The districts of Vienna have names, but are also numbered from 1 to 23. The city can be divided into four different parts. First, there is the center, the 1st District. Here, you will find the famous Ringstrasse, built by Emperor Franz Joseph I to replace the medieval city walls. All other districts circle around the 1st District, each individually representing the culture and architecture of Vienna.
1st District: Innere Stadt
This is the first, most elegant and one of the most expensive of Vienna's districts. Splendid boutiques, expensive hotels, popular cafés such as the Demel, the Burgtheater, the State Opera and most of the historic monuments are all located in the Innere Stadt (inner city). This area is also the home of many important politicians and the Austrian President. Here you will find medieval Vienna: old houses, narrow cobbled streets and romantic squares where one almost expects Mozart to appear around the next corner. Right through the 1st District runs Kärtnerstraße, a pedestrian zone and shopping boulevard with the State Opera at one end and Stephansplatz with Stephansdom at the other.
2nd District: Leopoldstadt
Leopoldstadt, the city's 2nd District, is separated from the center of Vienna by the Danube Canal and, along with the 20th District, Brigittenau, forms a misshapen island bordered to the east by the main arm of the Danube. For the most part, this area is a residential suburb only redeemed by the Prater, the vast city park with its funfair, the Augarten, and the Wiener Kriminalmuseum. Between 1600 and 1939, Leopoldstadt was the center of Vienna's Jewish community. In the mid-19th century, thousands of Jews took the opportunity to leave Bohemia, Moravia, Hungary and Galicia and migrated to the capital of the Habsburg Empire. The Strauss family, Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Arthur Schnitzler and Theodor Herzl all lived here at some point, before moving up in the world to the city's wealthier suburbs.
3rd District: Landstraße
Vienna's 3rd District lies to the east and southeast of the Innere Stadt, framed to the east by the Danube Canal (Donaukanal) and to the west by Prinz-Eugen-Straße and Arsenalstrasse. It is predominantly working-class. The one exception is the diplomatic quarter close to Schwarzenbergplatz and around the extraordinary rococo palace Belvedere. Here you will also find the Hundertwasserhaus, an architectural and colorful masterpiece, and the St. Marx Cemetery, Mozart's last resting place.
4th District: Wieden
In Wieden, situated between Karlsplatz, Wienzeile and Gürtel, the atmosphere is rather more splendid than in the neighboring 3rd District. The 4th is one of the more well-presented residential suburbs close to the city center. Here, you will find Radiokulturhaus, the Vienna Museum of History, and the Naschmarkt, Vienna's biggest and most adventurous market.
5th District: Margareten
Margareten lies next to Wieden between Gürtel and Wienzeile and is mostly a working-class suburb. There aren't very many attractions in this district, besides the Filmcasino.
6th & 7th Districts: Mariahilf & Neubau
Between Wienzeile and Lerchenfelderstrasse, Ringstrasse and Gürtel you will find Mariahilf and Neubau, divided by Vienna's biggest shopping boulevard, the Mariahilferstrasse. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, this area was rather dull, poor and not all that beautiful. Once home to many warehouses and beautiful patrician houses, housing conditions during the 1950s deteriorated and rents fell. Today, the old warehouses are chic studios and flats. With lots of chic bars and nightclubs, the 6th and the 7th Districts offer the busiest nightlife in town. The 6th district is also home to the Vienna State Opera and the flea market in Wienzeile, which takes place every Saturday.
8th & 9th Districts: Josefstadt & Alsergrund
Between Ringstraße and Gürtel and separating the Lerchenfelderstraße from the Donaukanal, you will find the districts of Josefstadt and Alsergrund, two very nice residential areas with large patrician houses. Many wealthy Viennese, who prefer to live in the city center and not in a villa outside of town, have flats here. The main attractions are the Theater in der Josefstadt, the Volksoper, the Sigmund Freud Museum, and his former practice couch included.
10th, 11th & 12th Districts: Favoriten, Simmering & Meidling
The only significant sight in these districts south of the Gürtel is the Zentralfriedhof in the outskirts of Simmering. Generally speaking, these are working-class suburbs dominated by flat buildings, ranging from the 1920s tenement housing to the huge project-type blocks of the 1980s and 1990s.
13th District: Hietzing
This area of town is a pleasant, fashionable garden-suburb west of the 5th district with lots of splendid villas and gardens, ranging from the Biedermeier summer residences (enjoyed by the 19th-century nobility), to the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) and modernist villas favored by the more successful artists and businessmen of late-imperial Vienna. Here, you will find the famous Cafe Dommayer, Schloss Schönbrunn with its park as well as the Lainzer Tiergarten, the former imperial hunting ground, nowadays Vienna's second biggest park.
14th, 15th & 16th Districts: Rudolfsheim & Ottakring
The 15th and 16th Districts with their patrician houses (situated between the Gürtel and the Wienerwald, west of the city center) were all built at the same time as the Ringstraße; but today, housing conditions are very poor (lots of flats still don't have indoor bathrooms). In the hilly part of Ottakring, you will find some beautiful old villas, including Schloss Wilhelminenberg.
17th, 18th & 19th Districts: Hernals, Währing & Döbling
Beyond the Gürtel and towards the Vienna Woods north of the center, the villas get bigger, the surroundings greener and the streets more splendid the further you go up the hills. In these districts you will have ample opportunities for relaxing walks in the woods, and also find beautiful Heurigen (traditional Austrian wine taverns), especially in Grinzing and Neustift am Walde. Vienna's greatest and most beautiful public swimming pool, the Krapfenwaldlbad, is situated in Döbling and offers a wonderful view over the city.
20th District: Brigittenau
Named after the 17th-century Brigittakapelle, much of the land on which this district sits was claimed from the Donau River after its containment in 1870. Around 1900, the 20th District was divided off of the larger 2nd to become Vienna's last district. Brigittenau lacks the historical attractions of many of the other districts, but contains the Millennium Tower, a high-rise spectacle, and the Hannover Market.
21st, 22nd & 23rd District: Floridsdorf, Donaustadt & Liesing
The Viennese call the districts Floridsdorf and Donaustadt Transdanubien (beyond the Danube) because they are situated on the other side of the riverbank, east of the city center. Here, you will find Vienna's most popular recreational area, the Donauinsel. This is a very thin, very long, artificial island in the river Danube—a paradise for rollerblading, cycling, jogging and walking. Liesing, which sits to the south of the city center, is huge with its small detached houses, council block buildings and some nice Heurigen places. Villages such as Mauer and Atzgersdorf are part of the 23rd district. They are so rural that it is sometimes hard to believe you are still in Vienna.