While most know Vienna’s 3rd district to be a place for families and calm, this beautiful district that borders the Prater park, and hosts the increasingly buzzing Radetzkyplatz area, the lazy Landstraße district is changing, with more and more new faces popping up everyday.
Here are 3 (+15) things we love about Vienna’s 3rd district.
1. It is connected
Public transport: Vienna’s 3rd district is one of the best connected areas of the city. Not only is the U3 one of the most useful metro lines in town, but the train station/mall Wien Mitte (literally meaning Vienna’s center) also connects it with the U4 and a bunch of Schnellbahn lines (city trains) that will take you to either end of the city within 20 minutes.
Prater: Vienna’s biggest park, the Prater, is also just a stone’s throw away (literally – if you’ve got a good throw). You can catch the 77A into the depths of the park, grab a bike and go for a ride, or simply take a walk over one of the bridges connecting the 3rd district to the park, and enjoy a great day in the Prater.
1st district: Also just a short walk away is the actual city center, the first district.
2. It is an oasis of calm
Uncool is the new cool. And the 3rd district knows it. If this district were to be profiled, it would be that bookworm, baking kind that wears socks during sex. It might not have the best and most flourishing nightlife on offer, but it has something that all the other places don’t have: a relaxed atmosphere that feels like home as soon as you step inside the district’s borders. It’s sleepy, it’s peaceful, and has that homey feeling of a true neighbourhood.
3. There’s a bunch of random, old and odd cafés and stores you won’t find the likes of anywhere else
The third district is full of places with character. Café Malipop on Ungargasse for example, is an old institution. This is a very weird place, operated by Frau Margit, who has a set of very strict rules which are respected by all who frequent here.
Or the comics store, Hutterer, on Landstraße that has been there for at least 30 years and was a fixed meeting spot for the cool kids (nerds in the 90s) to exchange TV-themed deck cards after school and talk VHS and audio cassettes.
Café Zartl on the corner of Marxergasse and Rasumofskygasse is one of Vienna’s oldest Kaffeehäuser and hasn’t lost its charm in over 100 years of existence.
Then there’s Cafe Satchmo on Salesianergasse, which is a hidden favourite amongst many who know of it. The aquariums and the Turkish tea of this odd jazz cafe is one of those special places that become loveable without even trying. And the place obviously gets its character from its owner, who is absolutely lovely, and often there.
4. It has its very own bakery street: Landstraße
Nowhere in Vienna is the density of bakeries on one street higher than on Landstraßer Hauptstraße. And the highlights are the artisan indie bakeries, Joseph Brot and Ströck Feierabend, that are popular bakery-bistro mutants on the street.
And there doesn’t seem to be an end to the bakery shops popping up – there’s now in total: 1 Felber, 3 Anker, 2 Ströck, 2 Mann, 1 Nata (Lisboan pastries) and the newest one, Gradwohl shop.
5. It is home to the quaint market, Rochusmarkt
Rochusmarkt is situated on a lovely, open and sunny square in Vienna’s 3rd district, perched on Landstraße. Back in the 12th century, this location was already an important trade route, and since around 1786 it has housed a flower market, which has changed over the centuries to become the place we know today. Flowers are your first and final impression at Rochusmarkt.
Amongst its small collection of permanent and temporary stands, the market offers a range of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and a cheese speciality store. It also boasts various lunch options (Turkish, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Austrian, and the famed Rochus Würstelstand).
You will mostly see people living in the area stopping by to pick up groceries, or sit amongst the ambience in one of the restaurant or cafe gardens.
Our favourite features of this market
+ The tiny, inviting Italian restaurant, ‘Pappa e ciccia’ open until late at night. We think they may think they’re in Italy as they keep their chairs and tables out front even in winter! And the food is bonafide Italian deliciousness.
+ The cafe/wine bar, Arrigo. Life is good when sitting in their garden out front.
