This post lists more than two dozen interesting activities and attractions to enjoy in Vienna throughout the year, including family-friendly ideas, fun after dark, and free things to do.
If you’re looking for more details about how to get around the city, how to save money, or how to learn about the history of Vienna, make sure to check some of the following posts:
1) Go See a Concert
The city of Vienna attracts hundreds of notable musical artists each year representing a wide range of genres.
If you’re a music fan, keep an eye on the calendar for the following stadiums and venues:
If you’re more interested in classical music, consider visiting the MusikVerein for an orchestral performance instead.
Check this list of concerts in Vienna to see what will be available while you’re visiting this historic city.
2) Visit Schönbrunn Palace
Much like Hofburg Palace, this is one of the most historic locations in Vienna and there are many beautiful things to see and do while you’re here.
Not only is Schönbrunn Palace a prime example of baroque architecture, but it is also the site of the Orangery, Privy Garden and maze, the Imperial Carriage Museum, and even the Schönbrunn Zoo.
Tickets for the grand tour are included at a discount with some tourist passes, making it easy to save some money during your trip to Vienna.
Alternatively, you can purchase admission to Schönbrunn Palace separately as well.
3) Ride the Vienna Ferris Wheel
At nearly 65 metres tall, it’ll be difficult to miss the giant Wiener Riesenrad (German for ‘Giant Wheel’) at the entrance of the Prater amusement park.
Although it was originally erected to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I in 1897, and it is still in operation to this very day.
If you want to ride one of the biggest, earliest Ferris wheels ever made, this is the place to go. It’s definitely one of the most family-friendly attractions in Vienna.
4) Take a Sightseeing Tour
There are several different types of tours available in Vienna that will take you to some of the most notable and historic locations in the city.
One of the easiest and most affordable options is to take a free walking tour
Alternatively, you can also take a hop on hop off bus tour which includes both commentary and transportation to and from many popular locations.
In addition to these outings, you can also take a sightseeing boat tour around the city!
5) Save Money With a Tourist Pass
If you’re planning to visit a lot of notable landmarks while visiting Vienna, it might make sense to purchase a tourist pass so you can save a few euros off general admission prices.
There are currently three different types of passes in Vienna: all-inclusive, set number of attractions, and travel discount passes.
The all-inclusive pass typically offers the best opportunity to save money, with dozens of different attractions included over the course of a specific amount of time (1, 2, 3, or 6 days).
Alternatively, the set number of attractions pass allows you to pay one flat price for 3, 4, or 5 different activities.
Finally, the travel discount pass covers the price of public transport for 24, 48 or 72 hours at a time. In addition to paying for travel, this pass also includes additional discounts of 10% - 50% off popular attractions.
Here are a few of the most popular attractions included with these tourist passes:
- Hop on Hop off Bus Tour |
- Schönbrunn Palace Grand Tour |
- Hofburg Imperial Palace |
- Kunsthistorisches Museum |
- City Cruises Vienna |
- Schönbrunn Zoo |
- Madame Tussauds |
- Vienna Ferris Wheel |
- Leopold Museum |
- Danube Tower |
- Belvedere |
- And more!
For additional information about how to use these services, please read our post about Vienna tourist passes.
6) Visit the Spanish Riding School
Catch a glimpse into the Lipizzanerstables at the Stallburg and then take a tour of the Winter Riding School.
Embark on a special architecture route with over 170 steps. Look out over the stunning Baroque roof construction and take in views of Vienna.
Tickets are already pretty affordable at just €15, but if you want to save some money on admission, keep in mind that this attraction is included with some tourist passes.
Alternatively, you can also purchase tickets here.
7) See the Imperial Treasury
This is one of the most notable and important chambers in the world, housing several treasures of the Habsburgs including the Austrian Imperial Crown and the crown jewels of the Holy Roman Empire.
Whether you’re a history buff or you just want to see some of the most beautiful treasures in all of Austria, this is one site you simply must visit!
As with many other notable sites, you could potentially save money on admission to this landmark by using a tourist pass.
8) Visit an Art Museum
As with most major cities, Vienna is home to several excellent art museums.
One of the best examples is the Belvedere, which hosts perhaps the most important collection of Austrian art dating from the middle ages to the present day.
Alternatively, you may also want to check out the Kunsthistoriches museum to see artistic works dating back from ancient Egypt to the 18th century!
