Spring sees this city’s people burst out onto the street again. We love how there’s a clear cut between the season (even though nobody’s seemed to have informed the weather Gods) when people start to break out of their apartments, throw their heavy jackets from rooftops and spring to the streets as flowers begin to bloom. And after several weeks in home isolation, Spring feels oh so much sweeter in 2020.
Here’s 14 things to do outdoors in Vienna to celebrate that spring has sprung.
1. Take advantage of no tourists being in town & check out the city’s palaces
It’s no mystery why Vienna’s palace gardens are normally filled with tourists – they are f**** stunning! And with all that’s been going on – ya’ know and we don’t need to tell ya’ about the killer virus and all – they’re currently a lot less crowded than normal. So now’s your chance to enjoy Vienna’s beautiful palace gardens without almost having your head taken off by a selfie stick.
2. Take a walk through the cherry blossoms & flowers in Stadtpark
A beautiful explosion of pink colour goes off all over Stadtpark in Spring as the cherry blossom trees start to bloom. Meanwhile, a multitude of other flowers bloom and fill the air with enough pollen they’ll make you sneeze, and smells that will make your nose go ‘HOOCHI-MAMA!’
Go for a walk, sit under a tree, and take in the smells that Spring spits out in a big way.
3. Hold your own Donaukanal graffiti gallery opening party
As soon as the first rays of sunshine appear, the city’s graffiti artists come out to play. After the long winter hibernation and conditions improve, masters of the spray paint return to their canvas of the Donaukanal, leading to the promenades face being freshened up with a whole range of new street art and graffiti work. Stroll through the open air gallery and take in the unframed vibrant motifs. Also, considering the 2nd district side of the Donaukanal promenade is a great spot to catch some afternoon sunrays, we suggest after your self-guided graffiti tour, that you sit down on the grass with a bottle of wine or a couple cans of beer, and discuss (in sophisticated accents, of course) the new Spring exhibit that organically takes shape here on its own.
4. Spring screams ICE CREAM!
Who gives a hooty-nanny if the temperatures still have your nipples pointing towards the sun, the city’s ice cream parlour’s doors are flying open already, and the licking and slurping of the good stuff has begun. Dive your nose into the first ice cream of the season at one of Vienna’s ice cream parlours. Check out our guide on the best ice cream parlours in Vienna.
5. Bikinis, beer and topless sunbathing in Burgarten, or Augarten
There’s nothing like that atmosphere when the first warm days arrive and the parks are packed with people soaking in the sun. It still amazes us how early and quickly the people of Vienna lose their shirts outside in Spring. In Vienna, on the first day of Spring that the barometer reads over 15 degrees, it’s time to get your top off (bikini on, if you so require it) and meet with friends in Burggarten, or Augarten park. This is one of our favourite signs that the city has awakened from it’s dark day slumber, and is eager to soak in every bit of Vitamin D the sun can throw down on it.
6. We have 3 words for you: Coffee, blanket and Schanigarten (beer garden)
Ok, so this one you’ll have to wait until the middle of May when all of Vienna’s restaurants and cafes are allowed to throw open their doors and throw up their Schanigärten. We can’t wait! Schanigärten will be popular places heading into summer with them having been closed for over a month, and because it’s assumed people will be hesitant to sit inside.
Many of them provide blankets and/ or outdoor heaters to compensate for Spring’s lukewarm temperatures. Find yourself a café, or restaurant that catches a lot of sun throughout the afternoon, snuggle under a blanket and sip on a Melange. Oh, it just so happens that we have a list of the Schanigärten that get a good dose of sun.
Please note: wearing sunglasses and flip flops will guarantee both an authentic experience, an opportunity to check out the good looking people as they walk by without them knowing, and ensure you look as cool as this guy (just kidding, you’ll never look as cool as this guy):
*Disclaimer: you will freeze your ass off, and wearing summer accessories like sunglasses and flip flops do not influence whoever is controlling the weather in his/her almighty decision-making.
