Most of Vienna lies roughly within an arc of a circle with the straight line of the Danube Canal as its chord. The most prestigious address of the city's 23 Bezirke, or districts, is its heart, the Innere Stadt ("Inner City"), or 1st District, bounded by the Ringstrasse (Ring). It's useful to note that the fabled 1st District holds the vast majority of sightseeing attractions and once comprised the entire city. In 1857 Emperor Franz Josef decided to demolish the ancient wall surrounding the city to create the more cosmopolitan Ringstrasse, the multilane avenue that still encircles the expansive heart of Vienna. At that time several small villages bordering the inner city were given district numbers and incorporated into Vienna. Today the former villages go by their official district numbers, but sometimes they are also referred to by their old village or neighborhood names.

The circular 1st District is bordered on its northeastern section by the Danube Canal and 2nd District, and clockwise from there along the Ringstrasse by the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th districts. The 2nd District—Leopoldstadt—is home to the venerable Prater amusement park with its Riesenrad (Ferris wheel), as well as a huge park used for horseback riding and jogging. Along the southeastern edge of the 1st District is the 3rd District—Landstrasse—containing the Belvedere Palace and the fabulously quirky Hundertwasser Museum (Kunsthauswien). Extending from its southern tip, the 4th District, Wieden, is firmly established as one of Vienna's hip areas, with trendy restaurants, art galleries, and shops, plus Vienna's biggest outdoor market, the Naschmarkt, which is lined with dazzling Jugendstil buildings.

The southwestern 6th District, Mariahilf, includes the largest shopping street, Mariahilferstrasse, which the city has recently designated a pedestrian-friendly zone. Independent stores compete with international chains, smart restaurants, movie theaters, bookstores, and department stores. Directly west of the 1st District is the 7th District, Neubau. Besides the celebrated Kunsthistorisches Museum and headline-making MuseumsQuartier, the 7th District also houses the charming Spittelberg quarter, its cobblestone streets lined with beautifully preserved 18th-century houses. Moving up the western side you come to the 8th District, Josefstadt, which is known for its theaters, upscale restaurants, and antiques shops. Completing the circle surrounding the Innere Stadt on its northwest side is the 9th District, Alsergrund, once Sigmund Freud's neighborhood and today a nice residential area with lots of outdoor restaurants, curio shops, and lovely early-20th-century apartment buildings.

The other districts—the 5th, and the 10th through the 23rd—form a concentric second circle around the 2nd through 9th Districts. These are mainly residential and only a few hold sights of interest for tourists. The 11th District, Simmering, contains one of Vienna's architectural wonders, Gasometer, a former gasworks that has been remodeled into a housing and shopping complex. The 13th District, Hietzing, with the fabulous Schönbrunn Palace as its centerpiece, is also a coveted residential area. The 19th District, Döbling, is Vienna's poshest neighborhood and also bears the nickname the "Noble District" because of all the embassies on its chestnut-tree-lined streets. The 19th District also incorporates several other neighborhoods within its borders, in particular the wine villages of Grinzing, Sievering, Nussdorf, and Neustift am Walde. The 22nd District, Donaustadt, now called Donau City, is a modern business and shopping complex that has grown around the United Nations center. The 22nd District also has several fantastic stretches for sunbathing along Alte Donau (Old Danube), with waterside cafés nearby.

It may be helpful to know the neighborhood names of other residential districts: the 5th/Margareten; 10th/Favoriten; 12th/Meidling; 14th/Penzing; 15th/Fünfhaus; 16th/Ottakring; 17th/Hernals; 18th/Währing; 20th/Brigittenau; 21st/Floridsdorf; and 23rd/Liesing.

