How to Spend a Day in Vienna

Beautiful landscape with Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna, Austria at night

When you think of Vienna, a few things come to mind: Josef Strauss and classical music, the Habsburg royal family, and rich, delicious foods. Like most other European cities, the attraction to this city is in its history, art and architecture. But there is a difference in Vienna. Everything here seems to a step beyond what you might see in other European Cities. It is the epitome of Baroque art and architecture. There are indeed palaces, churches and museums to visit, famous foods to taste and musical events to attend.

Points of Interest

Probably the first thing you think of related to Vienna is the Schönbrunn Palace, and it is one of the most visited places in Vienna. The palace and gardens cover almost 400 acres in the western side of Vienna. What you may not know is that this is the “Summer” Palace of the Habsburg’s. The main palace was Hofburg Palace pictured above. In the winter, the Schönbrunn Palace hosts one of Vienna’s Christmas Markets, and in the summer you can attend concerts from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Other “must see” places in Vienna include the Spanish Riding School, home of the Lipizzaner horses. the Stephansdom Cathedral, the Belvedere Palace, and the city park.

Food and Wine

You have no doubt heard of a Wienerschnitzel. Yes, it is Austrian in origin, not German. And it is one of my favorite foods in the world – especially when you make it with a mushroom sauce (called a Jägerschnitzel). 

But Vienna is even more famous for its Sachertorte and Apfelstrudeln. Why not try these in one of the famous coffee houses (Kaffeehaus) like Kaffee Alt Wien.


There are literally dozens of museums throughout the city, devoted to everything from Art, to Natural History, and even to clocks. There is even one part of the city called the “Museumsquartier” with over 60 different sections in it.

Other Activities

I have already mentioned the concerts at the Schönbrunn Palace, but there are plenty of other musical options to choose from. In addition, there are day trips to the Austrian countryside and to Salzburg, and even day trips to Budapest. 

There are also vinyards located just outside of the city, in the village of Grinzing. 

How to Get There

Getting to Vienna is fairly easy. There are direct flights from Newark and O’Hare airport into Vienna, and Delta has connections through Amsterdam and Paris. Of course, if you are on a Danube River Cruise, you will definitely be making a stop in Vienna. You can also get to Vienna from Munich, Budapest and Prague by train.

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