What's On in Vienna
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There are numerous events in Vienna throughout the year, especially in the summer months. Whether it’s a music or film festival, there is rarely a dull moment to be had in the city.
Here is a list of Vienna's best annual events:
The New Year’s Concert (January)
Kicking the year off with spirit is the New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. It is broadcast on television and radio all over the world and many tourists visit the Musikverein concert house just to see the Golden Hall where it takes place. Tickets are sold out well in advance of this momentous annual event.
Ball Season (January to March)
The ball season in Vienna starts in January and consists of a range of small to extravagant balls which are organised throughout the city. These balls present a chance to dress up in imperial fashion and dance the night away to a Wiener Waltz and other traditional dances. The most famous is the Opera Ball, attracting Vienna’s elite as well as many well-known celebrities, it takes place at the Vienna State Opera House.
Wiener Eistraum (January to March)
For ice-skating lovers, the Wiener Eistraum or Vienna Ice Dream is held in front of the Rathhausplatz, where many seasonal events are hosted. The area is transformed into a winter palace with skating trails snaking underneath trees like a magical ice-skating wonderland. This is something that the entire family can enjoy together.
Mayfest is an event held in Prater each year to celebrate May Day. People gather in Prater Park to listen to live music and enjoy the summer day. It is customary to plant May trees in parks around Vienna to symbolise the May Day celebration. There is free access to the Prater festival, which goes on throughout the entire day and late into the night.
The Life Ball (May)
One of the most exciting and dramatic events of the year in Vienna is the Life Ball, an AIDS charity event. Many prominent celebrities come to open the show with dazzling musical performances followed by dancing throughout the beautiful city hall. Many people from the LGBT+ community, as well as prominent figures in the medical field, take part in this exquisite event. Guests are usually dressed in elaborate costumes to match the theme of the ball. Rainbow flags are attached to the city’s tram network and there is a vibrant, colourful atmosphere in the city in the days leading up to the event.
Donau Insel Fest (June)
Europe’s biggest free open-air music festival takes place in the summer along the banks of the River Donau. Vienna's residents come together to enjoy Donau Insel Fest in the heart of their city.
Open Air Film Festival Summer Cinema (July to September)
In the hot summer months, screens are assembled in central areas across Vienna as part of the city's summer film festival. A wide variety of operas and independent films are screened for public access and anyone can sit outside the state opera house and enjoy opera while getting a tan.
The Viennalle (September)
Vienna’s main film festival takes place each year in September and offers a wide selection of international films across various genres. There are also parties that open and close the Viennale at different locations in the city. It is advisable to book tickets as early as possible as they sell out quickly.
Christmas Markets (November to December)
As the summer comes to an end, it’s not long before the eagerly awaited Christmas markets open in November. These can be found across the city, most noticeably at Spittelau and the Rathhausplatz, where visitors can warm themselves with Glühwein in the cold weeks leading up to Christmas.