Photograph by Georg Knoll/Bilderberg/Aurora Photos
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Prater amusement park still delights Viennese of all ages since the opening of its Giant Ferris Wheel in 1897.

Photograph by Georg Knoll/Bilderberg/Aurora Photos

Vienna Must-Dos

Lipizzaner Stallions

Majestic city ambassadors since the 16th century; teams of white stallions, trained in classical dressage at the Spanish Riding School, perform complex movements and jumps resembling dancing; public performances at the school, located at Hofburg Royal Palace. First district, Michaelerplatz 1; tel. 43 1 533 90 31 0; fee.

Giant Ferris Wheel

Fanciful city landmark built in 1897 for the jubilee of Emperor Franz Joseph I; 212 feet (64.75 meters) tall at its highest point, offering sweeping panoramas of Vienna through the glass windows of 15 spacious red cabins; four cabins furnished with tables for catered dinners and parties. Second district, Prater 90; tel. 43 1 729 54 30; fees.

Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna

Commissioned by Empress Maria Theresa in the 18th century; 9,000 species representing every continent; oldest plants include a 200-year-old Ginkgo biloba, and an Oriental plane tree and two tulip poplars, all more than 150 years old; features endangered native plants such as österreichischer Drachenkopf (Dracocephalum austriacum) and Pracht-Königskerze (Verbascum speciosum). Third district, Rennweg 14; tel. 43 1 4277-54100.


Home to the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt paintings, including “The Kiss” and “Judith I”; baroque palace surrounded by a beautiful park. Third district, Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27; tram D, station Schloss Belvedere; tel. 43 1 79 557 0; fees.

Heurigen Wine Taverns

Heurigen are traditional wine taverns, most situated in the vineyards on the outskirts of Vienna, and some of the best in the Grinzing district; typically serve house wine plus a small buffet of blood sausages, cheese spreads, potato salad, and breads.

Sisi Museum

Celebrates the life and legend of Empress Elisabeth “Sisi” Habsburg; includes clothing, portraits, personal items, and the death mask created after her 1898 assassination in Geneva; covers several rooms in the Imperial Apartments of the Hofburg Imperial Palace. First district, Hofburg; tel. 43 1 533 75 70; fee.

Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum)

Collection includes originals by Venetian Renaissance artists Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto; also Flemish masters Rubens and van Dyck, plus Rembrandt, Bruegel, and Velázquez; features Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquities. First district, Maria Theresien-Platz; tel. 43 1 525 24 0; fee.

MuseumsQuartier (MQ)

“A place to start the night out; only about one third of visitors actually go to the museums.”—Thomas Rottenberg, local journalist. Cultural district covering more than 71,760 square yards (60,000 square meters); home to seven museums, including the Leopold Museum and MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation Vienna), plus numerous exhibition halls and recreational facilities; also outdoor cafés, bookstores, restaurants, shops, and children’s art activities. Seventh district, Museumsplatz 1; tel. 53 1 523 5881 1731; fee for museums.

Naturhistorisches Museum

Natural history museum with more than 5,000 objects on display; one of the world’s largest meteorite collections, including remnants from an 1882 Romanian meteor shower; also dinosaur skeletons, a giant topaz weighing 258 pounds (117 kilograms), and the “Venus of Willendorf,” female statuette circa 23,000 B.C. First district, Maria-Theresien Platz; tel. 43 1 521 77 276.

Schönbrunn Palace, Park, and Zoo

Baroque palace surrounded by an elaborate park—star-pattern system of lanes, walks of trees, fountains, and the world’s oldest operating zoo, home to giant pandas and Galápagos tortoises; palace tour includes the Mirror Room, site of six-year-old Mozart’s first concert before Empress Maria Theresa. Thirteenth district, Schloss Shönbrunn; tel. 43 1 81113 239; fee.;