Vienna On a Rainy Day: 11 Things To Do
It’s common to associate a good day with the sun shining brightly and clear blue skies. It means you have more time to explore the great outdoors, hit the beach, and walk around the city streets without worrying about getting wet or muddy. However, as soon as the sky turns gray and it starts drizzling, it can be easy to be less optimistic and a bit more discouraged.
Unfortunately for outdoor enthusiasts, rain falls in Vienna throughout the year. But the constant rain and bad weather shouldn’t drag you down and dampen your mood. Rainy days in Vienna can be a perfect opportunity to take the off-the-beaten path, get out of your comfort zone, and get ready for an exciting wet day adventure.
This Austrian capital has a lot to offer you, regardless of your age or interest. There are theaters, world-class museums, magnificent palaces, and historical buildings waiting to be explored. You can also go shopping, play indoor games, and enjoy authentic Viennese dishes in the top restaurants in the city. Your days will be filled with excitement and fun, even if you arrive during the rainy season. Don’t forget to leave your bags at a luggage storage facility in Vienna to make the most of your time in Austria’s Imperial capital. Keep them dry as you move from one exciting attraction to another.
Attend a Classical Music Concert
There’s probably no better way to spend a chilly, rainy day in Vienna than listening to classical music in a historic concert hall. Classical music has been part of the Austrian culture and way of life, so you can’t leave its capital city without attending a classical music concert.
Every evening, music lovers listen to live classical music throughout Vienna. You have numerous choices of venues and events that host these performances, from classical music festivals to annual concerts. You can also pick from traditional concert houses, town halls, churches, and other music venues.
Learn about the Origin of Humans at the National History Museum
Located near the Imperial Palace, the National History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum) is one of the famous attractions in Vienna. It holds an extensive collection of minerals, meteorites, stuffed animals, birds, and more. Its exhibition halls cover different subjects, including the origin and development of humans and the human culture’s evolution dating back to prehistoric times.
One of the remarkable objects you’ll see in the Naturhistorisches Museum is the 29,000-year-old sculpture called “Venus von Willendorf.” It was found in 1908 in the Wachau and is considered one of the world’s most significant archaeological discoveries. You also can’t miss the gigantic prehistoric animals in the dinosaur hall, featuring the remains and skeletons of dinosaurs. The Natural History Museum is also home to a lifelike moving model of an allosaurus.
Discover the Cultural Facilities at the MuseumsQuartier
The Museums Quarter is an outstanding ensemble of cultural venues, museums, shops, bars, and restaurants. It hosts regular exhibitions and events, so there’s always something going on no matter what time of the year you visit. You can spend an entire rainy day in this pedestrianized complex, and you won’t get bored.
Entry to the complex is free, but you’ll need tickets to enter the museums. The Museum Quarter only opened its doors in 2001, but the site used to be the Habsburgs’ stables, established in the early 18th century.
Some of the main attractions you can visit in the MQ include the Museum of Modern Art, the Leopold Museum, and the Museum of Architecture in Vienna. If you visit during the summer season, you might catch the world-renowned Vienna Festival and other cultural celebrations, temporary exhibitions, and concerts.
Go on a Shopping Spree
Don’t waste your entire day in a hotel room just because it’s pouring outside. The gloomy weather can be an excellent time to shop and find unique items and souvenirs for your loved ones at home. Fortunately, Vienna has everything from small grocery outlets and flagship stores to luxury shops and shopping centers.
Head to Vienna’s old city and go to Graben, Kärntner Strasse, or Kohlmarkt for luxury shopping. Elegant stores, jewelers, and luxury stores flock around these areas, including international brands like Chopard, Tiffany, Wellendorf, Hermes, and Chanel. There’s a multitude of indoor shopping opportunities in Vienna, so you can shop while staying dry and comfy.
Visit the Museum of Military History
Military history buff or not, you’ll marvel at the remarkable collection of weaponry in the this unique in Vienna. It will give you an insight into the country’s role in the European conflict and warfare through its detailed exhibits. Besides the weaponry and vintage aircraft, you’ll also see the automobile where Franz Ferdinand and his wife were shot in 1914.
The building itself is a remarkable sight to behold, built between 1850 and 1856, making it the city’s oldest museum. It has several halls; each features different exhibitions based on different eras and notable events in the history of war. Overall, the military and warfare history, art, architecture, science, and technology are all part of the museum.
Go to a Coffee House
Your visit to Vienna won’t be complete without immersing yourself in the world-renowned Viennese coffee house culture. Coffee drinking here is not just a morning perk or an afternoon delight. It’s an art form, a way of life, and an essential part of the local culture. So if you’ve got nothing to do on a cool, rainy day in Vienna, get out and explore the extensive coffee houses in Austria’s vibrant capital.
You don’t have to go far from the city center to find a café or a coffee place. Located in the first district is one of Vienna's most beautiful and legendary coffee houses. Opened in 1876, Café Central is an institution in its own right. Among its regular guests were Sigmund Freud, Felix Salten, and Peter Altenberg.
