Elegant. Charming. Exquisite. Imperial. Artistic. Fashionista. Cultural. Historical. Intellectual. Musical. Gastronomic. Wiener Melange. Intriguing. It’s VIENNA. It isn’t voted as the best city in the world time and again for nothing.
The day I set foot in the city of music, I was completely head over heels. We strolled the baroque style streets of Vienna for 3 days gawking at its world-class design and architecture.
We tried to make the most of our time in Vienna using 72-hours Vienna Travelcard. Thanks to easy, safe, and fast public transportation network in Vienna.
Vienna is brimming with attractions to please every craving – be it for art, culture, music, food, history, family, or kids. I know it can be overwhelming considering that you just have a few days to explore one of the finest cities in the world. Been there done that.
So let me make things easy-peasy for you guys. Here’s my take on the coolest and classical things to do in Vienna with Family. Trust me, it’ll save the hassle.
Top Things to do in Vienna with Family
Take a stroll around the art and cultural district in Vienna which happens to be the largest cultural centers in the world – MuseumsQuartier. The quarter houses the best of Vienna’s museums plus a range of cafes, restaurants, and shops that make it a great place to walk around and relax.
MuseumsQuartier is a beautiful blend of Baroque and contemporary architecture. Leopold Museum, Mumok, and Kunsthalle Wien are some of the worth-visiting museums.
Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel Ride at Prater
Wurstelprater or Prater Amusement Park is a must-visit if you are traveling with kids. Prater has many attractions and rides but Wiener Riesenrad Ferris Wheel is special. The huge Ferris wheel graces the Vienna skyline. It isn’t just a ride but an experience in itself. While kids have fun on the Giant Ferris Wheel, you enjoy the breathtaking views of the city of Vienna.
The World’s Highest Chain Caraousal is another ride kids and kids-at-heart who seek adventure would love it.
The entrance to the amusement is free, however, different attractions and rides have tickets. Giant Ferris Wheel costs round Euros 12 per ride.
A gastronomic delight and a colorful extravaganza, Naschmarkt is a great place to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, bakery items, and specialty foods from different countries.
We didn’t intend to buy anything but visit the market but couldn’t stop buying 🙂 We picked up fresh strawberries, cherries, jams, and local cheese. There are many restaurants and cafes to eat, drink, spend time while observing people and surroundings.
Explore the Ringstrasse (Vienna Ring Road)
Ringstraße, architecturally and historically beautiful circular boulevard around Inner town of Vienna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It houses the Vienna’s most famous sights like Hofburg Palace (Imperial Palace or Neue Burg), Vienna State Opera, Vienna Rathaus (City Hall), Vienna Parliament, University of Vienna, Vienna Stock Exchange, Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts), Naturhistorisches Museum (Natural History Museum), Museum for Applied Arts (MAK), Votive Church, Ring Tower, Post Office Savings Bank, Urania, Burgtheater (National Theater), Rossauer Barracks, and many palaces.
The buildings along the Ringstrasse are an eclectic mix of Gothic, Neo-Renaissance, Classical, and Baroque architecture.
There are numerous statues and monuments of famous personalities along the Ringstraße – Maria Theresia, Johann Strauss, Archduke Carl, Prince Eugene of Savoy, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Empress Sisi, Emperor Franz Joseph, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, General Johann Joseph Wenzel Graf Radetzky, Prince Karl Philipp von Schwarzenberg, Monument of the Republic, and the Heroes’ Monument to the Red Army.
We fell in love with this magnificent boulevard so much so that we explored it thrice in three days; first by the Vienna Ring Tram, secondly by a horse-drawn carriage ride (fiaker), and lastly by joining a walking tour by Prime Tours.
The Vienna State Opera (Weiner Staatsoper)
The attractive Neo-Renaissance structure, Vienna State Opera is everything and more we expected it to be. We booked the tickets very well in advance. Quite Later, I read about the standing room tickets which are the cheapest option (as low as Euros 3) to watch opera performance 🙁
At Walfischgasse, a little away from the main building, they host children’s opera specially for their young audience. Make sure to book your tickets online as early as possible.
Unwind at Stadtpark or Burggarten
Stadtpark along Ringstraße boulevard is a great opportunity to unwind and relax after you finish strolling the Ringstraße. The park has well-maintained play areas for young visitors.
The park houses statues of famous Austro-Hungarian Composers, the golden monument of Johann Strauss being the most iconic and photographed one.
Burggarten alongside Ringstraße is a little green space famous for its biggest of all in Vienna Mozart monument.
Marvel at Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens
Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn), the imperial summer residence of the Hapsburg emperors is gorgeous in every sense. It’s huge with 1441 rooms, though only 45 is open to the public. Just the glimpse of the palace is enough to bedazzle the visitors.
