Vienna has a good public transport system, which includes rail, commuter rail, underground, trams (trolleys), and buses. The underground is very efficient and will take you to within a few minutes walk of anywhere you are likely to want to visit. The subway alone has the second highest per-capita ridership in the world, and that is not accounting for the 27 tram lines, dozens of train lines or numerous buses.
Vienna has a rich history as the capital city of the monarchy and thus abundant historical buildings and museums. The most of these, including Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral) and the two most well-known museums, Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) and Albertina, are located in the Innere Stadt. The Schloss Schönbrunn palace, a part of the UNESCO World heritage list, is located in the Outer West district.
- Ball Season: One thing you should not miss when you visit Vienna during the carnival season is to attend one of the many glamourous balls in the city, some of them in wonderful elegant locations like the Vienna Hofburg or the City Hall (Rathaus). The most widely known and elegant balls are the Opera Ball in the State Opera or the ball of the Wiener Philharmoniker. Many professional guilds have their own ball like e.g. the Kaffeesiederball by the Vienna Coffee house owners. The ball calendar can be found on the pages of the Vienna City Council
- There are also a lot of other open-air-film festivals in summer, e.g. at the Augarten, the Vienna Turf Krieau, the Prater, and Schloss Neugebäude.
- In the summer, there is also the ImPulsTanz Festival for contemporary dance & performance. They are also good if you are interested in dance workshops.
Store hours are generally 8/9AM-6/7PM Monday-Friday, 9AM-1/6PM Saturday, Closed Sunday. There are slightly longer hours at some malls. Credit cards are normally accepted at large and at high-end stores. All chains that you can find in the malls also have stores on the city’s shopping streets, which tend to be more accessible and tourist-friendly.
Vienna airport has a duty free shopping area with 70 shops. Plan around one hour if you’re going to visit every other shop. The shopping area is just after ticket control counters, so you only need to checkin before getting to shops, not pass security check nor passport control.
There are 21 markets with stands and small characteristically Viennese hut-like shops that are open daily (except Sunday). Additionally many of these have true farmers’ markets, often on Saturday mornings. There is a large variety of sellers and markets, from the upscale to the dirt cheap. Each has several shops of different kinds (butcher, bakery, produce, coffee, etc.). There is another handful of weekly farmers markets around the city as well as seasonal markets like the christmas markets.
Open from Nov 15s or 20s to Dec 23th or 24th, most Viennese Christmas Markets (“Christkindlmarkt”, “Adventmarkt” or simply “Weihnachtsmarkt”) are not so much for shopping as for eating and drinking. From midday until the late hours of the night, people gather at Christmas markets to drink mulled wine, punch, and chat to one another and the occasional stranger. Entry to all of these markets is free.
- Rathaus: More of a fairground than a Christmas market, this is Vienna’s largest and busiest incarnation. Located on the large town square between Rathaus and Burgtheater, the Wiener Christkindlmarkt is by far the largest and probably best known christmas market in Vienna. Large christmas tree in front of the townhall, skating possibility, adorned trees in the park, often crowded!
- Spittelberg: Probably the most delightful, though often quite packed Christmas market in Vienna, the Spittelberg market is scattered over a series of lanes lined with picturesque early 19th century Biedermeier houses (many of them former brothels, which is the reason the area was spared early 20th century urban renewal). Some of the stalls are extensions of the shops and bars of this normally rather sleepy area.
- Maria-Theresien-Platz: A relatively new market between the two museums and en route to/from the MuseumsQuartier (MQ). It is easy to maneuver than some and the quality of the goods is better than most.
- Schönbrunn: One of the better markets with higher quality goods and a more festive atmosphere in front of Schönbrunn palace. It is easier to spread out here and the specialties are food, handmade soaps, and candles.
- Belvedere: Another recent addition to the city’s Christmas markets, the market in front of the Belvedere palace is spacious and emphasizes the homespun.
- Resselpark/Karlsplatz – A small, alternative and more rambunctious Christmas market in front of Karlskirche.
- Freyung: A fine market in the First District frequented by locals and professionals on their lunch break and downtown shoppers. Focus on handicrafts and original gifts such as hand-made Christmas decorations, mangers or objects made of natural materials. Christmas cakes and biscuits as well as hot punch and Glühwein. There are usually fewer tourists.
Further afield a famous and overly bustling Christmas market may be found at Grafenegg castle.