Some luxury coffee houses also look like a palace of the 19th century with tall ceilings, wooden floors, and walls decorated with beautiful artwork. They offer an air of elegance but are not intimidating. Instead, they deliver a welcoming and warm ambiance reflective of a classic Viennese experience. They are a perfect destination on rainy days while enjoying a cup of coffee with homemade chocolate cake.
Chill in the Palm House
The Palm House (Palmenhaus) is a massive greenhouse filled with exotic plants. It is situated within Schonbrunn Palace Park, which spans kilometers wide on each side. There is a lot to see and visit at this massive Vienna park, particularly if you’re with your family. The Palm House, housing all sorts of beautiful plants, is certainly one to check out, especially for couples on a date.
This Palm House has three large pavilions connected to each other by tunnel-like passages. Each pavilion contains varying plants, including aquatic plants. Moreover, each pavilion has different climate zones, so they cater to plants that thrive in these conditions. To visit this place, you can go on tours if you wish to learn the story behind the plants and the pavilions.
Spend an Afternoon at the Schönbrunn Palace
Visiting the Schonbrunn Palace is one of those places that you won’t regret, especially if you’re in Vienna with your family. Located in front of the Spielplatz Auer-Welsbach-Park and across the Wein river, Schonbrunn Palace is the number one sight in Vienna. There is so much to do here that you may need to return another day to experience everything this place has to offer.
The palace is also home to the Children’s Museum, a place for the young and the young at heart. It will give visitors a glimpse of the daily life of the imperial family, while the time wheel helps you understand the differences between the royal children and the children from ordinary families. Your little ones can play with toys and participate in a fun, themed tour.
Besides the 18th-century palace and museum, you can also see the large park spanning kilometers wide behind the building. Filled with luscious garden beds, spacious grass, and the maze, labyrinth, and zoo popular amongst the youth, the officially named The Gardens serves as a perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature and its history. You can come back another time to explore the gardens if you want to stay dry. But if you’re ready to embrace the rain, why not!
Depending on what you want to see and who you’re with, you will find various packaged deals and tour options, such as a family pass. The Palace is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On the other hand, the Gardens is open earlier from 6:30 a.m. and closes later at 9 p.m. Unfortunately, it’s not free to enter both places. Still, the price to see this UNESCO-listed wonder is undoubtedly worth it.
Enjoy a Wine Tasting
The wine culture in Vienna continues to thrive. There are over 700 acres of wine production within the city limits, making it the only capital in the world with wine production of such size. So if you want to discover good wine, don’t miss the chance to attend a wine tasting tour in Vienna. Not only will you meet wonderful people, but you’ll also expand your wine knowledge from some of the country’s best experts.
Then take the time to visit the Villon Wine Cellar, one of the city’s oldest wine cellars. It’s a 500-year-old structure featuring a 4-story descent that leads sixteen meters below the streets in the city center. A quick tour of the cellar will be followed by a delicious tasting, accompanied by fascinating stories about its history.
Check out The Horburg
The Hofburg was the seat of the Habsburgs for centuries until the end of World War II. Today, it serves as the workplace and principal residence of the Austrian President and the home to the National Library. It consists of numerous buildings that reflect different eras, including architectural triumphs from the Baroque, Renaissance, Rococo, and Gothic periods.
The sprawling complex covers about 59 acres, including nineteen courtyards, thousands of rooms, and several groups of buildings. Although it’s currently the home of the President, different parts of the Hofburg Palace are open for visitors. Some of the best attractions you can explore here include the Sisi Museum, the Silver Collection, and the Imperial Apartments.
The Sisi Museum is dedicated to the iconic wife of Emperor Franz Joseph, Empress Elisabeth, whose nickname is Sisi. The Imperial Apartments will take you through the apartments used by the Emperor and his wife, including a large and small salon, conference room, the audience chamber, and more. The Imperial Silver Collection features priceless Habsburg possessions, including gold, silver, linen, glassware, porcelain, and other household items.
Explore the Belvedere Museum
The Belvedere Museum is one of the most spectacular Baroque buildings in Vienna, attracting tons of visitors each year. Just by looking at its exterior structure, you know that a memorable and terrific experience awaits you there. It consists of two magnificent palaces, the Upper and Lower Belvedere. Both palaces were built during the early 18th century by the Baroque architect Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt.
The Upper Belvedere features about 800 years of art history, including the masterpieces by van Gogh, Rodin, Schiele, and Klimt. It was completed in 1723 and became one of the first Public Museums in Vienna.
The Lower Belvedere was completed much earlier, around 1716. It marked the border between the imperial city and the Baroque building complex. Today, the Orangery and the palace rooms are used for special events and exhibitions.
Rainy Days in Vienna
No bad weather should stop you from enjoying your stay in Vienna. From exploring its museums and attending an indoor concert to shopping and enjoying wine tasting and tours, there’s no shortage of rainy day activities in this lively city. Whether you’re traveling on your own or with loved ones, you no longer have to deal with a gloomy wet day. It’s a wonderful time to do things and go to places you would’ve probably otherwise overlooked.
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