While we all want to flee to exotic places, make the most out of having the city to yourself this year by spending an awesome summer in Vienna.
Here are 62 things to accomplish before the summer is over:
1. Throw a frisbee in the park
This is one of the most popular sports played in Vienna’s parks during summer. So get that shirt off and go for the near impossible dives. If you don’t happen to own a frisbee, find somebody in the park playing with one, just wait for the right moment, intercept, catch theirs and keep running!
2. Bocce in the MQ
Are you as hard-core as a wrinkled, old Italian Nonno? If so, get those white bowling shoes on and take to the Bocce court located in the MQ next to the Aloha bar hut (by the MUMOK), where you can rent Bocce balls and play on a nicely manicured court.
3. Race against your friends with a toy-waterboats in the MQ water basin
The Aquadrome’s back again at the MQ this year. On Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, you can rent a small toy boat (or bring your own) and try your luck at the water course in the pond-kind-of-thing located in the MQ courtyard. Be sure to book a slot online.
4. Go climbing in the city
© Christian Kadlube
Anybody can see the city from above, but if you climb the vertical wall of an old anti-aircraft war tower to do it, the view is so much more rewarding.
Climb the rock wall scaling the side of the Haus des Meeres. There’s also another rock climbing wall 21m high with a very cool view along the Donaukanal near the underground club, Grelle Forelle. It’s called Pier 9 and you can find it at Spittelauer Lände 12, 1090.
5. Enjoy the fact that every single U6 train is now air-conditioned
We thought this day would never come!
6. Jump on a boat
‘Nobody ever wants to be seen on a paddle boat. That’s embarassing’ – quote from an avid sail boat enthusiast. But if you’re like us and have no shame, then you’ll have great fun zipping along the Danube river on a paddle boat – especially if it is one of those with a slide on top.
If this is not your flavour, sail boats and motorboats can be hired along the Alte Donau. Just get off at the U1 U-Bahn station, Alte Donau, and you’ll find a couple of companies renting boats on the water’s edge. No reservations are required.
7. Breakfast at the Naschmarkt
Feasting on breakfast while sipping coffee amidst the buzzing atmosphere of the Naschmarkt café/restaurant strip really does offer that feeling of ‘it’s good to be alive and living in Vienna.’ Amongst our favourites are the Naschmarkt Deli café for its big windows and Turkish breakfast, and Neni for it’s original breakfast offerings.
8. Picnic in the park
Pack a picnic basket full of food and drink, lay down a blanket under a shady tree, take your shoes off and massage the grass with your toes – this is summer at its best. Read Vienna Würstelstand’s pick of Vienna’s best parks for picnicking.
9. Dine, or drink coffee in the open air
The clatter of cutlery and plates, the laughter and chatter from the neighbouring tables, a soft breeze – visit one of Vienna’s beautiful restaurant gardens and you won’t care if bugs get in your food.
The atmosphere will have you so relaxed, somebody could roll you up and chew on you like chewing gum. Check out Vienna Würstelstand’s list here for the best restaurants for summer wining and dining in Vienna. We’ve also got a list of some of the best Schanigärten in the city.
10. Walk through the old city, then cool your feet off in a fountain
We’re not suggesting that you jump into one of the city’s fountains, however after a slow, long walk through the shady cobblestone streets of the city’s old city center, dip your feet into one of its many fountains. We highly recommend the Schwarzenbergplatz fountain.
11. Take a romantic evening boat trip
Boats and ready-to-go picnic basket sets can be hired from the French restaurant on the Alte Donau, La Creperie. This is particularly a romantic idea to do on a summer’s evening. Paddle your partner out to the middle of the river and float around, laying in each others arms for a while. Or make out like a couple of horny teenagers and capsize the boat … up to you.
12. Wander in the wine hills
Whether you’re a wine drinker or not, the world looks different from above Vienna’s surrounding wine hills. Blanketed with vineyards, walking the dirt tracks that weave between the grapevine makes for s a pleasant city escape. If you’re wondering where to start your wine tour through the hills, check out our guide to the Heurige and wine growing regions of the city.
13. Hang by the water’s edge at the Donaukanal
As one of Vienna’s hottest summer spots, this is a must when the sun is shining. Whether it’s hanging your legs over the edge of the water with a bunch of friends, or living it up on one of the waterside bars, the Donaukanal is the place to be during summer in Vienna. Check out our guide to what’s happening along the Donaukanal in 2020, plus our guide to the DOs and DON’Ts on making the most out of your time at the Donaukanal.
