Vienna in July sees the locals waving bye bye as you enter the city. The school holidays have started and the weather is warm and sunny (usually), so many Viennese disappear on holiday or out to weekend homes in the country.
Top activities in July 2024
Most of Vienna’s main attractions stay open through the summer, though the opera houses, for example, take a break for most of July and August.
The top concert venues and opera houses tend to take a summer break from their usual schedule. Which allows special visitor-friendly concerts to offer an alternative.
The Vienna Mozart Orchestra, for example, uses the renowned and historical concert halls of the world-famous Musikverein for a concert of light classical music in period costume.
July art exhibitions
(Lower Belvedere always has something interesting on)
Until July 14th…
A few enjoyable exhibitions should keep you out of the sun for a few hours. The summer 2024 highlights include, for example:
- Catch the final days of the big retrospective for none other than Roy Lichtenstein at the Albertina (until July 14th) and solo exhibitions for Eva Beresin, Franz Grabmayr and Gregory Crewdson
- The Albertina Modern frowns at our biases in art appreciation and opens our eyes to underrepresented artists in the The Beauty of Diversity
- Enjoy a selection of highlights from the prestigious Heidi Horten Collection in the excellent We❤ exhibition
- Enjoy the works of Broncia Koller-Pinell and other representatives of the Wiener Moderne at Lower Belvedere, but also insights into her role as a sponsor of the arts. And explore a retrospective for Hannah Höch
- Meanwhile, Upper Belvedere offers a closer look at the 18th-century paintings of Franz Anton Maulbertsch
- Back to the Moderne at the Wien Museum with an exhibition on the secessionist art movements that emerged in the cities of Vienna, Munich and Berlin. Klimt features!
- The Leopold has some top art for us. One exhibition with highlights from six collections built by the Vienna Insurance Group. And another showcasing New Objectivity in post-WWI Germany
- The Kunst Haus Wien returns post-renovation with the contemporary art group exhibition around woodland ecosystems: Into the Woods
- Discover the iconic designs of the Auböck workshop at the MAK museum
- The Jewish Museum explores the the practice and concept of caring among the Jewish community through Vienna’s history, tackles Nazi theft and subsequent restitution (in cooperation with the Wien Museum), and also introduces a touch of Viennese nostalgia through the etchings of Emil Singer
- Dive into the life and works of some famous Austrians:
- Beat the heat in the cool interior of the Naturhistorisches Museum, who (ironically, given my opening) explore the changes affecting the Arctic in a major exhibition
- Staying with the natural world, cast an eye over camels and other domesticated camelids at the Weltmuseum and learn about their important role in human development and culture
- The Weltmuseum also brings us indigenous art from the Amazon region and uses items from their collections to illustrate a museal glossary of materials
- Watch this space or check the main exhibition listings for more suggestions
You might also like the Calle Libre festival (2024 dates TBA), which has, for example, “live paintings” as leading street artists create giant works of contemporary art on the sides of buildings in Vienna.
Films on the Rathausplatz
(The space in front of city hall turns into an open-air movie theatre)
The Rathaus Film Festival starts in late June in 2024, so continues daily through July and across summer until a planned end date on September 1st.
Each evening, sit back and enjoy a free viewing of opera, ballet, classical music or a more popular musical genre on the giant screen.
But there’s much more to this open-air event than a bit of audiovisual entertainment. Numerous gastro booths line the Rathausplatz square, selling food, drinks, and snacks from all over the world.
So you might watch Lady Gaga duet with Tony Bennet, then go for paella afterwards. As one does.
Other film festivals
Various other open-air cinematic festivals commonly run in July as well, should the Rathaus version get too busy for you. For example:
- The Frameout open-air cinema in the MuseumsQuartier (2024 dates TBA)
- The Kaleidoskop festival on Karlsplatz square (2024 dates TBA)
- The Kino am Dach cinema on the roof of Vienna’s main library (TBA but typically all month)
And if you like your films short, then try the dotdotdot film festival: also open-air and a very inclusive experience (2024 dates TBA). For example, you normally choose your own entrance fee.
Get your music groove on
The July music does not stop at the Rathausplatz. For example:
- The Vienna Jazz Festival, Jazzfest Wien, is no local gathering of performers but a significant event on the international jazz calendar (next dates TBA)
- Jazz gives way to pop, rock, hip hop and more at Popfest Wien (July 25th to 28th) on and around Karlsplatz. This music festival has dozens of live performances on various stages and showcases regional and national talents…from established musicians to relative newcomers
Go for food or drink
(Home to the Ottakringer Bierfest)
All that music might make you thirsty. As it happens, Vienna rolls out extra drinking water stations in summer, as well as misting stations for cooling off.
But if you fancy something with a little more pep…
- The Ottakringer brewery’s Beer Festival is a mainstay of July. “Beer culture” here mainly involves drinking the stuff, whether Ottakringer’s own fine wares or those of any guest breweries that may appear. But they put on music, too. And street food. And offer other bonuses (like beer yoga and brewery tours).
- The MuseumsQuartier also becomes a summer hotspot in July, thanks to the unique courtyard furniture (in bright orange this year), open-air bars, and other entertainments.
Take in international sport
Witness the competitions at EuroGames 2024 (July 17th to 20th): the continent’s largest LGBTIQ+ sport event, featuring an expected 3000 participants in over 20 different sports.
Enjoy the water
(The Old Danube lake)
If it gets hot in July (and it usually does), then Vienna has plenty of water to offer relief. Cough…the Danube…cough.
- The city runs numerous public swimming facilities, including well over a dozen which are outdoor pools or recreational water areas
- The Danube and associated waterways have riverside walks, cafés and restaurants dotted along their banks. Even beaches, watersports and swimming areas in some places.
- Various boat services offer short trips or day excursions up and down bits of the Danube
Look particularly for the Old Danube (Alte Donau) recreational lake and the Danube Island (Donauinsel). The Old Danube also usually hosts a Lichterfest at the end of July (2024 date TBA), where lighted boats spread across the water beneath a professional firework display.
And for something watery but a little different…escape any summer crowds and holiday stress in the centre of Vienna by floating in saltwater in a private tub for an hour.
Enjoy the streets
(Entrance to a Heuriger)
Don’t assume it’s only the obvious street cafés with their pavement seating. Many places have little gardens tucked around the back or in courtyards.
July is also high season for Vienna’s many wine taverns (Heuriger). The D and 38 trams take you out to the main Heuriger territories in the low hills of Nussdorf and Grinzing, where spritzers made with homegrown wine are the order of the day.
Enjoy a sword fight
Finally, for something a little different…the Montur und Pulverdampf festival (July 6th and 7th) is a weekend of medieval and military reenactments. Sword fights, cannon fire, historical music, fire shows, craft markets, and more. Traditionally, you get in for free if you wear a bit of medieval costume.
Enjoy the woods
(Out in the Wienerwald)
If it all gets a little too hot, there’s always the option of enjoying the leafy shade in Vienna’s wooded areas. For example:
- The Vienna Woods (Wienerwald) rolls across the northwest of the city, crisscrossed by hiking paths and forest roads. Consider routes 1 to 4A on the city’s walking route suggestions
- Once you emerge from its famous entertainments, the Prater park actually offers a 11km hiking route through meadows, pastures and open woodland
- The Lainzer Tiergarten (Lainz Game Reserve) has deer, wild boar and more, but also the Hermesvilla, a 19th-century summerhouse for Empress Elisabeth
- Schönbrunn Palace has a surrounding park and gardens which includes a decent amount of woodland and tree-lined avenues for those seeking shade