Last updated on January 27, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Central Europe

Where to stay in Vienna close to attractions, for a family or a couple breakaway

The iconic city of Vienna is in every sense of the term a “bucket list-worthy” destination. With all it has to offer, your experience will be determined by your choice of where to stay in Vienna so you cannot mess up.

Nestled in the very heart of Central Europe, it has a lot to offer from the rich history and culture to streets littered with unique architectural gems.

As Austria’s capital, it is also one of the largest and most populated cities with up to 23 different districts. This can make deciding where to book your stay very difficult for you as a first time visitor.

But you have come to the right place. In the guide below, you will learn about the best neighbourhoods and districts in this large city. That way, whatever your travel needs are you will have 2020 up-to-date details to help you make an informed decision.

In this guide you will see

A trip outside the centre of Vienna, the Schönbrunn Palace
A trip outside the centre of Vienna, the Schönbrunn Palace

Looking for city news and events? The Euronews Vienna section is a good source of information. The Metropole is a great reference for the events in the city.

Best area to stay in Vienna

Vienna has a long stand history of 2000 years, starting from the Roman empire settling a campsite in the first century. 

Only from 1850, the city started being organised in districts, now up to 23, however, if you are on a sightseeing trip the best area to stay in Vienna is still in one of the central neighbourhoods.

Here below is a map with the top areas to stay based on your type of holiday, this includes a trip with family and kids, a romantic stay, a party getaway or a journey on Christmas time for the famous markets. Either in a boutique hotel or a budget accommodation.

Keep in mind that Vienna has an excellent transportation network. If you do not stay in the most central area, walking distance to most of the attractions, then try to book your accommodation close to a Metro station.

This will save lots of time on commuting besides being less tiring (you will have enough to walk, believe you me).

Best areas to stay in Vienna
Best area to stay in Vienna
  • Best area to stay in Vienna for tourists and sightseeing: the Innere Stadt is a clear winner, close to most of the Vienna attractions (walking distance). It is, however, the most expensive area to stay. A great alternative is Josefstadt with more of a local feeling, cheaper, quite close to the centre, however, missing that Gothic architecture predominant in the Innere Stadt.
  • Best area to stay in Vienna with a family: the Neubau district is a great area to stay in Vienna for families if you are travelling with a toddler. A good part of the area is pedestrian making life so much easier. There are also plenty of museums and activities to introduce small kids to the world of art. Leopoldstadt is a great alternative, maybe not walking distance to the centre (try to stay close to a Metro station) but with plenty of parks and green areas, including playgrounds. No wonder many families with kids actually live in this area.
  • Where to stay in Vienna on a budget: Alsergrund is a district with a University crowd still walking distance to the centre. There are a few accommodations dedicated to the low budget market, especially the young one and mostly close to the University bars and restaurants (cheaper than you may think)
  • Where to stay in Vienna for Christmas markets: There are over 10 Christmas markets in the city, everyone with their own character. The most famous, and crowded one, is at Rathaus, another popular one is in Karlsplatz. For easy walking access to Rathausplatz stay in Josefstadt. Alternatively, being very cold in December, try to book a place as close as possible to a Metro station, possibly the U2 (both markets are on this line).
  • Best place to stay in Vienna for nightlife: Wieden is a great hipster and multicultural area to stay for a few nights of fun. The crowd is mostly young and the nights can end up much longer than you may think.
  • Do you want to go straight to your hotel? Pre-order an airport transfer that will wait for you directly at the airport. So easy.

Let’s get now down to more details for each type of trip.

View from the St. Stephen's Cathedral right in the centre of the Innere Stadt
View from the St. Stephen’s Cathedral right in the centre of the Innere Stadt

Best place to stay in Vienna for tourists and sightseeing

The best vacations are those where you get to immerse yourself in new experiences visiting sites you otherwise never would. Forget the hotel pool; just grab your trainers and a camera and make some memories.

In Vienna, there is no shortage of places to add to your hit list, easy to fill up a few days in the Austrian capital.

Below are two of the best place to stay in Vienna for sightseeing.

Inside the Wiener Musikverein in the Innere Stadt
Inside the Wiener Musikverein in the Innere Stadt

Innere Stadt (close to everything)

Innere Stadt holds a central place in Vienna as a tourist spot both figuratively and literally. As the city’s centremost district, Innere offers great access to all other locations you might want to visit.

All you have to do is catch a metro, bus or even a train from Stephansplatz Subway station. This makes it the most convenient location albeit at a much higher cost than more peripheral districts.

This district also stands out as Vienna’s key historic district. In fact, it is here that the city began and grew hundreds of years ago. It is littered with historical gems right left and centre.

These include gothic structures like the iconic St. Stephen’s Cathedral and The Historic Centre of Vienna which is set in an old baroque style castle.

The district is also home to numerous galleries and museums the most iconic being Wien Museum Mozart apartment which is where Mozart himself lived and composed his world-famous pieces.