The Schönbrunn Zoo inside the Schönbrunn Park, Kindermuseum (Children’s Museum) in the West Wing of the Palace, and Marionette theatre that showcases operas for kids are a must-visit if you are traveling with kids.
There are a variety of tours and tickets are available for the palace. The visitors can choose as per their taste and time on hand.
Spanish Riding School (Spanische Hofreitschule)
Spanish Riding School’s building is a part of Hofburg Palace in Michaelerplat. We did a guided tour which is a great way to learn about the history and tradition of horse-riding.
There aren’t many performances during summer but you can always watch the horses’ morning exercise between 10 am to 12 pm. The tickets for morning exercise isn’t booked in advance. Tickets are available at the Visitor Center.
Most of the performances take place in winter though ‘Piber Meets Vienna’ show featuring foals from Lipizzaner Stud Piber is run during summer.
Visit Belvedere Palace (Schloss Belvedere)
Belvedere Palace, the gorgeous baroque palace houses Austria’s legendary and valuable art collections. The collection includes the masterpieces by Gustav Klimt and others. You can plan to see the entire Belvedere Palace or just the Lower Belvedere or Upper Belvedere.
Upper Belvedere has Gustav Klimt paintings – “The Kiss” and “Judith”.
Visit One of the Vienna’s Best Museums for Families
Vienna has museums that are ideal for families with kids. Choose any one or two from the list and let the kids learn while they play.
Albertina, Museum of Natural History, Museum of Technology, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Belvedere, Transport Museum, Kunst Haus Wein, Leopold Museum, Museum of Moder Art, House of Music, Mozarthaus, Chocolate Museum Vienna, Museum of Illusions, SchokoMuseum, Museum of Applied Arts, Jewish Museum Vienna, Weltmuseum Wien, ZOOM Children’s Museum, and Minepolis have exhibitions and workshops (mostly on weekends) specially designed for kids aged 4-12 years.
Kids are sure to enjoy the Haus der Musik (House of Music). Hire a guide for more enjoyable experience.
Some of these museums offer free entry to the kids under 19 years old.
Taste One of the Vienna’s Best Ice-Creams
Kids or grownups, everyone likes ice-cream. No exceptions here! After having visited many ice-cream parlors in Vienna (thanks to mini-me and hot summer), we can surely recommend the best of the lot.
Veganista, Tichy, Paolo Bortolotti, Eis Greissler, Eissalon Tuchlauben, Gelateria Hoher Markt, Gelateria la Romana, Zanoni Zanoni, Schelato, Ferrari at Krugerstraße 9, and Schwedenplatz Eissalon are some of the best places to eat ice-cream.
Now you know what we did in Vienna 🙂
Try Wiener schnitzel
Classic Weiner schnitzel is a Viennese cutlet made of veal. The meat is coated with flour, breadcrumbs, and egg before pan-frying.
Schnitzel made from other meat like turkey, pork, chicken aren’t real WeinerSchnitzel.
Hubby and mini-me tried all the varieties so how could I be left behind? Naturkost St. Josef takes care of Vegetarians and Vegans like me. They serve mind-blowing Vegetarian Schnitzel. In other news, they have samosas too 🙂
A trail through Vienna Woods takes you to Kahlenberg, a hill that offers breathtaking views over the city. The hike takes around 4 hours. If hiking isn’t your cup of tea, you can catch the 38A bus to reach Kahlenberg. Stefaniewarte Observation Tower at Kahlenberg is just about 5 minutes away from the bus stop.
There’s a restaurant and cafe up there where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and snacks with the fantastic view.
Kahlenberg attracts kids for its forest rope adventure park, Waldseilpark.
Danube Tower (Donauturm)
Danube Tower in the middle of lush Danube Park is the tallest structure in Austria. The super fast lift takes you to the viewing tower to enjoy the 360-degree panorama.
We enjoyed a cup of coffee and apple strudel in the revolving cafe at the top of the tower. It’s expensive plus the staff doesn’t seem courteous. Though enjoying a drink as the city of Vienna moves around you is an experience in itself.
A free shuttle to and from the nearest station, Neue Donau makes it easy to reach the tower.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom)
One of the most popular attractions in Vienna, St. Stephen’s Cathedral is STUNNING inside out. The entry to the church is free but it costs Euros 5/adult and Euros 2/child to climb the 343 steps of the South Tower (Steffl). It’s not easy yet worth all the effort. The Türmerstube offers the sweeping view over Vienna.
The South Tower is open from 9 am to 5:30 pm all days of the week.
