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When the first sunrays hit the streets, people overflow along the Danube, into the parks and sidewalk seating of the cafés.
Nothing beats a lazy afternoon spent sitting in a sunny courtyard, on the outskirts of an open-air market or in one of Vienna’s countless parks and green spaces that covered more than half of the city area.
In recent years, people have been embracing the Danube and its surrounding districts more and more. The river had been ignored for many decades except for the occasional cycling or swimming trip, and now more and more hip bistros and riverside dining is popping up to draw summertime clientele. But if you want more action and still spend time outdoors, try one of the many open-air markets or street festivals that are happening during summer.
During the brutal heat of the Viennese summer, many take the metro to the Danube Island for a dip. Formerly rather shabby, attracting mostly drunk teenagers from the vicinity, the city of Vienna was finally able to sort out the lawsuit with the previous owner last year and has since redesigned the whole space, making it an urbanite and family-friendly beach paradise.
A similar development has happened on the Danube channel, a small, side stream of the river flowing along the borders of Vienna’s first district. Today, the once abandoned area is home to a number of beach bars and clubs. While it is still not the most picturesque part of the city, it is always packed on warm summer evenings.
The former working class district Ottakring has attracted more students, artists and hipsters in recent years, fleeing the high rents in the inner districts. The chic epicentre of the district is located on Yppenplatz – a large square, with one café and restaurant lined up after another. If people watching is your thing, find an empty chair, order a Viennese Mélange and cancel your plans for the day.
Last year the Prater celebrated its 250th anniversary, making it the world’s oldest theme park. For 365 days a year, you can ride roller coasters, get goose bumps in haunted houses and of course take a ride on the famous Ferris wheel. The amusement park is part of a vast green park, consisting of multiple meadows, ponds, forests, jungle gyms and tree-lined, car-free boulevards where people of every age and background can find their own private heaven under a shady tree or next to a little stream.