I headed to this city with some friends in the winter of 2019, before everything got crazy and the world shut down. When we had made a plan for our trip, we had gathered recommendations for almost all of the countries and cities we were visiting. Yet somehow, when it came to Vienna, we had no clue. Perhaps it’s because we hadn’t known of anyone else that had gone, or because Vienna is not often a city that pops up on travel lists. So we essentially showed up with no plan and no idea what to expect. (Which, if I’m being completely honest, is my preferred way to travel). 

The first problem we needed to tackle was how the heck we were supposed to get to our air bnb from the train station. We were tired, dirty and all a little irritated with each other after being together for 10 days straight with no breaks. Navigating getting around a new city, especially when you don’t speak the language, is typically the most stressful part of the journey. Thankfully, most countries have apps (in English) to help you purchase train/ bus tickets. My advice would be to try and see if there are apps to download as soon as you get to a new country. 

Best Things To Do In Vienna City 

Things To Do In Vienna: Visit Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens 

Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens are a must visit when in vienna
Some of the lovely plants found in the Palmenhaus Schönbrunn.

If this place was stunning in the dead of winter when I went, I can’t even imagine what it would look like in the spring or summertime. Or even fall. The Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens are a must visit when in Vienna. The grandeur of the palace coupled with the natural beauty of the sprawling gardens will keep you and your party occupied for hours, and daydreaming about living in a place like this. 

The breathtaking architecture, the lake, the gardens that reach for miles and miles all compound to create a wonderland to enjoy. My friends and I thoroughly enjoyed standing up the hill behind Neptune Fountain and taking in the views from the palace from that vantage point. This is a great place to take pictures of your group, or to rest on a hot day. The palace itself is open from 8:30am to 5pm daily (tickets are 30 euro for adults), and the gardens are open from 6:30am to 5pm daily. There is much more to do than just walk around the grounds though.

Visit The Children’s Museum Schönbrunn Palace 

vist to the palace is one of the best things to do in vienna
Schönbrunn Palace on a sunny day.

On the ground floor in the west wing of the palace sits the Children’s Museum. Here, families and young kids can come and learn about the way of life of an imperial child. To aid in comprehension and understanding of the differences in lifestyles, children have the opportunity to play with old toys. During the tour, children will be able to help set the dining table just like how they did back hundreds of years ago. At the end of the tour, the children will even be able to dress up like a prince or princess! This is an experience that you do not want to miss out on if you are traveling with young children. Ticket prices and other information can be found here

Try Out The Virtual Reality At Schönbrunn Palace 

apital of austria
The magnificent Palmenhaus Schönbrunn

What I love about this place is the eagerness to combine modern experiences while remaining true to traditional roots. This virtual reality activity is the perfect example of the past and present coming together. It’s also the ultimate way to become educated about the history of the palace and its inhabitants in a fun, easy-to-digest way. 

For the experience, the group is brought into the apartment of the crowned prince and given VR headsets that allow you to be present for important events. These events span across 223 years, from the rules of Emperor Leopold through Franz Joseph. Notable elements of the reality include observing the planning of the modern day palace, listening to a performance by Mozart and dining with an Emperor and Empress. 

Additional Facts 

The virtual reality tour is available in 19 languages and lasts about 24 minutes. Children from 8 years old are able to participate in this experience, and there are over 100 seats available at a time. The experience runs from 9am-5pm daily, and information on tickets can be found here

If you are wanting to make the most out of your trip to Schöbrunn, then this is definitely an activity to invest in! 

Visit Palmenhaus Schönbrunn 

vienna austria is a beautiful place
My friend Hannah sitting in the Palmenhaus Schönbrunn.

Located on the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace Park, this giant greenhouse is a must see when you come to Vienna. My friends and I had already visited Schönbrunn Palace but the grounds are so large that we didn’t see this impressive three room glass structure. Funny enough, some of us came here by accident a few days later while trying to meet up with the other half of our group for brunch. We were supposed to go to Palmenhaus, a brunch place in the city modeled after this greenhouse. We didn’t realize until we stepped inside that we were across town and had already missed our reservations!

Honestly though, I’m so thankful for our mistake because it gave us some of my favorite memories in Vienna. This space is absolutely stunning. It was built in 1882 and hosts tropical plants from all over the world. Each of the three rooms has a different temperature and so the types of plants vary greatly which makes this experience so much fun! Some of the plants were as tall as the building itself, and made you feel as though you were in a type of rainforest. 

My friend and I, who were both environmental studies majors, were in heaven here. 

Things To Do In Vienna: Go To The Vienna State Opera

what to do in vienna.....attend the opera
The Vienna Opera House is a must see when visiting Vienna.

This capital of Austria is famous for its opera, so of course I had to put it on the list. This opera house opened in 1869 and has over 1,700 seats. This building has lots of history, as it was the first building on Vienna Ring Road in this Vienna city. While it’s stunning from the outside, it’s hard to comprehend its true size until you go inside. The design of the space is interesting to behold as the different stories of seats are truly stacked on top of each other. Six different floors of sections tower over the stage in the middle and offer ample views and wonderful acoustics no matter where you’re positioned. 

