Inevitably, dozens of events typically take place each day in Vienna. Local listings can overwhelm you, though, so here are some annual events and festivals of particular interest to visitors (listed by month), plus current highlights.
Note: COVID-19 measures may affect future concerts, festivals, exhibitions etc. (especially during periods of lockdown). So consider all the suggestions below as purely theoretical and check with official homepages for up-to-date info. Fingers crossed things improve through 2021.
Selected events on now(ish)
A ban on most cultural, sporting, or recreational-type events is expected to last at least through March, so I (obviously) won’t be making any suggestions regarding current events for a while.
Selected exhibition tips…
Museums may now open. Vienna has various excellent exhibitions running at any one time and I can’t go to every single one. But here some current recommendations for you:
- Little Vienna in Shanghai at the Jewish Museum mixes tragedy, resilience, and human interest. A wonderful exhibition (until June 27th, 2021)
- The one-room Haydn – Mozart – Beethoven exhibition (until Jan 30, 2022) at the Mozarthaus. The simple display of their last-ever pieces of written music left quite an impression on me
- The Weltmuseum clears up a few myths and fills in a few educational holes in a rather splendid Aztecs exhibition (until April 13th, 2021)
- I really like the look of the Sheila Hicks exhibition at the MAK museum, full of vibrant colours (until April 18, 2021)
- For something a little different, consider a trip to the Technical Museum for their Artificial Intelligence exhibition (until summer, 2022)
Annual events and festivals
These should take place each year but do check the individual articles, especially since events are shifting around the calendar in response to COVID-related postponements.
Again, be aware that public health measures may still be in place through 2021 and could affect events significantly.
- The 1st of January is, of course, the date of the world-famous New Year’s Concert
- You might catch the final days of the New Year markets at the beginning of the month
- The middle of January brews up the Vienna Coffee Festival
- Then it’s time to slap on your skates for the Vienna Ice World, which usually runs until early March
For dates, details and more activities and ideas, see the guide to January 2022.
- Sandwiched innocently between the holiday season and spring, February has few major annual events of note
- January’s Ice World continues through the month, though. And there’s the famous Opernball, of course
- The end of the month has the International Orchid Show
For some tips on seasonal activities, try the February 2022 guide.
Note that the authorities have indicated that COVID-related event restrictions will continue throughout this month.
- The Easter markets normally start up in March, depending on when Easter actually falls. In 2021, they would normally appear around March 20th. See, for example, the one at Schönbrunn Palace
- There’s also the Vinyl & Music festival at the city’s main brewery and the Blues Spring Festival typically starts up at the end of March
- If you prefer your words spoken, rather than sung, then there’s the Festival du Film Francophone (the French-language movie festival)
- Other fairs and festivals include the Bread Festival at the Marx Halle, the Foto Wien photography festival, and the Art Vienna contemporary art fair
See the full March 2022 guide for all details and more thoughts on what you might do in the month. (I’ve largely given up on March 2021 from an events perspective.)
At the time of writing, the authorities hope to begin lifting event restrictions sometime in April, but this depends on developments in the meantime.
- The Easter markets may continue (or start) in April, which is when most of the Vienna Blues Spring music festival actually takes place. Another feast of music this month is the two-day Electric Spring event in the Museumsquartier
- April also has one of the early food festivals: the Styrian Spring festival. For nourishment of the more visual kind, try the Jewish Film Festival.
- If you want to work off the calories after all those Styrian delights, then the Vienna marathon is usually later in the same month, as is the Argus Bike Festival
For more tips, exhibition suggestions and outdoor activities, try the full April 2021 guide.
This is the month when music and food lovers come into their own.
- On the music front, you have:
- On the food & drink front, you have:
- The Genuss Festival, a three-day food and drink festival in the Stadtpark
- The open day at the city-owned Cobenzl winery
- The spring edition of the Craft Beer Festival
- The Burgenland Kultinarium
- The Vienna Wine Fest
The events of May give you a big hint as to what Vienna is really all about: food, drink & music.
For dates, more information, and even more suggested things to do, see the complete May 2021 guide.
- The month usually starts with the military old-timer meet at On Wheels and Tracks
- Two international music festivals pop up in June – the Vienna Jazz Festival and the Donauinselfest. The latter is Europe’s largest free open-air festival. Music also features at the Südwind Street Festival
- The Wiener Symphoniker performs for free at the end of June (2021) at the MQ open-air concert
- The spring/summer edition of Fesch’Markt Vienna lets you sample the creative output of independent designers and artists
Find out more about all these events, including dates and times, using the broader June 2021 guide.
- The big July event is the Rathaus Film Festival, with daily public viewings of concerts and performances from various genres of music on the square in front of the Rathaus
- Talking music, June’s Jazz Festival usually continues through the early part of the month, too. And there’s more music in July:
- More on the food and drink front with…
- The Ottakringer Festival of Beer Culture, if you like a beer or three
- And if mead’s more your thing, there’s always the Montur & Pulverdampf medieval festival
- July typically also sees the start of the Frameout open-air cinema season at the MuseumsQuartier and the dotdotdot film festival at the folk museum
For other activity tips and more detailed suggestions, try the comprehensive July 2021 guide.
- Many of July’s film and other festivals carry on through August. And another international open-air cinema usually starts up at Belvedere Palace, too, with their Kino im Kammergarten programme
- Jump from classic to contemporary: numerous classic cars drive around the Ring at the Vienna Old Timer Parade, while the month also hosts the Calle Libre street art festival. For (live) modern music, try the Gürtel Nightwalk
Discover a whole slew of ideas for what to do this month in the full August 2021 guide.
- The food, drink, film, and music theme common to Vienna dominates the month with, for example:
- The last Sunday in September is European Heritage Day, when various historical buildings open their doors to the public (for free). The same concept applies at Open House Wien, but with a focus on newer constructions
- And the modern flavour continues at the…
- If you’re in need of a drink after all that, try the Rum and Gin festivals
For more suggestions, details, and dates, browse the main September 2021 guide.
- The Wiesen Fest from September continues into October, when you can also sample the best of Vienna’s museal treasures at the Long Night of Museums
- Lovers of good photography and design should find their way to…
- If you prefer your design in interactive pixel form, then enjoy free entry to Game City on the Rathausplatz
- As in many months, film features strongly in October, too:
- For both ends of the modern music spectrum, consider:
- Or just get some fresh air: late October sees the start of the open-air ice skating season
Take a peek at the October 2021 guide for more details and further tips and suggestions.
- Both the Viennale and Wien Modern normally carry through into November
- The month’s main claim to fame is the start of the Christmas season, notably the wonderful Advent markets, the lights, outdoor ice skating, and early signs of gift-buying panic
- To pick up some gifts of a particularly artistic nature, try:
- Or forget the season and immerse yourself…
Call up the November 2021 guide for more information on the above, as well as tips on other activities and art exhibitions, etc.
You’ll be surprised to learn that seasonal themes tend to dominate in December, notably…
- The Christmas markets, which continue through until December 25th, and often beyond in the form of New Year’s markets
- Many people also celebrate New Year’s Eve in Vienna along the Silvesterpfad. The final two days of the year feature the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year concert previews
For all the details and a few more tips, check out the December 2021 guide.
THE END (of the year and article).