I will be traveling to Vienna with a school group in March. The children range from 10-15 years old. We are looking for cheap, but nice restaurants that have traditional meals. We are also looking for things to do that are good examples of culture without being too long to bore the children. :) We want to see awesome sites, hear classical music and have a one-of-a-kind experience for tween/teens. If you have any ideas that are SO VIENNA, please let us know. Thanks in advance.
I live in Vienna and have a 13 year old. Let me consult with the "expert" and I'll get back to you. What are your dates in March?
How big is your group? Normally you don't need a reservation in most traditional restaurants, but with a group it is different. So you need some planning ahead. A hint: When you make a reservation, just mention that you are x people, don't tell them about the children. Some places maybe reluctant to grant you a reservation. (I learned a lot about Viennese behavior.)
Anything in particular that the group shares in common other than attending school? German language learners? Musicians? Church group?
Ditto what the others have asked you; how large is your group, common interests (you state music and cultural) and most importantly, when will you be there? For instance the Prater amusement area starts its more complete opening and the restaurant opens on March 15th for the season. It's a wonderful, classic amusement park that would spark a lot of cultural conversations.
What about a tour and performance of the Lippizanner stallions if they are in residence in March?
Hoping to hear back from you on more details, but in the meantime, here is the word from the local expert (and the mom):
Our Top 11 Things to Do with Kids:
Ice Skating - There will be ice-skating at the Rathaus (City Hall) until March 6. This is an absolutely amazing set-up with 3 rinks and an ice path winding through the trees of the adjacent park. Lot of hot food and drinks, lights, music, skate rentals, etc. Kids will love this.
Ferris Wheel - The Prater amusement park will really be shut down still in March, but you can still ride the Ferris Wheel. This is a very old (the oldest?) Ferris Wheel in operation in the world and is quite unique in that you ride in a cabin which fits 20ish people. The views are good. Skip everything else at the Prater (Madame Tussauds, for example, is a waste of $$).
Schonbrunn Palace - Even if the weather is bad, make time for a visit to the zoo. Many of the exhibits have large indoors spaces so you won't freeze. Also make time for the maze and labyrinth as well as strudel from the Gloriette monument for a great view of the palace. I wouldn't do a tour of the interior of the palace for a group kids, but the carriage museum is doable. There is also a strudel demonstration show which will be
Butterfly House/Hofburg Treasury - Two quick and easy stops at the Hofburg without overwhelming the group. No need for the palace tour (so long and boring, to me).
Freud's House/Practice - This would also be an easy, quick stop focusing on a man who is the essence of Vienna.
Belvedere or Kunsthistoriches Museum - I would pick either the Belvedere or the KHM, but not both. Getting in some art culture is a must, in my opinion. The Belvedere has the famous Kiss by Klimt, which many kids will know. The KHM has a wonderful Northern Renaissance collection, which might be lost on the kids. That said, I usually play a game with my kids when we go to KHM - I buy several postcards of paintings/sculptures and we go on a scavenger hunt to find them.
Haus der Musik - A highly interactive music (obviously) museum geared towards kids. They will not be bored.
Waltz Lessons - If your time and budget allow, schedule a waltz class for the group? A trying iconic Vienna thing. Here is a link for some schools who I bet will organize something for you - https://www.wien.info/en/music-stage-shows/dance/dance-classes
Music - The temptation will be to see a touristy concert with wigs and costumes. Maybe that will be ok for the kids, but it will not be top notch. If you think that the group can tolerate Opera, La Boheme and Madame Butterfly will be performed in March at the famous Vienna Opera.
Personalized Walking Tour - Hire a guide (not as expensive as you might think) and have them tailor a walking tour to your group focusing on a theme of your choice - Jewish Vienna, Roman Vienna, Medieval Vienna...Please use an authorized guide. Here is a site to get you started - http://www.guides-in-vienna.at/vienna-guide-service-1-2
Shopping - I'm guessing the kids would love a chance to check out new and different stores in Europe. Mariahilferstrasse is the major shopping street in Vienna for locals. It is pedestrianized and goes on and on. Start at the MuseumsQuartier end and walk up.
Now on to food below...
Vienna is famous for schnitzel, wurstel (sausages), goulash, cake and coffee. The cooking is very meat and potatoes and very heavy. I'd suggest throwing in a good pizza or Middle Eastern place in between to lighten the load.
Top 10 Food Picks for Kids of All Ages:
Schnitzel - The most famous place for schnitzel (and rightly so) in Vienna is Figlmuller. The schnitzel is famously huge and it will be a challenge for kids to finish. Make a reservation, but it is casual. Another choice for schnitzel in Schnitzelwirt, very well located off of Mariahilferstrasse (mentioned above). Anzengruber is a local favorite and is my favorite.
Wurstel - You get your wurstel (sausage) from a stand, not from a restaurant (no!). The wurstelstands are all over Vienna and everyone has a favorite. I personally like the ones at 1) Hoher Markt; 2) Schwedenplatz and 3) the one with the pink bunny on top in front of the Albertina. Kasekrainer, the one with flecks of cheese inside is the one to try.
Goulash - Vienna has its own version adapted from Hungary. Goulash can be found on just about every menu.
Strudel - Do yourself a favor and have strudel instead of Sachertorte. My kids can't stand Sachertorte and it is easy to see why - it is dry and doesn't taste very good, ever. Nothing finer than a good slice of strudel. I personally like Gerstner and Demel for strudel.
Cake - Despite what I said about Sachertorte, it is possible to get other types of fancy cakes in Vienna that taste pretty good and look even better. Cafe Central has a wonderful display but if you want to have equal quality in a less fussy atmosphere, check out Oberlaa Cafes - there is one at Neuer Markt.
Ice Cream - Yes, it will be cold, but Viennese (I have heard) eat more ice cream per capita than any other city. Zanoni & Zanoni and Tuchlauben are two very Viennese ice cream places to try.
Roasted Chestnuts - As the US had a chestnut blight about 100 years ago which killed all of the trees, it is hard to come by a stand in the US where someone is roasting fresh chestnuts. If you find a stand still in March, get the kids to share a portion or two.
Coffee - There is probably nothing more Viennese than a Viennese coffeehouse. But don't worry, they all serve hot chocolate too. I think that Cafe Sperl has the best ambiance. Demel Cafe, Café Prückel and Cafe Diglas are all family favorites.
Wine and Beer (for the adults, obviously) - Vienna is the only capital to produce its own wine. Look for Grüner Veltliner (white) and Zweigelt (red) as two typical local wines. If you were coming in warmer months, I would suggest a visit to a heuriger, a winery-run restaurant in the suburbs with good local food. As for beer, Vienna has respectable beer for sure. The restaurant Salm Brau is a brewery with good beer and decent food. The kids would probably like the atmosphere.
Non-Austria Food - As noted above, throw in a pizza or Turkish meal for everyone's sake. There are excellent pizza restaurants in Vienna (we are close to Italy after all). Il Sestante is one that I highly recommend. Vienna has a very large Turkish population, so Turkish food is everywhere. There are the obvious Kebab stands all over the city which are great for a quick bite. If you want a proper Turkish meal, however, Kent is excellent and cheap.
Here are my suggestions for the children. I don't want to go into details, so please read the descriptions.
Museum of Natural History
Museum of Technology
Josephinum - Collections of the Medical University of Vienna
All three museums have outstanding exhibits, some of those unique in the world.
Kelly (OP) - Just checking in that you received all of the info we have shared in response to your question. Sincerely, Emily