Best San Diego Coffee Shops

Best San Diego Coffee Shops

Destinations

The best San Diego locally-owned coffee shops to work from

As someone who works from home remotely, I am always on the hunt for a great coffee shop to work from. San Diego has so many wonderful coffee shops, that it can be difficult to choose which one you should frequent.

While other west coast destinations, San Francisco and Los Angeles, have long heralded their superb coffees, San Diego has quickly come up in the rankings. Imagine enjoying your freshly brewed cup mixed with a SoCal beach lifestyle, house-made milks and pastries, and locally made housewares for your home? Gear up because San Diegans have a knack for perfecting their crafts before presenting it to the world, so these neighborhood spots are ones you shouldn’t miss.

Read on for what will be an ever adapting list of the Best San Diego Coffee Shops to work from:

Don’t forget to bring your remote work essentials:

What to look for in a coffee shop to work from

If I’m going to spend a few hours inside (and some cash on coffee & snacks), there are a few things that I look for a coffee shop to have, especially if I’ll be working remotely in San Diego.

  • Are there outlets?
  • Is there free parking nearby?
  • Do they have comfortable seating (or chairs at least with backs to them)
  • How is the internet speed?
  • Please Lord, let them have great quality lattes with non-dairy options (anyone else on the oat milk train right now?)
  • Do they provide sustainable materials for customers to use? (aka no plastic)
  • Is there a calm & bohemian interior atmosphere
  • Are the staff friendly & welcoming?
  • Is there vegetarian-friendly food available?

Ok, so this list of what to look for maybe a bit much. But frankly, I’m particular about the quality of my beverage, I prefer working in a place that has a cute aesthetic atmosphere, and I’m the type of person whose day can be made with a quick, friendly conversation with my barista.

With all of that being said, here are my top choices for San Diego coffee shops to work at:

Seven best San Diego Coffee Shops in San Diego to work at

(1) Better Buzz, Hillcrest

Better Buzz is an expanding local coffee brand in Southern California. With TEN locations and their own roasting headquarters, Better Buzz is on almost everyone’s radar. Each location is more aesthetically pleasing than the next, but if you’re looking to set up camp for a few hours of laptop work, I would suggest their Hillcrest location. There is plenty of seating, and bonus because they create seasonal beverages for those who are so inclined to delve into their pumpkin spice or flavored cold brew cravings.

 

801 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

(2) Holsem Coffee, North Park

Located in the ‘hipster’ neighborhood of San Diego, Holsem Coffee is home to some of the friendliest staff I’ve met. They focus on pure ingredients & fair sourced coffee beans, which create delicious lattes. I’ve also recently learned that they make their own hazelnut milk in-house… excuse me while I pause writing to go order a hazelnut milk latte!

 

2911 University Ave San Diego, CA 92104

(3) The Forum Coffee House, Clairemont

The Forum Coffee House is right in line with Holsem’s friendly staff. I always enjoy having conversations with the people here while I wait for my coffee (usually, to my heart’s delight,  in an oversized mug). The Forum Coffee House need background info on them. This place is gaining in popularity, so if you want to snag a good seat, show up early… who knows, maybe you’ll see me in there around 8 am- if you do, come say hello!

 

4340 Genesee Ave, Ste 110. San Diego, California

(4) Copa Vida, Downtown

Talk about a great atmosphere, Copa Vida is one of my favorite spots in downtown San Diego  to post up for a few hours of work (they have six locations in total). I love that it somehow effortlessly manages the hustle & bustle of downtown with a calm & relaxing environment. But maybe I’m biased… it’s the place where I quit my previous corporate job, where I embarrassingly shed joyful tears and swapped hilarious stories with co-workers upon my departure. Regardless, you can’t go wrong with Copa Vida and their authentic artistry to both coffee and tea.

 

905 J St., San Diego, CA 92101

(5) The Grounds Bean Bar, Pacific Beach/Crown Point

Chandler Bing 100% would be saying ‘Could it BE any cuter here?’ because The Grounds Bean Bar has some of the sweetest interior designs of a coffee shop. Imagine stepping into the cafes that Bali visitors brag about visiting. The Grounds was designed to be fun, inviting and colorful so that guests can have a visual wake-up to go along with their caffeine fix. Add that with a quick walk from Mission Bay and some high-quality beans to create lattes, and you have a perfect match up for where to spend your morning working.

