Whoever named the landscaped park that runs along the southeast side of Vienna’s main Ring boulevard was not the most imaginative of souls.
Stadtpark means “city park”. OK.
Short. To the point. And entirely unromantic. Unlike the park itself, which is quite long, and a fine place for walking hand-in-hand with a significant other.
The Stadtpark is a little haven of tranquility, where you can take a pause from the sightseeing, watch the ducks float lazily by and gasp at the koi carp, which are the kind of size heron’s dream about. (You can find herons here, too.)
It’s not always tranquil, mind, as it’s also home to some photogenic composer memorials – including the famous Strauss statue.
The park first opened in 1862, its flow and layout very much reflecting an English approach to landscape design. It runs some 500m along the section of the Ring called…wait for it…Parkring (creative naming really wasn’t a strength back then).
The northern end faces the MAK (the Museum of Applied Arts) and the southern end is home to the Kursalon, an impressive Renaissance-style 19th-century building that is now a restaurant and venue for classical concerts.
Trees, water and musical memories
Winding paths, a glorious mix of trees and shrubs, statues and water features fill the bits between these two ends. And there is the River Wien, which flows apologetically through the park, fully aware that many people mistake it for the Danube and are disappointed (because it’s not very wide).
The course of the Wien is mostly man-made now: the banks evoke memories of classical Rome and actually make a very pleasant walk.
The trees are a delightful mix of colours and shapes, and the grassy areas invite you to linger a while, enjoy the sun (if there is any) and sigh contentedly at the prospect of your next Wiener Schnitzel.
Following the paths will also take you past memorials to some of the great Austro-Hungarian composers, including Franz Lehar (composer of the Merry Widow operetta) and Anton Bruckner (who inspired, for example, Mahler). Franz Schubert (no introduction required) gets his own statue.
The golden statue of Strauss on his violin is an iconic photo opportunity, so attracts a lot of visitors. At peak times, you can have a queue of people waiting for a photo with Johann, just like an official fan “meet and greet” with a Hollywood star.
Talking of coffee and Sachertorte, there are one or two places to eat and drink dotted around, apart from the Kursalon. We popped in for a small beer and elderflower cordial at the Meierei im Stadtpark, which sits alongside the River Wien and is a member of the very high-quality Steirereck family of restaurants. It dates back to 1903 when it was constructed as a place to go and drink milk.
How to get to the Stadtpark
Given its size and location, you can find and reach the Stadtpark easily.
Subway: the park has its own station (Stadtpark on the U4 line) and is also close to Stubentor (U3) and Wien Mitte-Landstraße (U3 and U4).
Tram: Line 2 to Weihburggasse (the stop is on Parkring) or Stubentor
Bus: 3A or 74A to Stubentor
Address: Stadtpark, Parkring, 1010 Vienna (map)