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Tova and the Stadt - Shopping in Vienna

Vienna has improved in recent years in terms of shopping. Outlet malls have started to become increasingly popular and North American shops like American Apparel, Hollister (bring a flashlight) and Forever 21 are now found around the city.

The only shop that hasn’t arrived yet is Victoria Secret and I will celebrate heartily when it finally does arrive. Christmas is around the corner and if you are looking for places to go shopping, here are some recommendations.

Mariahilferstrasse: loosely translates to Mary Help Street. This long long street is filled with every popular chain shop and is always bustling. I like to start at the bottom of the street (closer to the centre) and work my way up to Westbahnhof, on a Monday morning, before anyone else shows up.

Shopping City Süd: this shopping centre is South of the city and can be reached by train (the Badner Bahn) or by the free Ikea bus that stops outside the Opera. The only thing I like about this place is Ikea - or as I like to call it, my personal Disneyland. The rest of the mall is sadly disjointed and not easy to navigate. The more I think about it, I now have decided I would rather have my eye teeth pulled by a cat than spend a Saturday there. Sorry.

Ringstrasse Gallerie: this small shopping mall is right beside the Opera and you will not find H&M. In fact, this small mall is filled with exclusive boutiques and jewellery stores. I like to walk through it in the summer. It has air conditioning.

Parndorf: an outlet mall in the province of Burgenland. It is less than an hour away by car and is filled with designer outlets. This place is incredible. I bought half priced Tommy Hilfiger socks! It is definitely worth the visit but not on a Saturday. It is packed and there seems to be only a small Burger King in the whole place. If you don’t have a car or a good friend who has a car (like I have), there is a shuttle bus that picks up eager shoppers at the Opera bus station.

Graben and Kohlmarkt: this shopping/pedestrian zone is right in the centre and boasts shops like Chanel, Versace, Gucci and Cartier. If you look closely at the windows, you will see an impression of my, not unlike the cloth of Turin. The best part of the Graben this time of year is the impressive light-up chandeliers that hang above the street. It almost makes me want to get my Waltz on.

There are lots of areas that have a row of shops in Vienna. Landstrasse is a good choice as well as the one in my hood, Favoriten. While it is always a good idea to support the local economy, sometimes shopping online is your best bet. I decided to stick mostly to Amazon this Christmas season after a little incident at Thalia the other day. Lines, a tired Tova and locals do not mix. Also, avoid paying for a small purchase with a large bill. Apparently this is on par with asking someone for their kidney. I’m looking at you Ms. Cashier at Müller.

Merry Christmas and happy shopping! Aim for Monday mornings before the crowds set in and the idea of lining up gets thrown out the window. Sharp elbows are always a blessing this time of the year!

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