14. Have a Tinder-free summer fling (with social distancing, of course)
There is something very liberating in having a short-term romance with no goals or ‘life-long’ dreams and ‘riding-into-the-sunset’ in mind.
If you haven’t experienced the intensity of a summer romance, we suggest you add it to your bucket list immediately. And we’re recommending one and all to do it the old fashioned way, minus tinder and any other dating app – boy meets girl (or boy), girl meets boy (or girl), girl and boy talk in real time, girl and boy make out a little and then do it like they do it in the discovery channels (with social distancing, of course)
15. Tour the city on an e-scooter
You either love them, or hate them. To be honest, we’re kind of undecided where we stand on the whole e-scooter debate, but either way, they make for a great vehicle to zip you around the city when the sun’s out. Just think of the breeze in your hair and the sun on your face, and having some Viennese Oma yelling at you for riding on the pedestrian path. Check out our video of how to have fun on an e-scooter in Vienna above.
16. Get lost in the Prater forest
Few people know it, however a small section of the Prater is filled with a dense forest which walkers will most likely have to themselves most of the time, besides the odd horse rider trotting past. If you feel like escaping the city, within the city, let yourself be swallowed by the Wald im Prater.
To go wandering in the Prater forest, begin at the Lusthaus Café and head into the trees.
17. Ride the Kettenkarussel at Prater and lose your phone because you ‘needed’ that shot for the ‘Gram
It’s got to be done, even if you are scared of heights.
18. Go SUPPing (Stand up Paddling)
Surfing is not the only thing being done with a surfboard these days – SUP (stand up paddling) is a sport that has caught on quickly in which you stand up on a longboard surfboard with a paddle, and paddle your way around a lake or a river.
It may sound boring, but it’s damn relaxing, and a good workout. To rent a SUP in Vienna, visit the SUPcenter at the Gänsehäufelbad or try one of the spots on the Neue Donau (eg. the one at the VCBC).
19. Catch a film at an open air cinema
Since the dawn of time, stories have been told by humans under the starry sky. In the beginning, it was around a fire where stories were told orally and acted out in strange dances (we still do that if we’ve drank enough). Today, it’s done with popcorn, surround sound, and HD projector screens. Check out our list of Vienna’s open air cinemas.
20. Go kayaking on the river
This is one peaceful, and unique way to spend a summer’s day escaping the noise of the city. All you’ll hear are the ripples of your kayak moving through the Danube’s little waves and your paddle glide through the water. There aren’t many places renting out kayaks along the Danube but we did find one. For details, check out the Arwex website.
21. Sunbake in a cemetery
Don’t be silly – we wouldn’t suggest such a thing. However, we would suggest taking a walk through one of the city’s serene cemeteries. They are beautiful, peaceful places. We walked through the city’s largest cemetery, the Zentralfriedhof. See our article on our tour through Vienna’s largest and most famous cemetery here to get an idea of what your experience would be like.
22. Getting some Hollywood police action in the late evenings
If you’ve lived in Vienna long enough – especially on a crowded street – you’ve probably already witnessed this familiar pass-time: Called by citizens with a desperate need for sleep, police officers often interrupt parties that are blasting their Ke$ha and Snoop Lion way too loud and with open windows. Just watch the real-life movie unfold through your window. Sometimes, the fun adds up when police have to come a second and third time, resulting in hi-fi systems being taken away, and street credibility levels sinking to zero.
23. Do a street art stroll along the Donaukanal
The city’s street art and graffiti scene is young and still developing a strong personality. In summer, the pieces along the main spray spots (e.g. Donaukanal and Nordbrücke) are changing regularly like a forever-changing outdoor gallery.
Go for a bike ride, or a walk, along the Donaukanal and see what colourful new masterpieces have been sprayed up on the walls.
24. Stand on a park bench in the Uni campus of the Altes AKH, keep still and quiet, and listen to the wind in the trees at midnight
A very humbling and peaceful experience. Do it and then tell us a little tear didn’t squeeze its way out.
25. Sleep naked, under cotton sheets with the windows open
One of the simplest pleasures in the world, especially in a city which requires thick blankets most of the year round like Vienna. And doubly enjoyable when a breeze sneaks under the sheets.
