Trace the glory of the Hapsburg Empire with a Vienna hotel stay in the central Innerstadt neighbourhood. Encircled by the Ringstrasse boulevard, Innerstadt is home to the Hofburg Palace's gilded state apartments. Nearby, the Burggarten houses the butterfly-filled Palmenhaus and the Albertina's world-class graphic art collection. The spires of Gothic St. Stephen's Cathedral rise above lanes filled with horse-drawn Fiaker (carriages) and street entertainers. Shoppers browse speciality shops on Graben or Kärntner Strasse before indulging with chocolate cake in chandelier-lit Cafe Sacher. The Vienna State Opera draws opera aficionados after dark.
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Leafy Leopoldstadt lies northeast of the Innerstadt, sandwiched between the Danube and the Danube Canal. Its crowd-magnet is the Prater park, which is filled with chestnut-shaded avenues, beer gardens and the iconic Riesenrad Ferris wheel. The acclaimed Vienna Boys' Choir sings at baroque palace Palais Augarten. Head north to reach Donaustadt, where the Danube meanders past the UNO City (Vienna International Centre) to the 252 metre-tall Donauturm tower. In summer, locals sunbathe, swim and socialise on the bar-lined Danube Island.
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West of Innerstadt, cultural Landstrasse is home to Viennese artist Hundertwasser's most unusual creations: the KunstHaus Wien and the Hunderwasserhaus. Wander south to the Belevedere Palace's baroque gardens and galleries, showcasing Klimt's The Kiss. Fans of classical music can catch concerts at the nearby Vienna Concert Hall. Further south, Art Nouveau townhouses characterise the fashionable Wieden neighbourhood. Here, hungry locals graze the Naschmarkt for fresh produce and trams rattle across Karlsplatz, home to Karlskirche's graceful cupola.
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Neubau, slightly west of the city centre, is a honeypot for students, creatives and intellectuals. The cultural giant is the MuseumsQuartier, where you’ll find dynamic performing art spaces and galleries displaying works by Warhol and Schiele. For a taste of old Vienna, roam the cobbled, lantern-lit streets of Spittelberg. The streets are crammed with Biedermeier architecture, one-off boutiques and welcoming Beisln (taverns). Follow Hapsburg footsteps west to Hietzing and baroque Schloss Schönbrunn, with its lavish palace, park and zoo.
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Situated northwest of the centre, residential Josefstadt hums with a mixture of students and affluent locals. There's a neighbourly vibe and a flavour of real Vienna to its streets, which are lined with cafés, theatres and markets like Brunnenmarkt. Just north of here, you’ll find relaxed and cultural Alsergrund. By day, appreciate the Old Master paintings and baroque splendour of Palais Liechtenstein. By night, see experimental theatre at the Schauspielhaus or top-drawer opera at the Volksoper.
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