For even more unique and historic artwork, head to the Leopold Museum for a variety of different styles and movements such as Viennese Art Nouveau, Expressionism and Modernism.
The Albertina is another notable location housing a permanent exhibition of Monet-Picasso. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the Habsburg state apartments and see several other exhibits!
Each of these art museums is included at a discount with at least one Vienna tourist pass, allowing you to save money on admission prices.
9) Visit a Coffee House
If you need a break, drop into a Viennese coffee house and experience a culture that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
With a history dating back to 1683, coffee houses in this city have developed many of their own traditions over the years.
For instance, waiters will almost always serve a glass of water with each cup of coffee, and many coffee houses look more like a pub with pool tables and card games on hand.
Many Viennese people treat the coffee house as something of a home away from home, so it’s a perfect place to rest after a long day of sightseeing.
Best of all, the price of admission is a cup of coffee.
10) Go to St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Arguably one of the most historic buildings in all of Vienna, this 12th-century gothic church definitely stands out in the city as one of its finest landmarks.
Not only was this the location where Mozart was once married, but it’s also the final resting place of Emperor Friedrich III and Prince Eugene of Savoy.
Whether you’re interested in the history of Vienna or you just want to see some of the best architecture in the city, St. Stephen’s Cathedral is a must-see.
11) Take the Kids to Schönbrunn Zoo
If you’re looking for some more family-friendly activities, this is probably one of the best options in all of Vienna.
After all, how many kids do you know who don’t like visiting the zoo?
In addition to all of the beautiful animals on display, fans of architecture are sure to appreciate the fact that this is the oldest Baroque zoo in the world.
One of the most popular exhibits is their panda pen, which currently houses two or the only giant pandas in all of Europe.
12) Go on a Ghost Tour
Vienna is quite old, so it shouldn’t surprise you to know that many people have reported some creepy experiences throughout the years.
There are also several myths, legends, and disturbing stories behind this city.
You can learn about all of these subjects on a Ghosts and Legends night tour which includes sites such as Hofburg Palace and Neuer Markt.
If you’re looking for something fun to do after dark, this ghost tour is suitable for kids as young as 10, making this a family-friendly activity.
13) Visit a Family-Friendly Museum
In addition to all the art history museums that you’ll find in Vienna, there are also several locations you can visit that will probably be a bit better suited to family audiences.
For example, you can go to Madame Tussauds, a wax museum that has become internationally recognized for its excellence.
If you’re going with older kids, consider visiting the Museum of Illusions instead. With several exhibits allowing you to experience some of the most mind-bending illusions imaginable, this is sure to be a hit with most families.
Alternatively, parents with younger children may want to take them to Kaiser Kinder – a children’s museum with plenty of fun and educational activities they can enjoy.
Tickets for some of these museums can be obtained at a discount by using a tourist pass.
14) Check Out Some Vienna Street Art
In addition to all the classic and modern art museums in this city, there is also a vibrant street art scene that you can get a glimpse of for free in several locations all around Vienna.
The best example is the Street Art Passage, which leads to the Museumsquartier and features a wide variety of artwork including references to several pop culture icons.
If you’re near the Danube Canal, make sure to take a look at the walls in this area for even more fabulous graffiti art.
The easiest way to experience all the most interesting artwork is simply to take a guided Vienna street art tour, as a tour guide will know all the best spots in the city.
There are many other interesting places to see the often impressive work of street artists, and you can find out more about them in this guide to Viennese street art.
15) Enjoy a Horse Drawn Carriage Ride
With so many historic sites to see in Vienna, what better way to experience them all than while taking a ride in a classic horse-drawn carriage?
These carriage rides include a sightseeing tour through the city centre, introducing you to the area and teaching you about notable landmarks.
While this isn’t an inexpensive activity, you can expect to pay around €90-€100 for a group of 4 people, or around €20-€25 per person.
Needless to say, it makes sense to enjoy this with as many people as possible.
This could easily be a good family activity, but you may also want to consider a carriage ride for a date night!
16) Take the Kids to Prater Theme Park
In addition to the giant Ferris wheel, Prater Theme Park features more than 250 extra attractions you can enjoy.
With indoor and outdoor roller coasters, free fall towers and even aquatic rides, you probably won’t have much trouble finding something to do while you’re here!
Admission to the park is free, but rides are ticketed. If you want to get a few tickets ahead of time, consider picking up the Prater Package with admission to 5 rides for around €20.
This is an ideal activity for families of all ages, as there are rides designed for both young and old.
Check the Prater amusement park website for more details.
17) Visit the Danube Tower
If you want to get a good view of Vienna, there’s no better place than the tallest landmark in the city.
During nice, sunny days, you can see for miles from the outdoor terrace at the top of the Danube Tower.
No matter what the weather is like, chances are you’ll still be able to enjoy the indoor view from the top.
There is also a nice cafe and restaurant where you can grab a snack while you’re there.
Admission to this site is included on many tourist passes, allowing you to save a few euros on tickets.
18) Spend Some Time at Donaupark
This huge public park is the site of the Danube Tower, and it’s a wonderful place to spend some time looking around at all the gardens in this area.
Donaupark is home to several free attractions, including a skate park, tennis areas, and even a miniature train that goes around the perimeter.
In addition to all these locations, you can also enjoy a nice picnic here, as there is plenty of green space to sit with friends or family and get a bite to eat.
19) Go on a Pub Crawl
If you’re looking for something fun to do after dark, consider taking a break to learn more about the fantastic pubs in the city by going on a pub crawl.
There is a variety of pub crawls offered in Vienna, including some which cover the best-known locations and others which will take you to the underground clubs and lesser-known spots.
Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to try some free drinks and/or save money with drink specials.
20) Take a Walk Around the Ringstrasse
Some of the most important sites in Vienna are located in Vienna’s historic centre, and you can find them along the circular boulevard known as Ringstrasse.
The following historic landmarks can be found along this road:
- Hofburg Palace
- Stock Exchange
- The Rathaus
- Art History Museum
- Natural History Museum
While a few of these sites may offer free admission, you can also use a tourist pass to save money on tickets for the museums and other popular locations in the area.
21) Go Shopping at Naschmarkt
Whether you just want to grab a few things to eat or you’re looking for souvenirs to bring home after your trip to Vienna, Naschmarkt is the place to visit.
This is one of the most popular markets in the city, and you’ll find roughly 120 different market stands here selling all kinds of items.
It won’t cost you anything to visit Naschmarkt, but you’ll probably want to bring some money along just in case you find something you want to purchase!
22) Visit Hofburg Palace
This is definitely one of the most popular landmarks in Vienna, and it currently houses several notable things to see such as the Imperial Apartments, the Imperial Silver Collection, the Sisi Museum and more.
Best of all, admission to this historic location is included with some tourist passes, allowing you to save a lot of money on tickets.
General admission includes access to pretty much all of the exhibits and collections in Hofburg Palace, so it’s almost like you’re getting multiple tickets for one price!
23) Learn About the Great Artists of Vienna
Many of the most beloved artists throughout history once called this city their home, and there are several locations in Vienna where you can learn all about them.
Fans of classical music might want to see the house where Ludwig van Beethoven once lived, the apartment of Johann Strauss, the birthplace of Franz Schubert and more.
If you’re more interested in architecture, you could head to the Otto Wagner Pavillon. You’ll also find perhaps the most significant collections of Austrian art at the Leopold Museum.
Admission to each of these locations is included at a discount with at least one Vienna tourist pass.
24) Take the Family to the House of Music
Although this museum is suited to visitors of all ages, they offer tours aimed specifically at kids during the weekends. These tours introduce children to several kinds of music and sounds.
In addition to learning about musical history, they’ll also have a chance to see animals dancing along to some music during a zoo concert!
While you’re at the museum, you’ll have the chance to learn about famous composers such as Mozart and Beethoven, discover more about Vienna Philharmonics and experience a multimedia opera.
25) Attend the Vienna State Opera
Although this event isn’t always held very frequently, it’s an excellent opportunity for anyone who happens to be visiting this city at the right time.
Whenever the Vienna Hofburg Orchestra performs, they usually play compositions from such notable performers as Mozart, Strauss, Lehár, and Kálmán.
This is an exclusive performance, so you can expect tickets to sell out well in advance. If you’re interested in attending the concert, make sure to get your ticket as soon as possible.
Bonus: Self-Guided Exploration Game
This is an excellent alternative to the traditional walking tour, giving you the opportunity to solve a puzzle as you explore the city at your own leisure and experience Vienna from a different perspective.
There are currently three exploration games available in Vienna with unique and interesting subjects.