Vienna Travel Guide, Austria. The History, Information. Vacation Packages. The Living is Easy. Vienna had a heyday of empire and intrigue like few other cities in 1913 alone, Hitler, Freud, and Stalin all lived here. The city is still flecked with palaces, museums and opera houses, not to mention the world’s oldest and grandest zoo, in the Palace of Schoenbrunn. All this architectural formalwear might make the city seem sterile in comparison to its edgier Danube neighbors, Prague or Budapest. And maybe it’s not as cool as Berlin, as romantic as Paris, or as cosmopolitan as London but very few cities can combine a bit of each of these qualities as successfully as Vienna does, all while being one of the world’s most livable cities. Austrians revel in the ease of living here, from their omnipresent cafes to their near-pristine lakes and rivers you can even swim in some parts of the Danube (try that in the Hudson, Thames, or Seine). Mix high and low culture. Vienna is not just a citadel of high art, classical music and fancy twee chocolates (yes, Mozartballs). It also gave the world the EDM/drum and bass godfathers Kruder & Dorfmeister. The only German-language number one hit in the U.S. (Falco’s “Amadeus”) was an Austrian creation. The city runs club nights for students at its historic City Hall and, for a while there, rock concerts in former gasworks (Gasometer). Flex, which is wedged between a U-Bahn tunnel and the Danube canal, is known as one of Europe’s best nightclubs, and hands out both earplugs and sparkling water gratis. The city has brought the world Klimt’s Kiss, but also the art of Hermann Nitsch, whose medium of choice is bodily fluids, and Manfred Deix, a merciless and puerile caricaturist. It hosts the exclusive Opera Ball, where the rich and famous congregate to waltz and honor the rich and famous. But equally sought-after is the Life Ball, Europe’s largest charity event which “combines Viennese ball tradition with fancy-costume queer balls”. And of course, the Eurovision song contest 2014 was won by Austrian contestant Conchita Wurst, a bearded drag queen. (The fact that a right-wing party tried to protest the 2014 Life Ball poster–a celebrated David LaChappelle shot of a naked transsexual–was viewed as an embarrassment to progressive Austrians, who feared the fuss would make them look backward and bigoted to the rest of the world).