Escaping and Embracing the Cold in Vienna: Great Places to Enjoy a Viennese Winter

BY OLIVIA MOLINEUX

It may be too cold to sit outside for lunch at the Naschmarkt, or to ride the Ferris wheel at Prater, but it’s not a surprise that the city with the best quality of life has lots of great things to do during the winter.  Here are a few places for escaping or embracing the cold while enjoying Vienna.

Ice Dream: A short walk from the center of the city, Ice Dream is set up in front of Vienna’s Rathaus (town hall) from January twenty-fourth to March tenth, every day from nine in the morning to ten at night.  This is no ordinary ice skating rink. In addition to a large rink, the pathways of the garden are covered in ice to create an exciting skating course surrounded by sparkling trees beneath the magnificent Rathaus. Tickets to skate are six Euros for adults in addition to a similar fee for renting skates.  Adjacent to the rink, you’ll find delicious traditional treats, from crepes and sausages to cider and mulled wine.  I recommend going at night when everything is lit up and a delicious warm Viennese drink will be just what you need.  Make sure you bundle up!

Museums: If you want to escape the cold, Vienna’s Museum Quarter is a great place to do so.  The Museum Quarter is home to a number of museums that are all fabulous. From the modern Leopold Museum to the children’s Zoom Kindermuseum, you will not be disappointed.  All of the museums are right next to each other, so you can go from one to another without having to trek through the cold.  Go online to learn about current exhibitions and MQ Winter, which features a light show, ice curling ring, and more.

Zwölf-Apostelkeller (Twelve Apostles): Zwölf-Apostelkeller restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy some warm, traditional Viennese food in an incredible, candlelit atmosphere at a reasonable price. The dining room is located in the cellar, which dates back to thirteen thirty-nine.  Everyone at the restaurant is very friendly, and most of the staff speak great English. There are traditional musicians there who will serenade you at your table.  The menu, or Speisekarte in German, can be found online.  If you want something warm, hearty, and traditional, try the Wiener Saftgulasch mit Kartoffeln (beef stew with potatoes) with a glass of Erdbeerwein (a warm fruity wine).

This winter, be sure to check out what operas are playing at the Staatsoper, what Viennese balls will be taking place while you’re in town, and the many more fabulous winter events.

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