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In Vienna, the clocks tick differently than in New York, Berlin or Singapore – everything is a tad more laid-back, moving more slowly than other world capitals.
Spending a whole afternoon in a café reading newspapers is a standard pastime for locals, especially on Sundays when the whole city seems to shut down business and everyone takes a day off (except the poor waiters who serve us our coffee).
Another Viennese institution is the Heuriger (wine taverns with a vineyard attached), where you can enjoy a glass of wine that was made right within the city limits. Yes, you read correctly: Vienna is the only metropolis in the world that produces enough wine in a quantity worth mentioning.
If you are up for a little more action, Vienna’s nightlife doesn’t disappoint. A little quirky and underground, never seeking to be in the centre of the international spotlight, it’s still a place for a ton of fun. And once they are done partying, the quintessential Viennese ends the night at the Würstelstand (sausage stand) of their choice – just to keep on drinking with the people they meet there, making this visit the unplanned highlight of many epic Saturday night stories.
The selection of Heuriger is vast and everyone has his or her favourite. Grinzing is the epicentre of Vienna’s answer to German beer gardens but many of the Heuriger there are overrun with tourists. Venture off the beaten track to find Hengl-Haselbrunner, which boasts a spectacular garden where you can spend warm summer nights sitting under old trees and sipping this year’s vintage. If you get hungry, try some of the outstanding salads from the food buffet.
Even after the rise of kebab and Asian noodles, the Viennese late-night snack of choice is still a piping hot Käsekrainer – a sausage filled with bits of oozing cheese, need we say more? There are plenty of places to get one of those bad boys, but no sausage stand is as classy as Bitzinger, which is situated right next to the Vienna’s world-class opera house. They have beer on tap and even champagne to wash down your sausage in style.
Are you looking for a second-hand bicycle? Interested in seeing an open-air performance of a local band? Looking for a club where you can jam to alternative rock from the nineties? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, WUK is the place for you. One of the largest culture centres in Europe and housing 130 different markets, events and concerts, this venue offers a unique program almost every day and night of the week. Even if there is nothing going on, the beautiful courtyard is a fantastic place to have a beer with friends.
Viennese cafés are legendary and certainly a tourist attraction. Locals like them just as much but tend to frequent those not mentioned in the guidebooks. Café Jelinek is one of them, situated in the hip sixth district and populated with students and artists, who are enjoying their breakfast, homemade cakes or just a cup of coffee while browsing through the excellent selection of Austrian and foreign newspapers. One highlight during winter is the old tiled stove that will keep you warm during those cold Viennese days.