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.
- See also: Events by month | How to save money on your trip
- For Beethoven-related events, see the Beethoven 2020 page
- For local info in the context of Coronavirus concerns, see here
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.
And if you want to know how best to capture the colours on camera, pick up a few tips from Photo+Adventure (October 30th and 31st). This fair and festival is big on travel photography, for example, which means lots of photo exhibitions from top photographers covering various locations and/or themes.
Museums, but not as you know them
This is a fun event.
On Saturday, October 3rd, 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.
Talking museums, two major art exhibitions begin in October, 2020:
- The Titian exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum (from October 13th) looks at the work of 16th century Venetian painters like Titian and Tintoretto, with a focus on women in paintings
- The Leopold Museum showcases Emil Bührle’s collection (from October 2nd) with around 90 paintings that include masterpieces by the likes of Monet, van Gogh, Cézanne, and Gaugin
Games and gaming
If you prefer your sports on a PC or console, then try Game City (October 16-18). 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
Three October highlights will appeal to fans of cinema:
- Hollywood in Vienna (October 2nd and 3rd) honours the people behind the film scores with a concert and gala evening. 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 runs from October 22nd to November 4th. 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.
- The Jewish Film Festival has moved to October (7th to 21st) from May. Enjoy a variety of movies that reflect the wide geographical and cultural world of Jewish life
Form and function
October also hosts two big design events:
- The international Vienna Design Week (September 25 – October 4). This mother of all design festivals offers a huge array of events across the city
- The international Blickfang design fair (October 9-11) 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 (September 24th to October 11th), 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.
If, however, you prefer electric guitars and synthesisers to accordions, then take in the Indie Label Woche (October 19th to 24th)). The Reigen music venue hosts rock to pop to punk to hip hop (and more) across six nights of gigs showcasing local talent.