Vienna Travel Guide (With Teens)
Watch your family’s face light up as they experience the magic of Vienna! Your family can enjoy a stroll along the grand Ringstrasse, devour a chocolate sachertorte, or learn to waltz to Strauss. Vienna has something for everyone, from eating delicious food to looking at world-class art. Check out our ultimate Vienna travel guide and start planning for your next trip.
The Ultimate Vienna Travel Guide
Things to do
1. Prater Amusement Park
Teenagers will love the historic Prater Amusement Park. Take a spin on the iconic Giant Ferris Wheel, scream on some thrill rides, enjoy the huge verdant park, and visit the eye-popping ROLLERCOASTER RESTAURANT. The restaurant looked like fun, but we did not make our way there.
2. Priceless Souvenirs
Family photos in a magical city tops any gift shop souvenir. A highlight from our trip was exploring Vienna’s hidden architectural gems with Localgrapher photographers, Sebastian & Malgosia. Forget tiresome selfies — our Localgrapher photo shoot created precious memories and the perfect picture for our holiday cards! This experience not only captured the excitement of a new city, but also was so much fun to do.
Available in over 400 cities, Localgrapher provides professional photographers that have the best insight on photo locations. Together, you and the photographer will decide on the backdrop for your professional photos.
3. Hofburg Complex: Sisi Museum and Spanish Riding School
The Sisi Museum gives insight into the life of Sisi, one of Austria’s renown empress. Check out their intriguing exhibits and learn about the drama surrounding the life and death of Empress “Sisi” Elisabeth. Our family decided not to do the audio tour and used Rick Steves’ room-by-room guide, which narrated our journey through the exhibit.
For those who love horses, just a short walk from the Sisi Museum is the UNESCO World Heritage site. This is the Spanish Riding School known for its world-famous Lippanzer horses. I recommend that you visit on practice days because the actual shows are quite expensive. During the summer, keep an eye out for their “Piber Meets Vienna” show. This show is a great opportunity to watch the mares and their amusing, young foals.
4. Visit an Art Museum
While this city literally overflows with art museums, these few standouts are my family’s favorites.
The historical setting of the Albertina Museum Vienna will delight culture seekers. This museum is housed in the Hofburg Imperial Palace, one of the largest palace complexes in the world. Make sure you seek out the creations of Picasso and Van Gog. Our favorite part was learning about the ornate Habsburg State Rooms.
Funky! Hip! Quirky! Kids love the Mumok (Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation Vienna). This family-friendly museum is located in the middle of the tremendous MuseumsQuartier complex. This a hub of summer outdoor activities which includes pop-up food stands, events and fairs. There are also discussions about “what is art?” and some fun interactive exhibits available.
No trip to Vienna is complete without seeing Gustav Klimt’s world-famous paintings. At the Belvedere Museum Vienna, you can see The Kiss (Lovers) and Judith painting in person! This baroque, former summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy, is a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site. It currently houses a tremendous collection of Austrian art, dating from the Middle Ages to today, and elaborate gardens.
5. Waltz Lessons
One of our all-time favorite afternoons was spent taking private waltz lessons through the Private Dance Academies by Waltz in Vienna. From the moment we stepped into this palatial space, we were handed glasses of champagne (non-alcoholic beverages for the girls) and we were immediately relaxed. Our talented instructor, Camilla, taught us the etiquette, history and steps of Strauss’ world-famous Viennese Waltz. Camilla put us at ease and truly made the afternoon a blast for us!
6. Vienna State Opera
Grab a hot dog at a local Wurstelstandand and wait in the “stand-by” entrance of the Vienna State Opera House. Don’t forget to pack one scarf per person (even during the summer —you can use this to reserve your standing space once you enter the theater), exact change, and a book or iPad to occupy your time. I think that this is definitely worth the wait. The music and voices of Hansel and Gretel filled the entire theater and my girls stood (without complaining) throughout the entire show.
Also, each ‘standing room only’ spot has its a multi-lingual monitor. If you plan to secure tickets that includes this function, be sure to read other detailed articles explaining all the steps involved. We will never forget this world-class opera experience. The best part was that it was a total of 12 Euros for the four of us!