When all this history and sightseeing finally takes its toll on your energy stores, you have a lot to choose from as far as eateries are concerned.

The restaurant Figlmüller Bäckerstraße is by far one of the most famous and is popular for their schnitzel with noodles.

Another popular restaurant in the district is Yori. This Korean restaurant is a major hit both with the locals and tourists. It would be a crime for you to leave Vienna without trying some of their noodle bowls.

For lighter meals and snacks, Fenster Cafe. They serve artisanal beverages and fresh baked goods, famous for their artistic presentations.

And of course, pay a visit to the Café Frauenhuber, the oldest in Viennese coffeehouse. It’s a bit overpriced, but you go there more for the history and the interior.

Josefstadt (next to the city, more local life)

Walking in Vienna
Walking in Vienna

If you are looking for a more culturally immersive experience, then you should consider staying in Josefstadt. It is not as conveniently central or nearly as historical as Innere. However, if you want to interact with more locals than tourists then it is just what you are looking for.

It also offers access to many other parts of Vienna through the subway system. You can catch your train at the Rathaus Subway station. And this magnificent structural wonder is itself an attraction you must check off your list.

The residential neighbourhood of Rathaus, in particular, is ideal for this kind of trip. You will get to have a laidback experience while still being close to attractions like Wien Museum Musa, the gothic Rathaus City Hall building as well as Floriani Park.

For a truly immersive experience, you need to be where the locals are. Schrittesser Speck and Bar is a popular local watering hole and you will get to interact with the natives over an amazing selection of cocktails and craft beers.

You could also try the Wiener Rathauskeller which is the districts leading fine-dining institution. Their gourmet cuisine and live entertainment make it definitely worth visiting for a truly Austrian dining experience.

Best area to stay in Vienna with a family

Given all the amazing attractions, Vienna will without a doubt be a family treat.

Some districts, however, have more to offer to you where there are kids involved.

Here are two of the best areas to stay in Vienna for families to make the most out of your time.

Museumsplatz in Neubau
Museumsplatz in Neubau

Neubau (family with toddlers and arty kids)

This district is right next to Innere which makes it perfect if you want your kids to learn about history from the many museums around.

It is particularly awesome if you have artsy kids with options like Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien and Mumok.

It also puts you conveniently close to all the attractions without the accommodation price tag that comes with the central district.

Neubau also stands out as a family-friendly option due to the town’s design. It is very pedestrian-friendly which is perfect if your trip itinerary involves a lot of walks and sightseeing.

Moreover, if you have a pram, you will notice that it will be easier to move around as you will not find as many cobblestones as in the Innere Stadt.

Once you are done with shopping and sightseeing, you should hit up Gundis Café Restaurant. They have amazing vegan options and organic meals for your family to enjoy. The best part is the fact that they have a play corner for the kids.

Another awesome restaurant to try out is Pizzeria Osteria da Giovanni. I mean they’re kids; so you can never go wrong with pizza in which case this restaurant serves the best.

Finally, you could hit up Eisoper Gelato Bar and Patisserie for a little dessert before or after dinner. They have amazing treats including fresh pastries and homemade ice cream.

Leopoldstadt (family with young active kids)

Great view from the big wheel in Leopoldstadt
Great view from the big wheel in Leopoldstadt

Affordability; check. Proximity to attractions; check. Activities and attractions to keep your kids busy and pacified; check, check and check.

Leopoldstadt really does have it all if you are travelling as a family.

Located west of Innere, it offers great and easy Metro access to the heart of the city and all its famous attractions.

However, Leopoldstadt has a lot to offer on its own with sites like Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel, the Chocolate Museum as well as memorial museums dedicated to famous Austrians like Sigmund Freud and Johann Strauss.

It is also great for families due to the large portion of the district dedicated to green space.

This includes parks like Augarten and Max-Winter Park. The kids would particularly enjoy a trip to Prater Amusement Park which has numerous playground facilities from simple swings sets and slides to full-on roller coaster for the older kids.

Leopoldstadt is also great because of the many family-friendly restaurants in the area like Skopik and Lohn. This simple establishment is ideal for a fancy night out with the family. Be sure to try their Wienerschnitzel.

Another fun place you could take the kids is Schweizerhaus. They serve authentic Viennese dishes and have a kids menu which will make your life a lot easier when it comes time to order. They also have a wide variety of beers and cocktails for you as the parents to indulge in if you wish to.

Where to stay in Vienna on a budget

For the most part, Vienna is a pretty expensive city to live in whether you are a local or a visitor.

The good news, however, is that there are a few districts in the city that offer affordable accommodations and facilities.

That way you get to enjoy your stay without going home to an empty bank account.

An hidden corner of MuseumsQuartier
An hidden corner of MuseumsQuartier

Alsergrund (budget and close to the centre)

This is the home of the country’s leading tertiary institution, The University of Vienna.

Given its college district status, it is inherently cheaper than most other districts around, especially if compared to Innere Stadt which is its neighbour to the south.

