– By Kim Feldmann
Austria’s capital city, Vienna, shows no shortage of options when the topic is “shopping”. Most stores open from 9h until 18h30, Monday to Friday, sometimes extending their working hours until 21h on Thursdays. On Saturdays, businesses tend to close at around 17h or 17h30.
In the heart of Vienna, amidst its historical streets, there is a wide choice of international brands who chose to set up their stores on a specific pedestrian area, transforming classical addresses into places where new fashion tendencies emerge. Between Kohlmarkt, Graben, and Kärntner streets are the most exclusive open-air shopping area in Vienna – known as “Goldenes Quartier” – with big fashion names such as Burberry, Chanel, Dior, Salvatore Ferragamo, among others. On Tuchlauben and Am Hof streets, there are influential brands like Emporio Armani, Louis Vuitton, and Prada’s biggest store in Europe; while other up-and-coming names like Marc Jacobs, Fendi, and Chloé can be found on Sterngasse street.
Vienna proudly sustains old habits, and it is possible to find classical homeware brands that still hold the title of “Hoflieferant” – a symbol of quality and tradition that reassembles the time of caterers of Austria’s imperial court. Both Lobmeyr – an old manufacturer of crystal pieces – and Augarten – maker of Viennese porcelain – used to produce objects for the aristocratic families, but now feature more contemporaneous attitudes.
Kärntner Ring street comprises a bunch of department stores – like Steffl and Peek & Cloppenburg – that sell clothes, accessories and perfumery. Another shopaholic address in Vienna is the Ringstrassen Galerien – a huge mall with various stores and restaurants. For the ones who are into crystals, there is a three-story Swarovski shop on Kärntner Strasse that boasts a wide range of jewelry and decoration pieces designed by the famous Austrian company.
The region sliced by Mariahilfer Strasse was once the route of ancient emperors who passed between the Schönbrunn Palace and Hofburg. Nowadays, it concentrates an assortment of shops and is one of the favorite places of those seeking apparel, shoes, and items of interior design – another specialty of Vienna. Just south of Mariahilfer, Gumpendorfer Strasse is the right choice for design aficionados. This area was taken over by young, both local and international, creative designers, as a way of exhibiting their work in small and charming ateliers.
The “seventh district”, north of Mariahilfer, is considered by many as the creative hub of Vienna. This lively region is great for a casual walk, as well as for the ones who enjoy hunting for exclusive, unsung items from small designers. Near Museum Quartier, aside from finding unique in vogue stores, one can grab lunch or a coffee in one of the modern restaurants and bars that fill the area and bring a contemporaneous touch to the more classical air of Vienna.