August 30, 2018

Why Vienna Should Be on Your Bucket List - Family Travel

{ photo from Rathausplatz Christmas Market)

We visited Vienna, Austria over Thanksgiving 2016 and it completely stole my heart.
Vienna is an incredible city and after visiting, I couldn't believe it wasn't on my radar before this trip.

My husband & I are BIG fans of Christmas Markets. We'd visited several in Germany and were excited to check out all of Vienna's options. Vienna's markets open earlier in the season than most so it's perfect to spend Thanksgiving week here.

On our first morning in Vienna, we headed to Stephansplatz Christmas market. This is a small market that surrounds St. Stephen's Cathedral. We came up from the metro to this view... absolutely breathtaking. I never tire of seeing European churches. 

Traveling with a young child can be challenging, but one thing I did on this trip was have 1 part of each day be completely kid friendly and all about him. 

Schönbrunn Palace is a quick metro ride away from the city center. 
There are beautiful gardens you can walk around, giant water features and you can take a tour of the palace. There is a large Christmas market held in the front of the palace also.

After you wind through the gardens, you come to Vienna's zoo.... the oldest continuously operating zoo in the world! The zoo also has a great playground on top of the hill towards the back... where you can also view the white wolves. 

This is a picture from Vienna's Natural History Museum in the evening all lit up. 
Christmas Village on Maria-Theresien Platz is one of the larger markets and it sits right in front of the museum. 

Vienna's Natural History Museum is absolutely amazing. I am not even a museum person and it blew me away.  If you have a little boy, this is 100% must do!

On the top floor of the museum is a cafe with snacks, wine, beer and coffee. The museum takes several hours to see so having the cafe for wine, I mean a break was much needed. ;)
I could have sat and stared at the ceiling for ages!

Whenever we visit a new city, I really enjoy checking out their children's museum. 
ZOOM is Vienna's children's museum and it's not like any I've been in before.
You must book your visit months in advance. They have certain play times on their calendar and we were lucky to get 1 slot during our visit. Our son had an amazing time. I highly recommend booking a slot if you'll be visiting with a child. 

After all of that play, a crepe at a Christmas Market is definitely in order. 

We found the Christmas market at Karlsplatz the most kid friendly. 
I love the bizarre European carousels where kids ride on the most random things.. or even in large bird cages! This market also had pedal bikes on tracks the kids raced on and a large hay area. The large hay area provided hours of fun and our son got to meet kiddos from all over the world as they built hay houses. 

The lights all over the city will have you feeling the Christmas spirit in no time.

Another wonderful place to visit with children is their city park.
Stadtpark is a wonderfully large park in the middle of the city.

You'll find walking paths and playgrounds. We spent a beautiful afternoon there on a mild winter day.
Even though traveling with children can have it's challenges, I love that we try things we wouldn't have before having our son.

Haus der Musik (House of Music) wasn't something I was sure we'd enjoy but we LOVED it! Obviously the musical stairs were a hit, but the whole museum was incredible. There was a room where you could be the composer with an interactive orchestra video. 

I think we visited nearly every Christmas market in the city. While the stands mostly sell the same wares, the unique atmosphere and views of each one made each worth the visit. 
Vienna is an incredibly city with a rich history and wonderful food.
It is super kid friendly. Our son was 5 years old on this visit and he fell in love with the city too.
Vienna is incredibly charming and visiting during Christmas is absolutely magical.