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Magical. Regal. Extraordinary. Vienna is all of these, plus more. It is quintessential Europe. If you are looking for the ultimate European getaway, Vienna has to be one of your stops. Definitely check out the following things to do in Vienna with kids… or even without. You can’t go wrong.
Top 15 Things to do in Vienna with kids
1. Prater Amusement Park
Yes, it has a large Ferris wheel, but it also has been called one of the top ten most beautiful city parks worldwide. That’s quite a reputation to live up to.
Walk, run, cycle, even ride on horseback. Many people enjoy the natural beauty here. Even if you don’t go into the amusement park, take a picnic lunch and enjoy some downtime.
Entering the amusement park is free. However, rides are pay as you go and can range from 5€ and higher.
The giant Ferris wheel is 10€, however, if you have the Vienna Pass, it is free (along with Madame Tussaud’s – right across from the Ferris wheel).
2. Spanish Riding School
Who doesn’t love seeing beautiful horses put on a show?
Come see the Lipizzans – the Ballet of the White Stallions – put on an enchanting show at the Winter Riding School at Hofburg Palace.
Unfortunately, we missed the timing of their performance, but we were able to see them in the courtyard.
Check their website for showtimes before you start your day.
3. Schönbrunn Palace
What can I say? This complex is the crown jewel of Vienna. If you do nothing else on this list, head to Schönbrunn for the day.
Yes, I say ‘day’ because, besides the extravagant palace, the next four items on this list are also on the palace grounds.
Schönbrunn Palace is Austria’s most visited tourist attraction.
Commissioned as a hunting lodge for Emperor Leopold I in the late 1600s, it later became the summer residence for the Habsburgs under the reign of Maria Theresa.
Wander through the baroque palace and stunning grounds wishing this was your summer home. Oh, maybe that’s just what I did! Am I the only one? Definitely consider this complex as one of the top things to do in Vienna with kids.
Tours and prices
Ticket prices vary depending on which tour you choose. In addition, there are also several combo tickets available giving you access to other sites.
The grand tour allows you to access 40 rooms and is 22€ for adults, 15€ for children 6-18. Get the free audio guide or take a guided tour (for a nominal amount). Little K absolutely loved the audio guides. I think it’s because she could actually listen and learn about things instead of just walking around. Definitely try them out.
The Vienna Pass includes the Grand Tour in addition to the Schönbrunn Zoo, Carriage Museum and Strudel show. See, your whole day is planned!
Important: You will get a timed entry ticket for the palace when you first check-in. Even though we arrived about an hour after opening, our entry ticket was for two hours later. Check out numbers 4 through 7 on this list of things to do in Vienna for how we spent our time.
4. Schönbrunn Zoo
Admittedly, we don’t usually go to zoos in Europe. Even though I have been vacationing here for years, this was the first zoo encounter I had.
We had time to kill before entering the palace, so we walked through the palace gardens to the zoo.
Famous for its pandas and home to over 700 species of animals, the Schönbrunn Zoo is the oldest zoo in the world! If you can’t make it to China to see the pandas, definitely see them here.
Vienna is very clean and the same can be said about its zoo. Everything is manicured and taken care of with the utmost precision.
Take note that it is a lot of walking, especially if you are coming from the palace. If you have little kids with you, definitely take a stroller. Even with an 8-year-old, we took breaks and luckily brought snacks and drinks with us. Plus, the palace is a decent walk from the metro station. Just remember that the grounds are massive. It was in the 90’s (Fahrenheit) when we visited and this ended up being a very long and tiring day.
5. Imperial Carriage Museum
To the right of the palace, find the Imperial Carriage Museum.
Get a glimpse into how royalty traveled.
See the royal carriages of Maria Theresa, Napoleon, and Franz Joseph. Trust me, here in Vienna, you hear those names a lot! I loved learning about the history and culture of Vienna. It really is one of the most regal cities in Europe.
6. Children’s Museum at Schönbrunn
Attached to the main palace to the right, is the Children’s Museum. Get some insight into the lives of children of royalty.
See toys they played with, how they learned and then dress up in some regal costumes.
Take a picture as your royal souvenir.
7. Attend the Strudelshow
Ok, I have to mention the Strudelshow. Again, it’s on the palace grounds, directly to the left in the long building.
Although we were not intentionally going to this, it was included in the Vienna Pass.
Talk about entertaining! It’s a quick 20-minute show where you watch how to make the strudel dough. Learn the secret ingredient in the apple filling as well!
Both German and English speaking guests are entertained as you learn the basics of strudel making. Furthermore, take home a recipe card and try it yourself.
Little K was called up to help finish the strudel.
For a more detailed look, click here to learn more about the best apple strudel in Vienna. Oh, and yes, you do get to sample it.
8. Ride the Ring Tram or Hop-on Hop-off Bus
If you prefer to ride rather than walk, check out either the ring tram or the hop-on, hop-off bus.
