What to do in Vienna when it’s cold | outdoor edition.

There is no such thing as being too cold outside (unless you live someplace where it’s really really cold) if you ask me, it’s only a matter of how prepared you are and how many layers of clothes you’re actually wearing. However, I get it, not all of you out there are lovers of the cold season and some of you are really looking forward to the warmer seasons. But there’s always a few things one can do to enjoy oneself in winter, especially in Vienna. And we all just need to make the most out of the situation we’re in, right?. Plus, you can’t just stay indoors all day long, you gotta leave your warm flat or house to get some fresh air!

Here’s my go-to list that that will give you an idea how I usually “endure” the cold in winter. I hope it’ll help you enjoy your winter stay in this lovely city.

|| 1 || Go ice skating

This is such a fun activity to try out during the cold season. Admittedly, it can be a bit expensive because entrance fees and shoe rental prices are usually high, but if you’re really into it, it’s definitely worth getting yourself a pair of skates. And for a one-time-thing, it’s worth the money if you ask me. The most popular (and sometimes very overcrowded) ice skating rink is definitely the Wiener Eistraum in front of the city hall on the Rathausplatz. It’s a very lovely place to go ice skating on, and I’d recommend having at least tried it once. If you want to find out more about it, read my post this fun winter activity.

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|| 2 || Venture into the small alleys of the first district

In Vienna, wind will be your all-time companion, and small alleys are the perfect hideaway for avoiding the strongest winds. Not only that, but they’re just amazing, especially in the first district of Vienna. You can walk past beautiful buildings with a rich history, or walk through the passages, or just do some window shopping. If you avoid the typical tourist roads, you might only encounter a few people and not the typical tourist crowd. And apparently I don’t even have a picture to prove that I actually do this from time to time. Shame on me. Just wanna be honest here. haha

|| 3 || Take a tram ride past historical buildings on the Ring

Some might argue this is wouldn’t count as outside activity, but you’re not really inside either. And by playing tourist for a while you’ll be able to escape the cold for a bit (even though this might be cheating then). If you’re lucky and the tram is heated, you can warm up for a bit, before you venture out into the cold again. My favourite routes are 1, D or 71. They’ll all take you past all the important historical buildings of the city.

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|| 4 || Go to the Prater…

…and hop on one of the rides and your heartbeat will pick up a notch. While feeling the adrenaline in your blood you’ll forget the cold temperatures around you. Or at least imagine that you’re on one of the rides because the Wiener Prater has its main season from March 15 until October 31, and during winter most of the rides are closed. However, on a sunny day, some of them might be open. And if not, you’ll have the whole Prater for you. (Trust me, on a weekday there’s hardly anyone there, it feels a bit like you’re in an abandoned amusement park from one of those dystopian movies). And while you’re at the Prater, you should definitely take a turn with the Wiener Riesenrad, the Giant Ferris Wheel, if you’ve never done that before. For me, this definitely counts as an outdoor activity because the wagons are not heated (as far as I remember).

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|| 5 || Go to the Donaukanal for some street art watching

The area along the Donaukanal is some kind of an open-air museum because of the amazing street art and sculptures you’ll find there. Major parts of the walls along the canale are part of the Wienerwand project, so artists are actually allowed to use the walls as their canvas. Just look out for their official sign, the WienerTaube (a pigeon) marks the area where spraying/painting is allowed. With 120 meters, this is the biggest wall for such art that you’ll find in Vienna.

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|| 6 || Go to a local market

Buying local produce and supporting local farmers is a good thing anyways, so you can do something for both yourself and others! Another beneficial factor of a local market is that you’ll get (mostly) everything without being wrapped in plastic. Plus, looking at all the colourful veggies and thinking of what delicious food I could make out of them is always very heartwarming for me.

Naschmarkt, probably the biggest market that we have here in Vienna, is one very good example for this. As opposed to other markets, you’ll get fresh veggies (and lots of other things there) every day (except on Sundays as far as I know) and not just on Saturdays like most other markets. In addition, you can also stop for a bite to eat in one of the cafés and restaurants that are located there, or just buy a piece of Baklava.

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|| 7 || Take a walk on the palace grounds in Schönbrunn or any other lovely park

Suck it up, pack a thermos and take a long walk. Summer will come soon enough, and it will stay forever anyways. Why not make the most out the current temperature, and enjoy how the city looks like when it’s freezingly cold. Have you ever noticed how calm a city can get when the temperature is below zero? Hardly anyone is outside anyways and there’s always the joy of complaining about the weather with a friendly (and not weird at all) stranger you met outside.

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I may have missed other things one can do when it’s cold outside, but those are my main outdoor activities. Can you think of any others?


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