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 well over 100 locations in Vienna
- Many places offer something extra for the evening
- Some activities (like sightseeing tours) also participate
- Museums stay open until 1am
- 2024 date: TBA (was October 7th in 2023)
- …usually first Saturday in October
- 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 as many of them as you want to visit.
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 (over 183,000 in 2023) create a lovely atmosphere as they mill about the streets late at night, soaking up science, art, culture, history, and anything you might find in a glass cabinet.
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 2023, for example, the Kunsthistorisches Museum explicitly offered English-language tours as part of their contribution to the event.
2024 dates and highlights
The event has always been on the first Saturday of October. So the 2023 “night” took place on October 7th. This would mean October 5th in 2024, but I await official confirmation.
Times are usually something like 6pm to 1am the following day.
The ORF kindly posts a website which should have all the details of timings, participating museums, activities and similar as they emerge.
That same site typically has a free booklet you can download (or get with your ticket) to help plan your evening. Rather kindly, all this info is usually provided in English for Vienna nearer the time.
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 had just restored completely for around €100 million.
Ticket & visitor tips
One ticket is all you need. Details for 2024 at the website once available; last time out, a standard adult ticket cost €15 with concessions available and under 12s going free.
The following info applies to 2023, but was typical for the event:
- Tickets were easy to get hold of. On the day itself, you could, for example:
- …purchase one from the traditional information point on Maria-Theresien-Platz (between the Naturhistorisches and Kunsthistorisches museums)
- …or buy one from any participating museum
- A ticket was valid for the hours of the event, during which time you could also use it as a network travel pass for Vienna and for the special shuttle buses that operated. (You may find other included travel experiences, such as a street art river cruise or sightseeing bus)
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.