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  • 1. Albertina Modern

    1st District | Museum/Gallery

    Vienna's newest–-and hottest–-museum opened in 2020 in the Künstlerverein, a neo-classical palace and iconic Viennese building, just steps away...Read More

  • 2. Albertina Museum

    1st District | Museum/Gallery

    One of the largest of the Habsburg residences, the Albertina rests on one of the last remaining fortresses of the Old City. The must-see collection...Read More

  • 3. Augarten Porzellanmanufaktur

    2nd District/Leopoldstadt | Museum/Gallery

    Founded in 1718, Europe's second-oldest porcelain factory is located in a former pleasure palace in Augarten Park, and is indeed a pleasure...Read More

  • 4. Belvedere Palace

    3rd District/Landstrasse | Castle/Palace

    One of the most splendid pieces of Baroque architecture anywhere, the Belvedere Palace—actually two imposing palaces separated by a 17th-century...Read More

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  • 5. Haus der Musik

    1st District | Museum/Gallery

    You could spend an entire day at this ultra-high-tech museum, housed on several floors of an early-19th-century palace near Schwarzenbergplatz...Read More

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  • 6. Kaiserliche Schatzkammer

    1st District | Museum/Gallery

    The entrance to the Schatzkammer, with its 1,000 years of treasures, is tucked away at ground level behind the staircase to the Hofburgkapelle...Read More

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  • 7. Karlskirche

    4th District/Wieden | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Dominating the Karlsplatz is one of Vienna's greatest buildings, the Karlskirche, dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo. This giant Baroque church...Read More

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  • 8. Karmelitermarkt

    2nd District/Leopoldstadt | Market/Bazaar

    The market and lively surrounding area is one of Vienna's coolest food and drink hotspots and its sunny picturesque square is a favorite option...Read More

  • 9. Kunsthistorisches Museum

    1st District | Museum/Gallery

    Even if you're planning on a short stay in Vienna, you'll want to come here to visit one of the greatest art collections in the world, standing...Read More

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  • 10. Mozarthaus

    1st District | Museum/Gallery

    This is Mozart's only still-existing abode in Vienna, with three floors of displays about his life and the masterworks that he composed here...Read More

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  • 11. MuseumsQuartier

    7th District/Neubau | Museum/Gallery

    The MQ—as many call it—is a sprawling collection of galleries housed in what was once the Imperial Court Stables, the 260-year-old Baroque complex...Read More

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  • 12. Osterreische Nationalbibliothek

    1st District | Library/Archive

    One of the grandest Baroque libraries in the world, a cathedral of books, the centerpiece of the Osterreische Nationalbibliothek is the spectacular...Read More

  • 13. Ottakringer Brauerei


    Founded in 1837, and located in the historic workers' district of the same name and featuring an in-house well from which the water for the...Read More

  • 14. Prater

    2nd District/Leopoldstadt | Amusement Park/Water Park

    In 1766, to the dismay of the aristocracy, Emperor Josef II decreed that the vast expanse of imperial parklands known as the Prater would henceforth...Read More

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  • 15. Schönbrunn Gardens

    13th District/Hietzing | City Park

    The palace grounds entice with a bevy of splendid divertissements, including a grand zoo (the Tiergarten) and a carriage museum (the Wagenburg...Read More

  • 16. Schönbrunn Palace

    13th District/Hietzing | Castle/Palace

    Originally designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach in 1696 and altered considerably for Maria Theresa 40 years later, Schönbrunn Palace...Read More

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  • 17. Sigmund Freud Museum

    9th District/Alsergrund | Historic Home

    Not far from the historic Hofburg district, the marvels and pains of the 20th century come into focus here at the the former practice and private...Read More

  • 18. Stephansdom

    1st District | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Vienna's soaring centerpiece, this beloved cathedral enshrines the heart of the city—although when first built in the 12th century it stood...Read More

  • 19. Wiener Staatsoper

    1st District | Arts/Performance Venue

    Vying with St. Stephen's Cathedral for the honor of the emotional heart of the city, the opera house is a focus for Viennese life and one of...Read More

  • 20. Wieninger

    21st District/Floridsdorf | Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    The driving force behind the WienWein group, pioneer Fritz Wieninger is a masterful vintner. He exports to the United States and elsewhere,...Read More

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