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3 THE BEST NEIGHBORHOOD WALKS: Stephansdom, Belvedere, Schottenring & Alsergrund, The Museum Quarter

Maggie Childs FrommerMedia ePub

The controversial Haas Haus, in the heart of the UNESCO–protected old city.Stephansdom QuarterThis is a walk to suit the whole family. It takes you right to the historic heart of Vienna, to the foundations of ancient Roman Vindobona, and to some of the city’s oldest inns and churches. Explore the atmospheric maze of medieval alleyways surrounding Stephansdom, and enjoy the chichi shops of the Graben—as well as the best apple strudel in town. START: Stephansdom (U-Bahn 1/3 Stephansplatz).❶ ★★★ Stephansdom. See p 11, ❸.❷ ★★ Haas Haus. Created by Hans Hollein in the 1980s, this curvaceous building of polished granite, concrete, and glass, which houses a boutique hotel on the 6th and 7th floors, is one of Vienna’s most controversial pieces of modern architecture. Love it or hate it, it offers tremendous views of the Stephansdom from the rooftop bar (6th floor) and restaurant (7th floor). Stock-im-Eisenplatz. U-Bahn 1/3 (Stephansplatz).❸ ★★ Graben. This broad, pedestrianized shopping street was once the town moat, hence the name Graben (ditch). It later became a marketplace and is now one of the city’s finest boulevards. All the buildings date from the baroque, 19th-century, or Belle Epoque eras, and many still bear their K.u.K. (Kaiserlich und Königlich—Imperial and Royal) warrant. The exuberant baroque Pestsäule (Plague Column) in the middle of the street was erected to commemorate Vienna’s deliverance from the plague of 1679. Graben. U-Bahn 1/3 (Stephansplatz).

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Maggie Childs FrommerMedia ePub

Mozart souvenirs.

Arts & Entertainment Best Bets

You’ll find the best acoustics at Musikverein.

Best Acoustics

★★★ Musikverein, Karlsplatz/Bösendorferstrasse 12 (p 137)

Best Jazz Joint

★★★ Porgy & Bess, Riemergasse 11 (p 139)

Best Show for Kids

★★ Lilarum Puppet Theater, Göllnergasse 8 (p 140)

Best “Jungle” in Town

★★ Dschungel Wien, Museumsplatz 1 (p 140)

Best Modern Dance

★★★ Tanzquartier Wien, Museums Quartier (p 138)

The Hottest Ticket in Town

★★★ Staatsoper, Opernring 2 (p 139)

Best Ecclesiastical Sounds

★★ Augustinerkirche, Augustinerstrasse 3 (p 137)

Best Retro Cinema

★★★ Burgkino, Opernring 19 (p 138)

Best Public Viewing

Film Festival Rathausplatz, Rathausplatz (p 138)

Best Chance of Getting Standing-Room Tickets

★★ Volksoper, Währingerstrasse 78 (p 139)

Best Ballet

★★★ Das Wiener Staatsballett, Staatsoper, Opernring 2 (p 138)

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Maggie Childs FrommerMedia ePub

Vienna underground.

Before You Go

Government Tourist Offices

In the U.S.: 120 West 45th St., 9th floor, New York, NY 10036 (☎ 1 212 944 6880); 6520 Platt Avenue, # 561 West Hills, California, CA 91307-3218 (☎ 1 818 999 4030). In Canada: 2 Bloor Street West, # 400 Toronto, ON, M4W 3E2 (☎ 1 416 967 4867). In the U.K. & Ireland: 9–11 Richmond Buildings, London, W1D 3HF (☎ 020 7440 3830 or 0845 101 1818). In Australia: 1st floor, 36 Carrington Street, Sydney NSW 2000 (☎ 02 9299 3621). Wherever you live, the best place for information is the official website of Vienna Tourism at www.vienna.info.

