Vienna is a town of monuments and museums. But hidden among them you can find playgrounds sure to interest children young and old. With 854 playgrounds in Vienna, selecting the top six is a tough call. Competition is fierce. But the judges have worked hard to bring you the best in six categories: insider secret, overlooked by tourists’ cameras, just a little bit posh, secluded, athletic and monument adjacent. As the weather warms, why not set yourself the challenge to visit all 854 playgrounds in Vienna? You could start with these six.
Insider secret: Schönbornpark
If you’re lucky enough to live in Vienna you’ll know that moments of incredible beauty can sneak up on you. If there is one city in the world that can flawlessly combine centuries-old ornate buildings with play spaces for kids it’s Austria’s capital. Schönbornpark is an insider secrete. Tucked behind the Volkskundemuseum (Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art) and a perimeter of high walls covered in vines, this oasis in Vienna’s 9th district is easy to miss. There are ball courts and two playgrounds. Up the stairs, there is even a custom-made running track and table tennis centre where kids can literally run around in circles.
The playground closest to the Volkskundemuseum is one of the best toddlers’ playgrounds in Vienna. The equipment is wide and low. Everything is at a height where parents’ hands can reach daring climbers. The colours are bold and bright and the playground’s attractions are diverse. There is an undercover sandpit, two cubby houses, swings, rocking horses and a large climbing house. The shade sail over some of the play equipmnet is a wonderful feature and ever move important in the summer months.
The location is also beautiful. Really beautiful. Who knew a playground could be adorned with classical architecture, hidden doors and ornate features?
With toddler-friendly outdoor play spaces and a romantic ambience, Schönbornpark is one of our favourite playgrounds in Vienna.
Overlooked by tourists’ cameras: Karlskirche playgrounds
Just beyond Karlsplatz station you will find Karlskirche — one of the most beautiful architectural structures in Vienna. The baroque church shimmers against a backdrop of open sky and a vast, white courtyard and pond. With it’s green roofed spires stretching into the heavens and it’s wide facade covered in intricately carved decorations, it is easy to understand why the church is a mecca for tourists. Karlskirche is nestled between the diplomatic quarter, with it’s ornate embassies, and Resselpark. It’s on the edge of the park, in easy viewing distance of Karlskirche, where you will find two children’s playgrounds.
The largest of the two playgrounds is for older kids. There are two climbing houses, complete with bridges and slides. There is also a balance beam. Like most playgrounds in Vienna, the climbing houses are high — too high for parents’ hands to reach adventurous children. My three-year-old daughter enjoys climbing with the ‘big kids’ but, I must admit, I feel calmer when we go to the toddler playground next door.
On the other side of the courtyard in front of Karlskirche you will find a playground built for little kids. Together you and your child can sail on a small-scale pirate ship and then slide into a sandpit where you can dig for buried treasure (and marvel at the miraculous ability of Vienna’s park services to keep sandpits litter free — the sandpits are too clean, it’s almost unnatural). After you’re tired out from playing (but probably still while the kids have oodles of energy), you can grab a coffee from the cart that is helpfully located in the courtyard between the playgrounds. Sit on one of the chairs inside the playground and rest while the kids continue their adventures…
Just a little bit posh: Augarten
There is a corner of Vienna untouched by noisy crowds. It is in walking distance to Schwedenplatz and the heart of Vienna’s 1st district. Yet, it is quiet, peaceful and uncongested. Vienna’s 2nd district is an increasingly popular hipster hangout home to funky fashion, ma and pa stores and authentic but inexpensive Austrian cuisine. Here, five minutes on the 2 tram from Schwedenplatz, you will find Augarten. Within the imposing but beautiful boundary walls there is a porcelain museum with a surprisingly child-friendly, up-market cafe, acres of biking trails and a forest with secluded walking paths. There is also an outdoor cafe located in the remains of a World War II bunker. This sprawling park is a favourite with Viennese families.
Augarten offers three playgrounds, an outdoor swimming pool open in the warmer months, running tracks and a volleyball court. The largest of the three playgrounds is in the park’s centre. It features two climbing frames, one designed for smaller kids, swings, bridges, merry-go-rounds and, of course, a large sandpit. The best feature is the perimeter of benches around the sandpit that invite parents to relax. When the sun is shining and the weather is warm, why not grab an ice cream from the outdoor vendor, run through the woodlands, then have a rest in the playground while the kids create sand castles?
