Vienna, a city with a serious luxury factor and abundant green space, is bursting with attractions, includingY historical palaces, UNESCO sites, and the world’s oldest zoo. We love visiting the capital of Austria and compiled a list of our favourite things to do in Vienna with kids.
Explore a Garden
As a frequent traveling family, we know that ample green space or a great beach is a prerequisite for a quality vacation, and Vienna boasts glorious green all over the city. Our favorite gardens are the Schönbrunn Palace Gardens, Belvedere Palace Gardens, Burggarten, and Volksgarten.
Schönbrunn Palace Gardens
The former summer palace of the imperial family is a UNESCO cultural heritage site and the most visited attraction in Austria. The extensive gardens at Schönbrunn Palace have something for everyone – garden mazes, a labyrinth, a playground, flower beds, fountains, or quiet spots amongst the trees. You can read more about touring the interior of Schönbrunn Palace under this article’s Visit a Palace section.
Plan to visit the Schönbrunn Maze and test your wayfinding skills. Once you find your way through the highest maze, you can climb to a viewing platform and watch people try to find the path through the towering hedges. There are numerous mazes with varying hedge heights, so small children can explore while you keep an eye on them.
Stretching between the Upper Belvedere and the Lower Belvedere, there is an expansive garden space designed in a French style by Dominique Girard. These manicured gardens include impressive water features, statues, and room to roam. You can read more about the Belvedere under the Visit a Palace section in this blog post.
Also known as the Gardens of the Imperial Palace, the lush Burggarten green space is home to a magnificent statue of the musical genius Mozart.
The elegant Volksgarden is the first garden we visited in Vienna and one we love returning to during the summer. Located near the famous Ringstrasse, this lush garden contains over 400 varieties of roses, comfortable benches and shady spots for relaxation. The accessible Volksgarden is designed to encourage you to smell the flowers. Empress Sisi’s statue is tucked away in a quiet corner of the Volksgarden.
Listen to Music
Haus der Musik (House of Music)
If you are looking for a playful, experiential and educational music experience, you will love the multi-level House of Music! Play the piano by running up ‘piano-key’ steps, roll dice to compose a tune and conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra — it is all possible at the House of Music.
Visit a Cathedral
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of Austria’s most remarkable Gothic structures and is gorgeous inside and out. For a unique experience and impressive views of Vienna, climb the 343 steps to the tower room in the South Tower. If an elevator is more your style, visit the North Tower for a ride to the top.
Experience the Spanish Riding School
Watching stallions prance around in a beautiful baroque arena adorned with crystal chandeliers, red velvet, and ornate carvings is a magical experience. The program at the Spanish Riding School varies with the season, and during the summer months, the famous white stallions enjoy a break in the hills. During this time, the Lipizzaner foals, their mothers, and young horses take over the arena. The performance is called Piber meets Vienna because it showcases the future stars from the Lipizzaner Stud Piber. Click here for current offerings at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.
Discover the Danube
The centrally located Danube Canal offers a range of things to do in Vienna with kids during warm weather. Choose from pedestrian walkways, outdoor restaurants, boat tours and outdoor pools.
The Badeschiff, a floating pool, allows you to swim on but not in the Danube. During the summer, this pool welcomes children and adults during the daytime and serves as a bar in the evening.
Visit a Palace
A luxury family travel guide to Vienna wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a palace, and in Vienna, there are plenty.
The Belvedere is two Baroque palaces connected by expansive 17th-century gardens, and the gardens are just one reason to visit the Belvedere. It was interesting to learn that Belvedere comes from ‘bel’ meaning beautiful, and ‘vedere’ meaning to see; this makes perfect sense given the impressive views of the city from the Belvedere Palace.
A gigantic Incredible Hulk statute welcomed us into the main lobby of the Upper Belvedere, setting the stage for a fun-filled experience. I was expecting a more serious atmosphere at the home of the world’s most extensive collection of Austrian art and loved discovering these playful touches throughout the museum.
The Upper Belvedere is also home to the world’s most extensive collection of works by Gustav Klimt, including his well-known piece, The Kiss.
While The Kiss and other Klimt works may be considered suggestive, many of his pieces appeal to children. Our kids enjoyed the playful landscapes of Sunflower, Avenue in the Park of Schloss Kammer and Poppy Field.
The Lower Belvedere contains seasonal exhibitions, so check the current schedule.
For a more grown-up experience, plan to explore the Schönbrunn Palace and imagine life as a royal.
After all the sightseeing, sit down and enjoy a yummy treat while you learn how to make Viennese apple strudel at the Strudelshow in Schönbrunn Palace’s Café Residenz.
Hang with the Animals at Tiergarten Schönbrunn
Tiergarten Schönbrunn, also known as Schönbrunn Zoo or Vienna Zoo, is the oldest zoo in the world and recognized as one of Europe’s best. Founded in 1752 and formerly reserved for the exclusive use of the Habsburg family, the Schönbrunn Zoo is home to at least 500 creatures.
We enjoyed every minute, and visiting the Schönbrunn Zoo is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Vienna with kids.
Wander the Ringstrasse
The 5.3-kilometre Ringstrasse boulevard recently celebrated a 150th anniversary! This gorgeous leafy boulevard is home to numerous historic buildings, cafes, and boutiques. Walk or cycle along the majestic thoroughfare, lined with approximately 2400 trees, and visit sites including the Vienna State Opera, Museum of Fine Arts and luxury hotels, such as the Hotel Imperial.
Vienna Ring Tram
If you prefer to experience Vienna’s beautiful boulevard from the comfort of a tram, hop on the Vienna Ring Tram. LCD screens inform passengers about highlights along the Ringstrasse, and a children’s audio program is also available. The Vienna Ring Tram runs year-round from 10.00 am to 5.30 pm and departs on a lap of the Ringstrasse every 30 minutes from Schwedenplatz.
Live like Royalty
The Hotel Imperial offers luxurious, family-friendly guest rooms located on the fabulous Ringstrasse. Constructed in 1863 as the Vienna residence of the Prince of Württemberg, the Hotel Imperial became a luxury hotel in 1873. Presidents, chancellors, kings, queens, princes, princesses, and countless other VIPs often enjoy the elegant surroundings and world-class service offered by the Hotel Imperial.
- Plan to spend a whole day at the Schönbrunn complex. Explore the 160-hectare site on foot or via a diesel-powered train. A train tour includes nine stops. Restaurants are located throughout the site. Visit the Schönbrunn website to confirm opening dates, hours of operation, and purchase tickets.
- You can purchase tickets for the Belvedere online or onsite. The Upper Belvedere is located above the Lower Belvedere, so it is easier to visit the Upper Belvedere first and then walk downhill towards the Lower Belvedere. Allow extra time to explore the extensive gardens between the Palaces, stop for a drink and a snack at a café, and browse the family-friendly gift shops.
- Purchase a 24, 48 or 72-hour Vienna Card and receive discounts at popular attractions, restaurants, shops, and free travel on Vienna’s public transport system.
- Read about recommended restaurants and cafes in the city in this article about where to eat in Vienna.
- For the best seats, book tickets to the Spanish Riding School in advance using the online ticket purchase option.
- Explore the online travel guide for Vienna for the latest happenings and more information on city attractions.
Our most recent visit to Vienna was in collaboration with The Vienna Tourist Board. As always, my opinions are my own. Thanks to Schönbrunn and Belvedere for supporting our stay and providing press photos.