Vienna in December

Old Sep 30th, 2017, 01:07 AM
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Vienna in December

Hi, We are visiting Vienna for a long weekend in mid-December with our two children (age 12 and 14).
Looking to find places to eat that are not typical tourist spots and not hugely expensive...would really appreciate any recommendations. Many thanks!
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Old Sep 30th, 2017, 02:09 AM
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Might help if you said where you are staying and if you have an idea of your sightseeing agenda. In mid-December you might not want to walk far for eats.

Also, I indulge in eating lots of cakes and pastries when I am in Vienna, and it does cut into the appetite. I'm not recommending you restrain your kids for the weekend, but you might want to factor in whether they'll have room for sit-down Viennese dinners with meat & starch, or whether sausages from the street vendors might be all you have room for.

On the other hand, lots of people don't like Viennese cakes since all they eat is Sacher torte, which is not what most non-Viennese expect from a chocolate cake. Have any sense whether your kids will go for strudel or other types of pastries (there are so many in Vienna if you enjoy things like poppy seeds, hazelnuts, chestnuts and meringues)
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Old Sep 30th, 2017, 01:54 PM
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Thank you for the reply. We are staying in the centre of town, 1st district. Looking forward to visiting the Christmas markets, and the usual sights. I'm sure my children will enjoy trying all kinds of cakes and strudels, and we will definitely stop by the wurstl stands.
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Old Sep 30th, 2017, 02:02 PM
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hopefully fourfortravel will see this - a Viennese resdient I believe with kids who knows everything about Vienna a tourist would want to know!
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Old Sep 30th, 2017, 02:10 PM
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If at some point you want to say what hotel you are in or which street your apartment is on, you might get some places that are a short walk from where you'll be. While the 1st district is not large when it comes to crisscrossing it for sightseeing, you might not want to walk across town and back just to get an inexpensive dinner. In the meantime, you might find some useful tips here

https://www.likealocalguide.com/vienna/budget-meals

The "typical sights" of Vienna turn out to be really very different for different people. For instance, I've been to Vienna twice & have yet to see the stallions or hear the Vienna Boys Choir. In winter, you probably won't go to the Prater or spend much time in Vienna's palace gardens -- which many people do. Some people go to Vienna solely to hear concerts, see the artwork of the Secessionist movement.

As you fine tune your weekend, if you have an idea where you'll likely to be at mealtimes, people might have good suggestions for good bets that are right in that neighborhood that are cheaper than some of the tourist-oriented places.
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Old Sep 30th, 2017, 10:18 PM
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Thank you, PalenQ, for the compliment, albeit a bit generous! I don't know *everything* a tourist needs to know!

If your long weekend falls over 8 December, that is a public holiday in Austria. Many stores and restaurants will be closed, though fewer than usual because of the proximity to the holidays. Museums and Christmas Markets will be open.

Hmm. Restaurants. Our DD (16) and her friends enjoy Roller Coaster, a restaurant in Prater (close to the U2 station Praterstern) where the food is delivered via, you guessed it, roller coasters and with colorful lights. The food is actually good, too!

Beim Hofmeister is a personal favorite of ours; so much so the owner offers, "Unsere Stammtisch" (Our "regular table") when he sees us! The restaurant serves very good, classic Austrian fare in the old cow stables of Maria Theresia's time; dining here is like eating dinner at your Aunt's house, so don't expect fancy. The house wine is a natural pairing.

Al Caminetto, near Opera, though it is heavily touristy serves excellent wood-fired pizzas. Their Montepulciano pairs quite well with the pizzas, too.

Most of the Wurstlstands are fine. Among the *better* is Bitzinger, near Albertina and the Wiener Wurstlstand in front of Hotel Bristol. The original Wiener Wurstlstand, Leo, requires a short but easy trip outside of the Inner Stadt.

Should you desire craft beer and American pub food, the Beaver Brewing Company is another short and relatively easy connection outside the Inner Stadt. This newish restaurant was opened by a biology teacher at the American School who is himself an American. Reservations would be essential for dinner, it's that popular.

As for activities, the ice skating rink at Stadtpark will be open if you need to work off some of the Glühwein and Strudel.

I hope this is helpful.
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Old Oct 1st, 2017, 07:25 AM
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Wow...thank you so much for the fabulous replies and brilliant advice. Much appreciated.
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Old Oct 1st, 2017, 07:50 AM
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Beim Hofmeister looks perfect, we have booked a table for supper. Thank you fourfortravel...your recommendation is spot on! Would you know if it is necessary to book a table for light lunch at Cafe Landtmann or will we be ok to just turn up on the day?
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Old Oct 1st, 2017, 07:54 AM
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Thank you, PalenQ, for the compliment, albeit a bit generous! I don't know *everything* a tourist needs to know!>

Well IME many things most tourists know, especially concerning kids that age!

Cheers!
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Old Oct 1st, 2017, 07:55 AM
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When I went to Cafe Landtmann the loveliest tables were booked up and the only ones available were in a less comfortable cramped anteroom or outdoors. I on't think it was a weekend, either.
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Old Oct 1st, 2017, 07:57 AM
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By the way, I though their cakes & pastries were delicious (I didn't eat any other food there) as well as their Turkish coffee. They have a nice selection of pastries beyond strudel and the usual.
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Old Oct 1st, 2017, 08:20 AM
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headmasterswife, I hope you enjoy Beim Hofmeister's casual spirit as much as we do!

