Vienna: Things To Do All Your Round

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Festival-wise, it seems as though Vienna never sleeps. The entire year is just packed with events and happenings, all vying for the attention of locals and visitors alike. The cultural heritage of the city has given birth to many classical music events and a much loved ball season, but the range does not stop there – jazz and rock festivals, gay parades and communist and art gatherings pepper the city’s calendar. The following are some of the most interesting events in Vienna.

January and February


The Fasching season, a carnival time of costumes and parties, actually runs from November to Ash Wednesday, but February is traditionally the time when most of the action takes place. Look for street parties and drunken Viennese in silly get-ups.


Of the 300 or so balls held in January and February, the Opernball (Opera Ball) is number one. Held in the Staatsoper, it is a supremely lavish affair, with the men in tails and women in shining white gowns.( )

March & April


Alternating each year between the Musikverein and the Konzerthaus, this Spring Festival of classical concerts generally runs from the end of March to the beginning of April. ( )

Osterklang Festival

Orchestral and chamber music recitals fill some of Vienna’s best music halls during this, the ‘Sound of Easter’, festival. The highlight is the opening concert, which features the Vienna Philarmonic. ( )

May & June


For the younger generation, the Donauinselfest on the Donauinsel (Danube Island) occupies the top spot on the year’s events’ calendar. Held over three days on a weekend in late June, it features an absolute feast of rock, pop, folk and country performers, which attracts almost three million onlookers. Best of all, it’s free. ( )

Langer Nacht Der Musik

On 10 May, between 7pm and 2am, bars and concert venues host a heap of bands playing every kind of music genre conceivable. Tickets are at 12 to 14 Euros and available at venues and grant entry into all performances. An information booth is set up on Heldenplatz two days before the event. ( )

Life Ball

This AIDS charity event is one of the highlights of the gay and lesbian calendar and is often graced by international celebrities. IT is normally held in the Rathaus around the middle of May and attracts some colorful and flamboyant outfits. ( )

Queer Identities

Identities is easily Vienna’s second largest film festival, showcasing queer movies from around the world. It normally takes place at the beginning of June. ( )

Soho in Ottakring

The multicultural streets bordering the Gurtel in the Ottakring district come to life in May and June with Soho in Ottakring. Hairdressing salons, disused offices and fishmongers are transformed into art galleries, bars, band venues and art shops, all of which attracts an arty crowd. ( )

July & August


Vienna’s premiere avant-garde dance festival attracts an array of internationally renowned troupes and newcomers between mid July and mid August. Performances are held in the MuseumsQuartier, Volkstheater and a number of small venues. ( )

Jazz Fest

From the end of June to mid July, Vienna relaxes to the smooth sound of jazz, blues and soul flowing from the Staatsoper and a number of clubs across town. ( )

Klangbogen Festival

The KlangBogen Festival ensures things do not flag during the summer holidays. Running from July to August, it features operas, operettas and orchestral music in the Theater an der Wien and Musikverien, plus a few other locations around town. ( )

September & October

Lange Nacht Der Museen

On the evening of 20 September, some 370 museums nationwide open their doors to visitors between 6pm and 1am. One ticket (12 Euros for adults, and 10 Euros for children) allows entry to all of them, and includes public transport around town. You will be hard pushed to visit all 58 museums in Vienna though. ( )

Viennale Film Festival

The country’s biggest and best film festival, Viennale features fringe and independent films from around the world in October. ( )

November & December


Vienna’s much loved Christmas market season runs from mid-November to Christmas Day. ( )

Wien Modern Festival

The Wien Modern Festival takes an opposing view to many of the city’s music festivals by featuring modern classical and avant-garde music. The festival is held throughout November, with many performances in the Konzerthaus. ( )


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