 

1571 La Playa ave San Diego, California

(6) Moniker Coffee, Liberty Station

Part coffee shop, part bar, and a home goods store! If you haven’t been to Moniker Coffee you need to add it to your calendar ASAP. This Liberty Station staple, has a beautiful aesthetic to it – picture smooth marble & minimalist decor where the beverages are the stars. With plenty of seating, where you will easily find other professionals hard at work. And who knows, if you work at this coffee shop long enough you’ll be able to go from ordering coffees to ordering a glass wine to end your day.

 

2860 Sims Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

(7) Spill the Beans, Downtown

This catchy coffee shop name isn’t all just pun & games, Spill the Beans is another stellar location on the Verant Group roster (along with popular hot spots Barleymash & Mavericks). Known for their delicious coffee… and potentially even more delicious house-made bagels. While the interior isn’t as large as the other places listed here, it’s bright complexion is a perfect place to start your day.

 

555 Market St San Diego, CA 92101

For any remote worker who needs a few hours outside of their home, a coffee shop is an excellent place to post up to complete tasks. The San Diego Coffee Shops listed here are all places that I’ve personally frequented and truly enjoyed. And I’m always up for new spots to explore- have any suggestions? Leave them in the comments below!

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

Follow Along!

Start your own blog today!

Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!

Follow Along

Top Vegan Restaurants in San Diego

Top Vegan Restaurants in San Diego

Top Vegan Restaurants in San Diego

A growing list of the best vegan places to eat in San Diego

from a local!

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

I love to eat. Especially when I know how good I feel after I eat amazingly delicious vegan food. There is no shortage of Vegan restaurants in San Diego, but just like any other cuisine type, there is both crazy good and horribly bad. So, I’ve put together the top vegan restaurants in San Diego list for you to enjoy.

*I’ll be updating this post at least once a year to add new restaurants that open. Be sure to subscribe to be notified of any new vegetarian or vegan restaurant openings in San Diego.

Let’s dive right in to what I’m sure will be your favorite places to eat at in San Diego!

Top Vegan Restaurants in San Diego

In order of neighborhood/area

LITTLE ITALY & BANKERS HILL

Cafe Gratitude

‘I am infatuated’. This is how ordering at Cafe Gratitude is done, by making positive affirmations based on your menu item. And while infatuated may not be an actual menu item, I am always happy to eat at this bohemian & trendy vegan restaurant and cafe. They are 100% plant based serving brunch, lunch and dinner. Plus has spectacular wellness shots, healthy elixirs and smoothies.

Local Tip: parking in this area is hit or miss depending on the time of day you go. I would suggest taking the SD MTS or a Lyft

Cafe Gratitude
1980 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
Donna Jean

Who can say no to a comfort food restaurant that hosts its guests in a quaint outdoor garden? Donna Jean serves up some of the most popular vegan eats in San Diego. Known for their vegan pizzas, and fresh homemade breads (or maybe that’s just what I love about them so much). The chef, Roy Elam opened & named Donna Jean after his mother who passed away from breast cancer. His passion is to spread how delicious plant based food can be, and it radiates throughout all of their dishes.

 

Donna Jean
2949 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
Evolution Fast Food

If you don’t have time for a sit down meal, then pop over to Evolution fast food, which is right next door to Donna Jean. Evolution Fast Food is a ‘fast-food’ establishment cooking up plant based american classics.

My suggestion, try their buffalo chicken french fries with their homemade ranch dressing. And bring it to Balboa park for an afternoon picnic.

 

Evolution Fast Food
2965 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103

NORTH PARK & SOUTH PARK

Ranchos Cocina

Mexican food conveniently can be made vegetarian pretty easily, but vegan not always so much. Which is why Ranchos Cocina is a vegan lovers dream. They have a massive menu, where anything can be substituted, which makes it very customizable for any picky eater.

 

Ranchos Cocina
3910 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
The Modern Vegan

The Las Vegas popular restaurant, the Modern Vegan, has landed in San Diego and she does not disappoint. Another dining option with a large menu, you can’t wrong with any of the items they offer.

 

The Modern Vegan
4332 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
Kindred

Look no further than Kindred if you’re in the mood for a funky aesthetic. With hand crafted seasonal cocktails and a brunch menu that will make any foodie drool over, Kindred is a San Diego locals favorite spot for vegan fare.