Most of the accommodation options and attractions cater to the needs of the younger crowds. Some of the attractions include places like Theater-Center Forum for performance arts and DSK movie theatre.

There are also many bars and pubs like Baku Club and Shisha Longue which is popular with local youth and visiting party lovers.

If you are an old soul you might therefore feel a little out of place. However, it is close to the historical districts and has some attractions of its own that you may enjoy.

These include musical genius Schubert’s birthplace as well as galleries like Galerie Werstatt NUU.

You might also enjoy a trip to Beaver Brewing Company. This bar is unique in that they offer you the chance to make your own beer. They also have amazing ribs, wings and burgers to have with your brew.

When it comes to eateries, Alsergrund does not disappoint. 

Café-Restaurant Carmen und Ich is a popular option for cheap meals. This family-owned establishment serves amazing and authentic Austrian dishes with strudels and schnitzel being their specialties.

Tibet Restaurant would also be a great spot if you want to eat out on a budget. They serve Asian food in a quaint little restaurant overflowing with welcoming rustic vibes. 

In addition to Alsergrund, Vienna’s Leopoldstadt and Wien Hauptbahnhof (central station) are good cheap district options to consider.

Leopoldstadt, in particular, is ideal for families while the latter is the best choice if you are looking for a cultural experience.

Where to stay in Vienna for Christmas markets 

Christmas in Vienna is a magical scene right out of a seasonal film. There is just something enchanting about string lights hanging off old gothic and baroque buildings.

During this wonderful time of the year, different districts set up what are referred to as Christmas markets.

These are essentially streets and entire blocks specially decorated in celebration of the season of Advent.

They usually feature seasonal stalls selling Christmas supplies and souvenirs and are a true sight to behold.

They are very popular in Central Europe with Vienna being famous for having some of the most extravagant displays.

Christmas market of Vienna - The Rathaus
Christmas market of Vienna – The Rathaus

Josefstadt (close to Rathaus) or close to a Metro station

Josefstadt, in particular, is the best place to stay if you want to be part of the Christmas market hype.

There are actually more than 10 markets in Vienna but you will literally be walking distance to the most popular of all, the Christkindlmarkt Rathausplatz.

It is, however, important to note that the weather can be brutally cold around this time of year.

It would, therefore, be wise for you to book your stay as close to a Metro station or the markets as possible. That way you don’t arrive at the market too frozen to have fun.

As said, the largest and most popular of the markets in this area and essentially all of Vienna is Christkindlmarkt Rathausplatz.

Here, you will find beautiful decor, amazing food trucks and a variety of Christmas craft vendors. The market also happens to be conveniently located right next to Rathaus station. 

Other great markets to check out in Josefstadt and other parts of Vienna include:

  • Altwiener Ostermarkt: This is one of the oldest Christmas markets in the city and is every bit as popular and lively as it was when it started. It is famous for the numerous wooden crafts that make for great souvenirs and gift as well as the awesome snack stands.
  • Weihnachtsmarkt near  Am Hof: If you are looking to do some serious Christmas shopping then this is the market for you. The vendors there are mainly local artists and you will find a wide variety of crafts from jewellery to authentic leather items
  • Maria-Theresien-Platz: This is by far the most scenic of all the markets. It is flanked by iconic attractions like the Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. And when you see how the lights reflect off those old statues and buildings no Christmas décor setup will ever measure up.

Best place to stay in Vienna for nightlife

It is not very often that you will come across Vienna on lists covering central Europe’s party capitals.

This is mainly because of the city’s rep as a historical and touristy town. But don’t let the tour buses and old statues fool you.

This city can be livelier at night than what it usually is in the day.

It all depends on where you go looking for fun.

Belvedere Palace on the border with Wieden
Belvedere Palace on the border with Wieden

Wieden (the hipster side of Vienna)

Wieden easily stands out as the district with the most active night scene in the entire city.

It is conveniently just a couple of subway stations from the main attractions in Innere.

By day, it is recognized as the hipster side of Vienna with quirky attractions like Five Plus Art Gallery and numerous artisanal stores for some retail therapy.

It is also home to an open and proud LGBT community so if you are interested in this part of Vienna’s culture then Wieden is the place to visit.

The best place to interact with members of this community would be at Sling Gay Bar. It is a lively spot with amazing music and energetic patrons you will definitely enjoy getting to know. 

This multicultural college district has a generally young and casual vibe that you will pick up in their bars and cafes.

One of the most popular of these is Four Bells. This is an Irish pub popular among the young crowd in the region. And with their cheap drinks, delicious bites and numerous bar game options, it is not so had to see why.

Café Godlegg is another popular hangout spot among Wieden locals. It is a quaint little historic café with hot coffee, delicious apple strudel and great ambience.

The Volkstheater U-Bahn station in Neubau
The Volkstheater U-Bahn station in Neubau
Photo credits on a few photos in this post
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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