You got all the sights and touristy stuff ticked off your to do list? Then it’s time to spend a chill day in Vienna like a local. This is in fact how we spent a day with our friends who live in Vienna on a recent trip back.
Let our your inner child play at the Prater
While you might find the Prater, a permanent amusement park in the centre of Vienna, in your tourist guide, it’s usually only because of the Riesenrad. This historic ferris wheel offers a spectacular view over Vienna but is also rather pricey. Beyond the tourist queues of the Riesenrad, there’s much more and many cheaper things o do and see.
There are various types of roller coasters, from smaller ones for kids to crazier ones we’ll only gaze at from the distance. We went on one of the traditional Geisterbahnen (literally ghost trains), where you drive through a house of horros in a cart. If you’re perhaps past the age of 12 and not easily startled by jump scares you’ll find it more amusing than scary, like we did. But that’s half the reason these old Geisterbahnen are still popular, they’re more funny than scary. They’re cheap too. One adult ticket cost us only €3.50.
If you’re looking for something that’ll keep you busy for longer for the same amount of money, there’s also a mini golf course right behind the Riesenrad. It’s not the newest track but it’s a special atmosphere to calmly play your game while occasionally a cart with screaming people whooshes past on the roller coaster next door.
Another short fun thing to do is to look at the Kugelmugel, right opposite the mini golf course. It was created as an art project by Edwin Lipburger who tried to claim independence from Austria. Although it’s independence is not recognized, it still is a thought-provoking piece of art, located on Antifaschismusplatz.
Once you’re hungry, you can go for traditional fun fair foods, such as hot dogs, sausages or langos, a Hungarian deep-fried dough disc with a garlic coating. If you’re looking for a bigger meal you can opt for the famous Schweizerhaus, which servers a range of traditional Austrian cuisine.
Chill & Chat
The moment you step off the plane or train in Vienna, you’ll soon realize, it’s a much more chill city than a metropole like London. People may even say the clocks move slower here. It’s generally expected to take more time to eat your meals or just have a drink with friends and chill. Since it’s such a big part of the culture, we’ll only give five examples but there’s many more. All of the examples on the list also are for free, expect if you choose to purchase drinks to bring along or at a café.
Relax by a Pond
Popular with tourists for it’s golden statue of composer Johann Strauß, the Stadtpark has much more to offer. The Stadtpark was Vienna’s first public park and is still popular with locals. You can play how many composer’s statues do you recognize or grab an ice cream or drink from a nearby place and just sit in the grass with a view of the pond. One thing Austrians very much look down on though is littering, so make sure you clean up after yourself.
Relax in a Café
Perhaps an obvious choice, considering how famous Vienna is for it’s coffee culture. But after having travelled to places like the US, where you’re practically thrown out the moment you paid the bill, you notice how cafés operate differently here. It’s not uncommon to see people taking an hour to finish their beverage or continue chatting with their friends for half an hour even after they have paid their bill. It’s just part of the culture, where if you’re sitting down in a café with a friend, you’re usually making a commitment to chill there for a while.
Relax like an Emperor
A bit out from the city centre, you’ll find Schönbrunn Palace, a must for many tourists coming to Vienna. However many people don’t look beyond the Palace itself. If you walk around the imperial residence and up the little hill to the Gloriette Pavilion, you can sit there on a park bench or in the grass and enjoy a view over Vienna built for emperors. You might actually recognize this view from the famous Midsummer Night concerts, which the Vienna Philharmonics put on every year in May.
Relax in the Middle of Sightseeing
The sheer amount of historical buildings, photo opportunities and museums may be overwhelming at times. Luckily, one of the chillest parks in Vienna is right in it’s heart. Whether you’re in front of the Parliament or the Hofburg, the Imperial Residence, you’re right around the corner from Volksgarten. Literally translated to the People’s Garden, it offers some green space in-between curated rose gardens. Depending on where you take a nap on the grass, you can see the tops of a variety of historical buildings, such as the Minoritenkirche (Vienna’s oldest church) or the Rathaus (Vienna’s City Hall) peeking from atop the trees.
Relax with a view from a hidden spot
This hidden spot you won’t find in any tourist guides. On top of the U6 tube station Burggasse-Stadthalle, there’s a large building which houses Vienna’s main library. Perhaps you can’t read German, but it’s worth to climb those 102 steps, daunting as it may seem. From up here, you can see a good part of the city. Bring your drinks or snacks of choice and just join the locals. Sit down on one of the steps. They’re generally very clean and warmed up by the sun. You’ll get a chill spot and gorgeous view over Vienna, all for free.