Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

September 12 2014

A Meeting Planner’s 6 free hours in Vienna

By Darlene Somers, CMP Senior Meetings Manager, Association Management Center

If elegant culture, music and coffee are your passions, there is no better place to spend time than Vienna, Austria. Even though one day isn't enough, if you are willing to hustle you can get a good sense of the city. Your one fantastic day will be just enough of a taste to ensure a return trip. 

  1. Where else but Vienna can you take part in an official part of Viennese culture by simply reading the paper and drinking coffee? The National Agency for the Intangible Cultural Heritage (a part of UNESCO) has described the Viennese Coffee House as a place "where time and space are consumed, but only the coffee is found on the bill.” Plan your day over an espresso and a delightful Viennese pastry and know that all calories are sanctioned by UNESCO.
  2. Even though we typically eschew the ‘tourist thing’, I would suggest a ride on the Ringstrasse.  This circular tram ride follows the path of the old city walls, which Emperor Franz Joseph I had torn down in 1858. The tram passes incredible neo classic, neo gothic, neo renaissance and neo baroque buildings mixed with parks and public gardens. The tram ride is a quick introduction to some of the key sites Vienna has to offer.
  3. You may not be an opera fan, but you should visit the State Opera House simply because of the beauty of the building. Whether via a guided tour or actually attending a performance, this is not to be missed. Standing room only tickets can be purchased for most performance for less than €10. And at that price, you won’t feel guilty when you leave before the performance is over.
  4. If you are a film buff, you must visit the The Third Man Museum. This museum is solely devoted to the film classic ‘The Third Man’ and offers history of post WWII Vienna.
  5. No visit to Vienna is complete with a visit to the Schönbrunn Palace. The Palace is a World Cultural Heritage site and was for centuries the property of the Hapsburgs. It is mostly in original condition and houses authentically furnished residential and ceremonial rooms of the Imperial Family as well as other exhibits.
  6. If you are lucky enough to visit Vienna between mid-November and Christmas, you will see the squares of Vienna and surrounding areas transformed into magical Christmas markets. Bakery items, hot punch and Christmas ornaments are just some of the items that make these markets special.
  7. End your day at a heuriger (wine tavern). Vienna is one of the only cities in the world with vineyards inside the city limits. An evening at a heuriger is a casually relaxed way to sample local wines and food with new friends.

Please log in to post comments.