There’s just as much to see and do in the Austrian capital when the sun goes down as there is during the light of day. Make the most of your time in the city and set your body clock to night time, because there’s all kinds of dining, entertainment, tours, drinking and partying to do!
After a long day exploring, you’re going to be hungry. Luckily, there are plenty of great restaurants where you can enjoy the best Austrian cuisine. Schnitzel can be found across the city, and at any beisl, a sort of informal bistro, you can find many of the most typical Viennese dishes. Follow your schnitzel with another famous treat, strudel, at Schnitzelwirt, accompanied by local Wiener Gemischter Satz wine. Another great option for local dining is the “Austrian Dinner Show” – 3 courses of regional specialties interspersed with local music and dancing, in the atmospheric surroundings of the basement vaults under the town hall.
For a particularly special meal, book a candlelit dinner for two on the Riesenrad Ferris Wheel. The spectacular view complements any special occasion, and the candlelight lends itself well to romantic moments.
If you like your entertainment separate to your dinner, there’s nothing more quintessentially Viennese than opera. The world-famous State Opera (Staatsoper) features works from the pride of the city – Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven or Schubert, who all lived or worked here – expertly performed by the Vienna Philharmonic. If opera is your passion (and even if it’s not), watching a performance in Vienna is not to be missed lightly.
More classical pieces can be enjoyed at a more wallet-friendly price, courtesy of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. The talented students showcase their skills at various venues throughout the year, and some of the numerous events are free.
Jazz enthusiasts are also well-catered for, with Jazzland and Porgy & Bess offering a great range of live music between them, from traditional to blues to bebop. Jazzland is Vienna’s oldest jazz cellar, and has an intimate atmosphere; Porgy & Bess is arguably more popular, and is buzzing almost every night, year-round. The packed schedule also accommodates artists from other genres, a choice that fits its friendly vibe perfectly.
Many daytime tours can also be enjoyed in the evening, from tourist walks to see the landmark monuments in the historic centre, to rides in the fiaker, the traditional horse carriages. The night can feel magical as you pass underneath the streetlights, but if you have strong nerves, you can test yourself on a special night-time walking tour. Along with local myths and legends, you’ll discover the spooky side to Vienna’s most popular sights. If that sounds too fraught, consider a relaxing boat ride on the river, where you can watch the sun set over the city – there’s also the option of combining it with a pleasant dinner.
Bars and drinking
Summer evenings in Vienna mean one thing: heuriger. These traditional wine taverns are mostly found in close proximity to the vineyards that supply them, but the trip out is worth it for the stunning views of the Vienna Woods and the distant city centre.
There are plenty of places to indulge in some wine in the city centre, though, with crisp whites being especially common. For a quick glass before dinner, there’s an area in the old Jewish Quarter known as “the Bermuda Triangle” (Bermuda Dreieck) that is full of possibilities to pick from. Don’t get lost! The Triangle is the starting point for an International Pub Crawl that is popular among the younger crowd for its friendly guides and opportunities to get to know well-known pubs and new people.
For an upmarket feeling, head to Loos American Bar (named after the architect, Adolf Loos) and Sky Bar, which between them serve hundreds of different cocktails. Expect creative professionals at the former, and stunning views at the latter.
For some, nightlife means night clubs; be prepared for great parties and top-quality music. The main areas to check out are along the Gürtel, around the former Stadtbahn railway; around the Ringstrasse; and along the Danube Canal. One notable club in this latter area is Flex, a former subway that hosts DJs and bands, with no concerns about bothering the neighbours! Other unique locations include Fluc, in an old pedestrian tunnel, and Clubschiff, where you can party on a boat.
The last mentions go to U4, a popular haunt of local celebrities and the place to be – expect a wide range of music, but always lots of energy, and plenty of dancing; and Pratersauna, renowned for its techno and electro. Previously, in fact, a sauna, you can find multiple floors of music and even a swimming in summer.
In short, Vienna has all the nightlife you could need; you’ll never run out of things to do in the evening (or all night long!)