 

Kindred
1503 30th St
San Diego, CA 92102

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS

Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant

Plumeria features some of the best tasting and healthy thai food in all of San Diego. With an extensive menu, you’ll more than likely have difficulty deciding on just one thing to order. They also only use organic, non-GMO & gluten free tofu that’s made locally.

 

Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant
4661 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116
Grains Cafe

Grains is a family owned vegan restaurant featuring amazingly delicious appetizers and a crowd favorite of quinoa based pasta. Their unique interior provides a fun environment to enjoy their carefully crafted wine & beer selection. I personally think Grains is still a bit under the radar, but will quickly become a San Diego classic.

 

Grains Cafe
2201Adams Ave
San Diego, CA

Image credit: Yelp business listing

LA JOLLA

Green Door Cafe

Green Door Cafe is a tucked away gem. The restaurant is nestled between two storefronts in La Jolla. Their menu serves items with locally sourced ingredients, all made from scratch and catering to a seasonal menu making it a wonderfully sustainable establishment.

 

Green Door Cafe
7644 Girard Ave
La Jolla, CA 92037
Trilogy Sanctuary

Trilogy Sanctuary is such a unique and cherished establishment.  Inside there is a vegan cafe, yoga studio, boutique store, AND they have a naturopathic doctor & host events and workshops. You will always find something fun & exciting to do here. Enjoy their 100% organic, vegan & gluten-free cafe starting with their chocoholic bowls, because who doesn’t love a healthy but indulgent meal?

 

Trilogy Sanctuary
7650 Girard Ave, #400
San Diego, CA 92037

BEACHES

(Mission, Ocean, Pacific)

Peace Pies

Ocean Beach

Peace Pies in Ocean Beach serves up an entirely raw menu and practices a zero-waste policy (yes, I’m beaming as I type this because both are amazing! Go Peace Pies!). Spend an afternoon enjoying Ocean beach after indulging in their mediteeranean wrap or horchata milkshake.

 

Peace Pies
4230 Voltaire Street
San Diego, CA 92107
Soulshine

Mission Beach

It’s safe to assume that their vegan, organic & non-GMO menu is just as delicious as their name is beautiful & unique. Be sure to try their Viva Mexico bowl, maybe at one of their monthly community events!

 

Soulshine
3864 Mission Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109
NoW Sushi

Mission Beach

Located in the Mission Beach area, NoW stands for the No Worries Movement. All of the proceeds go towards helping to end animal cruelty, and they’re currently building an animal sanctuary in Austin, Texas! I’m sold in, who wants to meet there this weekend??

 

NoW Locations

DOWNTOWN

(Gaslamp & East Village)

Spoiled Vegan Cafe

Spoiled Vegan Cafe is a pop up vendor based in East Village. They make vegan waffles with unique twists like vegan waffle dogs.  Check out their IG for their schedule

 

Spoiled Vegan

NORTH COUNTY

(Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido)

Eve

The interior of Eve in Encinitas provides one of the most calming places to enjoy a meal. Their ‘happy vibes’ emanate throughout their food as well, where you can enjoy bowls, flatbreads, sandwiches, burritos & more.

 

Eve
575 S. Coast Hwy
Encinitas, CA 92024

Image credit: Yelp business listing

Far West Lounge by Modern Times Beer

Who would’ve thought beer and vegan could go-exist so happily? Except when you consider San Diego’s craft beer scene. We’re all about local here and Modern Time’s Far West Lounge is a perfect combination of a stunning craft beer and mouth watering plant based food all in one place.

 

Far West Lounge by Modern Times Beer
470 S. Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Plant Power

Another fast food join, Plant Power serves up easy to order sandwiches, like my favorite, the Buffalo ‘66. And bonus points for them as they don’t use any artificial ingredients and are non-GMO.

 

Plant Power
3 of 5 locations are in SD; Ocean Beach, Encinitas & SDSU area
Native Foods

Native Foods is great for quick place to enjoy a great plant based meal.  We love trying their new seasonal menu additions every few months, and are hooked on their california burrito.

 

Native Foods
Point Loma, Clairemont Mesa & Encinitas
Loving Hut

Loving Hut has become the largest vegan chain in the US, and what makes them even more stand out is that each location has a unique menu. Here in San Diego there is a location in North Park and Mira Mesa.

 

Loving Hut

With San Diego’s progressive way of life, I can’t wait to continue adding more vegan restaurants onto this list. But if you’re not 100% vegan and enjoy a vegetarian diet too, then check out these Best Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants in San Diego.

