Best neighborhoods in Vienna to live for families, expats, students, and more
As Austria’s capital, Vienna has been at the cornerstone of central European culture for centuries. Viennese culture has spilled out internationally through its music, history, cuisines, and architecture. The cultural vibrancy of Austria, and particularly its capital Vienna, has drawn people through its city walls for hundreds of years.
Today’s modern Austrian capital is no different, with 23 municipal districts and a population of just under two million people, there are areas of the city to suit every type of demand. Whether you are looking for that perfect family district, the ideal digs for students, or an international community to welcome your non-German speaking self with open arms, there is something for all.
Finding the right Vienna neighborhood can be a difficult task; we aim to make this task a whole lot easier by exploring what 16 top districts can offer new arrivals.
16 best Vienna neighborhoods at a glance
- Landstraße. Laidback district in the heart of the city, perfect for families working in the city.
- Mariahilf. Vienna’s shopping and retail district, also home to some of the city’s top schools.
- Meidling. Leafy suburban area with numerous parks and strong transport links to the city.
- Währing. Family-centric area with elegantly designed villas and a green countryside feel.
- Liesing. A district in the outskirts of Viennas southern region, boasting a mix of green space and light-industrial architecture.
- Wieden. Hip city district, renowned for its ex-pat communities and non-Austrian restaurants and stores.
- Margareten. Famous for being the place for Viennese dining and home to the art-deco cinema, ‘Filmcasino.’
- Neubau. Vienna’s hipster heart, home to numerous galleries and museum districts.
- Döbling. Lying on the outskirts of the city, Döbling is renowned for its rolling hills and winemaking regions.
- Leopoldstadt. A central district that straddles the parklands along the banks of the River Danube.
- Donaustadt. North of the river and spilling over into a national park of immense beauty.
- Favoriten. One of the cities most affordable districts and a hub of multiculturalism.
- Ottakring. Multicultural district of Balkan and Turkish communities, affordable housing, and a bohemian culture of beer brewing and Serbian cafes.
- Innere Stadt. The historic old town of Vienna, popular with the city’s richest residents and hordes of visiting tourists.
- Josefstadt. Viennas premier middle-class neighborhood and bridge between the city’s center and outskirt suburbs.
- Alsergrund. Wide and cobbled streets, famous for being the home of Freud. Home to winter Christmas markets and idyllic views.
Best districts in Vienna for families
Finding the perfect location for families is an important decision to make. You must take into consideration schools, large family-fit homes, green spaces, and low crime rates. Austria’s capital has all of this and more; let us take you through the best districts in Vienna for families.
Although a central district in Vienna, Landstraße has an unassuming element that makes it perfect for families seeking a central location in the capital. The large district has many different sizes of homes, from apartments to grand city houses, ideal for families of all sizes.
Local museums and art galleries dot the neighborhood providing a perfect out-of-school education for young children growing up in the city. Landstraße also plays host to the Wien Mitte transport hub, which seamlessly connects you and your family with the rest of the city. Although Landstraße resides in the center of the city, it has a laidback community feel that lends itself perfectly to settling ex-pats.
Located west of Vienna’s center, Mariahilf has long had a reputation for being the city’s shopping and retail district. Although this hub of shops and retailers may not appeal to everyone, Mariahilf’s steady stream of top schools, kindergartens, and children’s playgrounds make it an undeniably family-centric district in which to live in.
Alongside its array of schools and shopping centers, Mariahilf is the perfect Vienna district to sample some of its famous cafe culture. Home to cafes such as the Brass Monkey, Cafe Sperl, and Cafe Jelenik, Mariahilf shows off the complete spectrum of Viennese cafes, from traditional to the more modern.
If you’re looking for a family home in a quieter area, away from the central hub of the city, then Meidling is the place to be. This affordable suburb is located in the southwest of central Vienna, away from, the hecticness of the inner capital. Alongside Meidling’s affordable family homes, there are plenty of green spaces such as the Haydnpark – this park is home to open spaces and free to use sports facilities.
Schools are another reason to choose Meidling as your family’s new home neighborhood in Vienna. Meidling is home to several schools for both younger and older children – making it an ideal location for families with children of school-going age.