Secluded playgrounnds in Vienna: Pötzleinsdorfer Schlosspark
On the outskirts of Vienna there is an enchanted forest. Like the best enchanted forests, this one comes with a castle, a rundown Greek temple and gnarled trees in which to look for fairies. For families, Pötzleinsdorfer Schlosspark offers three additional attractions: two playgrounds, a coffee stand and a petting zoo. The coffee stand closes during winter but never fear — French chocolate and pastries are waiting for you next door at the Petit Dej cafe.
After you’ve enjoyed the decadent combination of sugar, flour, butter and cream at Petit Dej, or grabbed a caffeine hit from the park kiosk, you’ll probably be jumpy for exercise. The playgrounds in the park grounds are some of the best in Vienna. For older kids, there is a flying fox, a ball court, two slides, swings and a climbing house. There is even a pedal-powered carousel, where parents get a good workout (this I can say from exhausting experience). For the small kids, at the bottom of the hill there is an undercover sandpit, swings and a seesaw.
But perhaps the best part of Pötzleinsdorfer Schlosspark are the statues hidden throughout the grounds. As you enter you are greeted by a menagerie of wooden animals. Ever patient, these delightful critters double as seats and climbing frames for kids (and probably a few adults too). As you stroll along you can also find four opera singers. The four statues were once part of the decorations at Vienna’s Ringtheatre. However, in what is a tragic story of operatic proportions, the statues were moved to Pötzleinsdorfer after the theatre burned down in 1881. They now perform for visitors to the Greek temple and stand witness to the need for really, really good OH&S legislation… If your kids need incentive to leave the playgrounds, why not make a game of counting how many statues you can find as you walk along?
Vienna playgrounds for the athletic: Motorikpark
One of the newest of the playgrounds in Vienna, Motorikpark is so cool it has it’s own website. There are two locations, one in the 10th district and one in the 22nd. The website is filled with pictures of adults scaling the equipment. While the park is great for kids it is also a challenge for adults. Motorikpark is all about physical fitness for young and old. There are balance stations, rock climbing frames, even slalom poles. It’s a challenge for kids and adults. Our daughter enjoyed testing her limits while her parents learned just how difficult a children’s playground can be.
In the 22nd there is a water park for younger kids. In the 10th, there is coffee. Sitting between the climbing course at the top of the hill and the sprawling traditional playground at the bottom, there is a kid-friendly cafe. Der Mann cafe has a play zone for kids and a large undercover outdoor seating area. But, the best thing about the cafe? It’s open on Sundays. Testing your balance and getting a workout at a playground, followed by cake and coffee at a child-friendly cafe? What a perfect Sunday afternoon.
Monument adjacent: Stadtpark
Statpark is famous for one thing: Each day devotees flock to the commemorative statue of Strauss, the creator of the quintessential Viennese waltz. A towering monolith resplendent in gold and marble, it’s a modest tribute. But, if you go beyond the statue, over the bridge and into the back section of Stadtpark you can enjoy three play areas for kids. The first is on your right as you walk over the bridge. A haven for older kids, it has high climbing frames, spinning wheels and a sandpit. Behind this playground there is a skatepark. There are ramps, quarter pipes and other skateboard things. The kids were having a great time. Even our three-year-old daughter tested out the ramps on her bright pink three-wheeler.
Beyond the stakepark there is a toddlers’ playground. The playground is gorgeous. With its jungle theme, it’s easy to tune out and forget you’re in the middle of a busy metropolis. There is a water feature complete with statues of monkeys and hippos. From the vantage point of two jungle huts, brave explorers can look for giraffes and wildlife. Next to the park there is a wide green space perfect for kicking a ball around, doing tai chi or relaxing in the sun.
The details parents want to know
Where to find bathrooms: For tips for how to find bathrooms, see the post ‘The ones and twos of Vienna’s public bathrooms’
Where to find outdoor playgrounds: You can find all the playgrounds in Vienna on the city’s interactive map.
Where to find water parks and adventure playgrounds: The water parks and adventure playgrounds in Vienna are so special they deserve a post of their own. Stay tuned.