If you drift through Vienna’s centre in August, you may wonder why you rarely hear a Viennese accent.
It’s because we’re all on holiday. The city is yours, now.
(P.S. Be sure to water the plants and feed the parrot.)
Top activities in August 2022
The cool interiors of cafés, museums, and palaces are a strong option in August, but what else might you do in the hottest month of the year?
(Incidentally, if you’re worried about keeping cool, the Vienna authorities install numerous mobile drinking water fountains around the tourist hotspots, as well as water spray facilities in selected locations.)
Stay on the Rathausplatz
As mentioned for July, there’s much fun to be had on the main Rathausplatz square.
The open-air film festival continues through August, with evening showings of music and dance performances on a huge screen.
I like to get there in the early evening for something intriguing to eat and drink from the food court, which features cuisine from around the world (and Austria). Then find a seat to catch a bit of Sheeran or Tchaikovsky.
A fair few open-air cinemas also fire up the popcorn machine come August. For example:
- The dotdotdot film festival for short films has its showings in the garden of the Volkskundemuseum (2022 dates TBA)
- The Frameout film festival carries on in the courtyards of the city’s main contemporary art quarter, the MQ (2022 dates TBA)
- The Stumm & Laut festival has free evening showings of silent films (so no language issues!) accompanied by live music (2022 dates TBA)
- For a bit of baroque flair, try the open-air cinema in the privy garden of Lower Belvedere Palace: Kino im Kammergarten usually has several films in English or with English subtitles (2022 dates TBA)
A taste of the world
The Afrika Tage African festival from July normally continues through until early August, with its food, fun, music, and marketplace (2022 dates TBA).
Several summer events that continue daily (or almost daily) through August are:
- The Ottakringer beer festival, with its changing rota of guest breweries (in normal years), Ottakringer’s own traditional and craft beers, and food that goes well with a pint (actually half a liter) on a balmy evening
- Summer in the MQ is not a formal event as such, but the expression of seasonal flair in Vienna at the MuseumsQuartier, where open-air bars and the famous summer furniture invite you to imbibe something cold, relax and watch the occasional cloud meandering through blue skies above (hopefully)
- Talking open-air bars, Summerstage on the Donaukanal has a fair few, with accompanying live music, outdoor art and other waterfront delights
Watch the old timers
Classic car enthusiasts gather in the city in August for the Vienna Classic Days old timer festival.
The highlights for visitors is the Old Timer Parade (2022 dates TBA), when vehicles of all shapes, sizes and eras do a turn of the Ring, waving cheerily as we all remember the days of flapping scarfs and picnic hampers tied to the boot.
Enjoy the urban flair
Vienna may have a reputation for imperial elegance and genteel coffee house culture. But it’s also a modern, diverse city with quite a few areas that weren’t actually built by a Habsburg monarch.
- August’s Calle Libre festival (2022 dates TBA), for example, celebrates street art as a true art form, with the chance to watch those at the top of their profession creating giant street murals around the city
- The Gürtel Nightwalk (2022 dates TBA but likely the last Saturday of the month) highlights the urban regeneration success story that is the Gürtel road. A stretch of the Gürtel has become a popular nightspot for clubs, bars and venues, who throw open their doors for an evening of free live performances both inside and on open-air stages
Enjoy the artistic flair
The summer normally offers many framed distractions for visitors to the city. August 2022 is a way off, but we can already expect the following:
- Belvedere looks at around 100 years of realist painting in their True to Life exhibition and also offers up the landscapes of Joseph Rebell
- The same institution’s Viva Venezia! exhibition examines Venice in art, exploring its portrayal, role in myths and metaphors, and influence on Vienna’s own art
- The Wienmuseum MUSA takes us onto the streets of Vienna with the Instantly! photography exhibition
Take to the water
And, finally, all of July’s advice on waterways obviously applies to August, too.
If you want to make more of a trip of it, there’s always the option of a short cruise along the Danube. Ships leave from moorings on the Donaukanal, for example, at the edge of the city centre.
Plenty of tour operators will happily show you other options. I can recommend a trip up the Danube through the beautiful Wachau wine-growing area or one across the border into Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital.