With its museums filled with masterpieces, brilliant baroque streetscapes and epicurean delights, Vienna is, quite simply, unmissable at any time, but the city is really turning it on in 2019, with a plethora of extra excuses for making a trip to the charming Austrian capital.
From street art and craft beer to summer beach bars and local food tours, here are our top 10 things to do in Vienna in 2019.
Head to Vienna in 2019 for ballet performances, food tours and more © Romas_Photo / Lonely Planet
1. Check out the quirky museum exhibition from Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf
Film director Wes Anderson and his partner Juman Malouf have curated an off-kilter exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which runs until 28 April 2019. Anderson and Malouf combed through more than four million items in the museum’s public and private art-history archives to create a show that combines a treasure trove of artifacts with a unique artistic perspective.
Called Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and other Treasures, many of the items on display are being shown for the first time. With Anderson’s famed eye for detail and composition, he and Malouf were given free reign to select pieces from Greek and Roman antiquities, the Imperial treasury, the Theater Museum, the Weltmuseum and the Kunstkammer. The result is a wonderful romp from ancient Egyptian ceramic beads to a hand-carved monkey from Indonesia.
2. Celebrate local street art
In the summertime, from 3-10 August, the annual Calle Libre festival for Urban Aesthetics is celebrated across Vienna. This street art festival, founded by Jakob Kettner to bring together live paintings, street art works, guided tours, film screenings and workshops for urban aesthetics, is a chance to explore Vienna’s burgeoning street art scene and discover works from local and international artists.
Check out the city's thriving craft beer scene © EddieHernandezPhotography / Lonely Planet
3. Hang-out at a local craft beer bar
Craft beer is finally coming of age in Vienna with a number of bars now specialising in locally made brews. Just off Mariahilferstrasse, in the heart of Vienna’s shopping district, Ammutson Craft Beer Dive will blow out the candles on its first successful year in 2019. Their commitment to fresh tap beer from local microbreweries is a welcome addition to the scene. Stalwart craft beer venues Beaver Brewing Company and Brickmakers Pub & Kitchen continue to provide a hearty mix of delicious food, alongside their expansive and regularly changing craft beer menus.
4. Take in city views from the spruced up Donauturm tower
The newly renovated Donauturm tower offers panoramic views across the city and the Danube river, and is one of the highest perspectives from which to view the entire surrounding region of Vienna. With its updated take on original 1960’s modern architecture, you can enjoy the refined rotating restaurant at a height of 170m, or grab a coffee in the more casual Turm Cafe at 160m high.
The tower was recently made over by renowned Austrian architect Gregor Eichinger, and sits on the leafy side of the Danube in the 22nd district. Climbing the Donauturm spire will surely be the high point of your experience in Vienna.
Strap on your walking boots for the annual autumn wine hiking day © Greg Elms / Lonely Planet
5. Take to the hills for the Vienna wine hiking day
The hills surrounding Vienna are awash with vineyards and views, ripe for hiking and tippling in equal measure. Held in autumn, the annual wine hiking day sees over 190 winemakers set up small wooden huts along the popular walking paths above Vienna, where thirsty hikers can stop in to try the fresh wine harvest of the year.
Pick up your glass from one of the hiking-day stations at the bottom of the trail, and meander your way from Neustift to Nussdorf, Strebersdorf to Stammersdorf, or the shorter Ottakring to Neuwald route. The ‘hikes’ themselves are quite low impact and allow plenty of time to stop, sip and enjoy the fresh air.
6. Discover a new neighbourhood hotspot
The 15th district, just beyond Westbahnhof station, is experiencing a rejuvenation thanks to community driven events, interesting stores and markets. Brunch and coffee lovers can get their fill at Landkind Bauernladen & Marktcafe, Das Augustin and Turnhalle 5, and see Austria’s best barista slinging lattes at GOTA coffee. Hidden down the district's side alleys is the unique indie art gallery, Improper Walls, and quirky stores such as Metaware, a ‘gift shop for nerds & geeks’.
In the evenings, there’s a wealth of food and drink options to explore in the district, from Das Eduard’s pita burgers on its outdoor terrace, to indie bar ein affee and wine haven Reinwein. Vegetarians can enjoy the secluded delights of restaurant and art gallery Hollerei, a short walk from Meidling Hauptstrasse station.
With an Ikea ‘urban store’ slated to open in the district by 2020, the Rudolfsheim-Funfhaus area – cheekily nicknamed ‘Rudolfscrime’ for its sins of the past – is set to be one of Vienna’s growing hotspots of 2019.
There are 'wurst' ways to spend a day than with a local food tour of Viennese cuisine © Krzysztof Dydynski / Lonely Planet
7. Join a food tour hosted by locals
Founded by local couple Melinda and Thomas, the Vienna Food Tour offers insider knowledge of a variety of cuisines that influenced Viennese food. The tour, hosted by Viennese natives, takes you to different, seasonally appropriate, locations where you can sample some of the best food and drinks. Get in fast as there are limited dates to book your authentic Viennese eating experience.
8. Head to Copa Cagrana beach for some fun in the sun
Just beyond the well-worn tourist trail of the city centre, nestled by the Donauinsel, lies Copa Cagrana Beach, a happening stretch of sandy beach bars, pop-up food stalls and a large open-air TV viewing area that locals flock to in the summer months.
Opening only between June and September, you have to be quick to enjoy the beach atmosphere, volleyball courts, trampolines and green space beside the water. Nibble on delicate Trześniewski sandwiches (open-faced finger sandwiches) as you look across the Donaukanal, or satiate your summer cravings with a fresh spritzer at Wienerwessweinwunderbar.
9. Spend the night in an analogue-only suite for a digital detox
Seeking a true digital detox can be challenging, with a constant barrage of tech an unavoidable part of our daily lives. To help you stay offline and relax, 25 Hours hotel has collaborated with Supersense analogue cafe to create the first ‘analogue hotel room’ for your perfectly curated escape from modern life.
Replacing wi-fi and wide screens with a typewriter, VHS player and vinyl records, the suite offers a stylish retreat to the simpler technologies of decades gone by. Perfect for a truly unplugged weekend getaway.
Turn insects into ingredients at a ZIRP cooking course © Praisaeng / Lonely Planet
10. Try an insect cooking course at ZIRP
Explore the emerging trend in sustainable eating – insect-based food – with a cooking course. Utilising high-quality insects sourced from Austria and Europe, bred specifically for consumption with professional chefs to guide your experience, the ZIRP cooking course is designed to feed and educate concurrently.
A five-course menu and background information on the advantages of insect-based eating, offer a unique experience to usher your tastebuds into the growing world of crunching down on creepy crawlies.
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