I am afraid that I give a wrinkled nose to Cafe Landtmann ever since they began charging for Vienna's tap water, the alpine elixir that we all enjoy freely from our faucet taps. Perhaps their protocol has changed. My personal bias aside, any of the most visited Viennese cafes deserve a reservation; in this manner you will be afforded preferred seating to enhance your visit.

The downside of trying to "drop in" to Cafe Landtmann is that the only other prospects in the near, in the event of no available seating, include Yamm (vegan); Molly Darcy's (Irish Pub); NordSee (Fast Food Seafood) and a handful of places I have yet to visit.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2017, 05:04 AM
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Thank you massimop and fourfortravel...good to know about Cafe Landtmann. Charging for tap water would normally put me off too but I remember going there when I was growing up and would like to show the kids. So may be just this time I will ignore the tap water charge! We also plan to stop for coffee at Cafe Central. Are there any other cafes that you would say are a top choice for our visit?
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Old Oct 2nd, 2017, 05:14 AM
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Since you will be there on a weekend you might want to track down cafes that have live music performances of traditional Viennese cabaret or folk type music -- piano, violin, singer. Even if you don't make it a dinner stop, I think the performances last long enough into the evening on Sundays to make it a dessert stop after dinner. I found a Sunday night of music at the inexpensive Cafe Schwarzenberg (try the poppy cake or for dinner, goulash with egg -- but not the non-Viennese items on the menu). I believe there are other cafe venues for Sunday music.

Heads up that the one time I was in the vicinity of Cafe Central it was jammed to the seams with a line of tourists waiting to be seated. It might have been right at 4pm (I can't remember).
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Old Oct 2nd, 2017, 06:30 AM
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"We also plan to stop for coffee at Cafe Central." Oh, dear. I wrinkle my nose at Cafe Central, too, for their blatant marketing: chocolate pieces with their logos atop the tortes. And, as massimop noted, it seems to always be crowded because, "It's the famous one!" (As I overhead someone shouting to her friends last week...) "Stopping in" might be an exercise in disappointment. The same is to be said for Cafe Hawelka, Cafe Mozart, and pretty much any and all cafes in the Inner Stadt on a mid-December weekend.

On a weekend during Christmas market season I would suggest being flexible with cafe plans, or make a reservation. Due to its proximity to the Weiner Christkindlmarkt across the Ring at Rathaus, finding an open table at Landtmann might be akin to a Christmas miracle. Cafe Schwarzenberg *might* be a good option, but again, given the time of year, without a reservation all bets are off. Perhaps a reservation at Gerstner K.u.K. at Palais Todesco, across from Oper? Ask for the cozy table on the mezzanine by the spiral staircase if it can be reserved.

The French bistro and cafe, Beaulieu, might be a treat, but not without reservations. It is in the arcade of Palais Ferstel and near to the Christmas markets at Am Hof and Freyung.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2017, 06:50 AM
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i enjoyed chestnut, and cafe gerstner in vienna. cafe central is beautiful. (not for kids, but the bar at the Hotel Imperial is lovely as well if you can check it out)
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Old Oct 2nd, 2017, 08:20 AM
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The lobby pf the Hotel Imperial is thrilling, and I loved my sinfully rich slice of Imperial but it is sinfully expensive. Really expensive. However, looking at the lobby is free and if you are in the neighborhood, worth walking across the street to have a peek.

I enjoyed chestnut pastries at Cafe Sluka (and their strudel was tops in my book) if you are in the neighborhood of the Rathaus and want more exquisite cakes! However, it more has the atmosphere of a fine bake shop with coffee service than the historic cafes, unless there was a room I didn't see. But I loved the delicate baked goods.

Unless you are staying right around the corner from Cafe Schwarzenbeg and want a very casual meal, I wouldn't go except for the Sunday night music. But the Hotel Imperial is kitty-korner, so if you do go, it's a chance to take a peek. The wonderful Otto Wagner metro pavillion is also a few steps away, and the original below-ground cafe is still in operation (or was when I was there) and it's a true visual treat if you are a committed Otto Wagner fan (but otherwise it serves soft drinks, beer & nothing special).
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Old Oct 2nd, 2017, 08:26 AM
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Be prepared. Vienna in December is really cold.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2017, 04:45 AM
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Thank you for the replies...all superbly helpful as we enjoy planing our visit. We are also planning a day out of the city and a visit to Kahlenberg and Grinzing. Catch the tram and/or bus up to see the views and then a walk down to Grinzing for late lunch. Be great to hear your thoughts on routes to walk and places for a hearty lunch.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2017, 09:34 PM
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"We are also planning a day out of the city and a visit to Kahlenberg and Grinzing."

Kahlenberg and Grinzing are within Vienna, so you're not leaving the city.

I would advise caution with winter wandering. Appropriate footwear is essential; the trails will likely not be cleared, or could be slippery, trekked-upon snow. The views from Kahlenberg are only worth it on clear days; at any other time, especially in December, the city just looks hazy and gray. Of course, the vines will be barren.

To reach Kahlenberg, catch the appropriate 38A bus at the Heiligenstadt terminus of the U4. Not all 38A buses go to Kahlenberg; some only go to Cobenzl. At the top will be several trail signs; follow the one into Grinzing. Few heuriger will be open in December; the link below offers the opening times for many of them: http://www.stadtlandwirtschaft.wien/ausgsteckt-is

From Grinzing, take Straßenbahn 38 (tram) to its terminus at Schottentor, and you'll be back in the Inner Stadt.
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