Musical history, museums, and nearby mountains: Vienna means art, culture, and nature all wrapped up in one place. Whether you’re looking for a fun intro to these things for the little ones, or an immersion for older kids and teens, if you’re in Vienna, you’re in the right place.
I like Vienna most in the winter, when Christmas markets abound and parts of the center turn into an ice-skating paradise known as Vienna Ice World. But summer offers family fun, too, with clean city parks, open-air (and often free) cinemas, and swimming from the banks of the Old Danube. Whenever you find yourself in Vienna with the kids, here are my tips for three memorable days in town.
Expect mild summers and cold winters. Bundle up in winter, even if there’s no snow.
If you only have time for one thing, make it a trip to Prater Park for a spin on the historic Ferris wheel and fairground fun.
Start in the historic center, aka Vienna’s UNESCO-listed Innere Stadt. The streets are mostly pedestrianized, so little ones can wander and older ones can take bike and Segway tours. Self-guided smartphone tours offer flexibility, and kid-friendly walks offer a fun intro to Vienna’s history.
The nearby Museum Quarter offers a cluster of family-friendly attractions. The real treasure here is Vienna’s Natural History Museum where you can easily lose a whole afternoon—if not a day. Highlights include animatronic dinosaur models and a giant fossilized dinosaur poop, which will stay in your kids’ memories longer than it should.
For horse-loving kids, Vienna’s famous Spanish Riding School is the place to be. Show tickets can be hard to score, but you can catch the Lipizzaner stallions training to music most mornings. It's only open to kids over 3, and the horses take a yearly “summer vacation.” If you miss them, check out the Lipizzaner Museum.
Use a hop-on hop-off bus to travel to Vienna’s Hietzing district, home of the elegant Schönbrunn Palace. Let your little ones act out their inner archdukes and archduchesses in the on-site Children’s Museum, playing dress-up in imperial-era costumes, and then head to the Schönbrunn Palace Garden maze for fun amid the manicured hedges.
Later, head to Schönbrunn Zoo to see wild animals and learn about endangered species conservation. The zoo’s pandas are the highlight, but there are other fun things to check out such as a rainforest house, an adventure playground, and sea lion feeding.