You know, September’s not a bad month to visit Vienna. The summer holidays are over, so the Viennese roll back into town. Which means more events to choose from.
The end of summer also means fewer visitors to compete with at exhibitions and museums. And the weather is still deciding whether it should be warm or cold, probably settling for something somewhere in the middle.
So, yep, we’ll give September a big thumbs up. (Though you could hold off a bit and hit the Christmas markets. Just saying.)
Top activities in September
Many event organisers hold fire until the locals come back from summer retreats and beach holidays. So, compared to August, September has a wider selection of fairs and festivals to offer.
Bring in the harvest
The way to a man’s heart is, allegedly, through his stomach. And the way to the Viennese heart is no different. September has a few excellent festivals to whet your appetite.
- The 3-day Waldviertelpur festival features the best of the Waldviertel region (a rural area northwest of Vienna). This includes their rather hearty cuisine, notably a myriad different things you can do with poppy seeds
- The Erntedankfest is a weekend festival bringing Austria’s agriculture into the city, armed with truckloads of regional specialties from all over the country
- And if you’re up for something a little more spirited, try the Rum and Gin Festivals (see what I did there?). Local interest in both drinks, but particularly in gin, has shot up (another puntastic effort!) recently. Tastings, talks, music, and more
- Let’s finish this section with the Wiener Wiesn Fest, which starts in September. You know the Oktoberfest in Munich? This is the Viennese equivalent. Enjoy a whole barrel full of live music and traditional rural cuisine
Get a little modern
Vienna is an elegant city, rich in history and numerous buildings whose names end in Palace. But it’s a big, thriving capital city, too, with urban and contemporary culture to share. For example:
- The Buskers Festival turns street entertainment into an art form, with free performances from some of the world’s best…enjoy musicians, magicians, acrobats, clowns, dancers and more
- The Streetlife festival is full of…cough…street life, with Camden-style market booths, live music and a general celebration of all things urban. Great for kids, especially
- Viennacontemporary is a huge international art fair that brings together galleries from all over the world
- MQ Vienna Fashion Week does the same as Viennacontemporary, but for fashion. Enjoy daily catwalk shows and more from prestigious local and international designers
- It’s all about the music at Waves Vienna, which showcases new musical talent from around the world through dozens of live performances. And there’s a side programme of events for those wishing to dig deeper into the current issues facing the music industry
Go behind the scenes
September has two special treats for those who like to go behind closed doors or enjoy special insights into some of the many wonderful buildings and institutions in the city. And they’re both free.
- Tag des Denkmals is Vienna’s contribution to European Heritage Day, when numerous historical buildings open their doors. Many are only open to the public on this day only
- And talking of opening doors, Open House Vienna is a similar concept but with newer buildings and architectural initiatives. Vienna’s famous social housing projects usually get good coverage at this
If you want to escape it all and enter other worlds, there’s always the /slash film festival.