One of the city’s greenest neighborhoods, Währing is the perfect picture card view of suburbia. Although a few miles out from the city center, Währing has numerous transport links that join it seamlessly with the rest of the capital. Family orientated and big on the community feel with endless local schools, Währing is the perfect place to set up your family home, especially if you wish to escape the hustle and bustle of the city center.
Much of this district is dotted with stunningly designed villas and plays host to the more well-to-do families of Vienna. If you can afford to splash out a little more than you first thought, Währing is definitely the family-friendly place to do it.
One of the furthest districts south, Liesing is a long way from the bustling center of Vienna, so bear that in mind. However, if you are a family that’s seeking an area that is both affordable and perfect to raise a family, Liesing may be it. Stereotypically speaking, this area was renowned as a working-class heartland, and much of the older factory architecture still survives.
Apart from this working-class veneer, Liesing has its fair share of green spots, especially to the west. The western edges of Liesing reach out into the Vienna Woods and climb steadily to rolling picturesque hills. This perfect balance of affordable light-industrial living and open green spaces makes Liesing an ideal place for families to settle.
Best districts in Vienna for expats
Emigrating to a whole new country can be a stressful and daunting thing to do, so finding the right place to settle is hugely important. Different ex-pats will, of course, demand different things, but having a preexisting ex-pat community is a big draw. Having easy to access transport links and welcoming social spots can also make or break an expats experience. There are a number of Vienna districts that are ideal for expats.
Wieden is located just south of central Vienna and holds the crown as one of the ‘coolest’ neighborhoods in the city. This district is one that is full of life, owing to its student population, cafe culture, and booming nightlife. Great for the expat, Wieden has a true sense of community and togetherness that transfers through the cafes, arthouse cinemas, and local pubs.
Wieden is also a neighborhood with considerable non-Austrian supermarkets and stalls, perfect for the homesick foreigner. Famous amongst these is Bobbys, an English food store. Apart from English, there is also a mini Chinatown, vegan superstore, and a highly-regarded Italian deli.
Although one of the most densely populated areas of Vienna, Margareten has a multicultural buzz that is inviting to any foreign ex-pat. The affordability mixed in with diversity makes it a popular jump-off point for first-timers in Vienna or Austria itself. Home to a huge trade of cafes and restaurants, Margareten has grown a reputation for top, yet affordable, Viennese dining.
Not only is Margareten the place for a great place to eat, but it is also home to the famous Filmcasino. This iconic venue shows a long list of independent and fun films, perfect for transporting you to the heydays of Vienna cinema and art-deco. This ballast of fun, entertainment, and large ex-pat community makes Margareten an ideal place to set up a home for a foreigner.
Neubau ranks at the top of hipster neighborhoods in the Austrian capital, and as an outsider coming in, there couldn’t be a better introduction to the city than this. Home to some of the most forward-thinking art galleries and exhibitions, you are sure to run into the artistic crowd of Vienna’s youth whole loving here. This artistic flair continues throughout the bars and restaurants that also call Neubau home.
It’s not all about the hipster kids, though. It is not unusual to see the youth, young families, and the older residents enjoying the multiple restaurants and bars in an age ensemble rarely seen anywhere else. Neubau also plays host to Vienna’s Museum Quartier – the city’s cultural and historic center.
Located northwest of Vienna’s city center, the district of Döbling is a mixture of suburban living and picturesque rolling green hills of Austria. Numerous schools, both local and international, call the Döbling neighborhood home. For this reason, many ex-pats and their families have developed a strong community here, one that thrives and helps new arrivals to settle.
The westernmost edges of Döbling spill out into Vienna Woods, a rolling landscape of countryside that is both renowned for its winemaking vineyards and as an idyllic landscape ideal for walking and rambling. The only downside to living in the Döbling neighborhood is its relative distance from the city center. Residents here have to trade accessibility for the rolling hills of Vienna Woods.
Affordable districts in Vienna
Moving country can be an expensive task no matter your situation or desired destination. Yet moving to Austria‘s capital can have its own high-priced expenses, so finding an affordable home may be top of the list. Although Vienna has a reputation for being an expensive place to live, there are affordable districts in the city. Let us take you through the more affordable Vienna neighborhoods.