26. Drink an Eiskaffee at the Eissalon am Schwedenplatz
Where: Eissalon am Schwedenplatz, Franz-Josefs-Kai 17, 1010
Drinking an Eiskaffee (iced coffee) in a Schanigarten is a long practiced Viennese tradition. The more cream on top, the better, we say. One of the best iced coffees can be had at the Eissalon am Schwedenplatz.
27. Summer drinks with friends in public spaces
If you’re on a budget this summer, this tip is for you. Instead of meeting friends at bars and restaurants, set up your own little pop-up bar in the many funky public spaces that Vienna offers, that are perfect for summer drinks with friends. We made a list of these cool urban hangouts for you.
28. Bikini and topless sunbathing in the park OR the more daring option: get naked at a FKK
1st option: Don’t be shy – everybody does it. Well, at least those people that like showing off their nipples or the beauty spot just above their bikini bottom waistband. It’s a typical sight in Vienna to see people lying topless in the grass of Vienna’s many urban parks.
More daring option: Vienna seems to have an obsession with getting naked. Vast areas of the Donauinsel, and along the Donau, is sectioned off as FKK (nudist areas). If you’re not a regular already, be daring this summer and bare your bum to the world at one of these nudist areas.
Warning: Some sights may be disturbing … especially if somebody starts jumping up and down from a bee sting.
29. Try every Gelato place in the city
Licking furiously at a gelati on the street, with some of it smeared around your mouth, is more than a socially acceptable norm’ in Vienna during summer.
There are hundreds of gelati shops around Vienna, and we challenge you to try all of them. Well, at least the best ones. Check out our colourful list of the best ice cream and gelati places in Vienna.
30. Go swimming at night
Where: Schönbrunner Bad, Schloßpark Schönbrunn, 1130 Wien
Opening Times: June to 15 August: 8.30am–10pm, from 16 August: 8.30am–8pm, September: 8.30am–7pm
Whether you like doing the freestyle, breast stroke, stroking breasts, or diving into the pool like a pin dropping into a giant glass of milk, the Schönbrunner Bad has a 50m open air pool where which you can do all of those things until 10pm at night for the most of summer. Keep in mind, you have to book a ticket to get in line this year.
32. Try a new swimming spot
Going to the same spot every year? Have your favourite tree you lie under at the Strandbad Gänsehäufel, or the person behind the canteen at the Döblinger Bad knows your name and your regular order of Pommes (fries) and Fanta? Your life is getting wrapped in routine!
Break out and try one of Vienna’s hundreds of swimming possibilities. Check out our cool list of the best spots to swim in the Danube river.
33. Try swimming in the Donaukanal
Yup, that’s a thing apparently and it’s not forbidden apparently. At Kunst Haus Wien in the 3rd district, there are changing booths, a shower and lockers that will be set up this year just so people can swim in the Donaukanal.
34. Plant a garden on your window sill
Just because a large percentage of Vienna’s population doesn’t own a terrace, doesn’t mean they can’t have a garden. Plant a little veggie patch, or a few lavender plants where the bees can gather and hang out on your window sill. There’s nothing like watching something grow that you put half an hour of hard work into at the beginning of summer.
Keep in mind: a garden is like a hamster – if you lose interest, spend days on end partying without ever coming home, and neglect it, it will die. Or jump off the balcony. Well, our hamster did.
35. Reenact all romantic ‘Before Sunrise’ movie scenes set in Vienna
The cult film classic, Before Sunrise, tells the story of two strangers meeting on a train and falling in love over the period of one night in Vienna. It’s got to be one of the most famous films every set in this city. So why not re-enact them yourself? We’ve got the perfect photo story for you to use as inspiration for a romance-filled Before Sunrise tour.
36. On ya’ bike – see the city from two wheels
Vienna is made for bike enthusiasts with bike lanes on streets everywhere in the city. We highly recommend on a sunny day, jumping on a bike (or hiring one of the free city bikes) and peddling your way around the city. Perhaps pack your swimming gear and plan a pool, or a river to be at your end destination. Check out Vienna Würstelstand’s list of bike routes in the city and other homemade bike tours:
37. Spend a sunny afternoon people watching on the Mariahilfer Straße and make up stories about their lives
Watching people is so much fun.
38. Buy some waterguns and have a city-wide water fight with your friends.
If you’ve ever taken part in Thailand’s Songkran Festival, you’ll understand how fun this can be. If you haven’t heard of this festival, we suggest you google it and adapt this city-wide water fight taking place in Bangkok, to Vienna.
