Passion Points: Arts/Culture
Vienna has long lured art enthusiasts with its imperial museums and palaces. In 2005, with the launch of Viennaartweek, an international art fair of sorts (no works are actually sold though), the city’s contemporary arts scene also gained some worldwide recognition. Gioia Zwack, the Other Europe’s founder, is a big-time insider on Central and Eastern Europe: as the former Director of Travel for the World Monuments Fund, she traveled all over the region, crafting journeys for the organization’s members and patrons. During her tenure, she also picked up a few side gigs, directing projects like the Valtice Music Festival in the Czech Republic and KUBA: Journey Against the Current, a traveling video installation put together by Vienna’s Thyssen-Bornemissza Art Contemporary.
The Sacher, still a great choice; Hotel Imperial, because Austria is imperial; DO & CO (www.doco.com) for the views and attitude; Das Triest, because it is fresh and relaxed; Hollman Beletage (Koellnerhofgasse 6; www.hollman-beletage.at) a boutique artsy hotel in central Vienna; and the Koenig von Ungarn (www.kvu.at) because it is Vienna’s oldest hotel and also centrally located.
Palmenhaus in the Burggarten, for the pleasing surroundings; Do & Co, in the Haas Haus on Stephansplatz, for the scene. My all-time favorite is Immervoll (Weihburggasse; 011-43-1-751-352-88); and Koenigsbacher (Walfischgasse 5; 011-43-1-513-12-10) , because it is so Viennese and has not changed for years.”
Hawelka, one of the last of the writers’ and artists’ coffeehouses, can be very smoky; Café Landtmann, an elegant landmark coffeehouse with a winter garden; and the frumpy Café Oberlaa (Neuer Markt 16), because the waitresses are so Viennese, the cakes are great and the terrace is a good people-watching spot.
Porgy & Bess (Riemergasse 11; www.porgy.at), where you can hear jazz and innovative electronic music
Pure Day Spa (Tuchlauben 11; 011-43-1-532-6922; www.dayspa.at), for a great facial by Sonja Bender.”
Don’t miss Alexander Profous (Grünangergasse 12; 011-43-1-513-4432), a handsome—and very talented—leather craftsman who makes beautiful Austrian jackets and lederhosen to order. Tuchlauben 17 (011-43-1-533-779; www.tuchlauben17.at”:http://www.tuchlauben17.at) makes gorgeous custom-designed fabrics and made-to-order cushions, bedspreads and the like. I also love the playful and elegant silver animal key chains handcrafted by Erricos Reuss (011-43-1-715-3770; www.prinzreuss.com). They make perfect gifts.
Belvedere is my favorite museum, and my favorite gallery is the Galerie Heike Curtze (Seilerstätte 15; 011-43-1-512-9375) for superb for 20th-century Austrian art.
“Begin around the Dorotheum, walk along either the Dorotheumgasse or Bräunerstrasse toward the Stephansdom, turn right on Weihburggasse before the Stephansdom, walk to the Franziskaner Church, make a left onto Singerstrasse, a right onto Grünangergasse, a left at Nikolaigasse and then get lost in the alleys. It’s wonderful! A walk down the Schleifmühlgasse (off the Naschmarkt) is also a must, to see some of Vienna’s best contemporary-art galleries (Georg Kargl, Christine König) and some fun, offbeat shops. Stop to explore the Naschmarkt (open market behind the Secession). It is a mixture of 1600s marketplace and Near Eastern bazaar, and there are some good, and inexpensive, Asian restaurants.
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