6. The revived Radetzkyviertel
A pocket of the sleepy third district is undergoing a wave of rejuvenation as a raft of stylish cafés and bars move in. The family feel, the urban/industrial grunge of the train tracks make for an attractive mix at the Radetzky quarter – We took a look around this increasingly lively spot in the city and found 7 reasons why you should watch this space.
7. The artsy people are moving in are claiming the 3rd’s uncoolness for themselves
Around Gärtnergasse and Marxergasse, a bunch of artsy people seem to have discovered the sleepy district’s perks. Two locations have ignited the artsy crowds love for the 3rd: There’s a young indie gallery SWDZ – So weit die Zukunft (translating to: so far, the future) that houses regular exhibitions and events that bring together like-minded people talking about and influencing the art scene in Vienna.
Das Packhaus, is an old office building that will be reconstructed in a few years, is housing a great number of artist ateliers and shared office spaces for young artists, startups and freelancers at very affordable prices.
8. It houses a bunch of architectural gems
You could easily create an architecture tour revolving around the unique buildings to be found in Vienna’s 3rd district.
Hundertwasserhaus is not only a magnet for hoards of tourists that are unloaded from busses, but its quirky and uniquely beautifully odd design also makes it a very precious and special place for the locals. The trees and bushes sprouting out of it like it’s the building’s armpit hair, and its uneven floors and walls of mosaics are great inspiration for out of the box thoughts. We come here when we need to open our minds.
Its sister, the gallery Kunst Haus Wien, that was also created by artist and painter (and hater of ‘the straight line’) Friedensreich Hundertwasser, houses some of Vienna’s best photography exhibitions.
Haus Wittgenstein, the 1927 creation by Paul Engelmann and Ludwig Wittgenstein, that was once a residential palais of Wittgenstein’s sister and is now housing the Bulgarian cultural institute, is a protected historic monument and a great place to take a journey back in time, not only design-wise.
9. The surprisingly fascinating tram museum
This is one of those odd museums that you never would think of visiting, but we recommend you should. Vienna’s old trams and buses are little human-made creations, so if you’re also a fan of the older forms of transport and are fascinated by engineering, then a visit to the tram and bus museum in Erdberg is worth it. Find more info on it here.
Where: Verkehrsmuseum Remise, Ludwig-Kössler-Platz, 1030
Opening times: MON–FRI: 9am–6pm, SAT–SUN: 10am–6pm
Entry: 8€ adults
10. The new faces, like the new Greißler on Marxergasse
The Greißler (similar to a neighbourhood deli) of Vienna was once a very important institution of the city. They were the small shops that made sure the neighbourhoods were provided with food and other important amenities before the existence of supermarkets. Being ousted by the big chains settling in over the years, the institution sadly lost its need. However, they’re incredibly making a comeback in recent years, as people warm to the idea of shopping locally. One of those riding this revival wave is the new generation Greißler on Marxergasse – Warenhandlung Wenighofer & Wanits.
11. It has a park full of rare plants and a castle
The Botanical Garden is a lesser-known, yet beautiful green spot in this city. Stroll along the paths between rare trees, through bamboo woods and alongside cacti and other rare plants in the calmness of the Botanical Gardens.
12. The Portuguese tarts at Nata Lisboa
NATA Lisboa is the Portuguese franchise success story that has made it to Vienna last year. And pastéis de nata (nata, for short) are the cute, flaky little custard tarts that feel like a really old person’s cheek when you touch them on top, but taste heavenly, and make you want to hug the tall handsome man that’s just taken them out of the oven. That’s Fernando, one of the two owners of this outfit that comes from the tiny Portuguese island, Madeira.
The other half of the outfit, Paulo, is cheerful and won’t stop telling us how good Portuguese food, wine and coffee is. And we can’t help but nod our heads in avid agreeance, with a little bit of the pastry spewing out now again from our mouths filled with the savoury empadas. Read more about Nata Lisboa, here.
