Vienna is the political capital of Austria, but it also serves as the cultural and economic center of the country. It's the largest city in Austria and still has buildings that highlight its power as an imperial capital. It is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While Vienna has a strong since of history, it is actually a young city with a youthful vibe that embraces fun and thrills. There are many clubs and festivals that take advantage of Vienna's popular music scene. There's also museums, parks, and attractions sprinkled throughout the city. If the weather is warm while you're in town, take advantage of the cafe culture and enjoy a cup of coffee from a city plaza while you can soak up the city's atmosphere and enjoy some people watching.
The best way to make your way around Vienna is on the very good public transportation system. The system includes rail, commuter rail, trams, and an underground. The underground, or subway, is very thorough, and will take you within a few minutes walk of almost anywhere you might hope to reach in the city.
There are some interesting activities that many people make a point of participating in around Vienna. Perhaps the most famous are the glamorous balls, most of which are hosted during the Carnival season. Many of the balls are hosted by different professional guilds, such as the coffee house owners, and the most prestigious are held in places like the City Hall or the State Opera.
Many people also enjoy the many open air festivals held throughout the warmer months. Most of these are during the summer and some of the more popular ones include the Augarten, the Vienna Turf Krieau, the Prater, and Schloss Neugebaude.
There are great restaurants throughout the city and the restaurants that are accustomed to tourists often have English menus available as well. Many of the portion sizes can be quite large, so it may be possible to share a dish with your travel companion.
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Vienna is bigger than you might expect. It also has a lot of districts, neighborhoods, and sights. Come prepared. It's easy to get lost here or lose track of you plans for the day, so consider coming armed with a map and a list of places you want to see. Think about your route ahead of time so you're not backtracking across the city too much.
Of course, there's no need to over prepare, but it's a good idea when you're traveling to a city like Vienna to have some idea what you want to see and do and how you want to do it. Your legs and your travel companions with thank you.
Attending a Ball
A quintessential part of visiting Vienna is attending a Ball, particularly if you're in town during the carnival season when you a many different options. Vienna Balls can be quite impressive and elegant, particularly if you attend one at a popular destination like the Vienna Hofburg or the City Hall. The most famous and upscale ball is the Opera Ball in the State Opera. Another elegant one is the Wiener Philharmoniker. Other balls are put on by various professional organizations such as the Vienna Coffee house owners. Search at a comprehensive schedule of the balls to see your options and the best way of obtaining tickets. You can usually find the schedule on the Vienna City Council website.