7. Picnic in a park
Warning: this activity is not recommended for the kind of people that complain about how cold it is on a abnormally regular basis, until summer, when they complain about how hot it is – in other words, this one’s only for the hardcore Spring fanatics
Laying down a blanket, and encircling a basket full of food with your friends, or with the person who’s ear you most enjoy nibbling on while they sleep, is one of the simplest, yet most scrumptious experiences to have when the sun is squeezing out some warmth. Dress warm, and get the first picnic in at the mighty Prater park, or at one of these Vienna parks we recommend, here.
8. Get your bike ready for the season aaaand start cycling!
You should have already cleaned off that two-wheeled beloved beast of yours and made it street ready. If you haven’t, before we go any further, check out some tips here on how to get your bike ready for Spring.
Now we’ve got that out of the way – jump on your bike and make the most out of this city’s many bike paths. We recommend following the Donaukanal out of the city.
9. Head to the markets for Spring’s specialities
Deeply rooted in the Austrian culture is a deep respect for seasonal fruit and vegetables grown regionally. To every season belongs certain fruit and veg’, and Spring sees people overdosing on asparagus, strawberries, spinach and Bärlauch (translation: Ramson). While most of these products are available all year round thanks to globalisation, they’re regionally sourced at this time of year, meaning the taste will have your lips smacking.
When you see the sun poking it’s head up one of these Spring mornings, we suggest you hit one of Vienna’s many neighbourhood markets, basket some fresh produce, and perhaps stop for a brunch while your at it (when the cafes are allowed to open mid-May, of course). Check out your ultimate list on Vienna’s best neighbourhood markets, or our guide to the city’s best farmer’s markets.
10. Shoot & post on Instagram a photo of that tree with the damn fine looking flowers on it in Sigmund-Freud-Park
Photo by the talented Instagrammer @suziiie_v
With the Votivkirche in the background, of course. No matter who you are, we can almost guarantee you’ve got hundreds of such pictures popping up in your feed.
11. Sit at beautiful spots in the old city, close your eyes, face the sun and recharge your batteries with sun
Find a spot in the sun, lean back, close your eyes and let that sun soak in – it’s a common sight in Vienna to see people with their eyes closed facing towards the sun (we’ll call it Spring sunbathing). Here’s some of our favourite Spring sunbathing spots:
+ Museumsquartier: The benches in the courtyard fill up fast on a sunny day.
+ Sitting in front of the Palmenhaus above the Burggarten
+ On the Burgtheater’s front steps
+ Aloft the Albertina terrace under the horseman
+ Sitting on the fountain’s edge of the Neumarkt square
+ On a chair in the Volksgarten
12. Wine and dine in the hustle and bustle of the Naschmarkt, or Yppenplatz*
* To do this one, you’ll have to wait until mid-May when all gastronomy opens up again.
We bet you’ve been missing those summer nights spent sitting in the restaurant gardens at the Naschmarkt, or in the cosmopolitan buzz of Yppenplatz in Vienna’s 16th district, right? We highly recommend celebrating the start of spring by enjoying a glass of wine and a plate of antipasto at the Naschmarkt. Meanwhile, head to one of the many cafes surrounding Yppenplatz and enjoy a brunch in the sun. Check out our guide on Naschmarkt and Yppenplatz if you’re not sure where to go.
13. Have a spring fling, or fall in love
Spring is renowned as the season of love. When new life blossoms all around us, we tend to all get a little excited down in our fun bits. Look for love this spring and fall into it, have a passionate spring fling, or if you’re already with the love of your life, fall in love with each other again. We asked the people of Vienna to tell us their love stories on our Facebook page and hundreds of people wrote in telling their beautiful stories. Oh, and if manages to get to that point, here’s a list of public places for a quickie.
14. Go for a stroll through Vienna’s Japanese garden
No where in the city does spring put on a show quite like it does in the Setagayapark, which is known as Vienna’s little piece of Japan. Full of an orchestra of blooming flowers, a stroll through this park will not only fill you with that euphoria that only spring can inspire, but also your nose will be struck by hundreds of different smells from the garden.