the essence of vienna
by Sandra Sieder & Maria Gneissl
Take a deep breath with us and inhale the vibe of this breathtaking city, this heavenly place on earth that we call home.
Stroll around in one of the many parks making Vienna so green and liveable to fill your lungs with fresh air. Or walk out a bit wiggly from the club after having danced to electronic beats the entire night and fill your empty stomach at a nearby “Würstlstandl“. Take a big bite of delicious Sachertorte in one of the legendary cafés. Or let us taste fresh olives at the cosy Naschmarkt. Listen to the world’s leading classic orchestra and opera in impressive architectural surroundings. Hear people talking all kinds of languages and dialects in the Brunnenmarkt neighbourhood, which is still to become Vienna’s hippest area. Watch the artwork from Klimt and Hundertwasser at Albertina and Belvedere. Hang out at Kunsthalle for a good dose of contemporary art and chill-out music along with likeminded people.
Explore the psychoanalysis’ history at the Siegmund Freud museum - or instead of the red sofa, choose to lay down either in the sun-chairs at Vienna’s beach bars or on the bright coloured Enzi benches at open art space MusemsQuartier area. Follow the routes from the historic movie “3rd man“ on a tour through Vienna’s underground canal system or let us cheer at the rehearsal of the latest upcoming indie band in a secret underground concert location.
Feel at home.
Feel what it is like to be in our home city.
Feel how much more it is out there for you to explore. Let us take your hand.
The past has never been so bright
by Lena Enzinger | Idealist | Copywriter | Bon Vivant
Lena is fond of talking, travelling and filling her diary with new impressions every day. She works as a copywriter and concept developer in an online advertising agency and loves Vienna since spring 2000.
If I met you for the first time tomorrow, beloved Vienna, I’d be terribly excited. Why?
Yes, some people say, you´re a stagnant little big city with the appeal of a sleeping starlet hundreds of years after her golden age.
You’re in the heart of Europe, but no finger on the pulse of time. And it’s true, you’re an impressive capitol, the Habsburgs reigned and resided here from the 16th to 19th century – epochs like Baroque (in Hofburg or Karlskirche), Rococo (in Schloss Schönbrunn), Biedermeier (e.g. at Spittelberg) and Jugenstil (Otto Wagner’s Kirche am Steinhof or Olbrich’s Secession with Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze) left their marks. But then I take a closer look and find my twenty-something friends in Adolf Loos’ American Bar (created and opened in 1908), the Creative Club Austria’s party at dignified Konzerthaus (1913), or Techno
parties at the Kunsthistorisches Museum (1891). I love my office at Palais Schönborn (1698), the brut-bar at Künstlerhaus (1868) and those gay parties at Otto Wagner Pavillon (1898).
Why, meeting you for the first time now, would be even more exciting than it was 11 years ago, when I left my childhood home in the countryside and moved to the 9th district?
It´s the fun I have, talking to a friend at Aida (a Viennese café chain that hasn’t lost its 1950s feel) with the funny Viennese accent, the mainly elderly costumers around us employ. And the excitement on a Friday night before my friends come to see my new flat in an old primary school building close to Donaukanal. It´s the perfect taste of your tab water and going with you on a journey through time: Every time I stroll through your narrow alleys, closed for traffic at night, you bring me back in time. Beneath me your cobblestoned streets, beside me your bourgeois buildings with their tiny windows and facades, crumbling in elegance, I´m surrounded by broad European history and its countless personal miseries and joys.
I’m jealous of anyone whose first visit still lies ahead.
„Wien, Wien nur du allein, sollst stets die Stadt meiner Träume sein!“
INNER CITY | 1. District
On my way home from the office near Freyung I pass your stunning Palais with chandeliers, huge as treetops. Each time I try to imagine the time when horse-drawn carriages filled the streets instead of cars. If there is one thing, your first district is made for it’s „Gemütlichkeit“, the cosiness of having a coffee, a cake and some pleasant chitchat. My favourite cafés for time-travelling: Kleines Café, Café Alt Wien, Café Prückel and Café Korb. On the way there and back I love to go on a trip around the Ringstraße to explore the historicism of the 1860s, hopping on the D-tram at Börsegasse and staying on until Schwarzenbergplatz.
LEOPOLDSTADT | 2. District
At Schwedenplatz I cross the bridge over your canal to enter Leopoldstadt. Stroll along the new office buildings and plunge into the Karmelitermarkt. The neighbourhood has become very popular over the last few years, some friends moved to that „Grätzl“. I enjoy dinner at Madiani or Pizza Mari and shop at Kaas am Markt. On sunny days I take 1-tram to Prater Hauptallee, enjoy a picnic at Jesuitenwiese and try to envision the Habsburgs using that area as their hunting property. Here, in 2nd district, you are my ”City of Music“, hosting Fluc/Wanne and Pratersauna, two of Vienna’s freshest clubs. The latter used to be an infamous sauna for Vienna’s society from the 1960‘s on until it was converted into an outstanding techno club in 2009.
FREIHAUSVIERTEL | 4. District
You make my Thursdays in Vienna: After a snack of Oriental (Dr. Falafel), Asian (Li‘s Cooking) or Viennese (Eiserne Zeit) food at Naschmarkt, the huge and famous food-market which borders the 4th and 6th district, I drift through the evening along Freihausviertel’s streets, home to some of the most interesting galleries (in Schleifmühlgasse) and ”ve.sch” (in Schikanedergasse). Later on I have some drinks at one of my four favourite bars in that area: Xpedit Kiosk, Schikaneder (bar and cinema), Aromat or Transporter. - Prost!
I remember the years before you opened in 2001 and gave a remarkable complex for modern art and culture to the people of Vienna. Today it’s unimaginable not meeting friends in your urban living space for students, tourists, museum goers, sitting between 9 museums like „Leopold Museum“ and „Mumok“, the quartier21 creative cluster, cafés and outdoor restaurants. To me it’s just as well that we would mark the passing of each year by when the „Enzi“-benches receive a new colour of paint annually. You got it all: performing arts, architecture, music, fashion, theater, dance, digital culture. And a cultivated lunch in the sunny courtyard.
NEUBAU (SPITTELBERG) | 7. District
Biedermeier architecture, cobblestoned alleys and small shops come to my mind when I think of you. It’s the intimate narrow roads almost without any traffic I like about you. Streets like Lindengasse, Zollergasse and Mondscheingasse. On Saturdays I love to brunch at Café Europa or Amerlingbeisl. I get a haircut at Less Is More or just enjoy the smell of their homemade organic hair care products and buy a bottle of fragrant. The district’s best concept store from fashion to books is undoubtedly Park.
DONAUSTADT | 22. District
With more than one hundred parks you’re not only Vienna’s largest district but also the greenest. It’s as if you’re Vienna’s nearest getaway. On hot summer days I leave the city behind, get on the U1 metro line and have a refreshing swim at ‘die Insel’ as temporary inhabitants such as inline skaters, nudists, sun worshippers, dog owners and Wurststand owners call the amazingly vegetated island between two branches of the Danube. Alternatively I cross the Insel on the giant Danube bridge by metro or, preferably, motor scooter and head toward the riverbank of the Old Danube. A tete-a-tete underneath the trees, a swim to the opposite bank in the cool water, including a clandestine respite on some weekend home owner’s private jetty. Once we swim back we feel we have earned ourselves a beer from the Wurststand!