Take a Walk down the Graben and Kohlmarkt
Graben is one of the most famous and lively pedestrian shopping streets in Vienna. Graben is lined up with imposing buildings dating back to the 19th century, has two fountains (Josefsbrunnen and Leopoldsbrunnen) on either side and imposing Plague Column (Pestsäule) in the center.
Right next to Graben is Kohlmarkt, the oldest street in Vienna. It’s home to stately historical buildings and upscale stores. The market is brimming with the famous international brands like Chanel, Vuitton, Gucci, Rolex, Bulgari, Cartier, Tiffanys, Haban, Armani, Michael Kors and what not.
It’s a lovely street to walk and take in the sights even if you don’t plan to shop.
You can’t miss Vienna’s most famous chocolate shop and cafe – Demel while strolling down the street. The variety of chocolates in overwhelming and so do the prices 🙂
At the other end of Graben, starts Kärntner Straße, another famous shopping street in central Vienna.
We were able to know so much about the city of Vienna and its past with a walking tour. I feel walking tours (though tiring) are the best way to get familiar with the city.
Taste the Famous Classic Viennese Cake, Sachertorte
The layers of chocolate are separated by apricot jam and coated with chocolate icing. It’s complemented with unsweetened whipped cream. Every slice of Sachertorte is meant to be dipped in the cream to relish it completely.
You can taste Sachertorte at Hotel Sacher and the Demel Cafe – the two rivals who fought 9-year long court case for the right to call its Sacher torte the original one. Hotel Sacher eventually won the case.
We tasted the cake at the Demel Cafe in Vienna and then at Hotel Sacher in Salzburg.
Experience Viennese Heuriger
We end up visiting Döbling, Vienna’s 19th District where the city fades into the hills of the Vienna Woods (Wienerwald), luxury mansions, historic houses, and vineyards on the recommendation of our Airbnb host.
She wanted us to experience the rustic Buschenschank or Heuriger of Grinzing. Heuriger is the name given to charming wine taverns in the east of Austria where local wine producers seasonally serve or sample their homemade wine and cider or most from their latest harvest along with traditional Austrian snacks.
Wine is a way of life for Austrians and Grinzing Heurige are like temples of wine for the locals. “There’s nothing like spending a day at a Heuriger during summer,” proclaimed our guide in Vienna.
Good wine, good food, and good music – a day at Heuriger is a great way to know and relish the Austrian Heurigen tradition.
Let the History Become Fun for Kids at Time Travel Vienna
Just off Michaelerplatz/Graben, Time Travel Vienna is an adventure world that takes you through Viennese history using multi-media shows, interactive exhibits, and the 5D film.
“History was never so fun,” kids proclaim as they go on a dramatic time travel adventure!
Sip in the Wiener Melange
Well, you can’t leave Vienna before you experience the UNESCO listed Viennese coffee house culture. Vienna thrives in its coffee culture, you know.
A Viennese classic, Melange is known to be the Viennese version of a cappuccino. It’s one shot espresso, hot water or steamed milk, topped with milk foam.
Viennese Melange is almost always served with a glass of still water. Surprisingly enough, the waiter will top up the glass for free even after you’ve finished your coffee. It was surprisingly weird as water is expensive than wine or beer in Vienna.
I was told by a local that water is served to take a sip before drinking coffee to cleanse your palate so you can better enjoy the classic taste of melange and to take a sip after drinking coffee to prevent dehydration.
Soak in the Viennese Summer at One of the Many Summer Baths in Vienna
Give yourself a break from all the sightseeing and strolling as the sun goes up. Enjoy your summer afternoons at one of the many swimming pools of Vienna.
Schafbergbad and Strandbad Gänsehäufel, the open-air summer baths of Vienna feature different pools, a water slide, various sports fields, children’s playground, and restaurants – everything one needs to have a lovely summertime.
The Austrian Capital of Vienna is a sweet cocktail of the old and new. The ancient art, olden cafés and modern architecture thrive alongside. Vienna is a city that well celebrates and cherishes its past while giving way to the modernity and innovation. One moment, you’re strayed in the golden times gone by; the next moment you’re reminded of this day and age – Vienna’s extraordinary!
This guide to Vienna is based on my family’s favorite things to see and do in Vienna, Austria. You are welcome to add a thing or two based on your experience in Vienna with family. I’d happily edit the list 🙂
Planning a trip to Austria? You might need a Schengen Visa (Europe Visa) for Austria. Read our ultimate guide to Schengen Visa that strives to make the visa process a cake-walk for you.
Other helpful posts for the Europe trip planning:
- Wachau Valley, Austria
- Bratislava, Slovakia
- Undredal – a Fjord Village in Aurland, Norway
- Oslo, Norway
- Finnish Lapland in Summer
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Dragør, Denmark
- Renting a Car in Europe
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