Other must sees include such perennially popular bars as the stylish Felixx Café and Bar (Gumpendorferstrasse 5. www.felixx-bar.at) and local hangout Village Bar (Stiegengasse 8. www.villagebar.at). Village just underwent a renovation in October, so even the long-familiar spots can also be totally up-to-date!
As you can see, Vienna is always a combination of new developments and revisiting old favorites. Sometimes you can get both in one, as with the Freud Museum (Berggasse 19. Tel: +43- 1-319-159614. www.freud-museum.at), which reopened in September 2020 after a major overhaul that had closed the museum since mid-2019.
Among other new developments is the May 2020 opening of the Albertina Modern (Karlsplatz 5. Tel: +43-1-534-830. www.albertina.at) a second branch for this renowned museum in an 1865 building on Karlsplatz (there’s that old/new thing again). The exhibitions of modern and contemporary art have a major (though not exclusive) focus on Austrian artists. Also new in the art world is the stunning rooftop MQ Libelle (Museumsplatz 1. Tel: +43-1-523-5881. www.mqw.at), which opened in September on top of the Leopold Museum. This high design arts/cultural space shaped like a dragonfly (libelle in German), in the heart of the MuseumsQuartier (that’s the MQ part), offers a spectacular new spot. Have a drink while admiring amazing views over the city!
No trip to Vienna is complete without a stop back in Stephansplatz, where the cathedral remains as amazing as ever with its multi-colored patterned roofs and its spires, reflected in the curving glass façade of the Do & Co Hotel across the way. Then, needless to say, the ritual stop at glorious Café Central (Herrengasse/ Strauchgasse. Tel: +43-1-533- 376361. www.cafecentral.wien), a traditional coffeehouse (and Leon Trotsky’s favorite hangout) for a coffee, oh excuse me, grosser brauner (Vienna has its own specialized coffeehouse language, and you’d do well to learn it). Then, a trip by the Secession Building (Friedrichstrasse 12. Tel: +43-1-587-5307. www.secession.at) with its glorious golden dome and Klimt’s Beethoven Friese inside, and in keeping with the Nouveau theme, a visit to the Karlsplatz metro station and Art Nouveau giant Otto Wagner’s stunning entrance pavilions. I mean, this is a city where a subway entrance is a major architectural landmark! Another must is a trip to House of Music (Seilerstätte 30. Tel: +43-1-513-4850. www.hausdermusik.com) which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2020, for a journey through the world of sound and melody. I round out my “favorites” list with a stroll by Hundertwasserhaus (Kegelgasse 37- 39. www.hundertwasser-haus.info), an apartment building by visionary artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser that fills an entire block with blazing color and phantasmagoric shapes. After taking about my millionth photo, I head over to Kunst Haus Wein (Untere Weissgerberstrasse 13. Tel: +43-1-712-0491. www.kunsthauswien.com), the stunning museum devoted to this one-of-a-kind creator.
As I think about all my times in Vienna, I’m once again struck by the combination of the classical and the contemporary. If you really still think Vienna is a stodgy old city, there’s nothing I can do except urge you to visit (because if you think that, chances are you haven’t been there). What’s now considered “classical” was at the time just as cutting edge as today’s new places: the entire Art Nouveau movement was a rebellion, after all (even the word “jugendstil” means “youth style”), and as every decade goes by, Vienna continues the cycle that keeps moving in ever-more exciting ways. Vienna never stands still, and that’s what gives it such vibrancy.