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Three days in Vienna – seeing the city’s young and hip side – day 2

While it’s certainly no Berlin or Copenhagen, Vienna has developed quite the trendy side in recent years. Due in large part to a creative and innovative younger generation, the city has taken and continues to take bold steps in exciting directions with a flourishing design and vibrant restaurant scene. Inspired boutiques and original eateries open each month, showcasing local style and talent. Museums have become edgier and public spaces, especially in warmer months, have transformed into popular places for hip Viennese to convene without a horse-drawn carriage in sight. How can you keep your finger on the pulse? One day at a time.

09:00 – breakfast and retail therapy

CornsnPops_20091117_012 by negotiable_meStart the day early with a healthy breakfast at Corns n’Pops, a quirky muesli bar on Gumpendorferstrasse in the 6th district. Though muesli is actually a Swiss staple, the concoction of oats, fruits and nuts is also loved here. Owned by a young nutritionist, this original breakfast joint allows you to make your own signature bowl of muesli from over 50 different ingredients. With plenty of other breakfast items on the menu, there’s something for everyone. Add a Wiener Melange coffee and you’ll be ready for the day ahead.

Flakturm Augarten Color by flo_pSince you’re in Mariahilf, the 6th district, and near Neubau, the 7th district, shopping is on the agenda. On your way to the shops, head down Gumpendorferstrasse to go take a peek at the giant Flakturm at Esterhazypark. New Vienna doesn’t always mean starting from scratch - transforming the old and reinterpreting it is the name of the game in this city. This tower, one of six across the capital, is a WW2 leftover built in 1943 to aid in defence efforts against air strikes. Although unsightly, this particular one has been revamped in the most unexpected way; it is the location of the city’s aqua-zoo and a popular outdoor climbing wall.

Now it’s time to hit the stores. Skip over Mariahilferstrasse, where the guidebooks will send you. Though it is indeed the largest shopping street in Vienna, you’ll mostly find the same stores you can find in any other European capital. Head instead one street further to Lindengasse and beyond. You are now in the epicentre of Austrian design. With one unique boutique after another, some even with ateliers, this is a lovely part of town to get lost in and purchase some one-and-only items. Check out http://www.7tm.at or http://guided-vienna.com/ to plan a route to your liking.

12:00 – 14:00 – a long relaxing lunch

Museumsquartier by Ivan CIf energy wanes on your shopping extravaganza, pop into Rauch Juice Bar on Neubaugasse for some zing and grab a freshly squeezed raw juice. When lunchtime hunger strikes, make your way to Museumsquartier, the city’s cultural headquarters. Housed in what used to be the former imperial stables, ‘MQ’ is nowadays made up of a number of popular restaurants, bars, cafés, and of course museums. Pull up a table and rub elbows with creative types either at Halle or Corbaci for some delicious ‘Austrian Fusion’ cuisine.

After your meal, do as the locals do. In warmer months, hang out in the courtyard of MQ and relax on an Enzi, the custom-designed lounge benches that make their debut in a different colour each spring. There’s no better place to park yourself after a meal and catch a few rays of sun. In colder months, tuck into a café for coffee and cake. Das Möbel, a few minutes’ walk away on Burggasse, is a café that shouldn’t be missed. This was one of the first funkier ones in town and still remains a favourite. With relaxed baristas and a cool concept - you can buy the design furniture you sit on - the atmosphere enjoyed here is truly distinct.

14:00 – 17:00 – markets and museums

Naschmarkt by CaramdirSpend the afternoon back in the boutiques, or stay in Museumsquartier and visit some of its museums. Stroll through Spittelberg, the one-time red-light district that is now a charming maze of cobblestone lanes dotted with small galleries and handicraft shops. Wander through the Naschmarkt, Vienna’s biggest market, and get caught up in its colourful atmosphere. Check out Westlicht, a large photo and camera gallery dedicated to the development of the art form in Austria.

The sun will soon set on your day of exploring the trendier side of Vienna. Make sure you’re dressed to impress and chase it as it descends upon the city. Go to the 2nd district to enjoy the incredible views, cocktail in hand, from the massive windows at Le Loft atop the new Sofitel. Finish the evening with ‘New Austrian’ cuisine by heading for dinner and drinks at Motto am Fluss, a chic restaurant and bar just below and right along the Danube Canal. Bop your head to the beats of whichever DJ happens to be spinning in the lounge that evening. Revel in all you’ve seen in one day. Hard to believe some people say this city is old fashioned!


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