While its reputation for pomp, formality, and history may not excite most kids, the irony is that Vienna has more for them than almost any European city. Best of all, many of the best sites for kids are also classic spots that the rest of the family will love too. From travelling in time to classic Viennese sweets, there’s plenty here the entire family will love.
There’s no denying that any visit to Vienna involves a bit of time travel. The ambiance of its palaces and old streets always feels like something out of a bygone era. But if that’s not enough, Time Travel Vienna has an immersive ride or VR experiences to bring the city’s history alive for even the most bored teenagers.
2. Get out on the Danube (no matter the season)
While it may not be as central to Vienna as it is to Budapest, the Danube is still a core part of the city. That also means there’s year-round activities there. In the summer, you can rent paddle boats to explore, while in winter you can ice skate directly on the river. If, however, you’re in town before the river is totally iced over, there’s also an ice rink directly in front of the Rathaus (city hall).
If your family has no interest in seeing the great art of Vienna, this museum might be the perfect compromise. It’s full of Rembrandt, Klimt, and Matisse… well fakes. The idea behind the collection is to explore the art of the fake and tell the storied history of art forgery. It’s a little Louvre and a little James Bond, just what the whole family might need.
4. Watch master’s make sweets (and try the results)
The Demel has been making Vienna’s iconic confections since 1856. There, you can enjoy apple strudel, sachertorte, fächertorte, annatorte, and much more alongside exquisite Vienna coffee (maybe save that last one for the adults though). What kids will love, besides eating something delicious, will be watching the master bakers work.
5. Visit the House of Music
Among many other things, Vienna is famous for music. Of course, there’s a good chance your little ones aren’t enormous fans of Opera of Mozart, so what can you do to engage them with this rich history? That’s where the House of Music comes in. It has interactive exhibits where kids can compose a waltz, learn about how sound is produced, try conducting an orchestra, or even turn their names into an original Mozart composition (you’ll never believe the story behind that!)
6. Visit the Prater Theme Park
The Prater has been home to all kinds of amusements for the people of Vienna since 1766. Today it has more rides and attractions than you can fit in a day. There’s miniature trains, the tallest flying swing in the world, a roller coaster, and even a planetarium. There’s even a ferris wheel that’s over 100 years old. Your kids probably aren’t fans of the 1949 Noir classic The Third Man, but that doesn’t mean they won’t love Vienna’s iconic ferris wheel. So, if your little ones really need to get out some energy, the Prater is the answer.
7. If the weather is bad, try Bogi Park
While the Prater does have some year-round attractions, if the weather outside is less than ideal and the family needs some fun, indoor Bogi park is perfect. This enormous indoor playground has everything you’d want from go-karts to trampolines.
8. (No surprise) try the Children’s Museum
It will shock no one that Vienna has a world-class children’s museum. Exhibits teach kids about the ocean, how their bodies work, art, film, and more. Beyond the regular museum exhibits, the museum has frequent special programs. Just be sure you book your tickets in advance as they fill up fast!
9. Visit a Christmas Market
If you’re lucky enough to be in Vienna during the holidays, visiting one of its world-famous Christmas markets (yes, there are several) is a must. With more than 7 centuries of Christmas market experience, Vienna has it down to a science. The mulled wine for Mom and Dad, tons of kids activities like making wooden boxes or baking treats, and beautiful crafts for everyone make the whole experience a delight.
10. Travel into another dimension through Hundertwasser
The seminal Viennese architect who called himself Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser (see if anyone in your family can say that three times fast) always seemed to produce buildings that don’t belong in Vienna. Frankly, they sometimes barely seemed to belong on earth. From the Hundertwasserhaus apartment building to the collection of his work at the KunstHaus, these buildings and objects are enough to open young eyes to what the more interesting side of what architecture can be. Plus, they’re downright whimsical.
Getting to Vienna is easy, even with kids
There’s no denying that even the best family vacation can be stressful if it starts and ends with stressful travel. Fortunately, besides a world-class airport, getting to Vienna by train or bus from anywhere in Europe is easy. Buses even have tables where you can play board games, draw, or have other activities to make travel a breeze with kids.