Innsbruck is quite a small city, compared to my hometown Berlin, where I was born and raised, but is still well known for its divine nature and sports opportunities all over the world. It lies at the river Inn – where the name is derived from – and has a count of about 125,000 people when all the students are present – which is not so common, especially not over the summer month where the inhabitants count around 95,000. That’s an equal count of citizens like in Berlin Charlottenburg, the district where I originally come from. With that count the city is Austrias 5th largest city. From this point of view, I did not move into a smaller place, when I came here… 😉
Most people associate Innsbruck and Tyrol with wintersports or ridiculously green meadows on the mountains during the summer time, where you can give credit to your Wanderlust.
The term cultural capital is of course not comparable with the likes as the opera in Verona (Italy), Wagner in Bayreuth (Germany), sights in Vienna (Austria), and the tons of great entertainment Berlin (Germany) has to offer, it is a small city after all – but you should not make the mistake to compare those names with each other and the main “sight” is nature and the mountains of the Alps. I will give you more information on the touristic important sights of Innsbruck and the surrounding area in my next entry – part 2. For us, who live here, those sights are playing a minor role of course, but when you are here for the first time, you should definitively check them out, since they characterize this place and give it a special character.
Events & Artists in Innsbruck
Anyways, there have been several great artists coming to Innsbruck over the last years since I live here and for some reason Innsbruck seems to be an important place for those artists on their way up to a bigger career. I was able to see the Blood Red Shoes, The Cinematics, Portugal the Man, Steaming Satellites, Blumentopf, and just last year Milky Chance live, and there are always great gigs every now and then – impressive for a city of this size – as of last with more and more popular DJ Sets like one of my favorites Worakls. A huge advantage are the relatively small stages where you get in touch with artist and mood much closer than on those huge stages, like in New York (I saw Placebo there), Berlin (Fugees, 50 cent), Munich (Lana del Rey) and other big cities. Another advantage is the relatively low entry coverage, if the concerts aren’t for free completely. The boys and girls from BONANZA do a great job as well, since they brought an open air to Innsbruck, which has always a great line-up and during the summer month they entertain us at the Inn, playing decent electronic beats for free – the place to be on Wednesdays to enjoy your well deserved after work beer, having a BBQ and chillout to Electronic music!
Nightlife in Innsbruck
For a relatively small city there are plenty opportunities for nightlife! I will just give you a selected selection of great bars and clubs. My favorite bar is by any means the Café Moustache. You can already go there in the afternoon for a very good Falafel and at night chill-out to good music, meeting friends, with a beer that is absolutely fair priced and enjoyable in the surrounding – team is cool as well! The Club Aftershave is related to the Moustache and always worth a visit in season, when the students are present. We had fun nights down there!
For live music the Weekender is the address to be. Most of the concerts I attended have been there and they offer free concerts of upcoming artists on Mondays during the semester, a great service!
Good bars to start into the evening are Innkeller, Zappa, Treibhaus – known for the big variety of cultural program – and Prometheus (Proml), when the cafés close at 2 a.m. the Limerick Bill’s Irish Pub and the Babalon. Another Irish Pub, to watch football and enjoy good German beer, is the Galway Bay.
The nightlife takes part in different locations, on one hand the “Bögen”, where you find my favorite clubs the Project, the p.m.k. – if you are interested in culture, gigs, concerts and acts, the Bäckerei with a focus on cultural program and products from the region and the Tante Emma, a classy cool nightclub which is open until sunrise. A little further off the track is the Club Cubique, where the well known DJs attend for sets in town. And last but not least there is a relatively new “underground” location Kindergarten, quite cool and in the modern style of an abondoned place – they don’t have a website, it’s “underground” and nightlife takes place to special events. A special and unique location to celebrate, aprés ski and enjoy life is Cloud9, which is nothing more than an iglu on Seegrube in winter time, where you can celebrate Wednesdays and Fridays – I say, this is the coolest (in the true meaning) location you can find!
Activity & Outdoor in Innsbruck
Sportive events exist plentiful. The Air & Style took place every winter – but will be in Beijing in 2014, the Nordkettenquartett is a very cool event where teams of four people compete against each other and each team member has a different task: biking up the mountain, claiming the summit via touring ski, freeride it down again and come into the aim with the mountain bike downhilling the track from Seegrube – which is also called Gruabn’. The Vierschanzentournee is an annual visitor to the city, just to mention the most famous out of so many, not to start with the plentiful freeride events in Innsbrucks surrounding in winter. The sportive opportunities are endless here and Tyrol becomes more and more a paradise for alternatives from the classic wintersport. Skitours are very high on the list – but I recommend you an appropriate training in avalance awareness before you start into the freeride and skitouring adventure! Good sources to prepare your mountain experience are…
- Bergfex for maps of skiing resorts and wander-routes and recommendations of the community
- ZAMG to check on the weather which is inevitable before you start
- Lawine to check the dangers and risk of avalances in certain regions – I recommend to train the awareness in the SAAC course (link above), when you have not done it before!
- Almenrausch to plan your summer hiking tours and the stay at a hut
- Alpenverein the official site of the community and society to worship the Alp of Austria – you can borrow equipment there
- Alpenverein Aktiv to plan your tour based on a map, very nice if you want to browse & discover based on your location
- Powderguide to check on the new snow and to find your pristine powder experience
You can explore everything of course without the need to visit events, museums and sights.
The Alps are THE major sight itself and you will find such a proximity to the high mountains nowhere else…
At least not with a city of this size right to its feet. And when you are in good physical condition, have respect for the mountains and want to experience a fun thing in summer, you should go hiking and check out boulder running – the fastest way to get down the mounain after you hiked it up.
I will deliver a second report from my home and bring the main touristic sights to you and a little outlook, what you can and should do as daily tours, when you are here, stay tuned!