A month like the day before your birthday. In October, everyone in Vienna stares impatiently into their coffee while waiting for the advent festivities to start. But it has its own appeal, with, for example, the city’s parks and woodlands ablaze with autumnal colour.
Top activities in October 2020
Most of Vienna’s delights are available all the year. But what can October offer in particular? It’s a bit early for specific events and dates, but here some general advice until I learn more.
Enjoy the autumn colours
Autumn turns the city’s trees into swirls of yellows and reds. And we have a lot of trees.
The Vienna woods dominate the western edge of the city, but you needn’t travel far from the centre to enjoy nature’s transformation. Try, for example, the Stadtpark, where the Strauss statue adds another golden hue to October’s colours.
Museums, but not as you know them
This is a fun event.
One night in October (probably a Saturday night early in the month), a whole bunch of Vienna’s museums throw open their doors late and usher you in to experience special tours, displays, and/or entertainment.
There’s a lovely buzz to the city during this Long Night of Museums, which the state broadcasting company (ORF) organises, with thousands milling the streets. One ticket covers entry to any participating museum.
Games and gaming
If you prefer your sports on a PC or console, then try Game City (usually mid to late October). This huge gaming fair takes place on the Rathausplatz square and features eSports events, cosplay, and numerous stands showcasing the latest games and gaming hardware. Entry is free.
The silver screen
Two October highlights will appeal to fans of cinema:
- Hollywood in Vienna honours the people behind the film scores with a concert and gala evening (mid- to late October). Last year’s award winner was Gabriel Yared, whose numerous movie credits include music for The English Patient, Cold Mountain and Betty Blue
- Vienna’s leading film festival usually runs from late October to early November. The long-running Viennale has all the accoutrements you expect of such an event: prestigious prizes, special guests, national and international pre-release films, etc.
Form and function
October also hosts two big design events:
- The international Vienna Design Week usually slips into early October. This mother of all design festivals offers a huge array of events across the city
- The international Blickfang design fair (typically late October) displays the work of independent designers in various fields…from fashion to furniture. You can buy what you see and, most importantly, usually discuss the pieces with the designers themselves
There’s no better time to hold an Oktoberfest than, um, in October. Vienna’s equivalent is the Wiener Wiesn Fest (typically late September to mid-October), held out in a meadow in the Prater park and within shouting distance of the Giant Ferris Wheel.
So pack your Lederhosen, gentlemen and your Dirndls, ladies. There will be much feasting and music.