Lifestyle & Scene

Red Bar in the Volkstheater, a chandelier in the foreground

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Wiener schnitzel
© WienTourismus/Paul Bauer

Experience Vienna like a Viennese

1. Eat Wiener schnitzel

Yes, we Viennese really do like eating Wiener schnitzel. That's not some rumor, nor is it a dish that we only serve to tourists. For us Viennese, there's nothing nicer than to visit an inn for a schnitzel. And the great thing about Vienna is that you can get a good schnitzel everywhere – every beisl and inn is able to prepare it in top quality. They always say that a proper Wiener schnitzel is made from veal – well, yes, but if you want to be a real Viennese, try one made from pork. Most restaurants can also make it that way.

2. Stop by a sausage stand at night for a Käsekrainer

We stay with food. If you want to experience the city like a real Viennese, head to a sausage stand at 2 a.m. for a Käsekrainer. You're sure to come across one or two Viennese Originals there. Pluck up courage and have a chat with them. It's possible you’ll be given a so-called "Goschn", or an earful. Be prepared for this. But the earful is only verbal, so no worries.

3. Go for a walk on the Ringstrasse boulevard

And when were out and about at night, we also go for a walk on the Ringstrasse. That's also one of those things. Tourists think we Viennese don't do that. But of course we do! We love the Ringstrasse. It's so beautifully illuminated at night. However, we don't look only at the magnificent Ringstrasse buildings, but also at the pimped up rides doing laps of the boulevard. The Sunday stroll also brings many people out onto the Ringstrasse.

4. Stay cool when Lipizzaners appear in the Burggarten

If you want to be a real Viennese, try to stay totally cool when Lipizzaners suddenly appear out of nowhere in the Burggarten. We Viennese act as if it were the most normal thing in the world. Which, of course, it's not. Inside, we're as excited as little children, but don't show it on the outside. We'd also like to photograph them like the tourists do, only we don't dare to...

5. Go for a ride on the Tagada in the Prater

Another supposedly touristy thing that in reality isn't: we Viennese like going to the Prater. We take a really nostalgic ride on the ghost train or scream during a ride on the Wilde Maus roller coaster. The really cool among us try to stand in the Tagada without holding on. Don't know what a Tagada is? Try it out, then you'll be a real Viennese. And afterwards, head for a pork knuckle in the Schweizerhaus. It's all part of the experience.

6. Cross the Danube for a glass of wine

The real Viennese prefer to drink their wine at a heuriger in Stammersdorf. In the wine-growing region on the other side of the Danube, at the foot of Bisamberg, there are still many beautiful old lanes lined with vintners' wine cellars. Small taverns in unremarkable single-family houses from the 1960s are nestled up against premium vintners. Getting there is half the experience and definitely not a task for the impatient. But really, it's not that bad. The no. 31 tramway will take you from Schottenring across town directly to Stammersdorf. And, as they say: the journey is the reward. Especially when a glass of wine is waiting.

7. Enjoy wine with a view on the Nussberg

And then there's the Nussberg. You won't find a better view of Vienna anywhere else. A stroll through the vineyards on the Nussberg always lifts the spirits of the Viennese, as we so nicely put it. Here there is a unique view of the city, and wine from the best growers in favorite wine taverns such as Wailand, Sirbu, Wieninger am Nussberg, or Mayer am Nussberg. Once you get there, you'll never want to leave. But nothing lasts forever – and everyone finds their way back to the city eventually.

8. Relax and unwind in the MQ

Of course, the MuseumsQuartier is in every tourist guide. But the Viennese like the former imperial court stables as well, where they meet up in summer to chat, hang out, drink beer, and play boules. The MuseumsQuartier has turned into the open-air living room of the city. Lounging on the famous MQ furniture – which comes in a different color every year – and just looking skywards. This is called relaxing the Viennese way. And sometimes the Viennese even go into one of the museums.

9. Address the Viennese with their titles

If you want to belong in Vienna, then address people with their title. We know the whole world laughs at us. But nevertheless, when a head waiter addresses someone personally with "Welcome, Mr. Kommerzialrat", then that's simply typical Viennese. What is a Kommerzialrat? We don't really know that ourselves. Ask Google.

10. Jump naked into the Danube

When it's summertime, jump into the Danube once naked. As a tourist on a city break, you won't necessarily have your swimming costume with you. That's no problem in Vienna because there are numerous nudist areas on the Danube. And as you'll see, the Viennese like to go swimming naked whatever the reason. But probably not for aesthetic reasons.

Finally, a warning: never try to speak in the local Viennese dialect – you'll be immediately exposed. That doesn't even work for people who moved here 30 years ago.