The literal translation of Stadtpark is “city park”. But it’s so much more than the name suggests. In fact, it’s a rather nice place for walking hand-in-hand with a significant other while you debate which museum to visit next.
- A green oasis in Vienna’s centre
- Good place to take a break from sightseeing
- Home to statues of famous composers, like Schubert and Strauss
- See also: Sightseeing tips
History and location
Consider the Stadtpark 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 all kept in shape by the Viennese parks authority (Wiener Stadtgärten), who do a marvellous job of maintaining the city’s parks.
The Stadtpark 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 boulevard called 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’s now a restaurant and venue for classical concerts.
(The Kursalon viewed from the Stadtpark)
Trees, water & musical memories
Winding paths, a mix of trees and shrubs, statues, and water features fill the bits between these two ends. And there’s also the River Wien, which flows almost apologetically through the Stadtpark, fully aware that some people mistake it for the Danube and go home very disappointed.
The course of the Wien is mostly man-made now (it even disappears underground for much of its time in the city): the banks evoke memories of classical Rome and actually make a pleasant walk.
The trees form a delightful blend 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 also takes you past memorials to some of the great Austro-Hungarian composers, including Franz Lehár (composer of the Merry Widow operetta) and Anton Bruckner (who inspired, for example, Mahler). Franz Schubert (no introduction required) gets his own statue, too.
The golden statue of Strauss on his violin has become an iconic photo opportunity, so attracts a lot of visitors. At peak times, a queue of people wait for a photo with Johann, much like an official fan “meet and greet” with a Hollywood star.
Talking of coffee and Sachertorte, the park features one or two other places to eat and drink along with the Kursalon.
We popped in for a small beer and elderflower cordial at the Meierei im Stadtpark, which sits next to the River Wien and is a member of the very high-quality Steirereck family of restaurants. It dates back to 1903 when people went there to drink milk.
If you’re there on the right days in May, the choice of food and drink rockets thanks to the annual Genuss Festival.
The festival features stands from all over Austria, offering regional specialties to eat, drink, try, or buy for later. Decorative jars, boxes, and bottles filled with culinary delights make decent gifts, too.
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).
(The Stadtpark station building is actually an iconic Otto Wagner white and apple green design.)
Tram: Line 2 to Weihburggasse (the stop is on Parkring) or Stubentor
Bus: 3A or 74A to Stubentor
Address: Stadtpark, Parkring, 1010 Vienna