Vienna’s cool hipster neighbourhood that’s off the beaten track

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Vienna’s cool hipster neighbourhood that’s off the beaten track
A cafe on Karmelitermarkt. Photo:

Vienna’s 6th district, Mariahilf, was recently ranked in the top 15 coolest neighbourhoods in Europe by British website TravelSupermarket, but that wasn’t a revelation to many people who’ve lived in or even visited the city. In our opinion Vienna’s real hipster neighbourhood is the 2nd district (Leopoldstadt) - particularly the area around Praterstrasse and the Karmeliterviertel.


Leopoldstadt is one of Vienna’s more diverse neighbourhoods. Turkish and Balkan immigrants live alongside Orthodox Jews, as well as a young, creative population attracted by the area's cheap and generously-sized apartments - although prices have risen significantly in the last ten years.

The area around the Karmelitermarkt food market has rapidly become one of Vienna’s most interesting and hipster neighborhoods, popular with 'bobos' and artists. 

Aside from the Saturday market with its emphasis on slow, local, and organic food there’s also a host of good restaurants and kosher shops based on or around the market.

Around the corner from Karmelitermarkt, is cake shop Fett+Zucker. It’s eccentrically furnished with vintage furniture and serves up delicious cakes and snacks with many vegan options. Their cheese cake is unbelievably good.

The Schöne Perle restaurant puts a new spin on traditional Viennese cuisine. Skopik & Lohn has an interesting minimalist and modern interior, a lovely garden area in the summer, and serves up a delicious Viennese/Mediterranean inspired menu. For something more down to earth, stop in at Pizza Mari, a trendy pizzeria with some of the best-tasting and best-value pizzas in the city.

After stuffing yourself take a stroll through the Augarten. It’s the city’s oldest Baroque park and is also home to two imposing anti-aircraft bunkers (Flakturm), rather sinister reminders of the Third Reich. In the summer the park is the location for an open-air cinema called Kino Unter den Sternen.

Leopoldstadt is bordered by the Danube canal, which in summer is buzzing with bars and music. Photo: Peter Gugerell 

And whilst coffee house culture is a huge part of Viennese life, sadly we've found the coffee doesn’t always live up to its reputation in some of the more traditional cafes. For something similar to a Brooklyn brew, visit Balthasar on Praterstrasse - here you really can get a flat white. 

For hipsters with money to spend, the Song boutique on Praterstrasse sells avant-garde fashion by the likes of Balenciaga as well as furnishings by the Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek in an industrial space that includes a gallery.

A little further up Praterstrasse, near to the Prater park, is Supersense. It’s part hipster coffee shop and part-boutique. From sound (they sell analogue music from cassettes to records), smell (create your own memory scent in a glass vial composed of various elements to be cracked and inhaled at a poignant life event), taste (a selection of locally roasted coffee and delicacies) and much more.

And don’t miss out on the beautiful Prater park, which is much more than the loud and tacky ‘Wurstelprater’ funfair (not without its own peculiar charms). Walk down the Venediger Au to explore what used to be the Habsburg hunting grounds, and is now a vast green space for walkers, runners and cyclists to enjoy. It’s also the location of a unique boutique hotel called Magdas - which offers jobs and training to former asylum seekers - and has 78 retro-styled guest rooms and a chic bar.



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