Don’t forget to pack these items:

No matter where you’re going out to eat, it’s always smart to keep these sustainable items on hand to avoid any plastic use

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

Follow Along!

Start your own blog today!

Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!

Follow Along

Vegan Friendly Restaurants in San Diego

Vegan Friendly Restaurants in San Diego

The Best Vegetarian & Vegan friendly Restaurants in San Diego

A growing list of the best vegetarian & vegan friendly places to eat in San Diego

from a local!

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

As a traveling vegetarian, I understand how it can be difficult to find delicious vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants in the midst of being in your ‘in-the-moment’ vacation mode. Luckily, San Diego is bursting with delicious restaurants that offer vegetarian and vegan friendly menu options! More & more people are enjoying plant-based foods so I dug through my long lists of best restaurants in San Diego (yes, I keep a running list on my phone. Never will my boyfriend & I have the awkward ‘where do you want to go to eat’ conversation), and put together San Diego’s best vegetarian friendly restaurants!

*I’ll be updating this post at least once a year to add new restaurants that open. Be sure to subscribe to be notified of any new vegetarian or vegan restaurant openings in San Diego.

Best Vegan & Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants in San Diego

In no particular order

Civico 1845

Located in the heart of Little Italy, Civico 1845 serves authentic italian food set in a comfortable setting of white brick & pristine bar. They offer a special vegan menu for both lunch and dinner.

My suggestion, try their Gnocchi Violetta. *Be sure to call ahead for parties of 4 or more. Civico 1845 is a hotspot in Little Italy, so becomes busy quickly.

Civico 1845
1845 India St
San Diego, CA 92101

Image credit: https://www.civico1845.com/

Muzita Abyssinian Bistro

One of my favorite hidden gems of San Diego, is Muzita Abyssinian Bistro. This Ethiopian restaurant was once a home that the owners retrofitted into a cozy dining experience. They have amazing vegetarian & vegan menu options that follow traditional Ethiopian cuisine. The owners mother was the original chef and the recipes are all hers. Which I think makes them taste even better. That and the incredibly friendly staff and mouth watering food.

My suggestion, try the fall seasonal Duba (braised pumpkin) with the Timtimo side (lentils), then thank me afterwards.

*fun fact- Marcus brought us here on our first data & we go back on our anniversary every year

Muzita Abyssinian Bistro
4651 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA92116

Image credit: https://muzita.com/ 

Buona Forchetta

You may already know how my soul belongs in Italy, so it’s no surprise that I’ve been to quite a few Italian restaurants in San Diego. And Buona Forchetta is always on my mind. Not only will the staff chat with you in italian (which I fall right back into after two glasses of wine), but they have a handful of the most delicious vegan menu items. Including a traditional vegan pizza.

My suggestion, the Donnatella pizza with their vegan cheese

Buona Forchetta
Located in South Park, Liberty Station, and Encinitas
Tocaya Organica

With an upbeat, modern interior draped in blooming plants and comfortable couches, Tocaya Organica takes the cake for some of the best modern mexican food that is vegetarian and vegan friendly in San Diego. They have a stellar seasonal menu and focus their ideals around making healthier choices, starting with locally sourced produce.

My suggestion, their vegan horchata to go with whatever you order to eat!

Tocaya Organica
Gaslamp/Downtown San Diego & UTC Mall in La Jolla
Ike’s Sandwiches

For those times where you don’t want to follow a vegetarian bunny rabbit diet of leafy greens, Ike’s Sandwiches will hook you up with an intense vegan sandwich. Ike’s is now a West coast chain (they originated in San Francisco) with locations all across California, Arizona & Nevada. Which bears an impact on how great their sandwiches are. You’ll notice that each sandwich has a unique name, and comes with their special sauce – which you can order a vegan version of!

My suggestion, the Sally Ride on their famously known Dutch Crunch bread.

Ike’s Sandwiches
2 San Diego locations, Hillcrest & Point Loma
Tandoor

Another little gem of mine, Tandoor is a small indian restaurant near the Fashion Valley mall. My sister and I have now tried each of their vegetarian & vegan options and can happily approve of them all. I love coming here for a quick dinner to go – this family owned place features the most amazing homemade naan bread in a traditional Tandoor oven, and the family is so so friendly.