Vienna’s main, historical center is situated within the ‘ring’. A road encircles this area and the ring tram travels around it. We took this just to get a better view of the city as many of Vienna’s stately buildings line this road. An audio system in eight languages gives you historical context as you are driving around the ring.
The hop-on, hop-off bus has four different routes, differentiated by color. Use this to get to destinations or take the entire ride to see the city.
Useful if you had enough of walking as there really is so much to see in the city.
Tip – Don’t take the hop-on, hop-off bus if you want to get somewhere quickly. Instead, take the metro and walk. I know this from experience!
9. St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Right in the heart of the ring is St. Stephen’s Cathedral. It is a Viennese gothic symbol built in the 12th century.
Take a guided tour or just walk around in awe as you marvel at the intricate stained glass and statues throughout this massive cathedral.
Walk the 364 steps up the tower for grand views over Vienna. Or, if you are like me, let your husband and children walk up the tower and you can sit in a pew and be mesmerized by the interior beauty of the cathedral.
10. Visit outdoor cafes
Talk about fun! There are so many cafes. You could visit a different one each day and not repeat any.
I was on a quest to find the best café in Vienna. Therefore, I made it a little game to see which one had the best dessert.
The Viennese culture relishes downtime and conversation with friends. Take time on your vacation to do the same.
Enjoy a drink or coffee and a little pastry to go with it (don’t worry, you can share… well, maybe you can – I had a hard time with it).
Little K learned she loved to make iced tea herself from a pot of hot water, tea bags, and ice cubes. Little things… stop and enjoy them as you are trying to see the top things in Vienna with kids.
11. Zoom Children’s Museum
This is the only item on my list of things to do in Vienna with kids that we didn’t make it to. It was on my list, but there just wasn’t enough time.
Zoom is a highly interactive and hands-on experience. If your kids love getting their hands dirty while learning, this is the place for them.
The museum is divided into 4 different areas based on age group:
- Interactive exhibition (ages 6-12)
- Ocean (8 months – 6 years)
- Studio (ages 3-12)
- Animation studio (ages 8 -14)
Check the Zoom website for specific program start times.
12. Hofburg Palace – Imperial Apartments of the Habsburg’s
I guess I just have a thing for royalty and history.
Vienna’s largest building was the ruling home of the Habsburg’s for seven centuries.
Check out how the royalty lived by visiting the Imperial Apartments. They lived here until 1918. Furnishings have been restored for historical authenticity.
While you are here, see the Imperial Silver collection. Can you imagine using all of that? What about cleaning it? Not. For. Me.
Oh, and yes, the Hofburg Palace, the Sisi Museum and the Imperial Treasury are all covered on the Vienna Pass.
13. Sisi Museum
Located within the Hofburg, the Sisi Museum dedicates itself to Empress Elizabeth.
Take the audio guide and walk through the exhibit room to see how she lived, how she ruled and how she loved.
This was an exquisite look into the life of Vienna’s most famous empress.
Little K loved this – and she is 8. Not sure if it was the exhibits or the audio guide or she just felt grown-up going through it, but she learned a lot and was able to talk about Sisi after we left. Kids are not too young for this!
14. Imperial Treasury
This is the place to drool at the jewels, gold and other treasures of the Habsburg’s.
Also located within the Hofburg Palace, see the Austrian Imperial Crown as well as the Imperial Regalia of the Holy Roman Empire. Remember all this from world history?
The Treasury houses ancient items such as the agate bowl which was once thought to be the Holy Grail. Take time to read the text next to objects and be impressed that you are standing next to items you learned about it school.
Don’t forget to see the largest cut emerald in the world.
15. Wachau Day Trip
Changing gears here! See the natural beauty of the Vienna countryside and get outdoors.
As I was researching things to do in Vienna with kids, this day trip kept popping up. It’s a wonderful way to see the Danube and a different side of Vienna.
The Wachau Day trip entails taking a train to Melk, walking through the town and seeing the gorgeous monastery on the hilltop, cruising the Danube by boat before heading back to Vienna by train.
Train stations sell a Wachau combination ticket which gives you both the inbound and outbound train trips, the monastery tour and the boat ride on the Danube.
Don’t forget to stop and have lunch! We ate schnitzel at a quaint outdoor café in Melk before heading to the monastery.
This was a different experience, yet fun, especially the relaxing boat ride.
Vienna with Kids
Wow – there is just so much to see and do in Vienna. I honestly can say I want to go back, although just not sure when! I added coming back to Vienna to visit the Christmas markets to my bucket list.
On this trip, we stayed at the stately Park Hyatt right smack in the middle of everything. Stay tuned, I’ll have a review coming soon.
If you are planning a European trip, don’t overlook going to Vienna with kids. I know that usually London, Paris, and Rome are at the top of the list when you think of Europe, but Vienna is absolutely incredible. You don’t want to overlook it.
Have you been to Vienna? What would be your top things to do with kids in Vienna? Please let me know in the comments!
For other fun Austrian moments, check out these posts:
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