ARE a few interesting things to see and do: For example, a sofa boat ride on the tranquil Old Danube with its colorful weekender cabins, mooring at stylish riverside café Das Bootshaus, and promenading along the shoreline.
If you haven’t been at one already, why not tour the nearby United Nations headquarters? Once you are there, consider going up nearby Danube Tower for a 260-meter panoramic vista of the Danube and the city of Vienna (photo). In the warmer months, grab some insect repellent and tour the wetlands of Danube Nationalpark in Lobau further East.
Best Place To Stay
Staying at slick five-star skyscraper Melia Vienna with its gorgeous 57th Restaurant will challenge all stereotypes and provide an exciting ‘outside’ perspective on Wien.
Top Addresses in 1220 Vienna
Meine Insel (sofa boat rental): Laberlweg 19
Das Bootshaus: An der unteren Alten Donau 61
Vienna International Centre (UN Headquarters): Wagramer Strasse 5
Donauturm (Danube Tower): Donauturmstrasse 8
Nationalpark Donauauen: Dechantweg 10
Located south of Hietzing, Meidling and Favoriten, Vienna’s southernmost district is also its youngest, dating from 1954. Opposite quaint suburban villages such as Mauer, Kalksburg, and Rodaun in the West, large residential blocks, industrial zones, fruit, veg and flower wholesalers, and shopping centers sprawl on both sides of small Liesing river further eastwards. Definitely THE architectural highlight towers on St. Georgen mountain near Mauer: What looks like an attempt to tidy up a bunch of 152 messy concrete slices is actually Catholic Church To The Holiest Trinity, aka the Wotruba church. Designed by sculptor Fritz Wotruba, the outlaw church at the metropolis’ southern industrial fringe is to show that ‘poverty and austerity don’t need to be ugly (…) and can actually make you happy.’ (Wotruba)
In Liesing’s western fringe close to the Vienna Woods, Mauer neighborhood stacks up a few excellent wine taverns. Among them is award winning gourmet Heuriger Edlmoser, which has been using the area’s good soil and local mild climate to cultivate grapes for almost 400 years. Directly in Mauer you will find traditional winery Zahel, which has particularly made a name for itself with Viennese field blend Gemischter Satz. Apart from excellent wine from Zahel’s vineyards in Vienna’s top five wine growing areas go for the Heuriger’s home-baked bread and savory buffet.
Best Place To Stay
Enjoy some headspace in the vast halls and nature park of impressive brick building and missionary house Gabrium in nearby Maria Enzersdorf.
Top Addresses in 1230 Vienna
Kirche Zur Heiligsten Dreifaltigkeit (Wotruba church): Ottillingerplatz 1
Heuriger Edlmoser: Maurer Lange Gasse 123
Heuriger Zahel: Maurer Hauptplatz 9
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