When visiting Vienna, you don’t want to get stuck in the places that are clogged with tourists. You want to mingle with the locals and enjoy the city like they do every day. This list is full of secret places Vienna locals don’t want you to know about. Make sure you’re discrete when you visit them. You don’t want to let on that you know the secrets!
1. The Flower Gardens
In the neighborhood of Hirschstetten are the city flower gardens, where gardeners grow the plants which are planted throughout the city of Vienna. The flower gardens are a great place to visit all year round, even in December, when there is a Christmas market which only the locals know about.
2. WestLicht Gallery
It’s no secret that Vienna has plenty of art, but sometimes small galleries can be more enjoyable than huge museums. WestLicht is a casual art gallery in downtown Vienna which features photography exhibits on a variety of different topics. It’s perfect if you want to dip your feet into some culture without spending several hours in a museum. They also have a cafe and a bookshop.
3. Free Music at MDW
Vienna is as famous for its classical music as its art, but you might not want to spend the money on or contend with the crowds at the big concert halls. If so, you can go to one of the free concerts regularly put on by students at the city’s university of music (MDW). The students need an audience, and you need music. It’s a perfect match!
If you’re looking to try something new and mingle with the locals in Vienna, Boulderbar is a great one-stop adventure. It combines bouldering—a type of rock-climbing with lower, more difficult routes—and beer. Get some advice from one of the regulars on how to do your first climb, then sit down for a beer and let the conversation continue to flow.
5. Dragnonerhäufel by the River
A day at Dragnonerhäufel is the closest you can get to a day at the beach in Vienna. Dragnonerhäufel is an expansive grassy area by the Danube River, where you can have a picnic, go swimming, go boating, or play frisbee or volleyball. It’s a great destination for families.
6. Arenbergpark Historical Site
Arenbergpark is home to one of the six flak towers that the Nazis built in Vienna. A visit to Arenbergpark is an opportunity to see a piece of history and enjoy the beautiful landscape around it. Strangely, they blend into each other quite nicely. Another one of the flak towers can be found in Augarten park, but it will likely be more crowded than Arenbergpark.
7. Africa Days on Danube Island
This is more of an event than a place, but if you’re in Vienna in early August, it’s definitely worth checking out. Africa Days on Danube Island (an island in the Danube River) showcases African food, music, and merchants.
8. Zawodosky Winery
Zawodosky winery is a so-called “hidden gem” that not many tourists know about. You can enjoy a glass of wine in the garden and get a beautiful view of Vienna. They also have an organic buffet.
9. Strudlhofstiege Historical Site
Viennese painter and sculptor Peter Strudel founded an art school called the Imperial Painting Academy in 1690. After Strudel died in 1714, Strudlhofstiege was built right next to his art school. The grand staircase is what makes this historical site so iconic, and yet, this secret place is hidden in plain site.
10. The Vienna Woods
They’re not exactly secret, but they are a popular recreation area for locals. Known as the Wienerwald in Vienna, the Vienna Woods have 24 hiking trails and 41 mountain biking trails. If you hike up the Kahlenberg mountain to the Stefaniewarte look-out, you’ll get a spectacular view of the Vienna Woods and the city.
There you have it. You’re now ready to tour Vienna without being a tourist. But remember: You didn’t hear these secrets from us!
Featured photo courtesy of Just Call Me Mo/Flickr