For a city that takes pride in its Baroque palaces and rich legacy in art and music, Vienna has an astonishing array of child-friendly places. Read on for Meher Fatma's tips for visiting Vienna with your family.
Between foamy sips of melange (milk coffee) and luxurious bites of fresh sacher torte (chocolate and jam cake), you can hop from interactive museums to lively street markets and dramatic courtyards with a happy toddler in tow. There is always plenty for kids to do in Freud’s City of Dreams.
Top Five Things to Do and See
1. For the mini-Mozarts, the Haus der Musik encompasses the city’s rich history in classical music. The museum is interactive and kids can virtually conduct a concert and learn about sounds while playing a musical game of Namadeus. In summer, there are open air concerts across the city.
2. The Vienna State Opera has specially-designed operas for its young audience. Recommended for children six years and older, these (usually) one-hour-long performances are a huge hit and tickets sell out weeks in advance. Check their webpage for this year’s compositions.: look up the schedules for opera and book English tours in advance.
3. A day trip to the Prater Park promises a fun filled extravaganza. Enjoy the lush greenery with a bike ride, and a lazy picnic by the jungle gym, or spend a busy afternoon at its amusement park. It is famous for its Ferris Wheel, one of the world's oldest, that offers a sumptuous view of the city.
4. Minopolis is a giggle-filled city for children. Four to twelve-year olds can get hands-on experience while working at the train station, supermarket, hospital, and many more businesses. Good work is rewarded here with a special currency called Eurolinos and there are several trainers who are ready to assist the children at their jobs.
5. Kick-start the day with a trip to the Spanish Riding School. Home to the famous Lipizzaner horses, families with children aged three years and older are welcome to watch the 10am training session and steal a view of the opulent 18th Century riding school.
1. There is a wealth of things to do at the Schönbrunn Palace. Tour the Imperial apartments and grand parlours where 6-year-old Mozart performed for the Empress. Get lost in the maze and labyrinths outside or settle down for a dress-up party at the Children’s Museum. Lined up with several wardrobes, kids can put on royal costumes, try on wigs and accessorise. There are enough props across the hall for taking postcard-worthy pictures of your little prince and princess. Once you’ve had your fill of frescoed walls and fancy trimmings, visit the zoo that sits beside the palace.
2. Get your children excited about famous art works at Belvedere. The beautiful Baroque complex consists of two grand palaces. Head to the Upper Belvedere and pick up the 20-page Museum Detective booklet. Set your six to twelve-year-olds on a trail of the masterpieces, finding mistakes in paintings and answering questions about sculptures.
Museum Must Visits
1. Sunday afternoons spell fun for children at the Kunsthistorisches Museum. The afternoon workshop at this museum of fine arts helps them create their own artworks works and memorabilia inspired by paintings and sculptures inside the museum.
2. Weekends at the modern art museum, Mumok, offers interesting art concepts to children – junk modelling from scraps, creating animated short films, and authoring comics inspired by the exhibitions.
1. This café-crazy city has aromas of cocoa in every nook and cranny of its cobbled streets. For sumptuous cakes and a chance to see the bakers in action, don't miss Demel on the Kolmarkt.
2. Naschmarkt is a gateway to Vienna’s gastronomical spread. State-of-the-art schnitzels (you get pint-sized kiddie portions too), potato latkes, open sandwiches with kebabs and nutty mountain cheeses and Palatschinke (a super thin pancake rolled with jam) make this a perfect place for noshing.
3. No travel guide can prepare you enough for the raft of ice cream parlours that span this city. The portions are sinful and the flavours are scrumptious.
1. Public transport is easy. The U-bahn connects the city to all its touristy hot spots. Get a day pass and begin your explorations.
2. Taking a buggy is do-able, most stations are equipped with elevators.
Get on with your bookings now, Vienna with kids is an absolute must-do!
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Meher Fatma is a full-time mom and a freelance writer. Passionate about DIY projects, she loves putting her crafty ideas to use at Button Balloons, an online party shop that she co-owns.
Photo credit: Meher Fatma