My suggestion, Chana Masala made vegan.

Tandoor
508 Mission Center Rd
San Diego, CA 92108
Kebab Shop

With almost 8 locations in San Diego, the Kebab Shop will be nearby whenever you’re in need of some fresh falafel. Seriously though, they make their falafel fresh for each order. And their serving sizes are big enough to be made into two meals!

Kebab Shop
RakiRaki Ramen

I think I’m finding a pattern here with my preferred hidden gems… Rakiraki is tucked away in a lesser known area to tourists, what I would call Convoy street. This area is known for top notch asian cuisine finds and Rakiraki is a star among many delicious eateries. They serve one of the best best vegetarian miso ramen in the city. But be warned, this is a busy spot. So, if you’re a hungry hippo eager to slurp down this top rated ramen be sure to arrive early.

RakiRaki Ramen
Convoy St, Little Italy & Liberty Station
View this post on Instagram

Convoy 💛

A post shared by RakiRaki Ramen & Tsukemen (@rakirakiramen) on

Bahn Thai

I love how the most delicious thai food is based on vegetables and tofu. Something that sounds so simple always comes out delicious, and Bahn Thai always delivers those mouth watering flavors. The restaurant is a bit small, so if you don’t want to wait, order to go, OR visit their soon to be opening location in Hillcrest that can fit larger groups.

Bahn Thai
4646 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116
(University Heights)
Sipz Vegetarian Infusion

Another asian cuisine eatery is Sipz Vegetarian Infusion. With 3 locations in San Diego, customers can enjoy a variety of asian cuisines including Japanese, Thai, Chinese & Vietnamese. The entire menu is vegetarian with a majority of it being vegan. Plus, they have crazy delicious vegan desserts.

My suggestion, start with their fresh summer rolls & homemade peanut sauce.

Sipz

Don’t fret, this list will continue to grow as I enjoy each place and find more vegetarian & vegan friendly restaurants in San Diego. If you’re interested in adding more dining options to your visit, then check out the Top Vegan Restaurants in San Diego!

Don’t forget to pack these items:

No matter where you’re going out to eat, it’s always smart to keep these sustainable items on hand to avoid any plastic use

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

Follow Along!

Start your own blog today!

Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!

Follow Along

Christmas in Vienna

Christmas in Vienna

Destinations

11 things to do in Vienna this Christmas

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

From mid-November through Christmas day, Vienna, Austria transforms into a Christmas holiday snow globe. The city is full of quaint postcard-worthy locations just waiting to be explored. Spending Christmas in Vienna is the epitome of a holiday lovers’ travel dreams. Vienna is known as the Christmas hub in Europe (possibly the world!), in the sense that it oozes traditional holiday cheer, glittery decor and all things festive for Old Saint Nick’s celebration.

From magical Christmas markets to historic sites, and delicious treats along the way, I doubt any other city hosts a more festive Christmas season.

There are SO many posts on what is best to do in Vienna for Christmas, so along with my personal experience, I filtered through some of the bleh things to show you THE BEST things to do in Vienna this Christmas season:

Included in this post:

  • The best things to do in Vienna during the Christmas season
  • A sustainably focused christmas market!
  • Where to stay during the Christmas season in the city
  • How to get around the city
  • Travel tips for visiting Vienna during Christmas season

Top 11 things to do in Vienna, Austria this Christmas Season

(1) Explore all of their Christmas Markets

This list wouldn’t be complete without first mentioning Vienna’s Christmas markets. Imagine rows of sprightly decorated wooden covered stalls, each filled with their own unique, local fare. Some with holiday decorations, others with handmade toys, and the best ones serving a long list of mulled wine-like drinks. (Don’t worry drinking gluhwein is on this list, keep reading!)

Now, depending on how many days you plan on spending in Vienna for the holidays will depend on which Viennese Christmas markets you should check out. There are at least 5-10 Christmas markets in Vienna each season, if not more. Each one is unique with some having more food, or fewer stalls or the focus being on activities versus the vendors. The Christmas markets I would NOT miss while in Vienna would be:

  • Rathausplatz: this Christmas market is the market that you see in the majority of Vienna Christmas market pictures. The square in front of Vienna’s City Hall is completely transformed into an iconic holiday fairytale. With a mile-long market featuring an ice skating rink, a heart filled tree and ferris wheel, Rathausplatz Christmas market should be first on your list of Christmas markets to see when in Vienna.

 

  •  Stephansplatz Christmas Market: In the heart of the historic center of Vienna, the Christmas market at Stephansplatz is perfect for sharing a mug of mulled wine with strangers and enjoying roasted chestnuts. Especially if you are planning to explore the historic beauty of Vienna in between.

 

  • Karlsplatz Christmas Market: In front of the Karlskirche Church is the Karlsplatz Christmas market focused on handmade arts and crafts. This unique market has vendors who must make their items themselves and earn qualification from a jury panel in order to be a part of the market. Meaning you’ll see the most beautiful handmade items here. PLUS, this market has higher quality standards on its food and games as well. Any food or drinks sold here must be free of palm oil and organic. And it enforces strict sustainability foothold, where items like their carousel are built from used goods and runs on pedal power!

 

  • Christmas Village Maria Therisien Platz: centered between three top museums in Vienna, the Christmas Village at Maria Theresien Platz showcases a unique backdrop for visitors. It’s a beautiful traditional Christmas market with the holiday fare you’ll come to expect at these places.

*TRAVEL TIP-  the Christmas market vendors and styles can change year to year. If you are researching for your trip to Vienna during the Christmas season, be sure to reference multiple places for up to date information about the Viennese Christmas markets.

(2) Channel your Michelle Kwan persona & ice skate at Rathausplatz

The ice skating rink at Rathausplatz is not your typical American ice skating experience. Instead of an oval shaped rink, skaters are set up in a looping trail where they can skate in larger areas, but also go on an ice trail (where some areas are set on an incline for faster skating!).

This is definitely something any visitor to Vienna during Christmas should take part in. If at least to mortify yourself at how bad your are at ice skating, and watch young children zip right by you… oh wait, I’m just talking about my own experience with it.

(3) Enjoy a warm beverage & dessert at a famous Viennese cafe

If you’re a food-driven traveler like myself than you’ll be happy to know that Vienna is known for its decadent chocolate cake known as Sachertorte (cake). This cake recipe dates back to the 1830s when a 16-year-old chef apprentice had to fill in the last minute and created this delicious dessert.

Be sure to enjoy a slice (or two) while in Vienna, and hopefully at one of their historic cafes- Cafe Demel, Cafe Central or Cafe Sperl. Each of which is an opulent opposite to the ‘cafes’ we Americans are accustomed to.

However, if you would prefer a more modern cafe setting check out this list by Culture Trip.

(4) See the lights of the Belvedere Palace Christmas market at night

With some serious majestic flare, the Belvedere Palace Christmas market at night is incredibly beautiful. There are two parts to the Belvedere Palace, the Upper & Lower Palaces. The Upper Belvedere Palace has a lake in the front that reflects the Christmas market lights onto the water beautifully. This Christmas market runs through Christmas Eve so be sure to plan accordingly.

(5) Stroll along the holiday-decorated pedestrian streets on Christmas Eve nights

I can’t think of anything more ethereal or romantic than strolling along holiday decorated paths with a loved one. From the State Opera House to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and then along the Graben to the Hofburg Palace, pedestrians can enjoy magnificently decorated streets, with monumentally large holiday light fixtures and themes in each direction. This stroll is the epitome of holiday romance.

My suggestion would be book an early Christmas Eve dinner and spend the remainder of your evening wandering around the historic center of Vienna.

(6) Experience an orchestra concert inside of a Palace

Each year the Schonbrunn Palace hosts an orchestra concert inside of their Orangery (an orangery is a room at a palace where they used to keep their spring/summer fruit trees safe during winter). Classy, romantic and entertaining, this concert is a beautiful way to spend a holiday evening listening to classics alongside opera singers and ballet dancers.

Click here to grab tickets to this concert at a great low price (compared to other sites)

Want more flexibility with the date(s) of your concert experience? You can also:

(7) Soak in the sounds of Strauss and Mozart throughout the city

At the Strauss and Mozart Christmas concert at the Kursalon – fun fact, the composer Strauss himself performed here once!

You can also watch a choir recital or church concert at the infamous St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Peterskirche or the Minoritenkirche. You can find more holiday concerts here with tickets below.

(8) Spend Christmas day sipping Baileys Spiked Hot Cocoa at the Schonbrunn Palace market on Christmas day

Vienna is Austria’s Imperial capital meaning we can thank the Hapsburg for the many beautifully constructed palaces throughout the city, like the extravagant Schonbrunn Palace. And what better way to soak up holiday charm & history than at the light yellow Schonbrunn Palace’s Christmas market.