7. Haus Der Musik (House of Music)
This kid-friendly museum, Haus Der Musik, invites your family to enter into an interactive world of music. You can walk through exhibits and learn about different composers and the science of sound. I recommend you check out the “womb” room, which is a dark, empty space simulating the sounds of a womb. You can even step up and virtually conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra!
Where to Eat
With hundreds of cafes and restaurants to choose from, it can become overwhelming to decide where to eat. Whether you crave chocolately sachertortes (Austrian torte), tasty Weiner schnitzels (breaded veal), or sweet apple strudel, you will find something you love in this foodie city. Here are the spots we visited, but please add your favorites in the comments section below.
1. Waterfront Kitchen
Waterfront Kitchen, located in the Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront, is a family-friendly restaurant that has locally sourced ingredients, great service and an upscale setting. During the summer, dine on the restaurant terrace and watch boats drift by on the Danube River.
Our highlights include: the Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad, Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad, Pan-fried Scallops in sausage-chive dressing, and an Austrian filet steak. My daughter’s favorite was the Asparagus Risotto. You must also make sure you save room for the warm, homemade chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice cream.
If you are staying at the Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront, you should also check out the Waterfront Kitchen’s breakfast buffet.
2. Buffet Trzesniewski
Much to my girls’ surprise, this is not a buffet at all! All guidebooks recommend this famous “sandwich shop.” However, these are not your typical sandwiches. The Buffet Trzesniewski is a smorgasbord of tiny sandwiches and adorable mini-beers. Just a heads up, you should be aware that there are no traditional kid-friendly options. However, the colorful way they serve their egg salad and tuna makes eating these little sandwiches a fun experience.
3. Cafe Hopping
A “must thing” to do is experience at least one classic Viennese cafe. Fun fact — in 2011, Viennese coffee houses, dating from the 17th century, were added to the UNESCO cultural heritage list! Your family will love the intricate window displays at Cafe Demel. We also fancied the historically elegant Cafe Mozart, dating from 1794, which is nestled right by the Opera House. It offers a perfect family-friendly stop for Viennese cuisine, coffee, and dessert.
4. Emile Restaurant & Bar
Highlights for us included the Wiener Schnitzel with potato salad, the hearty steak sandwich and addictive French fries. However, my personal favorite was the pumpkin vegetarian goulash. They also have a wide variety of sandwiches and burgers, as well as an inexpensive kids menu. For dessert, our girls enjoyed the Apple Strudel with vanilla sauce.
Also, don’t forget to stop by the free photo booth, located near the bar, where your family can capture memories with black and white pics!
1. Vienna PASS
Purchasing a Vienna PASS can save your family precious time and money while exploring the city. The Vienna PASS provides admission to over 60 sites and often allows you to skip the long lines (my kids’ favorite perk). The Vienna Pass also includes access to the ‘Hop On Hop Off Vienna Sightseeing Tour Bus’, which provides a great overview of the city, even in inclement weather.
We found that both the tram and the metro were safe to use and extremely easy to navigate. I would consider using the red, public Viennese tram system to travel to sights along the famous Ringstrasse. Vienna’s Ringstrasse is a 5.3 kilometer long grand boulevard, filled with many of Vienna’s monumental buildings built during the Historicism period in the 1860s to 1890s. Some examples would include the Vienna State Opera and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Where to Stay
The Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront welcomes families with its spectacular view of the Danube River and a delicious on-property restaurant. It also has spacious guest rooms that fit four people (a rarity in Europe) and is close to a metro train station. It is also within walking distance to the Ernst Happel Stadium, which holds many concerts and sporting events. This top-rated hotel is the perfect home base for families when visiting Vienna.
Whether you choose to watch an opera or explore a museum, Vienna has so much to offer. Vienna, Austria should definitely make the top of your list this year. With this ultimate Vienna travel guide, you and your family will definitely experience the best of Vienna!
Lisa’s family was provided with some complimentary services and meals at a few of the restaurants. This was so she could try them and review them for your information. Lisa chose the above attractions/restaurants based on their reviews and recommendations from friends.
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Lisa has been traveling all her life…and loving it! Leaving the sunny skies of Miami, Lisa traveled to Philadelphia where she attended the University of Pennsylvania…stayed for…