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Not only ancient palaces and dusty coffee houses: something new is happening in the city. A new generation of young entrepreneurs are changing Vienna, starting with traffic lights...
Let’s face it, although Vienna is ranked as the city with the highest quality of life on the planet, it’s not known for being the place where hipness was born. Nevertheless, a new generation of entrepreneurs has emerged to create the trends of tomorrow – or at least adapt existing ones to a Viennese version. It usually takes a few years for the latest international fashion hypes or fusion restaurants to make it to Vienna, but when they do, the locals are eager to try them out (after overcoming their initial fear of all things new). Whether its virtual reality, gay-friendly traffic lights, new-wave coffee or exotic cuisines – there is certainly more to see in the Habsburg city than just the ancient palaces and dusty coffee houses.
Since Conchita Wurst won the Eurovision Song Contest for Austria, everyone seems to have gotten a little more tolerant around here. To promote the contest hosted in Vienna in the following year, some of the traffic lights in the inner districts were redesigned into a same-sex couples that guided people over street crossings and brought a sort of red and green coloured tolerance to the city. The genius marketing stunt made global headlines and as a logical step after all that popularity, locals and visitors can now take the designs with them: t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies and coffee mugs are on sale at the trendy shop in the 6th district.
Asian cuisine has been trending in Vienna for a while, but now, there is finally a more upscale option next to all the excellent take-out style restaurants. Aï is a Japanese Restaurant that specializes on fusion cuisine and the only thing more spectacular than the food is the venue that stretches over three levels and is located right in the heart of the Golden Quarter. If you’re not quite hungry, try the excellent cocktail bar on the first floor that is perfect for an after-work drink to work up an appetite.
As video games have moved from nerdy kids’ basements to the mainstream media, the term virtual reality has evolved from a myth to something real and ready to use. The recent advances in this field of technology have been rather impressive and, as Vienna would have it, can be tried out at a café called Vrei. Taking a (virtual) roller coaster ride, beating your colleagues on the racetrack or raising your adrenaline level in a parachute simulator are among the highlights they have to offer – and while the experience can be pretty realistic and nerve-wracking it is the safer option to actually jumping out of a plane.
While Vienna is famous for its traditional cafés, the coffee itself can be under par. Jonas Reindl has been a trendsetter by importing high-quality beans from Nicaragua and brewing them in a way that puts your ordinary cappuccino to shame. Located right next to the University of Vienna, the place is always packed with students. Make sure to try out the excellent snacks and enjoy them lounging on the furniture, much of which is over a century old.