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 2022
Most of Vienna’s main attractions stay open through the summer, though the opera houses, for example, normally take a break for all of July and August.
So what seasonal festivals and activities might you enjoy in July 2022, in addition to the usual palaces, museums, and other attractions?
July art exhibitions
A few exhibitions should keep you out of the sun for a few hours. You might enjoy, for example:
- The Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Albertina Modern, as well as the last few days of their exhibition of Klimt drawings (until July 17th)
- Exhibitions at Belvedere on realist paintings (1850-1950), a look at Venice (mythical and historical representations in art), the landscape paintings of Joseph Rebell, and the final days of the Face to Face exhibition (until July 3rd) featuring Marc Quinn’s sculptures
- Maori artist George Nuku has a major exhibition at the Weltmuseum and the same location introduces you to the Korean Chaekgeori genre of painting
- Discover the dystopian imaginings of Alfred Kubin at the Leopold Museum (until July 24th)
- The MAK showcases its historical (and beautiful) collection of Majolica Italian tin-glazed earthenware
- The Instantly! exhibition of street photography at the Wien Museum MUSA or the When the Wind Blows photo exhibition at the Kunst Haus Wien
- The Marx halle hosts the hi-tech touring Klimt – The Immersive Experience exhibition
- Some solo exhibitions at the Albertina, including Francesco Clemente (from July 28th) and Tony Cragg (from July 7th)
- A look at the early artistic days of Renaissance master Lucas Cranach the Elder at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which also has a special (small) coins exhibition
- Explore the timeline of food technology from the distant past into the future at the Technical Museum (good fun!)
- Staying in science (sort of), the Natural History Museum’s Brazil exhibition continues through the month
- See here for more exhibition listings
Visit the Rathausplatz
The open-air Rathaus Film Festival typically starts early in July (scheduled from the 2nd in 2022). Each evening, sit back and enjoy opera, ballet, classical music or a more popular musical genre on the giant screen.
But there’s much more to this event than a bit of audiovisual entertainment. Gastro booths line the Rathausplatz square, selling food, drinks, and snacks from all over the world.
So you might watch Sheryl Crow’s performance at New York’s Capitol Theatre and then go for an American sirloin steak afterwards.
Other film festivals
Various other open-air cinematic festivals run in July, as well, should the Rathaus version get too busy for you. For example:
And if you like your films short, then try the dotdotdot film festival: also open-air and a very inclusive experience (starts July 31st in 2022). For example, you normally choose your own entrance fee.
Find accommodation for July
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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 at Popfest Wien (2022 dates provisionally July 28th to 31st) 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
- The Afrika Tage African festival starts up on July 22nd in 2022 (until August 8th). Music forms the centrepiece of the occasion, with national and international performers. Enjoy plenty of African cuisine, too, as well as a bazaar and various info stands from NGOs working in and with the continent
- The open-air classical music Amadeus Festival Vienna took place for the first time in July 2021 in the historical grounds of the former Semmelweis Women’s Clinic. It looks set to repeat in 2022 (provisionally June 30th to July 3rd)
Go for a drink
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 normally opens throughout July. “Beer culture” here mainly involves drinking the stuff, whether Ottakringer’s own fine wares or those of the guest breweries that appear most years. But they put on music, too. And street food.
The MuseumsQuartier also becomes a summer hotspot in July, thanks to the unique courtyard furniture (in orange this year), open-air bars, and other entertainments.
Enjoy the water
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.
Look particularly for the Old Danube (Alte Donau) recreation area and the Danube Island (Donauinsel). The Old Danube also hosts a Lichterfest at the end of July (planned for the 30th), where lighted boats spread across the water beneath a professional firework display.
Enjoy the woods
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
Enjoy the streets
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. For example, I was much taken by the courtyard ambience in the café at the Kunst Haus Wien (complete with Hundertwasser colours, shapes, and styling).
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 9th and 10th) is a weekend of medieval 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.