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(Vienna time)


The square in front of the Rathaus (city hall) is bounded by parks and makes an ideal venue for open-air festivals and events. Here are a few of the more notable ones:

In late November and December, the Christkindlmarkt is Vienna's largest Christmas market featuring dozens of stalls selling arts, crafts, decorations, toys and a range of seasonal refreshments, such as roast chestnuts and Christmas punch. Don't pass up the chance to visit, since the combination of market ambiance and seasonal lighting is unforgettable.

From late January to early March, the Rathausplatz turns into a 3500 sq.m. ice rink for the so-called Eistraum. There's also a stage with live acts, and no Vienna event would be complete without a wide selection of stalls selling food and drink to keep the cold at bay.

Rathaus film festival
All ready for the film festival

Then in July and August there's the Rathaus Film Festival. A huge screen shows films with a musical theme, such as the great operas and ballets, as well as more contemporary jazz performances. And, again, the attractions of the celluloid screen are enhanced by a range of culinary delights from around the world. It's hugely popular on a balmy summer evening.

Smaller events include...

Argus Bike Festival (April): Featuring exhibits and shows, including the very impressive international dirt-jump contest.
Steirischen Frühlingsfest (April): A food and travel festival around the province of Styria.
Life Ball (May/June): World-famous AIDS charity event.

The square has its own station on the U2 subway line ("Rathaus"). It's also on the ring road that circles the historic city center, with stops for the 1, 2 and D (get out at "Rathausplatz/Burgtheater") and J trams ("Stadiongasse/Parlament").

Address: Rathausplatz, 1010 Vienna, Austria.