Dance your way into a host of museums under a silvery moon, starry sky, or dark blanket of night fog (depending on the autumn weather Vienna throws at you) in this annual evening of museum festivities.
- One ticket gets you into over 100 museums in Vienna
- Many locations offer something extra for the evening
- Museums stay open late (until 1am)
- 2023 date: October 7th
- See also:
What’s it all about?
(Signature banners pop up at participating institutions)
The ORF Long Night of Museums (German: ORF Lange Nacht der Museen) is
when all the exhibits come alive and (sorry, obvious joke).
No, it’s one day of the year when a huge number of museums and similar institutions open late, and a single ticket gets you into any of them.
This is more than just a cheap and cheerful way to see a few museums.
First, just about every museum you’ve heard of (and many you haven’t) participates, so the choice is huge.
Second, the museums tend to put on special tours or events just for the occasion. So you might run into a concert at the historical instrument collection, watch restoration work at the Furniture Museum, or join an Indonesian line dance at the Weltmuseum.
(The Baroque state hall of the National Library regularly participates)
Third, thousands of people create a lovely atmosphere as they mill about the streets late at night, soaking up science, art, culture, history, and anything else you might find in a display cabinet.
One year, for example, the Albertina displayed Albrecht Dürer’s famous Young Hare watercolour for the evening (it otherwise only appears every few years or so).
The queue was huge, but nobody lost their patience. And a sponsor fed us snacks while we waited. The finest art and chocolate: what more do you need?
The whole thing is a nationwide event organised by ORF, which is Austria’s state media company (similar to the UK’s BBC).
Obviously, most of the special tours and events are in German, but not all. In 2022, for example, the Kunsthistorisches Museum explicitly offered English-language tours as part of their contribution to the event.
2023 dates and highlights
The event has always been on the first Saturday of October. So the 2023 “night” takes place on October 7th. Times are from 6pm to 1am the following day.
The ORF kindly posts a website which has all the details of participating museums and related activities.
The same site normally has a free booklet you can download (or get with your ticket) to help plan your evening. All this info has been provided in English, too, in most years (or simply use Google translate).
Our schedule one year, for example, included a talk on Viennese coffee culture at the coffee museum, the treasury at the Deutschordenshaus, a Hieronymus Bosch exhibition, a crash course in Esperanto at the National Library, and lifting a bar of gold at the Museum of Money at the National Bank.
At another event, we also enjoyed an evening tour of the Stadtpalais Liechtenstein: the Baroque town house of the Princes of Liechtenstein, which the current prince restored completely for around €100 million.
Ticket & visitor tips
One ticket is all you need. No details yet for 2023 at the time of writing, but a standard adult ticket cost €15 in 2022 with concessions available and under 12s going free. Other details of the previous event:
- The ticket was valid for the hours of the event
- You could use the ticket as a network travel pass for Vienna during these hours (and 30 minutes before and after)
- Special shuttle buses also operated as well as other travel experiences (such as rides in old timer trams)
- Tickets were easy to get hold of. Details at the website but, on the day itself, you could, for example:
- Purchase one from the information point on Maria-Theresien-Platz (between the natural history and art history museums)
- …or buy one from any participating museum
The night “only” lasts seven or so hours: use the ORF site or the booklet to plan your schedule carefully. With tens of thousands participating, queues can develop for the more popular locations.
My tip: use the early evening to explore some of the less well-known museums and leave the heavyweights until late, when crowds have begun to thin.