Vienna is truly a kid-friendly city: stroller-friendly, plenty of playgrounds and tons of events happening where to tire out the little ones.
However, along with the cold winter weather come the challenges of finding indoor activities to keep the little ones busy, and the parents sane.
Here are some activities you can do with kids in Vienna during Winter that many parents swear by:
1. Go with your little one to the library!
You probably haven’t stepped into a library ever since you were writing a paper for school, or your masters thesis. Yep, libraries still exist, and when you’ve got kids, it’s the perfect time to join the one in your neighbourhood. The Büchereien Wien have plenty of events like readings, and language and music workshops for kids of all ages. While there is a library in each district and they all host readings, most events happen at the Hauptbücherei (main library) on the Gürtel. Due to popular demand, you should be sure to book your kid a spot in the events well in advance!
2. Time to play!…Indoors!
Vienna is full of playgrounds and parks where kids can run around while the parents sit back and have a gossip with other parents. Obviously in Winter, the playgrounds and parks aren’t such an attractive play option, especially on rainy days.
However, the playing and the gossip don’t have to stop! It can all just move indoors into one of the many indoor playground options available. Here are a few of our favourites:
This centrally located option is ideal for both toddlers and school kids. There is a ball pit, plenty of padded areas where the little ones can fall on their bum without hurting themselves, and there’s even an indoor slide for the bigger kids to go crazy on. There are plenty of high chairs for snack time, and a sitting area for mums and dads. Parents can get a coffee, or a tea, but don’t expect it to be of barista quality. Mornings here tend to be quiet and therefore ideal for crawlers and toddlers.
This good looking cafe is ideal for your kids to learn and play…in English. Most sessions must be booked ahead. At Dugu, they are big on the Montessori method so your toddler will probably be tying their own shoe laces and speaking fluent English 5 minutes into the play session (ok, we super exagerrating) 🙂 This is a good spot to meet Expat parents, especially if you’re new to Vienna yourself.
Set up like somebody’s living room, this playground is ideal for kids 1 to 4 years of age. With the kids being pretty much always in sight and the play areas being super baby proof, parents can relax here with a coffee and enjoy the background music along with some cake. Play sessions are happening all day on Tuesdays (September – May). On every other day, they offer classes and workshops for kids of different ages.
This play cafe is probably the best option if you want to sit back and enjoy your lunch while your kids play nearby. The cafe offers Vietnamese food, from Banh Mi rolls to curries, and the playground has plenty of options to keep the little ones interested while you slurp away at your noodles.
3. Get (re)acquainted with the city’s museums
Vienna is famous for Schnitzels, Strudels….and culture! The city is bursting with museums that are definitely worth the price of their Jahreskarten (yearly passes) and there is no reason to leave the kids at home when visiting them. Most museums are stroller-friendly, equipped with changing tables, and some even have special tours for children.
First on the list is the kid’s museum, Zoom Kindermuseum, in the MQ – an interactive museum dedicated to children between 8 months and 12 years of age. Then there’s a bunch of museums that you’d think would be boring for kids, but are far from it! Here’s a list to get you started:
Pre-School children can join special tours here in which they’ll learn about animals of the past and present, outer space, and the many other unthinkable mysteries of this beautiful place we call Earth. Babies and toddlers will also be entertained by the huge variety of animals, the massive mammoths and…wait for it….dinosaurs!!
Technically the Haus des Meeres is a zoo more than a museum, but we thought we’d include it, anyway. The Haus des Meeres hosts tonnes of fish, turtles, birds and even cute little monkeys that occasionally cross your path. Some fish can be petted (weird, right?) and some aquariums have tunnels underneath them where your little ones can run (or crawl) around, and feel like they’re under water.
Hosting plenty of tours and workshops for kids as young as 4, the Technical Museum is known to be an interactive one where your kids (and you) will learn plenty of nerdy stuff about things like robots, electricity, special effects, recycling and much, much more. Toddlers and babies can also be entertained by musical sounds, light effects and plenty of objects they most probably have never seen before in their short lives.
One can never be too young to learn about art! That’s why the art museum, Belvedere, offers tours tailored to parents and their babies. The tours move at a slow pace, with plenty of breaks for diaper changing, breast feeding, cry attacks…you know, if the art gets too emotional 😉
Kids older than 3 can join workshops and tours that explain the mysteries of art and paintings in a language that they understand, including plenty of playtime to make this activity as entertaining as possible.
4. Work, work, work, work, work
Yes, you read it right! Working while your kids are playing sounds as impossible as getting a vegan sausage at a Viennese Würstelstand. Yet, it’s a thing now thanks to organisations like Wokip. This crowd provides professional babysitting in locations where parents can sit nearby and work (almost) uninterrupted. Mum, or dad are still the ones changing the diapers and feeding the little ones, but apart from that, parents can get into a pretty good workflow while the toddlers learn, explore and play under trusted supervision.
5. Go to the cinema, with your baby
It’s called Baby Kino and it’s the best invention since movie-lovers started having kids. Locations like the Votivkino and Haydn Cinema offer a cinema experience where parents can bring their babies (younger than 12 months) to the movies.
The films being screened are all part of the regular movie program, so you can expect blockbusters, and the likes. The only difference to a normal cinema visit is that they don’t dim the lights all the way and don’t put the volume all the way up. Plus, the locations are equipped with changing tables and personnel that are happy to help with the babies, if needed.
6. Embrace the cold
If you raise your baby in Austria, you’ve probably equipped the stroller with the obligatory lamb wool sack and your baby with some overalls that would even keep them warm on a cold night at the Arctic. If so, there is no reason at all to avoid the parks, the walks and forest hikes, even in the colder months. Get those Alpaka socks on and get ready to conquer the great outdoors with your little one, even in the brisk Winter weather!
7. Go ice skating!
One of the most fun things to do during winter in Vienna if you’ve got kids (of the right age, of course) is to go ice skating at one of the city’s ice skating rinks! If you’re little one is still to learn the joy of skating, most skating rinks have learning aids available. Plus, during the day, the rinks are quieter, making it the best time for them to learn their way to doing a pirouette. Have a look at our list of the ice skating rinks around Vienna.
8. Go swimming!
Of course, when you think swimming, you obviously think more of it being an summer activity. Nevertheless, Vienna has a bunch of indoor public swimming pools where you and your kids can have a blast during the colder months. For example, the city’s only thermal spa, Therme Wien, has a bunch of areas that are kid-friendly.
9. Play dress-ups in the palace
You don’t have to be some selfie stick wielding tourist to be drawn to the palace of Schönbrunn. You can also be a kid with a thing for playing dress ups (unfortunately for us adults who like dressing up, they only offer this for kids). You’re little one has to be of a certain age (check out the details on the Kaiserkinder museum website), but the palace houses a fun kid’s museum in which they can explore how people lived back in the 18th century, and even try on some of the old outfits they used to wear back in the day (ok, they may be replicas rather than what Sissi actually once wore). It’s all about history and having lots of hands on fun at this museum.