When thinking of Vienna, “the Imperial City” is often what comes to mind. As the heart of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Hapsburg’s former playground is famed for its beautiful façades, immaculate city blocks and marble-tabled coffee shops. The city continues to live up to its hype—a stunning city rife with culture and history; but it also offers a cooler and edgier side when you venture off the beaten path, making it perfect for those seeking a contemporary European getaway.
To escape the main tourist areas, we recommend exploring beyond the “Ringstrasse,” the majestic boulevard that encircles most of the city center. Just across the Danube River, the hip neighborhood of Leopoldstadt is home to trendy shops, restaurants and bars. Wiener Prater, the area’s main park, is a sprawling expanse of greenery and trails, and home to a small amusement park. After exploring the grounds, fuel up with coffee and apfelstrudel (apple strudel) at Balthasar Kaffee Bar. Then, check out some of the area’s best boutiques, including Neat (Ilgpl. 6), Song and Supersense, all of which offer designs from local and international brands. Armed with new Viennese fashions, you’ll want to stop by Café Ansari (Praterstrasse 15), an authentic watering hole frequented by locals who adore its Georgian cuisine. The bar scene is lively in Leopoldstat, especially in the summer, when the Viennese come to enjoy the beautiful weather at alfresco venues. Don’t miss Das Loft at the Sofitel—the rooftop views are divine.
Related: Q&A with Supersense's Florian Kaps
For rooftop-hoppers, another amazing bar with a view is the 25H Hotel Bar (Lerchenfelder Str. 1-3), which is always buzzing with trendy locals. This bar is located between the MuseumsQuartier (a must-visit while in Vienna) and the emerging area of Neubau. This neighborhood is packed with independent design boutiques (such as perennial favorite Park), drawing comparisons to Berlin's trendy Friedrichshain neighborhood. Here, swing by local hot spot Strudls (Siebensterngasse 58), which serves, unsurprisingly, strudels, or the nearby Café 7stern (Siebensterngasse 31), for a more healthful snack.
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