This was by far our favorite market to visit in Vienna, besides Rathausplatz, as the vendors were more unique than in other locations. In fact, we found most of our gifts to bring home at the Schonbrunn Palace Christmas market. Plus you have an actual Imperial Palace as your backdrop throughout the market.

I don’t think it could emulate a European Christmas vibe any more than this place. *If you go on the weekends the Schonbrunn Palace Christmas market hosts advent concerts in the afternoons and evenings. And you schedule your tickets to enter the palace – why not do it all in one day!?

(9) Witness the Vienna Ballet or an opera effortlessly perform their holiday shows

The Vienna State Opera House, or Wiener Staatsoper, is a truly grand masterpiece in Vienna. Rebuilt after World War II, visiting this venue for a classic performance is a bucket list item for anyone visiting Vienna.

(10) Drink Weihnachtspunsch and Gluhwein with strangers

Weihnachtspunsch is Christmas punch & Gluhwein is mulled wine. These beverages can be found at every Viennese Christmas market. In fact, the vendors selling gluhwein will often have a long menu of drink options. My favorite being a ginger-based one, and course hot cocoa with Baileys. There are also non-alcoholic ones!

There are belly bar tables at each market, where it’s a great place to strike up a conversation with a group of strangers. Who knows, you may end up getting drinks with them later that day!

If it’s particularly cold outside during your visit, you can warm your hands on one of the unique mugs they serve their holiday punches in. In fact, you pay a holding fee for the mug and it’s returned when you give them back the mug. With the encouragement that drinkers end up keeping their mugs as souvenirs. I try my best not to be suckered into souvenirs traps but dang it did they have some precious mugs like this heart-shaped one that is currently in my cupboards.

(11) Staying for New Years & need a once in a lifetime idea? Attend the annual Hofburg Silvester Ball!

For those willing to don ball gowns and tuxedos, this could be a once in a lifetime event to attend. Imagine your wildest Disney princess moments coming to life while the New Year’s ball drops at midnight. Find out more here.

Where to stay in Vienna during Christmas season

The majority of sights to see and holiday markets are located within historic Vienna. So, visitors will want to stay within or nearby that area. However depending on your budget, it may be difficult to find lodging during Vienna’s Christmas season in the heart of the historic district.

If that’s the case, then I would suggest staying near Wien Mitte, Vienna’s public transportation hub.

Booking.com

How to get around Vienna, Austria during the holiday season

By train: Vienna, like many other European cities, has an excellent underground public transportation system called the U-Bahn. The stations are all centrally located and easy to find for the OBB. You can purchase tickets at their kiosk machines or ticket windows. Be sure to validate your ticket at the entrance! And each train car has easy to follow labels for which stations will be stopped at next.

By tram: similar to the U-Bahn, Vienna’s tram system is great for those who want to see the city while they ride. In fact, there is a circular tram line that is great for visitors to hop onto if they want a quick tour of the city (or if they’re cold and want to sit inside something insulated… yes, we did this, and enjoyed the 20-minute break from the cold). Again, you’ll want to validate your ticket when you enter the tram for the first time

There are of course taxis and Uber/Lyft’s available in the city, but the fun of travel is to walk around to see everything. Plus using public transportation and walking are two great ways to be a more sustainably focused traveler.

If you’re coming from the Vienna airport, I would suggest using the CAT (City Airport Train). As it’s a convenient and affordable option that the city offers. You can read more about it here.

Don’t forget to pack these items:

Tips for visiting Vienna during Christmas season:

  • Book a reservation for dinner for Christmas Eve & Christmas day if you plan to eat out. Many places will require reservations or be closed. I mean it. Reserve this NOW. We had difficulty finding vegetarian friendly menus for the holidays that had availability, and we booked in early November.
  • Bring cash with you to the markets. While some may accept credit cards, it’s best to have cash on hand to make purchases. Especially if you want a mug of gluhwein.
  • Bring reusable shopping bags with you to the markets. If you’re shopping and expect to explore for the remainder of the day, do yourself a favor and pack a reusable bag to hold your new gifts

Scroll through to see more images of Vienna during Christmas!

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

Follow Along!

Start your own blog today!

Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!

