Interior view of Café Anzengruber

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Freihausviertel

Just a few minutes’ walk from the inner-city subway interchange at Karlsplatz and from the Naschmarkt, the Freihausviertel offers a wide range of unique contrasts to the hectic bustle of Vienna’s city center. The clocks tick a little differently here in Vienna’s 4th district. The Freihausviertel is a fashionable neighborhood with a lot of international flair.

It is hip and urban, yet Viennese through and through. It is unusually relaxed here for a city with millions of residents, even though the neighborhood is full of life. It is a place for people who find enjoyment outside of the mainstream. After all, the Freihausviertel has been a proving ground for the urban zeitgeist since the 1990s – in various respects:

Constantly in motion

Exquisite second-hand fashion was already being sold in the Freihausviertel back when no one was really talking about it. Upcycling was turned into an art form here, long before sustainability became all the rage. The Freihausviertel is also home to special projects such as a generational café, where grandmothers bake fantastic pastries as part of an initiative to combat poverty among the elderly.

And in the Freihausviertel, hand-picked coffee was already being roasted before the hype for premium, small-batch coffee really took off. Let us not forget the gallery scene, which is centered around contemporary art. In short, this neighborhood is always in motion and something new is constantly being created. In fact, the Freihausviertel has always been a hub of creativity, as the history of the Grätzel reveals.

On ground steeped in history

The name of the district refers to the Freihaus (lit. free house) auf der Wieden, a huge housing complex that stretched from Schleifmühlgasse to Karlplatz and was demolished in the 1930s. The name of the house said it all: whoever owned the free house did not have to pay taxes on it and had jurisdiction over the inhabitants of the housing complex. It is a place steeped in history, especially from the perspective of music history.

The Freihaus also incorporated the Freihaus Theater, where opera history was written in 1791: it was in this theater that the Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was first performed. Mozart’s opera is the reason why there is a Schikanedergasse in this neighborhood, which was named after the opera’s librettist, Emanuel Schikaneder. Another big name in the history of music has an association with the area: Franz Schubert’s final residence (Sterbewohnung in German) is located on the edge of the district on Kettenbrückengasse.

Schleifmühlgasse: the heartbeat of the neighborhood

The modern-day heart of the Grätzel is Schleifmühlgasse, which leads from the Naschmarkt as far as Wiedner Hauptstraße. Visitors will be hard pushed to find a street offering more variety. Café Anzengruber is an absolute classic of the Vienna bistro scene, and its Wiener Schnitzel is famous all over the city. A locale with a wonderful heritage, where Vienna’s creatives and media types like to meet. Right next to the Anzengruber, in the Sekt Comptoir Szigeti, visitors’ thirst for sparkling wine is quenched in a very regional way. Szigeti sparkling wine is pressed about 60 kilometers from the gates of Vienna using the méthode traditionelle of champagne production. The choice is enormous. The menu is exclusively composed of sparkling wine. Cheers!

Those in need of a caffeine hit can get their fill on Schleifmühlgasse. The Alt Wien coffee shop and roastery has long been an icon of the neighborhood. It offers specialty coffees from all over the world, most of them organically produced. There is an unusual approach behind the Vollpension. The fantastic pastries made in this café are baked and served by grandmothers, which adds a special charm to the place. The initiative at the Vollpension was set up to help combat old-age poverty among women. Visitors who enjoy cakes, tarts and strudel here also do others a good turn. Have we made you hungry? You can find more tips on what to eat in the Freihausviertel here.

Shop a little differently

The Freihausviertel also offers something different when it comes to shopping. Flo Vintage on Schleifmühlgasse is the oldest shop selling select vintage fashion in Vienna. The internationally renowned store has been in business since the late 1970s and is a veritable treasure trove for fashion aficionados. Shoppers can pick up fantastic pieces from any time between the 1880s and 1980s. Gabarage is another store that was always ahead of its time, an upcycling business that produces furniture, accessories and clothes. Some of its creations include fantastic lamps made from old traffic lights and garbage cans transformed into seats. The business mainly employs people who have a difficult time in finding a job. A lot more shopping tips for the Freihausviertel can be found here.

Art, art and more art

The gallery scene in particular contributes to the trendy reputation of Schleifmühlgasse. The Gabriele Senn Gallery, the Christine König Gallery, Kargl Fine Arts, Alba Gallery and the Zimmermann Kratochwill Gallery are just some of the galleries located here. Here everything is about contemporary art, which gives the Grätzel a special dynamic. The regular gallery tours are particularly popular with the public and ensure that the Schleifmühlgasse is always full of life.

The Third Man and plenty of music

The Freihausviertel is also home to unusual attractions and museums. The Third Man Museum is an incredible destination which is themed around one of the best films of all time. It displays 2,500 original exhibits such as scripts, posters film cameras and projectors There is lots of detailed and exciting information about the background and the story of the film’s creation. And of course, the experience would not be complete without the famous film music by Anton Karas, which introduced the sound of the zither to the whole world.

As far as music is concerned, the Palais Ehrbar on Mühlgasse is one of the neighborhood’s principal attractions. Hidden away behind the facade of this magnificent building is the Ehrbar Hall, a venue that is devoted to classical music and exudes a lot of historical charm. Greats such as Johannes Brahms, Anton Bruckner, Arnold Schönberg and Gustav Mahler once gave concerts in this hall. Attending a concert is worth it just for the great acoustics.

A special architectural jewel is hidden at the edge of the Freihausviertel in the form of the Heumühle, or Hay Mill. The former mill is the oldest example of profane architecture, or Profanbau, in Vienna and dates back to the 14th century. The Mill, which is relatively hidden away, can be viewed from the outside and can be reached from Kettenbrückengasse (corner of Grüngasse).

Café Anzengruber

Schleifmühlgasse 19
1040 Vienna
  • Opening times

    • Tu - Sa, 16:00 - 01:00
    • Closed on public holidays.

Coffee Roasters Alt Wien

Schleifmühlgasse 23
1040 Vienna

Szigeti Sektcomptoir Sparkling Wine Bar & Shop

Schleifmühlgasse 19
1040 Vienna

Vollpension

Schleifmühlgasse 16
1040 Vienna

Ehrbar Saal

Mühlgasse 30
1040 Vienna

Third Man Museum (Dritte Mann Museum)

Pressgasse 25
1040 Vienna
  • Vienna City Card

    • Your benefit with the Vienna City Card: -18%

      Special Offer:

      Original cult museum poster (50x70cm) on request

      Additional information on the offer:

      Standard ticket price: 11 € / Savings: 2 €

  • Opening times

    • for individual visitors Sa, 14:00 - 18:00
    • Weekday tours available, check online for details

  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • 11 Steps (Swinging doors 90 cm wide)
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed

Schubert's Place of Death

Kettenbrückengasse 6
1040 Vienna
  • Opening times

    • Fr - Su, 10:00 - 17:00
    • Closed: January 1, May 1, December 25

  • Accessibility

    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed

Gabarage Upcycling Design

Schleifmühlgasse 6
1040 Vienna

Flo Vintage - Nostalgic fashion

Schleifmühlgasse 15a
1040 Vienna

Georg Kargl Fine Arts

Schleifmühlgasse 5
1040 Vienna

Galerie Gabriele Senn

Schleifmühlgasse 1A
1040 Vienna
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