Oh, Vienna ...
August 1, 2005 9:32 AM   Subscribe

Things to see and do in Vienna? I'll have a couple of days to look around in mid-September. I'm buying a guide book, but does anyone have any personal must-see recommendations for weird museums, cool modern architecture, that perfect coffee shop? I'll be staying near Karlsplatz/Wiedner Hauptstrasse. I've never been to Vienna before. Thanks!
posted by carter to Travel & Transportation around Vienna, Austria (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Here's a start with some architecture. Adolf Loos figures prominently in Vienna architecture from the early 20th century. Not sure what of his work can be visited but there is always the "American Bar" (aka Kärntner Bar).
posted by Dick Paris at 9:52 AM on August 1, 2005

Response by poster: Ooh, nice start. The one thing I had already bookmarked was the Wittgenstein House.
posted by carter at 10:08 AM on August 1, 2005

Best answer: Klimt's Beethoven Frieze at the almost indescribably beautiful Secession Building is not to be missed.

Incidentally, "Vienna" by Ultravox is one of my all-time fave songs -- first heard when I was a kid living in Vienna c. 1981! -- so I commend you for your post title! :)
posted by scody at 10:20 AM on August 1, 2005

hmm...that wasn't supposed to be italicized. Woops.
posted by scody at 10:22 AM on August 1, 2005

Best answer: I lived in Vienna for a while, but I haven't been in two years, so some of the bars I mention might not be around anymore. Time moves slow in Vienna, though so they're probably still there

Once you hit the major tourist sites (Ringstrasse, Opera, Hofburg, etc.), be sure to go outside the 1st district to the 7th, 8th and 9th for a taste of real, local Vienna.

Architecture-wise, check out Hundertwasser Haus in the 10th district and the Fernwaerme Wien, a giant Dr Seuss-esque garbage incinerator, in the 9th.

Taking a tram up to Nussdorf and check out the Heuriger, or vineyard restaurants. From there it's also easy to get to the Vienna woods; the hike up along the ridge between Vienna and Klosterneuberg, which saw action during the Turkish siege of Vienna in the 1600s, is highly recommended.

Lesser-known stuff to do in the middle of town includes a flaggon of wine at the Esterhazykeller, the oldest bar in Vienna. Try Cafe Diglas and Cafe Hawelka in addition to the requisite trip to Cafe Central, which is over-rated. Cafe Alt-Wien also rocks.

Ice cream at the gelatto place in Schwedenplatz is key, as is a visit to Shakespeare's bookshop, near the Bermuda Dreieck - ask the chain-smoking lady who owns it about the time she met Andy Warhol.

If you like open-air markets, don't miss the Naschmarkt, in the 9th district, near the Seccession. It has food to die for and a flea market too.

If you like dive-bars, you can't go wrong with the Chelsea, open late on the outer ring road near the Alserstrasse stop on the U6. If you have more refined tastes, the Loos's American Bar is good, as is Kix, near Guttenberg Platz, for cocktails.

Centimeter is a restaurant with three locations in the city that serves heaping, inexpensive portions of food. Try the schnitzel. My favorite Centimeter is the one in the 8th district, behind the Rathaus.
posted by nyterrant at 10:24 AM on August 1, 2005

Response by poster: I know I'm contributing to my own question now, but three blind mice just posted a link on 3rd Reich anti-aircraft towers in dhruva's sea fort thread over on Metafilter ...
posted by carter at 10:46 AM on August 1, 2005

Yeah, those flak towers are wild. Too fortified to knock down, apparently.

They turned one into an aquarium.
posted by nyterrant at 10:50 AM on August 1, 2005

Best answer: The Academy of Fine Arts (Akademie der Bildenden Künst), the institution that kicked out Hitler in 1907, because it includes the Last judgement tryptic by Hieronymus Bosch.
posted by elgilito at 11:03 AM on August 1, 2005

Get a Hot Dog at an imbiss, out on the street, anywhere. Makes the American 'ball game' version whimper and crawl away and hide in shame. A real wurst, non-tumeric mustard, and a French roll.
posted by Rash at 11:20 AM on August 1, 2005

Best answer: Jonathan Carroll has some suggestions.
posted by barjo at 12:41 PM on August 1, 2005

Best answer: Well, since you asked directly for weird museums, I would recommend the Federal Pathologic-Anatomical Museum of Vienna. It's wild and weird and great.
posted by picklebird at 12:47 PM on August 1, 2005

Best answer: Check out the Prater amusement park and ride the big Ferris wheel (as seen in "The Third Man" and some crummy Bond flick.)

Take the tram around the Ring.

Go out to Grinzing and eat at a Heuriger restaurant specializing in new wine. (or Nussdorf, as I see nyterrant recommended.)

And it was a wee bit touristy, but the Rathauskeller restaurant in the basement of City Hall was fantastic. (We ate there while waiting on a film festival screening in front of the Rathaus, and were very pleasantly surprised.)
posted by Vidiot at 12:49 PM on August 1, 2005

This may be the most absurdly touristy thing of all, but I really liked the palace (schonbrunn or something like that) that's about 10 minutes out of the center of Vienna. I know very little about the palace itself because I didn't go in, but the gardens around it were great in a deteriorating kind of way and the squirrels let you pet them. There's also a little zoo there, mostly unremarkable except for some giant rainforest bats that I still think are some of the coolest animals I've ever seen.
My experience with Vienna was that if you get on the tram (free, if, like me, you can't figure out the ticket system) and ride for a while, any place you get off will probably be pretty cool.
posted by ohio at 12:56 PM on August 1, 2005

nyterrant already mentioned this, but I also say you should check out the Hundertwasser Haus. The guy's art is interesting, if a bit repetitive, but the architecture of the place, as well as all the architectural designs, sketches and models that are inside, are really interesting. Watch out for the (purposefully) lumpy floor. That was my favourite thing that I saw in Vienna.
posted by number9dream at 4:56 PM on August 1, 2005

Response by poster: Cool, thanks everyone! More than enough to keep me occupied ...
posted by carter at 6:28 PM on August 1, 2005

Don't know if you'd be into it, but I would go look for Mozart's grave.
posted by booth at 7:06 PM on August 1, 2005

Just a quick note on ohio's comment about riding the tram for free: If you're caught on the tram without a valid ticket, you'll get a pretty hefty fine. The fare inspectors (or, as we used to call them in Portland when the same system was tried there, spare infectors) usually travel in groups, entering all tram doors at the same time, so you're unlikely to escape their clutches if you're lucky enough to run into them. I'd suggest getting a day ticket (which is valid on all local transit, including trams and subways) rather than risking the fine.
posted by klausness at 1:13 PM on August 2, 2005

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