Follow Along

Things to skip in Vienna

Things to skip in Vienna

Six things to SKIP in Vienna, Austria

and Six things to do INSTEAD!

Avoid the typical to find the hidden gems

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

With any destination that you visit, you should always research with caution as to which things you must see and which you can pass over. Because let’s be honest, not all museums are created equal, five plus churches in one day begins to lose its lust, and we can’t all go into the same ‘famous’ restaurant.

Before any trip I take, I do a lot of research. I see which blogger recommends what, what’s the best area to stay in and what I should be packing with me. And quite frankly, a lot of what I found online was the same places listed out over and over again.

So, after visiting these places I realized what wasn’t worth our time and what was a much better use of travel time. Read on for the Six things you can skip while in Vienna, and six things you should do instead:

Things you should skip in Vienna, & six things to do instead!

(1) Don’t pay to go into ALL of the Hofburg Palace museums/areas

INSTEAD choose one part to pay for and enjoy your time outside marveling at the Hofburg Empire architecture. I would suggest either the Sisi Museum or the National Library. Vienna is full of exciting and exquisite history, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend your entire time inside of museums. Choose one in the Hofburg Palace to immerse yourself in and then be sure to have time to explore other areas of the city.

(2) Don’t pay to go to the top of St. Stephen’s Cathedral

INSTEAD enjoy a view of the cathedral and all of Stephansplatz (St. Stephen’s square) from Do&Co Hotels Onyx bar. Their interior and cocktails are almost as stunning as the views! You can still, and should, go into St. Stephen’s Cathedral, as it’s beautiful and is the city’s most important and standout church since it’s construction in 1160. But don’t pay to go up to the top of the tower. It’s like paying to be inside of the view, when the view should be the cathedral itself.

(3) Don’t visit every palace in Vienna

INSTEAD head further outside of the city to explore the Schönbrunn Palace. This palace is one of the main attractions in Vienna, but it is massive so you won’t feel like you’re walking through a crowded space (although I would still suggest you arrive early in the day to avoid some crowds).

With over 1400 rooms, gardens that are comparable to those of Versaille and it’s own zoo, you will have plenty to explore here all while getting an incredible sense of history of Austria.

Since you’re a smart sustainable traveler, you’ll be purchasing your tickets to the Schönbrunn Palace in advance. I love these ‘skip-the-line’ options!

*Please note- I often will not promote the visitation of zoo’s, as many around the world are not animal friendly and are often seen as abuse to the animals. I personally did not visit this zoo, but have read that the ‘animal enclosure areas’ are quite large and mimic their wildlife habitats. I’m unaware of their conservation efforts at this time (however, I have reached out to them for details) besides careful breeding of endangered species. Visiting and contributing funds to this zoo would be a personal consideration that you will need to make.

(4) Don’t go to Hotel Sacher for the famous Viennese Sachertorte (cake)

INSTEAD go to Kleines Cafe or Cafe Sperl for Sachertorte. Both are smaller and more authentic cafes, with a traditional Viennese cafe vibe. Kleines Cafe is located in Franziskanerplatz, and Cafe Sperl is near the Naschmarkt. Plus both of these cafes are not nearly as crowded as typically tourist frequented Hotel Sacher or Cafe Demel will be.

(5) Don’t eat schnitzel or sausage

I mean for one thing, true traditional schnitzel is to be made with veal, aka baby cow so no thank you 🙁

INSTEAD Enjoy the city’s best bakery, Joseph’s Bakery & Cafe. This is where the locals are enjoying their weekend brunches or lunches. Josephs has a few locations throughout Vienna, and some of the best bread you could enjoy. They also have a handful of vegan and vegetarian options, which pair amazingly well with their delicious coffees, juices and teas.

(6) Don’t visit every museum in Vienna

INSTEAD- visit the Kunsthistorisches museum. Known as the city’s fine art history museum, the Kunsthistorisches museum is incredibly beautiful inside and houses works of art from many famous and well known artists. Such as Caravaggio and Bernini – what can I say, I’m impartial to Italian artists

Click here to get discounted tickets to visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum!

Don’t forget to pack these items:

With Vienna being the most livable city in the world, and home to the center of European history it is chock full of beautiful places to discover, foods to sample and history to learn about. I hope this list provides you with some insight into what you can skip over during your visit to have an even more authentic visit of Vienna.

Happy travels,

Laura

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

Follow Along!

Start your own blog today!

Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!