18 Fun Things to Do in Vienna - Food, Museums, and Everything that Excites You

18 Fun Things to Do in Vienna – Food, Museums, and a Glimpse Beyond the Tourist Trail

So, you are visiting Vienna and you are obviously on the look-out for the best fun things to do in Vienna?

First of all, welcome! The capital of Austria and the capital of the old Austria-Hungarian Empire, Vienna has an awesome mix of history, culture, modern and quirky attractions, and has plenty to offer, no matter where your interests lie.

As an ex-pat living in Vienna, I have loved exploring the city and experiencing everything it has to offer.

This article is part of our big guide on spending 7 days in Vienna, with the perfect itinerary for Vienna. Make sure you also read our handwritten guide to where to stay in Vienna for first-time visitors.

Here’s a quick glimpse:

  1. Have a coffee at one of the traditional Viennese coffeehouses
  2. Eat at a Wurstelstand
  3. Spend a summer evening on the Donau River
  4. Visit a rooftop bar
  5. Party the night away
  6. Sample the wine in the vineyards around Vienna
  7. Have a Wiener Schnitzel
  8. Vienna at Christmas
  9. See Krampus
  10. Party at Donauinselfest
  11. Visit the world’s oldest zoo
  12. Take in nature at the Donau-Auen National Park
  13. Go shopping in Naschmarkt
  14. Take a horse cart ride around the streets of Old Vienna
  15. Visit one of the museums
  16. Join in with the weekly rollerblade run
  17. Go to Oktoberfest
  18. Take in an Opera

List of FUN Things to do in Vienna

In detail, here are 18 of my recommendations, what I think are the best things to do while you visit Vienna, to get that true, Viennese experience.

18 Fun Things to Do in Vienna - Food, Museums, and a Glimpse Beyond the Tourist Trail

1. Have a coffee at one of the traditional Viennese coffeehouses

Perhaps the most famous cultural aspect of Vienna (in the eyes of locals at least, and forgetting opera for just one second), are the various coffeehouses of Vienna.

These are located throughout the city, but most of them can be found in the 1st District (the old town of Vienna), with some dating back a few hundred years.

The main draw of these places these days is the atmosphere – sit back, enjoy a coffee surrounded by the grandeur of the old Austria-Hungarian Empire, and feel like a Kaiser whilst sitting under chandeliers and rooftop mosaics.

There are many to choose from. Perhaps the most famous is Café Central, and while it is worth a visit, be prepared to wait in line for some time.

My personal favorite is Café Hawelka – situated down a quiet alley, the dark, wooden interior brings feelings of late 1800’s Vienna, which is often a welcome respite from the busy streets outside.

When you take in this experience, don’t feel rushed – the coffeehouses of Vienna have no concerns over time.

So, stay as long as you want: read a newspaper or simply relax those feet, knowing that the waiters won’t bother you unless you bother them for another coffee order.

Book a Guided Viennese Coffee-House Tour here

Have a taste of a true Viannese coffee

2. Eat at a Wurstelstand

Finished with your coffee? Then why not try the local street food, a Wurst (sausage)?

Vienna is renowned for its Wurstelstands, dotted throughout the city. Particularly on street corners or at one of the numerous metro and tram stations.

The most popular, and the one which was recommended to me by pretty much every local when I first arrived. It is in front of the Albertina Museum, at the bottom of the steps.

I’ll vouch for it, the food there is amazing!

A variety of sausages are offered, but my personal favorite is the

Kaiserkrainer –Basically, a sausage filled with cheese.

Having a Kaiserkrainer along with a beer, had whilst leaning against the benches offered by the stand and watching the world go by is a great way to have a short break and recharge!

Book a 4-Hour Markets, Cafes & Food Tastings With a Local here

3. Spend a summer evening on the Donaukanal

Summer evenings in Vienna are the best.

It is warm, the sun doesn’t set until late, and there are plenty of outdoor places to hang out with friends (or strangers) and just relax.

A personal favorite of mine is the Donaukanal, which runs along the southwestern boundary of the inner district/old town. Best accessed from near Schottenring and Schwedenplatz metro stations.

Sit on the steps next to the river and chat with the locals and watch the water rush by.

You can even get drinks from the opportunists who buy from the supermarkets. And sell on to individuals (at a mark-up of course, but I think it is worth it!)

Book a Danube Canal Cruise with Apple Strudel here

4. Visit a rooftop bar

Don’t fancy being so close to the river?

Vienna also has a number of rooftop bars, which are perfect for a calm, mild summer evening. You can also go on an evening food tour if you like.

My personal favorite is the 25 Hours Bar, located in between Museums Quartier and Parlament.

A trendy lounge bar with ambient electronic music pulsing in the background, this bar is perfect for catching up with friends in a chilled environment. It has stunning views toward Rathaus, which is beautiful as the sun goes down and the lights come on.

Join a Vienna Evening Food & Sights Tour here

5. Party the night away

For those who want to carry on after their moody rooftop drink, Vienna has plenty of clubbing options,.

You can, of course, party until the sun comes up.

Try Pratersauna, a converted pool and sauna complex in the Prater park, offering afternoon/evening beach vibes in the summer around their fully operational pool, with deep techno beats in multiple rooms after dark.

Also, you can try Volksgarten, an upmarket club. It is right next to Museumsquartier and Parlament. Volksgarten plays a mix of pop and retro music with a great outdoor party area in the summer.

Finally, for those interested in a darker and more eclectic style of music, go to Flex – located on the banks of the Donaukanal near Schottenring. It plays a mixture of

  • Trance,
  • deep house and
  • other underground styles of music.
Join in Vienna Pub Crawl here

Kill the night and have a fantastic party experience in Vienna

6. Sample the wine in the vineyards around Vienna

I have to be honest before I moved to Austria I thought its’ traditional drink was beer.

While this is true in western parts of Austria (and whilst still acknowledging that there are some decent local brews). It may come as a surprise that Vienna is actually smacked bang in the middle of the wine country.

The vineyards actually extend right up to the city boundary and are accessible by the public in many directions. These wineries in the summer open up small shops within the vineyards. People pop in after or during a day walking the green hills, taking in the beautiful views of Vienna in the distance over a glass of wine.

Austrians love ‘spritzer’, a combination of white wine and sparkling water, which makes your drink just that little more refreshing. My personal favorite is Mayer am Nussberg, about a 20-minute hike/stroll from Grinzing. You can access via the 38 tram and 38A bus from Shottenring.

Book a Full-Day Vienna Woods Wine Tour here

Visit Vienna's vineyard and have a taste of its delicious wine

7. Have a Wiener Schnitzel