Vienna is a city full of classical music, hearty cuisine, museum-apartments that belonged to the world’s most legendary composers, and so much more.
Anyone who’s been to the capital of Austria knows that it’s a quick trip amped up by culture infused with music around every corner. Vienna – home to classical musicians from its imperial past – has slowly transformed itself as an edgy destination preserving much of its sophistication. A night barhopping near St. Stephen’s is a clear indication that mixology is on the rise. Thanks to Vienna’s open embrace to slow food accompanied by natural wine, the city’s restaurant scene might be small but it delivers utmost refinement. Below is a list of our favorites, so you can learn about Austria’s musically inclined past while indulging in the new.
Michaelerkuppel, 1010 Wien, Austria
Hofburg is essentially the White House of Austria. Originally the winter imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty, it now serves as the office and residence of Austria’s President. Hofburg means “Castle of the Court,” and was constructed during the Middle Ages but kept expanding as Austria became more powerful over centuries. Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, it was the seat of the Habsburg kings and the Roman Emperors.
Stephansplatz 3, 1010 Wien, Austria
Also known as Stephansdom, St. Stephen’s Cathedral was originally constructed in 1147 and is arguably the most renowned religious building in Vienna. One must enter inside to view its 18 altars, tombs, catacombs, and organs that have witnessed several major historical and religious events. In 2019, contemporary artist Peter Baldinger transformed the vault of the cathedral into a beautiful installation of Sky Full of Stones to celebrate Lent. There are 1332 stones made of paper attached to the ceiling to last for 40 days. If you can, try to catch a musical performance inside St. Stephen’s, it would be a lifelong unforgettable experience.
Kegelgasse 36-38, 1030 Wien, Austria
Stop by Hundertwasser House, which is an apartment building completed in the mid-80s. It features 53 apartments, 4 offices, 16 private patios, and 3 communal terraces with a total of 250 trees and bushes. The roof is covered in earth and grass with big trees growing inside the rooms and branches extending from windows.
Mozarthaus, Domgasse 5, 1010 Wien, Austria
Mozarthaus is where the famous composer lived from 1784 to 1787, and today, it has been transformed into a popular museum. It spotlights stories behind some of Mozart’s famous operas and works, including The Marriage of Figaro and Requiem. You can also peek inside Mozart’s lavish lifestyle (did you know that Mozart loved to gamble?).
Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Wien, Austria
Just a bit outside of Vienna’s city center is the imperial Habsburg dynasty’s summer residence: Schönbrunn Palace. Similar to France’s Versailles, Schönbrunn Palace is a must-see due to its 1,441 rooms and enormous gardens. The Baroque palace bears stories of empress Maria Theresa and her children including Marie Antoinette. The longest reigning emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph was born here and also passed away inside the palace. Get the audioguide for an inside look through various rooms and halls.
PS. Here is also where a six-year-old Mozart performed then embraced empress Maria Theresa, which began the child prodigy’s longstanding musical relationship with the imperial family.
Josefsplatz 1, 1010 Wien, Austria
Sightseeing can be tiring, so why not rest your feet at Burggarten while gazing at the marble statue of Mozart? When Napoleon’s troops left Vienna in 1809, the city needed to redesign the area surrounding Hofburg Palace, which included building Kaisergarten for the Imperial family. In 1919, however, Kaisergarten changed to Burggarten after Austria’s political transit from monarchy to republic. Today, the park is most famous for the white Mozart statue in Art Nouveau, adorned with wreaths and ornaments symbolizing the power of Mozart’s music.
Haydngasse 19, 1060 Wien, Austria
An off-the-beaten path jewel for classical music fans, Haydnhaus is a hidden gem not to be missed. At age 61, Haydn bought this house as a quiet escape from Vienna. This became his final residence during a time when he was the most celebrated by the world. The exhibition is tiny but absolutely delightful as it takes you through Haydn’s life and famous works including The Creation, The Seasons, and canons.
Parkring 1, 1010 Wien, Austria
Stadtpark, or City Park, is famous for various statues of Viennese artists including Johann Strauss II, Franz Schubert, Hans Canon, Emil Jakob Schindler…and many more. Here, you can picnic along the waters or attend a waltz concert. Designed in the style of an English park, Stadtpark was the first public park in Vienna in 1862. Another major building you’ll see is a spa pavilion where healing mineral water was served and where Johann Strauss II gave his very first concert. The Italian renaissance-style water glacis is a popular place for dancing and concerts. Today, it’s used for balls and night club events.
Dominikanerbastei 17, 1010 Wien, Austria
This two-Michelin star restaurant is one of my favorite spots for a meal in Vienna. Konstantin Filippou is the city’s fine dining hotspot offering a business lunch menu you can’t miss! Great value for a 3-course meal, so you can taste luxury without breaking the bank. Filippou is a Greek Austrian who leads his team with much thrill and artistic flair. The open kitchen delivers seasonal dishes that range from Trout Tartar (with beetroot and spicy yogurt) and Potato Ravioli (with bok choy and nut butter) to Salmon Label Rouge served with almond milk.
Lugeck 6, 1010 Wien, Austria
A nature-inspired menu surrounding the concept of Slow Food, Labstelle’s most enticing items are Nose-to-Tail Menu and the Surprise Menu. Both are multi-course meals, so if you opt for either option be sure you have a large appetite. The wine menu is a comprehensive one, highlighting the fertility of Austrian soil. The interior decor as well as the outdoor terrace is modern and beautiful.
Weiners at Sausages Stands
Weiners, or Käsekrainer, is the essence of Austrian cuisine. Even locals will stop by for a quick snack at these popular sausage stands. Most of the weiners are made with veal or pork, but why not try them all? They usually come with pickles and different types of sauces.
Kumpfgasse 2, 1010 Wien, Austria
Weibel’s Wirtshaus might be a tourist hub but it’s a cozy traditional Viennese joint. Featuring the all-time favorite: Weiner Schnitzel! When in Vienna…right? Pairing it with a sparkling rosé on a hot summer day, the whole experience can be cliché, but you’ve got to do it! The service is top-notch, and the Viennese dishes are delectable.
1060 Vienna, Austria
Naschmarkt features a fantastic array of restaurants serving travelers’ favorites including the big gun: goulash! The market is a lively place to taste foods from various parts of the world as well, spotlighting 100 stalls since the entire strip dates all the way back to the 16th century. Seafood restaurants, sizzling BBQ, local cheeses, cured meats, or even Middle Eastern plates can be discovered in this lovely gem.
Burggarten 1, 1010 Wien, Austria
Palmenhaus is the best break from sightseeing in Old Town. The cafe/brasserie was built in 1901 by architect Friedrich Ohman who was commissioned to build a butterfly and palm house in the Hofburg Palace gardens. You can either grab a drink at the famous Marble Bar, or sit outside and people watch with local sparkling wine.
Stephansplatz 12, 1010 Wien, Austria
A block away from St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Onyx Bar sits on top of DO & CO Hotel with the most gorgeous view of the church. Floor-to-ceiling windows make this chic bar an absolute standout. Great cocktail selections and a wide collection of cigars as well. If you’re barhopping near the cathedral, you can start at Onyx then end up at Roberto or Kleinod.
Bauernmarkt 11-13, 1010 Wien, Austria
The moody bar’s cocktail menu comes in a book with any type of classic cocktail one could imagine. If you’re not a smoker, this isn’t the place for you since Roberto American Bar allows indoor smoking, so everyone’s lit up. Centrally located, this is the perfect spot after sightseeing or concert in Old Town.