Sprawling across the northeast of the city, along the banks of the Danube River, Leopoldstadt is a perfect combination of Viennese luxury and surprising affordability. The picturesque riverbank views and leafy green expanses of parklands can make you easily forget you are close to the center of this national capital. The range of homes, both in style and price, means that even those who are lacking a few Euros can afford to live in Leopoldstadt.
Historically the Jewish quarter of Vienna, Leopoldstadt has a long-running tradition of multiculturalism and vibrancy. This is still seen in the modern Leopoldstadt area and is something that adds to the overall enjoyment of living here.
Located on the other side of the Danube River, Donaustadt is arguably the furthest district from the city center. This distance allows the often sky-high Vienna property price to fall, making it an ideal place to live for those looking for more affordable Vienna housing. Donaustadt is a haven for those who love outdoor recreation; within a short walk, you can be out into open country and Lower Austria.
The wetland reserve, known as the Lobau, is part of a wider Danube-Auen National Park and is a short walk from the residential Donaustadt area. This mix of quiet residential housing and nature on your doorstep makes Donaustadt an appealing district in which to live, without even mentioning its affordability.
South of the main city, Favoriten is possible Vienna’s most affordable district. With a long reputation for being the capital’s premier working-class neighborhood, Favoriten gained an unwelcoming label of being a no-go area after dark – something that in 21st century-Vienna is now completely misguided.
Although highly populated, there are acres and acres of parkland that is only a stone’s throw away from the heart of the Favoriten district. Favoriten also is home to the famous Oberlaa Therme, a spa that has multiple hot thermal springs, perfect for relaxing after a long day. This balance of historic working-class ties and more modern spa days is what makes Favoriten an appealing place to live.
Once only the residence of Vienna’s Balkan and Turkish communities, Ottakring has become a more appealing area of the city in which to settle, being both central affordable. Home to the city’s famous Ottakring brewery, the area has a bohemian and independent flair that is unfound in other regions of the capital. With numerous Serbian cafes dotting the neighborhood, Ottakring’s ‘Balkan Mile’ will introduce you to a fusion of Austrian and Balkan food and culture, something totally unique.
This unique area is no longer going unnoticed, and many of Viennas young professionals and students are beginning to move in, something that may, in the future, raise rental prices higher. For now, however, Ottakring is a gem of a district that has limitless appeal for those wishing to settle in Vienna.
Best districts in Vienna for luxury living
14. Innere Stadt
The very heart of Vienna, Innere Stadt is the epitome of luxury living in the Austrian capital. If you can afford the extravagant rental and property prices, you are sure to have all of the city on your very doorstep. The only downside to living in the city’s 1st district is the continuous flood of tourists and the rise in price this inevitably brings to restaurants and cafes.
As Innere Stadt makes up the ‘Old Town’ of Vienna, living here will immerse you completely into the true Vienna and will have you rubbing shoulders with the iconic landmarks Vienna is famous for. Sights such as the Hapsburg’s palace known as The Hofburg and the iconic Rathaus (town hall) are on your very doorstep.
Not far from district one, Innere Stadt, Josefstadt is the perfect choice for those who want the inner city luxury without the hoards of tourist crowds to battle with on a daily basis. Known for its big-named residents, such as former Vienna mayors and Austrian presidents, Josefstadt has grown into a premier middle-class neighborhood and is also beloved by students who attend the local university.
Known as a bridge-suburb, Josefstadt is an ideal neighborhood to live in for those who want access to both the inner city and leafy suburbs. Along with luxury, Josefstadt is also renowned for its theatres, the ‘Theater in der Josefstadt’ amongst its most famous. When the sun goes down, residents of Josefstaft can also wander into some of the capital’s most popular nightclubs, including ‘Chelsea’ and ‘Rhiz.’
The elegant cobbled streets of Alsergrund are what most people imagine the Austrian capital to be, and this district does not disappoint. Once the neighborhood of famous Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud, Alsergrund champions its former resident with a museum housed in his former home and a park dedicated to him. Apart from Freund, Alsergrund is known to house the last home of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven; the historical connections are endless.
Apart from its place in history, Alsergrund is also the location of Vienna’s much-loved Christmas markets. The overall ambiance of the cobbled streets and famous Austrian dwellings makes Alsergrund wholly unique and very competitive when it comes to securing a residence here.