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 2023
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.
The museum summer normally offers a few distractions for visitors to the city. At the time of writing, August 2023 is some way off. So come back nearer the time for updates or check the main exhibition listings. Highlights already planned include:
- The Theatermuseum’s Austropop exhibition takes a look at popular music, Austrian-style
- The MAK’s display space around Viennese Modernism includes an exhibition on the Hagenauer workshops
- The Albertina presents the photos of Valie Export
Stay on the Rathausplatz
As mentioned for July, much fun may 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 interesting 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 normally also fire up the popcorn machine come August. For example (2023 dates yet to be confirmed, though):
- Frameout open-air cinema carries on in the courtyards of the city’s main contemporary art quarter, the MQ
- 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 (not sure if it’s repeating again, though)
- The Stumm&Laut silent movie festival with live accompanying music
Find accommodation for August
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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 (2023 date 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.
- The Calle Libre festival (2023 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 murals and similar at the festival site
- The Gürtel Nightwalk (date TBA but usually the last Saturday in August) 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
A taste of Vienna (and the world)
A few diverse food, drink, and music (or all three) events appear in August:
- The Afrika Tage African festival from July normally continues through until early August, with its food, fun, music, and marketplace.
- A pop-up farmer’s market entered the historical palm house in the central Burggarten park in 2022 and may repeat
- The Neustifter Kirtag (2023 dates TBA) brings traditional Austrian garb, copious quantities of wine, live music and a street market to Vienna
- And the Veganmania vegan summer festival rolls into town with street food, music and more (2023 dates TBA).
Several summer events that typically continue daily (or almost daily) through August are:
- The Ottakringer beer festival, with 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
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.