There are few destinations in the world that can truly brag about being the best to live, but Vienna has the rank to back it up after being named ‘the world’s highest quality of living’ by the international Mercer Quality of Life Study for seven years in a row.
With its architecture, cuisine, and culture, Vienna provokes your curiosity around every city street. On this visit, I was most interested about design and found a corner of the city focused on just that – in Neubau: Vienna’s 7th district. Just beyond the city center, the seventh district is often referred to by locals as ‘hipster’ or ‘bohemian’ where the streets are filled with indie boutiques, alternative art shops, and concepted cafe’s. The locals are just as trendy as the ambiance that pulses through the neighborhood: young, liberal, alternative and creative.
But a little history for you: district 7 wasn’t always a Bougeoir-bohemian-hipster area… Our guide for the day, Gabrila Steiner-Secharfetter, let us in on Neubau’s vastly different past – a neighborhood once completely abandoned, people originally began squatting in the empty buildings. As they slowly began establishing a flow of money through the neighborhood, the money was infused back into the up and coming community. 18th century architecture now gives the Spittelberg quarter character: with a handful of roads overflowing with art galleries, boutiques and cafés that are bustling with locals and tourists alike in the evenings.
Follow us through the streets and learn about some of our favorite discoveries in a travel guide to the Neubau District #7 in Vienna.
To note: The Viennese like their tranquil mornings, most shops opening around 10 a.m, and Sunday’s are a day traditionally for the family, so many shops are closed.
The Museumsquartier is known for being one of the largest epicenters for art and culture in the world. For a late and bustling lunch in the Museumsquartier, walk in and ask about the daily special. We opted for Corbaci. Make sure you glance up and around once inside – the ceiling is tiled with the most stunning blue, green, yellow, and white patterns.
Before you set out on an adventure exploring Vienna’s hidden gems, take a stroll down this incredible street. It has gained recognition due to its magnetic pull for attracting the most incredible indie boutique shops. It’s known as a creative hotspot, where photographers, artists, and design enthusiasts alike can be blown away by it’s rich historical and artistic character. While you’re strolling, look out for these first two destinations: WALL + Design & Art
WALL – @Kaufhauswall
Westbahnstrasse 5a Vienna
Hair salons are around every corner in Vienna, but the most notable one was Wall. Owner Andreas WALL still has one hair station in the back for cutting hair, but the store is mainly a clothing and accessory boutique. The biggest designers they carry are Scandinavian and German, but also Austrian such as Claudia Brandmair (who is popular in the Japanese market!).
A great mix of contemporary and vintage design, owner Michael Turkiewicz focuses on innovation and repurposing. He makes sure to source mainly Austrian products that have either a vintage or contemporary feel to them to create an ambiance. For example, his rug chair and other innovative furniture and light fixtures add personality and style to any room.
After only having been open for six weeks, this little address really makes an impression. This shop is a concept store that searches out the best Italian, Brazilian, and French brands and products. L’adresse is a melting pot of fashion, cosmetics, jewelry and accessories for both men and women and is worth a wander.
One of the greatest thing about cities is that they always have amazing places popping up. We spied it from across the street, but unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to go in. I have decided the next time I find myself in Vienna, this will be first place on my list!
Inspired by the charming décor of french apartments and houses, Maison d’Elisa focuses on selling simple materials that brighten up a room with chic furniture and home accessories to create a living space ‘en vogue’. The idea is based off of the owner Sylvain Berry’s memories of her childhood home- a romantic old farmhouse- in the mountains of southwestern France.
This is the concept store for modern minimalist decorators. They carry all your contemporary needs from natural linens, kinfolk, cereal mag, coffee presses to copper mugs, rugs and amber glass bulbs. Even if you’re not in the market for home decorating, a stop by this shop is a must for those who search aesthetic.
Inspired by the desire to be different, Ina Kent creates leather bags that can be personalized and worn multiple ways. The bags illustrate a blend of function and fashion and are made to cater towards the needs of the wearer both in trend and efficiency.
This vegetarian and vegan culinary spot uses biological and fair products to produce highly creative, gourmet dishes.
A store focused on only selling fairtrade and organic products, Zerum boasts eco-fashion clothing for men, women and children, along with accessories. While making sure their products are made in environmentally friendly conditions, they also make sure that everything from production to transportation to packaging follow these same principles.
Based upon the concept that you should try the furniture before you buy, they opened a cafe. Now, they’ve created a showroom. All furniture is small scale production but can be personalized and ordered according to your individual tastes.
Alexstadler Fabric Experiments sells products after doing just that – experimenting by hand with fabrics to create intricate asymmetrical, coarse-meshed pieces with an emphasis on design. Also very fitting with the city’s rich musical history, each piece is conceptually influenced by the designer’s taste for music. Each piece is the work of a particular song, which is stitched into the garment’s label.
Reformhaus is an all vegan health food market that sells organic foods, cosmetics, and medicine. You can also sit down for a nice lunch, they offer a ‘plate of the day’ as well as a la carte style dishes.
This hat shop was one of my favorite finds in Vienna! The wide array of stylish hats have you leaving the shop with a certain star-quality: even celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Madonna have been spotted wearing this special Viennese headwear. Not only does the store sell beautiful hats, but they are family run and have been around since 1903. I learned how to properly measure my head so that I could find the perfect fit!
If you’re an explorer with a sweet tooth, Bonbons is a candy shop you’ll fancy a stop at. Bonbons is filled with many traditional Viennese and Austrian candies and chocolates.
You may find the owner’s grandmother modeling clothes inside this classic little shop carrying designers like Ann Demeulemeester, Holly Fulton and Christian Peau.
The hotel was designed by YOO, a London Design Studio with a creative team surrounding world-renowned designer Phillippe Stark and property developer John Hitchcox. A grand lobby and bright entry way is a magical welcome to the hotel. In the bedroom, you get your own personal taste of their innovative designs when sitting around a small, quite oddly shaped wooden table in a group of design sitting chairs.
A faux balcony with oversized windows looks out over the rooftops of historic Vienna. The tall ceilings, a special leather suitcase holder, comfy robes and slippers for admiring the view with a cup of coffee each morning and a snack from the exotic fruit basket left in our room was a luxurious way to wake up each morning in Vienna.
The bathroom has both a shower and a tub (along with an array of rose petals and bath salts for a relaxing evening bath). Mood lighting in the room allows for you to create your own ambiance. Not only are their multiple switches for creating the perfect atmosphere, there is also a “black out” room button to draw the shades for those mornings where you need a little extra rest before you start the day.
Influenced by its french name and hosted with a luxurious and vintage elegance, Le Bar serves everything from classic cocktails to over 60 different kinds of champagne. It’s the perfect atmosphere to relax after a day of wandering the streets of Vienna.
Sans Souci offers a 60 degree and a 90 degree dry sauna as well as a 90 degree steam room. You can also spend time in the solarium- a natural tanning bed! The spa offers a complete menu with different collections that you can choose from based on what you are looking for. With both traditional and exotic treatments, you can personalize your spa experience based on your needs.
The Sans Souci offers an unparalleled pool amongst the other Vienna hotels, not only in size but in elegance. The reflection of the crystal chandeliers on the water create a relaxing atmosphere ideal for an evening dip or lap swim in the pool.
Although this neighborhood is filled with personality – intriguing boutiques and design around every corner – Vienna’s charm isn’t limited to the 7th district. The many streets are buzzing with life. Get out and explore!
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This Vienna visit was in partnership with Austrian Tourist Office, Vienna Tourist Board, and Preferred Hotels, but as always all thoughts are my own.