MuseumsQuartier Wien#7 in Best Things To Do in Vienna
Straddling the southwest section of the Ringstrasse, the MuseumsQuartier Wien is an enormous cultural institution comprising numerous top-notch museums. If you're interested in art, head to the Leopold Museum, which houses an impressive collection of Austrian masterpieces dating from the 19th century to the present. Next door, the Museum of Modern Art is home to the national collection of 20th-century works by famed artists like Max Ernst, Rene Magritte, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol. Adjacent to the MUMOK, the Kunsthalle Wien showcases an ever-rotating collection of avant-garde exhibits.
If art isn't really your passion, you may benefit more from a visit to the Architekturzentrum (Architecture Center). Or, if you're traveling with children, you might like the ZOOM Kindermuseum's interactive displays on everything from life underwater to life on the big screen. The Naturhistorisches Museum (Natural History Museum) is also a hit with the younger set.
Recent visitors suggest making a day out of touring these interesting museums. You can relax between visits on the geometric-shaped and colorful couches that occupy the plaza in the middle of the buildings.
Although these museums rub elbows with one another, admission and hours of operation vary at each institution. For more information, check out the MuseumsQuartier Wien website.
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#1 St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom)
Towering above the streets of the Innere Stadt, this massive cathedral is the true centerpiece of Vienna. St. Stephen's has stood in this very spot since the early 12th century, but little remains of the original aside from the Riesentor (Giant's Gate) and the Heidentuerme (Towers of the Heathens). The Gothic structure standing today was built in the early 1300s and has survived the Turkish siege of 1683. It was here that mourners came to pay their respects to Amadeus Mozart in 1791. In 1805, Napoleon used St. Stephen's doors to post his farewell edict. And it weathered attacks from both German and Russian armies during World War II. Today, this stunning cathedral remains an active house of worship, a national icon and a top tourist attraction.
After you've toured the main section, head underground to the catacombs where many victims of the Great Plague of Vienna were laid to rest. Move on to the gruft, or vault, where numerous urns contain the remains of members of the Hapsburg royal family. Before you leave, you should climb the 343 steps to the top of the South Tower or use the elevator to reach the lookout terrace at the North Tower – you'll be treated to a spectacular view. Visitors call this one of those "must-visit" attractions in Europe, praising the gorgeous church and its surroundings.
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