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A Weekend in Graz

Graz combines culture, enjoyment, and openmindedness in a charming and lively city.

Graz – Contradictions, Harmony, and Rainbows

Styria, the province in the South-East of Austria enjoys a certain reputation. Its most famous export is Arnold Schwarzenegger, which probably tells you something about the region's folksy character. But in recent years Graz has morphed into a modern, open-minded city for artists, young entrepreneurs, and the LGBTQIA community. 

There's a lot to discover during a stay in Graz. The winding streets of the Old Town have great shopping, there's tons of historic architecture and attractions, and Schlossberg is a green oasis in the middle of the city with breathtaking views. We recommend you start exploring by heading up Schlossberg with the glass lift that zips up inside the mountain (take the stairs on the way back down, if you're in need of a great calf work-out).

Grazer Märchenbahn © Andreas Müller Grazer Märchenbahn © Andreas Müller

Things to do in Graz

  • Tuntenball in Graz © Andreas Müller Tuntenball in Graz © Andreas Müller
  • Grazer Tuntenball © Andreas Müller Grazer Tuntenball © Andreas Müller
  • Feiern und Tanzen unterm Regenbögen © Andreas Müller Feiern und Tanzen unterm Regenbögen © Andreas Müller
  • Tuntenball in Graz © Andreas Müller Tuntenball in Graz © Andreas Müller
  • Grazer Märchenbahn © Andreas Müller Grazer Märchenbahn © Andreas Müller
  • Tuntenball in Graz © Andreas Müller Tuntenball in Graz © Andreas Müller

Surprising Culture

Inside Schlossberg mountain a former air raid shelter was transformed into something completely different. The Graz Fairytale Express is a 30 minute train ride thorugh the mountain that passes by animatronic installations a la "It's a Small World." Like the Disney ride, the Fairytale Express is fun for all ages and focuses on folk and fairy tales from Austria and beyond. Especially in the summer months, a train ride inside the cool mountain is a great way to experience the Schlossberg from a new perspective.

Just a short walk from the mountain you'll feel like you were catapulted into the future. The Kunsthaus Graz art museum was nicknamed "friendly alien" by locals and the moment you lay eyes on the amorphous building you'll know why. It looks like a UFO landed in the heart of Graz. Since its construction in 2003 the Kunsthaus became the city's architectural landmark and has housed countless exhibits featuring international contemporary art.

Culinary Capital Graz

Your time in Graz will be full of great food. Styria is known for fresh, local ingredients and the signature cuisine is all about of feel-good dishes like crispy battered chicken, colorful salads, and artisan chocolate. There's plenty of casual eateries that serve hearty food from the area. Gasthaus Stainzerbauer deserves special mention for elevating Styrian cooking in an elegant but inviting atmosphere and being located inside one of Graz' oldest buildings. The owners are careful to keep the balance between traditional specialties and modern techniques that transform them into dishes worthy of a gourmet restaurant. Of course the ingredients hail from nearby farms and with one of the city's largest wine cellars, Stainzerbauer offers excellent pairings for its entire menu. Their daily special menu "From Grandma's Recipe Book" has hearty, old recipes that warm your soul.

The Ultimate Party

Balls are at the core of Graz' social scene. There are traditional events like the farmers' ball with a whopping 16,000 attendees, or the "Tuntenball," an iconic Drag Ball. This colorful affair is evidence that, while Graz certainly has a buttoned-up and conservative side, it knows how to celebrate diversity in a big way. The Tuntenball was conceived as a charity event to benefit the RosaLila PanterInnen, a local LGBTQIA outreach organization that gets their entire operating budget from the ball. The Drag Ball is one huge party with stunning costumes and lots of dancing. 2018's theme was "Let's Play," which inspired Mario Brothers costumes, Barbie and Ken cosplay, as well as a few playing cards and chess pieces. Graz' Tuntenball is the perfect occasion to go all out and show off your loudest and most colorful side.

The next Tuntenball takes place Februar 15, 2020

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