Vienna is known for its creative and musical masterpieces, as well as for its coffee-house culture, thriving design scene, and baroque streetscapes and imperial buildings.
Imperial splendour in Vienna is a legacy of the mighty Habsburg empire. The Hofburg palace complex, which has served as their residence for more than six centuries, includes the Burgkapelle (Imperial Chapel), where the Vienna Boys’ Choir performs Sunday Mass, the renowned Spanish Riding School, where Lipizzaner stallions perform elegant equine ballet, as well as a bevvy of museums, including those housed in the chandeliered Kaiserappartements (Imperial Apartments). Other enormous palaces are the baroque Schloss Belvedere and the 1441-room Schloss Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ vacation home. 19th-century splendours like the neo-Gothic Rathaus (City Hall) border the beautiful Ringstrasse surrounding the Innere Stadt (inner city).
The imperial art collection is kept in one of the Rinsgstrasse residences of the Habsburgs, the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna. It is jam-packed with magnificent Old Master paintings and artefacts, including one of the largest coin collections in the entire world. The inventive MuseumsQuartier, located in the former imperial stables behind the Hofburg, has been turned into a diversified collection of museums, showing anything from often-shocking avant-garde pieces at the contemporary MUMOK to 19th- and 20th-century Austrian art at the Leopold Museum. The Naturhistorisches Museum is filled with meteorites, fossils, and ancient artefacts. The applied-arts Museum für Angewandte Kunst is filled with fine furniture.
Vienna is referred to as the “City of Music” for its rich musical heritage, which includes works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss (father and son), Johannes Brahms, and Gustav Mahler, among countless others. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performs in the famed Musikverein, which has excellent acoustics, the Staatsoper, the city’s primary opera building decorated in gold and crystal, the Konzerthaus, which has multiple stages, and MuTh, which serves as the Vienna Boys’ Choir’s devoted home. At the fascinating Haus der Musik museum, interactive exhibits bring music to life.
Vienna is known for its appreciation of the finer things in life, which can be seen in its lavish coffeehouse “living rooms” that serve magnificent cakes, its beloved pub-like Beisln serving hearty portions of Wiener schnitzel, Tafelspitz (prime boiled beef), and goulash, elegant restaurants, and its fine Austrian wines served in vaulted Vinothek (wine bar) cellars and in rustic vine-draped Heurigen (wine taver The bustling Naschmarkt is filled with local and international treats, and inventive chefs are experimenting with regional ingredients and brand-new flavour combinations in ingenious, frequently repurposed settings.