Ein Tag in Wien: A Chilly November Day in Vienna

Vienna foliage, p/c @michelleamock

Vienna foliage, p/c @michelleamock

One of my favorite No Reservations episodes is when Anthony Bourdain is in Vienna and is SO. DOGGONE. TICKED. to be having the best time there. He’s all upset because the city is so #offbrand for him: it’s not in the least bit edgy or punk rock. He tries to get indignant, but he just can’t because it’s just so cozy and cheerful and lovely.

I’ve never been to Vienna, but it’s fast becoming my newest obsession thanks to coverage like this — and let’s not forget my proclivity for all things hygge. I mean, I can get down with a trip to the tropics; I’m not a monster! But given the choice, if there’s even a remote chance that a country has a population of handy shoemaking elves hidden deep within its forests, then that, my friends, is where I want to be.

Austria has that in spades, and then to sweeten the pot, Vienna is outrageously beautiful, with every cultural activity you could possibly dream of. So with that in mind, I’m going to pay homage to the NY Times‘ 36 Hours series and share my thoughts on a perfect chilly fall day in Vienna.

  • Accommodations: My fictional home base would be in Mariahilf or Neubau, which are supposed to be funky neighborhoods with lots of boutique shopping and eclectic bars. I found this adorable apartment on AirBnB for (when I looked) $79 a night. It’s a studio loft with a giant bathtub and incredible windows, and the hosts have great reviews. So far I’m feeling pretty good about this trip!

  • Phil in Vienna, p/c Yelp

    Café Phil in Vienna, p/c Yelp

  • Breakfast (around 9am): Nothing too crazy for breakfast, but when in Vienna, one must have coffee. Or else the baristas of cafés past will, like, haunt you forever more. I’m pretty into Phil, a bookstore/coffee shop on Gumpendorferstrasse that’s supposed to serve a yummy spread. From the photos, it looks super-comfy — that is, if you’re like me and are soothed by being in the presence of thousands of books. Let’s pretend that you are.

  • A morning stroll (10am-ish): Let’s check out Neubau! The NY Times‘ 36 Hours post recommends browsing through the shops on Neubaugasse. I did a quick search and apparently Carnaby (number 78) is where all the cool kids get their vintage clothing, whereas Shu! (number 34) is the place for beautifully designed shoes.

  • Late lunch (2pm): While Amerlingbeisl is perhaps best known for its stunning courtyard, the food is equally celebrated. A beisl is a tavern offering local specialities, so here you can get a taste of all things Austrian. The cuisine is not light, so hopefully the brisk air gives you an appetite. By the by, we’re doing something a bit more modern for dinner, so if you want schnitzel, get it here. And rumor has it the ginger apricot punsch is out of this world, so you know what to do.

  • Austrian National Library


  • Walk it off! (3:30pm): Fight the urge to fall asleep after all that deliciousness; we have miles to go before we sleep! I’m torn between two things here. On one hand, I really like modern art, and mumok (11€) features works by Warhol, Picasso, Oldenburg, and more. On the other hand, Vienna boasts one of the most beautiful libraries in the world: the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (7€). You can’t take photos, but you can live out your dreams of reenacting the library scene from Beauty and the Beast….

  • CHRISTMAS MARKET TIME!! (5-6pm): If you think I’m going to visit Vienna and not make sure it’s during Christmas market time, you need to get to stepping (again, you need only read my Copenhagen post). For this expedition I’ve chosen the Wiener Adventzauber und Christkindlmarkt (Magic of Advent and Christmas Market), which starts on November 13 and is open from 10am to 10pm. But but but you have to make sure you’re there when it’s dark so you get the full effect of the Christmas lights. Promise me this!! Also promise me that you’ll partake of the mulled wine. It’s chilly, and you need to keep warm.

    Wiener Adventzauber und Christkindlemarkt

    Wiener Adventzauber und Christkindlemarkt, p/c news.at

    FYI, there are other Christmas markets that have different hours; check those out here.

  • Dinner (7-8pm): Ugh, you seriously want to leave the Christmas market? What’s wrong with you?! Fiiiiine. Dinner is at Labstelle, which is a brisk walk from the market. Per their site, they serve food with regional roots and urban flair. This is definitely a departure from our traditional lunch, but Yelp reviewers say the dishes are balanced, creative, and honest. The decor looks really groovy, too.

  • Give it a rest, Lauren 😒: I’m not telling you to rush through dinner, but if you get out before 10, you can toooootally hit up another Christmas market. The market at Maria-Theresien-Platz is on your way back to Neubau, and you probably need another mulled wine to keep up your strength, right?

  • Drinks (10:30pm-ish): If I haven’t thoroughly walked you out, check out one of the bars close to the apartment, in Mariahilf. The NYT suggests If Dogs Run Free (Gumpendorferstrasse 10-12), a favorite for local artists, though if you’re looking for more of a pub feel, give Känguruh Bierbeisl (Bürgerspitalgasse 20) a whirl.

Look, I even tried my hand at making a Google map with the different destinations! Is it too much for one day? Tell me what you think in the comments!


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