I lived in Vienna for three years before having children. Vienna is considered to be the number one city in Mercer’s quality of life ranking. It was only until after my daughter was born there that I realized how wonderful it was to live in a city where tap water is spring water, gorgeous mountains are a one-hour drive away, organic food is served in many restaurants and cafés, and we can swim in the crystal clear water of the Danube.
When my daughter was only two months old we moved to Beijing and that meant a huge change in our family lifestyle.
After ten moves and two relocations in just two years, we have now moved back to Europe and are ready to visit Vienna again.
What a delight to rediscover a city I used to live in, as a tourist. After a long weekend full of emotions (walking down the street where my daughter spent the first months of her life, meeting friends and former colleagues…) I realized that Vienna is one of the best cities to visit with children. There are so many things that you can do. From museums to parks and swimming places: Haus des Meeres- Aqua Terra Zoo. Planetarium, the Technical Museum (Technisches Museum), the Prater Park and its Prater Allee, the Schönbrun Zoo (Scönnbrun Tiergarten), the Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum), Donaupark and Donauinsel, Oberlaa Therme to name just a few.
Your children will enjoy all of that. And if you want to go off beaten path, here are our top 3 favorite outings with baby or tot for a weekend in Vienna:
The Imperial House of Butterflies
It is a gorgeous place. Everything is beautiful: the little exotic forest created inside the Imperial House, the huge bouquets of orchid, the colorful butterflies, the little river with red fishes.
Zoom Museum & breakfast in the jungle (at « Dschungel Café »)
Zoom is a Children’s Museum with endless possibilities for children–from exhibits, to art workshops, play areas, and programmes on science education and film studio and more.
If you want to visit it, do book your ticket online in advance: http://www.kindermuseum.at/en/calendar_and_bookings/individual_visitors
Before heading to the museum, you can also stop for breakfast at « Dschungel » (as in « Jungle ») Café. It’s a kid friendly café close to Zoom. You can drink your coffee while it’s still hot and while your little one is playing with other children or running after the pigeons in the courtyard.
Breakfast at Nashmarkt
Nashmarkt is not famous for being child-friendly, but we used to love it there when we lived in Vienna pre-kids, so we went there anyway. Nashmarkt is a vivid area that gathers restaurants, delight chops, cafés and a vintage market in the same place. While it’s usually crowded and very hard to get a table in the nice restaurants, I’m glad we went there on Saturday morning. With a little one that wakes up (very!) early, we were able to have a delicious Turkish breakfast before it got too crowded.
On your way to Nashmarkt we stopped at Karlsplatz station and took the « Secession » exit. My daughter loved the animated numbers on the walls and the floor that were giving various information.
As adults, when we visit a place we tend to rush to see as much as possible to make the most of it. But children are amazed by the small things. They love to take their time to pause and explore, and don’t like to be rushed around the city. While finding a balance is not always easy, we have also so much to gain from slowing down and taking the time to discover things that are not necessarily on the map.
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