When I came here, we bought tickets the day before it was sold out. We bought them so late that only the seats in the standing section were available. But let me just tell you, I didn’t even notice because I was so mesmerized by the performance to think about my seats. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing an opera before, then I highly recommend putting this at the top of your list of things to do in Austria. Even though I wasn’t able to understand what they were saying, it didn’t matter. The music itself spoke to me in a way I hadn’t experienced before. 

Things To Do In Vienna: Go To Prater Wien Amusement Park 

Our AirBnb was in Prater, so we could see the giant ferris wheel everytime we would walk to and from the apartment. So obviously, we had to check it out. This ferris wheel is even more impressive when you consider that it dates back to 1897. (It’s been well maintained and updated though so don’t feel too nervous about trying it out). In addition to the wheel, there are a number of rides to check out such as rollercoasters, and a giant swing ride that takes you high up into the air, and also gives you great views of the city. 

In the winter, there is also a market which has been running this year from November 18 and will continue through January 7. Here, you can walk amongst the attractions while experiencing other events such as live music, and booths of merchants selling everything from alcoholic beverages to tasty treats. While I came to Vienna about a month after this market had closed, I have heard from other friends that have visited that it is like walking in your own winter wonderland. 

Things To Do In Vienna: Visit The State Hall Of The Austrian National Library 

visit to the library tops the vienna things to do
The Austrian National Library is a wonder to behold.

Okay so I realize that not everyone is a book worm like I consider myself to be. However I truly don’t think you need to be in order to visit this magnificent place. The Austrian National Library is the largest one in Austria, and it is probably one of the most beautiful libraries you will ever enter. The State Hall, where the library is, was built in the 18th century and boasts many frescoes around its 80 meter long and 30 meter tall structure. 

Over 200,000 books reside in this impressive library, so if you love to read and be surrounded by literature, this is one of the best Vienna things to do. It keeps its grand appearance in part because of the occasional refurbishments it goes through. Luckily for visitors now, they recently finished their latest refurbishment between July and December of 2022. So those that are wondering what to do in Vienna in the coming years, you hopefully should be able to do so without any issues. 

Things To Do In Vienna: Visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral 

One thing about Europe is that they love their cathedrals. And Vienna is absolutely no exception to this. While I will be the first to admit that sometimes I’m tired of looking at cathedral after cathedral, I think this one in Vienna is worth it. For a couple of reasons. One is that its architecture is truly impressive to behold. It’s so eye catching it’s hard to not just stand there staring at it, mouth agape. The other reason is that it sits in the bustling center of the city. So it’s rather random in its placement (or rather, in the buildings placements around it). There are so many modern shops and restaurants that exist right next to this large historical monument it gives a duality that is hard to explain. 

The original church began its construction back in 1137, which is wild to think about. Unfortunately, an intense fire destroyed everything but the foundation of that structure and so it was rebuilt in 1263. Since then, some bits of the building have been slowly renovated or re-built, such as after World War 2 for example. Inside the church, rest the remains of many historic Austrian figures. Whether you want to walk around admiring the exterior, take a tour inside, or visit a mass held here, there are many different ways to experience this wonderful building. 

Things To Do In Vienna: Extra Suggestions

Get a Kebab 

My friends and I are obsessed with Kebabs, and so whenever we tried out a new European country we were sure to visit a kebab shop every chance we got. I have to say that the kebabs we got in Vienna were some of my absolute favorites. This is where we first tried out the Kebabs that come in bowls, which was a complete game changer for us. (Although I do have to admit, I prefer the traditional style). There are so many little shops and stands scattered throughout the city that you shouldn’t have any problem finding one to try out. You just might have a little problem trying to determine which one is your favorite! 


I have to say that I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into when I came to Vienna. I didn’t know a lot of people who had been there before that I could talk to, so I really felt like I went in blind. However it became a place so near and dear to me because of the wonderful atmosphere of the city. The buildings were gorgeous, and the people were so lovely. It also was a lot calmer than many of the other European towns we had visited. I’m not sure if that was the result of us going during an off-season or what, but  it felt very calming. I know I just scratched the surface in this article, but I hope you are able to go and try out fun things to do in Vienna for yourself. 


Is Vienna very expensive? 

I would say it was one of the more expensive cities that we visited during our trip. Europe itself is not known for being very cheap, and Vienna is definitely not going to break any records in that regard. That being said, our AirBnb was not that expensive, and you can always shop at the grocery stores rather than eat out.

Is it safe to walk in Vienna at night?

Where my friends and I stayed, in Prater, we felt very safe walking around at night. There was four of us girls that shared an apartment and we had no problem getting to our place when it was dark. I can’t speak for every part of the city, but as a whole I never felt as though I was in danger when I was here. That being said of course, use precaution and don’t put yourself into a situation that seems risky.

What is the best month to go to Vienna?

The summer months between June and August are probably your best bet when going to the city. That’s when most things are going to be open. Also the weather is really nice during this time of year and the city erupts into different shades from all of the plants.


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