Alsergrund, the 9th district of Vienna, is an elegant and historically rich area located north of the city center. With its graceful streets, stunning Art Noveau and Art Deco architecture, vibrant intellectual and cultural scene, universities, and the modernity brought by the youth, Alsergrund exudes a charm that is both unique and captivating.
Alsergrund stands out from other Viennese districts due to its combination of historical significance, architectural beauty, and intellectual and artistic heritage. The district has been home to renowned figures like Ludwig van Beethoven, Sigmund Freud, and Franz Schubert, and its many museums, galleries, and cultural institutions contribute to its distinct atmosphere. The district’s residents appreciate the sense of familiarity and warmth that permeates the area, as well as the abundance of green spaces and parks. In an interview with Austrian magazine “das biber,” a local resident praised Alsergrund as a “quiet oasis with a lively atmosphere” (“eine ruhige Oase mit lebendigem Flair”). During the years of allied forces, the district was occupied by the U.S. and this is where their embassy is still situated today.
Whether you’re interested in history, or culture, or simply soaking up the atmosphere of a vibrant neighborhood, Alsergrund has plenty to offer within its own boundaries. From historical landmarks and cultural institutions to bustling shopping streets and excellent dining options, this district is the perfect place to experience the best of Vienna’s past and present. So why not add Alsergrund to your itinerary the next time you visit Vienna?
Nestled in the heart of Vienna, the district of Alsergrund boasts a rich and fascinating history that has shaped the neighborhood into the vibrant cultural hub it is today. Dating back to as early as 1044, Alsergrund’s roots can be traced to ancient settlements along the Als river, from which it derives its name. The district flourished during the 17th and 18th centuries, as monastic orders established themselves in the region, promoting education and spiritual growth. The impressive Palais Liechtenstein, constructed between 1691 and 1711, serves as a testament to Alsergrund’s connection to the aristocracy and the fine arts.
The 19th and early 20th centuries marked a transformative period for Alsergrund, as it emerged as a vital center of intellectual and artistic life in Vienna. Home to illustrious figures such as Sigmund Freud, Franz Schubert, and Ludwig van Beethoven, the district was the birthplace of groundbreaking theories and world-renowned musical compositions. The Sigmund Freud Museum, located in the neighborhood, offers visitors a chance to step into the former office and waiting room of the pioneering psychologist, whose work in psychoanalysis revolutionized the field.
Today, Alsergrund’s storied past is beautifully interwoven with the bustling present, as the district is home to several universities, medical institutions, and the iconic Vienna Volksoper, one of the city’s most famous opera houses. Its captivating architectural style, known as Gründerzeit, reflects the contributions of numerous prominent architects and artists who once called the district home. With its enchanting blend of history, culture, and intellectual prowess, Alsergrund offers visitors an unforgettable glimpse into the heart and soul of Vienna.
Timeline of Alsergrund’s History
1200s: The settlement of Alsergrund began in the 13th century when monastic orders, such as the Order of Saint Augustine, established monasteries in the region.
1693: Construction of the Palais Liechtenstein began, marking the start of a close relationship between the princely family of Liechtenstein and the district.
1853: Emperor Franz Joseph I survived an assassination attempt, which led to the commissioning of the Votivkirche as a symbol of gratitude.
1856-1879: The construction of the Votivkirche took place, becoming probably the most iconic structure in Alsergrund.
1891: Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, moved to Berggasse 19, where he lived and worked until 1938.
1910: The Strudlhofstiege, an Art Nouveau staircase designed by architect Johann Theodor Jaeger, was completed.
1938: Sigmund Freud emigrated from Vienna due to the Nazi occupation, marking the end of an important era in the district’s intellectual history.
Alsergrund is a vibrant neighborhood that offers a rich array of cultural landmarks and tourist attractions for visitors to explore. Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or the arts, there’s something for everyone in Alsergrund. Here are some of the must-visit historical buildings and landmarks in the district.
The Votivkirche, or Votive Church, is a stunning Neo-Gothic church built between 1856 and 1879. Emperor Franz Joseph I commissioned the church as a token of gratitude for surviving an assassination attempt. Today, its intricate architecture and stunning stained glass windows continue to captivate visitors.
As one of the most famous composers in history, Beethoven’s former residence is an important landmark in Alsergrund and a must-visit for fans of classical music. Visitors can learn about the composer’s life and work, and gain a deeper appreciation for his contributions to the world of music.
The Vienna Volksoper is one of the city’s most famous opera houses, and it’s a must-visit for anyone interested in the performing arts. With its rich history and beautiful architecture, the Volksoper is a symbol of the city’s cultural heritage, and it provides a unique and enriching experience for visitors.
The Palais Liechtenstein, built in the late 17th century, is a Baroque palace that has been home to the princely family of Liechtenstein for centuries. The palace houses the Liechtenstein Museum, which features an impressive collection of European art.
These landmarks play a significant role in shaping Alsergrund’s unique identity. Strudlhofstiege showcases the district’s appreciation for innovative design and architecture, while Sigmund Freud Park and the Franz Schubert Monument celebrate the intellectual and artistic achievements of two of the district’s most famous residents. Collectively, these landmarks represent the diverse history, culture, and spirit of Alsergrund.
Alsergrund offers a variety of activities and experiences that cater to a wide range of interests. Here are five must-try activities when visiting this historic district:
Discover the stunning architecture and exquisite art collection of the Palais Liechtenstein, featuring works by renowned artists such as Rubens, Van Dyck, and Rembrandt. A guided tour will offer insight into the history and importance of this impressive palace.