13. It has one of the best ice cream parlours in town
This is not to be confused with the other ice cream salon chain which one can find on Marihilferstraße, Paolo Bortolotti. No, people of the 3rd district know Bortolotti well, and for them it’s like a birthmark in the district – it’s always been there, holds memories, and unusually long strands of hair grow out of it (ok, maybe not the last one).
Every single delicious flavour at this old-timer family-owned ice cream salon is made out back with fresh ingredients, and your tastebuds would know this fact even if we hadn’t told you. On a hot day, there’s always a line out front and as everybody knows, lines out the front of ice cream parlours don’t lie. Read more about Bortolotti, here.
14. The little hidden treasure, Mike’s Werkstatt
Where: Rasumofskygasse / Siegelgasse, 1030
Opening times: WED–SAT: 10am–5pm
Vienna’s curiosity shop selling magic, stories, imagination and puppetry. There was a man who built a small theatre and lived on its stage. And in this theatre was a boat, his grandmother’s armchair that had split at the seams and puppets hanging in the window. Once the man had built the stage, he would sit in front of it every night, with a glass of wine in hand, wondering how he would bring it to life. People often came into his puppet workshop attached to the theater, that smelt of sawdust and a grandmother’s bedroom, and asked him what he was doing, to which he would answer, “I’m not really sure.”
The only thing he did know, was that he wanted to bring to life those very puppets that spent their days hung in his windows, looking out onto the real world. This is a true story about a half-British, half-Austrian man named Mike that plays out in Vienna’s third district. Read more about Mike’s Werkstatt, here.
15. The beautiful Belvedere
© Mathias Zojer
Where: Prinz Eugen-Straße 27, 1030
The third district has a very own palace to its name, Belvedere palace, and in that palace turned art gallery is housed the largest collection of Gustav Klimt’s paintings in the world. There’s also the 21er Haus located within the palace’s gardens which is a gallery with come of the most contemporary and interesting exhibitions visiting the city. Meanwhile, the palace gardens alone are worth visiting the place for. Find more info about the Belvedere palace, here.
16. The legendary Sofiensäle
This place has history. Named after the princess Sofie of Bavaria back in the day it was built (1826), this building has lived many lives – a steam bath, a dancehall, and now it’s living many lives at once as a boutique hotel, an impressive bar and restaurant, a concert venue and a recording studio. Looking at this beautiful building now – and her beautiful insides – you wouldn’t know it had burned down not that long ago (this story is worth looking into) and left dormant and abandoned for many years. This truly is one of Vienna’s lesser known treasures. Find more info about Sofiensäle, here.
17. One of the best breakfast brunches can be had at the designer hotel, Hotel Daniel
Starve yourself a day before the morning you sit down for a brunch at Hotel Daniel. It is the kind of breakfast suited for those moments when you wake up so hungry, you could battle through a Mongol army to get to your morning coffee and croissant.
The slightly industrial character in the big-windowed, bright space filled with living room furniture works as the perfect setting to lazily eat your way through the fields of breakfast foods, and sip on the unlimited coffee included. The litre of coffee you’ll drink is needed to balance out the food coma that you’ll gradually work yourself into. The breakfast food buffet here makes choices hard to make. Read more about the Hotel Daniel experience, here.
18. The chilled part of the Donaukanal
While half the city can be found on the boulevard stretch of the city’s waterway, the Donaukanal, between the Badeschiff and ADRIA Wien, those in the know, and who prefer a more laid-back and calmer waterside drinking and meeting spot are up the 3rd district end of the canal. Here, you’ll find the beloved city beach bar, the Strandbar Hermann or the other laidback unpretentious veteran bar of the canal, Hafenkneipe (they are such a local’s secret that they don’t even have a Facebook site. Just walk away from the city center from the Urania, on the 2nd district side of the canal. The 3rd district section of the canal also offers the ideal, and less crowded, paths for runners and bikers.