Vienna is the capital of Austria and also one of the 9 states that make up the country. The center of the city is home to many historically important buildings that it was entirely declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.
The second-largest German-speaking city after Berlin is also referred to as “The City of Music,” a reference to the multiple classical musical artists who lived and worked here such as Beethoven and Mozart.
If you’re interested in a healthy dose of culture, then below you’ll find a list of the best things to do in Vienna and learn the facts about them.
1. Enjoy an opera performance at the Vienna Staatsoper
The Vienna Staatsoper is the common name of the Vienna State Opera, the main opera house in the city.
It’s home to some of the most prestigious organizations including the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera and it’s considered to be one of the business opera houses in the world with over 350 yearly performances in 50 to 60 different operas.
This building was the first structure to be completed on the new Vienna Ring Road in the 1860s.
Even though this Neo-Renaissance structure is praised today, the main architect of the building, Eduard van der Nüll (112-1868), committed suicide following the ongoing criticism he received about the design.
Today, it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, and attending a performance is an amazing experience.
Official website: Wiener Staatsoper
2. Visit the amazing Schönbrunn Palace
Vienna is a city full of historic buildings and some of the most astounding palace complexes in the world.
One of these amazing structures is the Schönbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the Habsburg rulers.
This enormous palace features 1,441 rooms, elaborately designed in the popular 17th-century Rococo architectural style, and serves as a popular and enormous museum.
The history of the palace goes back to the 16th century and its name literally translates to “Beautiful Spring.”
This is a reference to the artesian well that was formerly used by members of the court for drinking water.
The gardens of the palace are equally impressive and the entire compound is located just to the southeast of the historical center of the city making it very easily accessible.
Official website: Schoenbrunn.at
3. Meet animals at Tiergarten Schönbrunn
One of the most popular attractions located entirely within the gardens of the Schönbrunn Palace is the Vienna Zoo, officially known as “Tiergarten Schönbrunn” or “Schönbrunn Animal Garden.”
The roots of this zoo date back to the 18th century as the original zoo was founded as the Imperial Menagerie in the year 1752.
This menagerie was designed around a central pavilion built in the Baroque architectural style and served as the breakfast house for the Imperial family.
Today, you can enjoy a relaxing drink or lunch in and around the building that the Imperial family once ate their breakfast.
This amazing zoo also holds the record as being the oldest continuously operating zoo in the world, another reason why it should be on your to-do list during your stay in Vienna.
Official website: Zoo Vienna
4. Check out the tiled roof of St. Stephen’s Cathedral
The main church in Vienna and the official seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna is also one of the architectural highlights in the city.
The first version of St. Stephen’s Cathedral was built between 1137 and 1160, and all the elements of the church as they appear today were completed in 1511.
The absolute highlight of this fascinating church, apart from its remarkable Romanesque and Gothic architectural design, is the multi-colored tile roof.
This fascinating roof consists of 230,000 glazed tiles which depict the double-headed eagle, the symbol of the Habsburg Dynasty, one side, and the coats of arms of Vienna and Austria on the other.
The interior of the church is equally impressive which makes entering this remarkable structure a must as well.
Official website: St. Stephen’s Cathedral Wien
5. Admire fine art at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
If you enjoy visiting a museum that has a large collection of fine art on display, then the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna is a must-visit attraction.
The museum is commonly referred to as the “Museum of Fine Arts” and is located in a palatial building on the Ring Road of Vienna. It is both the largest art museum in the country and one of the most important art museums in the world.
On the other side of the Maria-Theresien-Platz, the immense square on which the museum is located, you can find the Natural History Museum, a very similar-looking Renaissance Revival building which was opened at the same time in 1891.
The interior of the museum is equally impressive as the exterior and lavishly decorated with marble and gold leaf. Both the fine art and interior ornamentations of the building will leave you standing in awe, that’s for sure.
Official website: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
6. Learn history at the Hofburg – Sisi Museum
The Hofburg is yet another immense palace in the center of the city and was the former official residence and winter palace of the Habsburg rulers.
Its purpose has changed and now serves as both the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria, as well as a museum related to the country’s history.
The main attraction of this enormous structure is the “Sisi Museum” which allows you to visit the former Imperial Apartments and the immense Silver collection of the Habsburg Rulers.
The personal items of Empress Elizabeth are also on display here at this fascinating museum.
An audio guide is available as well so you can learn everything about life at the court during Imperial times.
Official website: The Hofburg and Sisi Museum