Delve into the life and work of the father of psychoanalysis at the Sigmund Freud Museum. Located in Freud’s former residence, the museum features his original furnishings, personal items, and an extensive library, offering a unique glimpse into the mind of this influential figure.
Relax and unwind in the serene Sigmund Freud Park, located adjacent to the Votivkirche. Enjoy a leisurely stroll, have a picnic on the well-manicured lawns, or admire the imposing Votivkirche and the bronze statue of Freud.
Stroll through the charming streets of Servitenviertel, browsing boutique shops and antique stores. Stop at one of the district’s many cozy cafes or enjoy a meal at a local restaurant, sampling traditional Viennese dishes like Wiener Schnitzel, Sachertorte, or Apfelstrudel.
Attend a show at one of the district’s many theaters, such as the Volksoper or Schubert Theater. With a diverse range of performances, from opera and ballet to contemporary plays and musicals, there is something for every taste in Alsergrund’s vibrant performing arts scene.
Alsergrund boasts a diverse and vibrant food and drink scene that caters to a variety of tastes and preferences. From traditional Viennese cuisine to international flavors, this district offers a culinary experience worth exploring.
Vienna is known for its classical cafes and Cafe Weimar (Währinger Str. 68) is the first one that comes to my mind when it comes to a typical Viennese cafe experience in Alsergrund. As for a more modern options, I bet there are many good cafes across the district and in general. One can’t know them all. From what I’ve visited I like Cafe Francais (Währinger Str. 6-8) the most and from what I’ve saw, many Viennese love this stylish cafe as well.
Thanks to students, finding a place for a beer isn’t that difficult. As a matter of fact, some of the best beer gardens are located straight on the campus. Stiegl Ambulanz comes to the mind. Beaver Brewing Company (Liechtensteinstraße 69) is a good local brewery in Alsergrund, perfect for craft beers and beer gurus. For a straightforward bar experience, try Clash (Fluchtgasse 9).
Schwirtz Wein un Brot (Währinger Str. 76) is by far my favorite place in Vienna for carefully selected regional wine selection and a very cozy atmosphere with a wonderful owner and staff. Walletschek (Sobieskigasse 4A) is a good vinothek if you prefer tastes from abroad.
For typical Austrian cuisine, I always pick The Highlander in Sobieskiplatz. This is an excellent place for typical dishes of the country and has some locally brewed beers in a cozy square below trees. The 9th district is also great for international cuisine. Alsergrund also houses the only Tibet restaurant (Währinger Gürtel 102) in Austria, I have to admit it became one of my favorite places to eat in Vienna.
Alsergrund, Vienna’s ninth district, is well-connected to the rest of the city through a variety of transportation options, making it easy to explore both the district and other parts of Vienna:
Tram lines 5, 33, 37, 38, 40, 41, and 42 serve Alsergrund, offering convenient access to various parts of the district and connections to the inner city.
The U4 and U6 subway lines have stations in Alsergrund, including Schottenring and Spittelau. These lines provide a rapid and efficient way to traverse Vienna.
Several bus routes run through Alsergrund, ensuring easy access to other districts and key attractions in Vienna. This makes the district an ideal starting point for city exploration.
Cycling enthusiasts can take advantage of Citybike Wien, Vienna’s bike-sharing program, available in Alsergrund. The district features numerous bike paths, ideal for a leisurely exploration of the area.
While Alsergrund is well-served by public transport, car rentals offer additional flexibility for visitors. Keep in mind that Vienna has short-term parking zones, active from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Alsergrund’s combination of cultural landmarks and excellent transportation links makes it a convenient and interesting district to explore. Be sure to take time to discover its unique blend of historical and modern attractions.
The Gründerzeit style is a distinct architectural style that characterized the late 19th century in Vienna and other cities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The name “Gründerzeit” comes from the German word “Gründer,” which refers to the entrepreneurs and businesspeople who drove the economic boom of the time and invested in the construction of new buildings.
Visitors to Alsergrund can recognize Gründerzeit buildings by their elaborate façades, which often feature intricate details such as sculptures, balconies, and wrought-iron railings. The buildings are also characterized by large, spacious apartments with high ceilings and large windows, which reflect the prosperity and confidence of the time.
Many of the Gründerzeit buildings in Alsergrund have been well-preserved, and they provide a glimpse into the city’s past and the life of the residents during the late 19th century. By walking the streets of Alsergrund, visitors can admire the unique architecture and appreciate the rich history and cultural heritage of the neighborhood.
Hands down, Alsergrund is my favorite district in Vienna by far. Given that, it is not that easy to describe what makes it so special, but it is probably the fusion of the old and modern worlds. You see, Alsergrund is best known for its Universities and campuses. The creative input of students and young minds is probably what is driving the district forward animating its natural vibrance compared to the 1st district. Of course, while Alsergrund lacks the monumental architecture that the Old Town of Vienna has, the beautiful building blocks of mixed Art Noveau and Art Deco clearly can stand their ground against their counterpart. To be honest, it is hard to tell where the 1st district ends and where the 9th district starts. Where it lacks, Alsergrund makes up with its cozy and lively streets, varying from elegant Viennese Cafes to huge student beer gardens. Clearly, in both scenarios, some of the best Vienna has to offer.
In short, the 9th district of Vienna feels like what the Old Town of Vienna could look like if it weren’t for over-tourism. It is definitely worth anybody’s time if you want to understand why the Capital of Austria is considered one of the most livable cities in the whole world. I’m sure you’ll fall in love.