The Best Times to Go

The best time to visit is from May to October. May, when the lilac and chestnut trees are in bloom, marks the start of Heuriger season (wine taverns connected to vineyards). June to August, when the days are long and hot, is ideal for lazy afternoons in Vienna’s extensive parks; for swimming and sunbathing at the city’s beaches; and for river trips and watersports on the Danube. However, Vienna can get very crowded at the height of summer, especially during school vacations. September marks the start of the theater season as all the major venues launch their new programs and, in October, the city’s new wines vineyards are toasted in the city bars and country Heurigen. Another popular time is Christmas, when snow has often fallen, festive decorations and lights illuminate the city, and the streets are filled with stalls selling roasted chestnuts, hot punch, and Glühwein (mulled wine). Many visitors come to shop at the Christmas markets or to enjoy the city’s celebrated New Year’s Eve festivities. Whenever you choose to visit, there’s always a superb choice of theater and music, and over 80 museums to provide entertainment for all the family, whatever the weather.

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Maggie Childs FrommerMedia ePub

Vienna’s fiaker (horse and buggy) horses.The Best in One DayWhere better to start exploring Vienna than at its historic heart? On this tour you can soak up the architecture and lifestyle of imperial Vienna; admire the Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral and national emblem of Austria); discover the best schnitzels in town; dabble in Vienna’s musical identity; and eat at one of the finest restaurants in the world . . . all in a single day. START: Hofburg (U-Bahn 3 Herrengasse).❶ ★★★ Hofburg. Home to the powerful Habsburg dynasty, which ruled Austria for 6 centuries, the grandiose Hofburg buildings provide a remarkable record of Vienna’s imperial lifestyle and architecture at the end of the 19th century. Don’t be put off by the daunting tally of 18 wings, 19 courtyards, and 2,600 rooms. This rambling complex has been neatly packaged into clusters of manageable attractions. The Sisi Museum vividly portrays the moving life of Vienna’s beloved empress, Elisabeth of Bavaria (1837–98). With a collection of her personal effects and accessories, such as gloves and a parasol, visitors get an intimate picture of the empress. There is also a room dedicated to the details of her assassination. The Imperial Apartments include the study, waiting room, and audience room of Sisi’s husband, the Emperor Franz Joseph I (1848–1916). Make sure you don’t miss the Schatzkammer (located in the Treasury, p 30), a glittering hoard of Habsburg jewels amassed over more than a millennium, and the celebrated Spanische Reitschule (Spanish Riding School), where magnificent Lipizzaner stallions perform dance-like exercises and formations. Audio guides for adults and kids are included in the price. 1–4 hr. Hofburg. www.hofburg-wien.at. U-Bahn 3 (Herrengasse). See p 28–31, 44 ❻.

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An evening stroll along Graben Street.

Nightlife Best Bets

Meinl’s beautiful but relaxed wine bar.

Best for Party Animals

★★ passage, Babenburgerpassage, Burgring 1 (p 131)

Best Jazz Club

★★ Porgy & Bess, Riemergasse 11 (p 132)

Best Dinner Club

★★★ Albertina Passage, Opernring/Operngasse (p 132)

Most Creative Cocktails

★★★ Tür7, Buchfeldgasse 7 (p 130)

Best Beer

★ 1516 Brewing Company, Schwarzenbergstrasse 2 (p 130)

Best Gay Bar

★★ Mango Bar, Laimgrubengasse 3 (p 132)

Best Wines

★★ Meinl’s Weinbar, Graben 19 (entrance at Näglergasse 8) (p 129)

Best Dance Club

★★ Grelle Forelle, Spittelauer Lände 12 (p 131)

Best Cocktail Lounge

★★ Roberto American Bar, Bauernmarkt 11–13 (p 130)

Best Dressed Crowd

★★ Motto, Rüdigergasse 1 (p 129)

Best for Romance

★★★ Ritz-Carlton Rooftop Bar, Schubertring 5 (p 129)

Best People-Watching

★★★ Volksgarten, Burgring 1 (p 132)

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