Getting Oriented

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Getting Oriented

The Eastern City Center: Stephansdom and Medieval Vienna. Time seems to stand still in this part of Vienna, where hidden architectural treasures await discovery down narrow lanes and cobbled streets. This is certainly one of the quieter parts of the city, a mythical place where the city's legends originated.

The Inner City Center: Baroque Gems and Vienna's Shopwindows. Sip a mélange while admiring the rich facades of Viennese aristocrats' former palatial homes from a comfy café. Waiters, dressed as if they're off to a ball, serve coffee and cakes to the regulars.

The Hofburg: An Imperial City. The huge former Habsburg winter abode for seven centuries now houses many of the belongings that the family left behind. The Imperial Treasury advertises with the slogan "We don't have the emperors but we do have their jewels."

The Western City Center: Burgtheater and Beyond. Hobnob with the city's most celebrated thespians at Café Landtmann after catching a performance at the biggest theater in the region, or stroll past the Mölker Bastei, where Beethoven wrote his opera Fidelio.

East of the Ringstrasse: Stadtpark and Karlsplatz. Home to the Musikverein, the city's top concert hall, and the modernist Wien Museum, dedicated to the city's history, Karlsplatz is a destination. Relax in the manicured green expanses of the Stadtpark, or take the tram up to Belvedere Palace to marvel at Klimt's Kiss.

South of the Ringstrasse: the MuseumsQuartier. The MuseumsQuartier has quickly become one of Europe's premier art complexes. Visit the Kunsthistorisches and Naturhistorisches museums to bone up on your knowledge of Flemish painters and dinosaur anatomy.

West of the Ringstrasse: Parliament and City Hall. The Rathaus, the Ringstrasse's most photographed building, beckons with an international food fair in the summer and a sprawling Christmas market in the winter.

Schönbrunn Palace, Park, and Zoo. Allow plenty of time for this petite version of Versailles to be able to see the oldest zoo in the world, the huge, incredibly beautiful park and gardens, and an amazing maze. This is not the most frequently visited site in Austria for nothing.

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