Tips on organising your water fighting battlefield:
+ confine it to one district
+ get as many friends as possible involved
+ have a starting and finishing point (a park would be ideal)
+ arm yourself with squirt pistols, water-filled balloons and mega blasters
+ use water fountains as regular checkpoints to fill up water artillery
39. Buy a hula hoop, carry it around with you everywhere and randomly start spinning with it on your hips
It will really freak people out. And keep you fit.
40. Get grilling
A barbecue is to summer what an orgasm is to sex – if you don’t have one by the time it’s finished, you’ll be utterly disappointed and be muttering, ‘but, but, but…’. It’s not easy to find a spot to grill in Vienna and we’d recommend buying your own little barbecue. However, we’ve got a list of the public grilling spots in the city for you to check out.
41. Wander through a fleamarket
This city keeps spitting out more and more flea markets. Keep an eye on our weekly WHAT TO DO weekend guide to keep up to date on where and when they are happening.
Meanwhile, the mighty big Naschmarkt Fleamarket is always a pleasure to wander and haggle your way through. Keep looking until you find that David Hasselhoff album you’ve always wanted. To give you a hand in finding your way around, and to ensure a bargain, check out our tips on how to navigate the Naschmarkt fleamarket, here.
42. Rise and shine for an early morning run
Wake at 5am in the morning, beat the heat of a really hot day, take in the smell of the trees and flowers and the silence on the streets. Then after your run, curl back up in bed after a nice long shower – one of the simplest pleasures of summer. Check out our list of our favourite running routes in Vienna, here.
43. Sex outdoors
You’re out somewhere, life is beautiful, you’re crazy in love, you can’t keep your hands off of each other and you just can’t wait until you get home. If you haven’t done it, then you’re depriving yourself of a thrill that only a cheeky quickie behind a bush can bring.
We highly recommend you sharing this experience with the person you’re crazy for, and being creative about it. Then drop a pin on a Google map and send it to us so we can try the same location. Check out our list here of the Best spots for a quickie in public, here, for some inspiration.
44. Busk on the street (if you can play an instrument, sing, juggle, or pose as a statue for hours on end)
If you’re mildly talented on an instrument, then busking is one unique experience open to you. Even if you sound like something between an excited donkey and that sound the new Wiener Linien buses make when the doors are closing. Bellowing out a tune on the street in public can be blissfully liberating.
Get some inspiration from our video in which we hit the streets with busking blues musician, Somerset Barnard:
45. Endure as many mosquito bites as you can
It’s no summer without mosquito bites, and once you find yourself absent-mindedly scratching that small spot on your leg and you realise that one of those pesky little fuckers have caught you unaware, you might find yourself smiling due to the fact that this can only mean one thing: it’s summer!
And if you want more of it, find the mosquito’s favourite hang-out places in Vienna: the Prater, the Donauinsel, or anywhere near the water is always a good place to find them, especially around the Alte Donau.
46. Sink your toes into the sand, at the beach
Vienna might not have a sea, but this doesn’t mean you won’t find sand to stick your naked, hairy toes into. If a deck chair is involved, even better. Add a cocktail, close your eyes and imagine being at the beach. Check out our guide to Vienna’s many beach bars.
47. Find yourself in a moral dilemma between really wanting to go out and party and staying Covid-safe this summer
We’ll all be having this experience, whether we want to, or not.
48. Watching the sunrise and listening to the birds chirp
You haven’t experienced summer in Vienna if you haven’t enjoyed walking through the streets of the city while one side of the sky’s colour fades from dark blue to whitish-yellow and you suddenly notice that you’re not the only one who’s up at 4am.
49. Hide out in a courtyard café or restaurant
Vienna has hundreds of hidden hofs (courtyards) that are kept a secret, but some of them house restaurants and ‘Gastgartens.’ There’s nothing like hiding out in one when the afternoon sun gets too much and enjoying a nice meal, or a few cool drinks.
Check out our guide to Vienna’s hidden Hof restaurants/cafés we’d recommend.
50. Join an outdoor yoga class
Consider getting in shape, getting bendy, finding your inner peace while soaking up the sun and fresh air by signing up to one of the city’s many outdoor yoga classes!
51. Book a booth, or table at the Filmfestival
With the mighty Rathaus as the backdrop, the Filmfestival is happening again in 2020. It may look a bit different, but the same stuff is on offer: food stands serving food from all over the world and music videos of ballet, opera, classical music and Jazz being screened on a might big screen, every night of the week. Check out the Filmfestival website for how to book a booth, or table.
52. Spend some time at Yppenplatz
Where: Yppenplatz, 1160
Yppenplatz, the square crammed with restaurants and cafes at the end of the 16th district’s Brunnenmarkt is one of the most liveliest places in the city when the sun’s setting.
It’s hard to find a comparable summer and cosmopolitan atmosphere like you do at Yppenplatz where a mish-mash of Vienna’s cultures come together and draw a buzzing crowd most nights of the week. And the choice of cuisine is vast, from the seafood at ANDO Brunnenmarkt, the Italian at Dellago, and the funky nightlife scene at WIRR am Brunnenmarkt – the two-storey bar with a view. Here’s our complete guide to Yppenplatz.
53. Try one of Vienna’s lesser known neighbourhood markets
Now, everybody knows Vienna’s largest market, the mighty Naschmarkt, that spends most of its days constipated with tourists. But how about the smaller, lesser known, tourist-free market squares which throb at the heart of many of the city’s neighbourhoods. The collection of small huts, selling up food from all over the world, typically surrounded by buildings that look like they’re guarding it like soldiers.
We ventured from one side of the city to the other to make you a list of our favourite farmers’ market squares to discover in Vienna.
54. Escape to a lake
There are many great escapes to be made close to the city of Vienna, which involve a lake, and a taste of the Austrian countryside.
This is one of the things we love the most about this city – within 30 minutes, you can escape the city and be lakeside in some quaint Austrian town.
And you don’t have to have a car to reach these city escapes. The famous shallow (shallow as in depth-wise, not as in, this lake is such a superficial, egoistic lake) Neusiedlersee can be reached via trains which leave from Franz-Josef-Bahnhof, regularly. You can also reach the aptly named 100tagesommer lake via public transport (see here for details).
Other lakes we recommend escaping Vienna to:
Badesee Ozean (can be reached with the Badner Bahn)
Windradlteich Guntramsdorf (can be reached with the Badner Bahn)
55. Wander Kellergasse in Stammersdorf
While the bus loads of tourists flock to Grinzing (well, in a normal year – not a Corona year) for their wine tasting and Heurigen hopping, we’d recommend you check one of the more relaxed and pleasant local’s favourites, Stammersdorf.
Lining a charming cobblestone street in the town are family owned Heurigens and Buschschanke that make for the perfect setting for an afternoon in the sun, a good bottle of wine, and a spread of breads, cold cuts of meat and spreads.
We drank and wine-tasted our way from the top to the bottom of Stammersdorf’s charming Kellergasse to bring you a guide on how to experience Kellergasse best. Check it out, here.
56. Enjoy a brewsky at the city’s brewery
As they do every year, the Ottalringer Brauerei will be using the cool space in front of the factory to host their ongoing summer event, Ottakringer Bierfest 2020.
There will be lots of beer flowing – different kinds of beer produced in their brewery, to be specific – and there will also be food stands taking care of your growling stomach. This is a pleasant way to end a day in summer in Vienna. Find more details on their event page.
57. Spend some time chilling at the MQ
Where: Museumsquartier, 1070
While the cultural institutions that surround it echo with relative emptiness, the courtyard that the Vienna’s Museumsquartier cradles is one of the city’s summer hot spots. Meeting friends to curl up in the sun on one of the lego-like plastic couch thingies is a summer experience that should be committed repeatedly.
58. Feast on a Stelze (pork knuckle) or a Schnitzel @ the Schweizerhaus
Where: Schweizerhaus, Prater 116, 1020
It’s a tradition that excites the hell out of us everytime summer arrives, and makes us sit with a dazed, motionless, expression that only a delicious big meal can inspire – the stelze and beer at the legendary Schweizerhaus is a must in summer.
Just thinking about the pork crackle that encapsulates the juicy pork meat makes us foam at the mouth like a rabid dog. And the leafy green beer garden is alone enough reason to visit, even if you’re not into ripping at a chunk of pork from a bone and swigging at a large glass of beer like you’re out of the middle ages.
Don’t expect to easily find a seat if you turn up on the weekend. We’d recommend reserving or visiting during the week when the crowd is less. Check out the Schweizerhaus website, here.
59. Try out one of these Vienna-themed dives
We came up with a few Vienna-inspired dives – watch the video and try them all before summer’s out!