The King of the Waltz, Johann Strauss II performed at the Kursalon and the venue continues this tradition with its visitor-friendly classical concerts.
- Renaissance-style venue dating back to the 1860s
- Concerts feature the best of Mozart and Strauss
- Suited for: fans of light classical music in historic ambience
- Close to the famous golden Strauss statue
- See also:
Back to the past
When they pulled down the huge city fortifications in the mid-19th century, Vienna suddenly gained a lot of prime real estate.
One of the many buildings constructed on the vacant land was the Kursalon, opened in 1867.
At the time, many new buildings took a historicism approach to architecture, mirroring some style of the past. In the case of the Kursalon, architect Johann Garben went for the Italian Renaissance look.
(View inside the great hall of the Kursalon sometime before 1905; Sperlings Postkartenverlag (M. M. S.) (Producer); Wien Museum Inv.-Nr. 58891/390; excerpt reproduced with permission under the terms of the CC0 licence)
Shortly after the May 8th opening, one periodical described the addition to the cityscape as (my translation):
…one of the most beautiful buildings of the new, enlarged Vienna
Intended to allow visitors to partake of spa waters with a coffee house and restaurant, the location rapidly morphed into a broader entertainment venue.
Johann Strauss (II), for example, put in an appearance at the first concert on October 15th, 1868. Apparently, the enthusiasm of the audience was such that he had to conduct his new polka three times.
The Kursalon has also brought its musical heritage back to life in the form of the Sound of Vienna classical concerts.
The orchestra, opera singers, and ballet dancers typically put on concerts featuring the works of Strauss and Mozart, taking you through some of the best waltzes, arias and similar of Vienna’s rich musical tradition.
The Kursalon is not a concert hall in the pure sense of a Konzerthaus or the Musikverein, with an ever-changing repertoire of works and performers: tourists and other visitors tend to dominate the audience. But it’s an easy way to experience classical Viennese music in grand (and authentic) surroundings.
Tickets & visitor tips
Tickets to the Kursalon Strauss and Mozart concerts are available from the venue itself or from online providers.
(Booking service provided by Tiqets.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
If you go, ensure you complete the 2-in-1 Strauss experience: the golden statue of Johann Strauss is just a few steps away and provides one of Vienna’s “iconic” photo opportunities. (Everyone wants to be photographed with Johann.)
So you can grab a selfie with the maestro, then listen to a live performance of his music. All you need is a huge handlebar moustache to complete the 19th-century Vienna experience.
Go deeper into the park for some other musical monuments that include statues or busts of Bruckner, Lehár, and Schubert.
How to get to the Kursalon
The venue is close to the centre and easily reached by public transport.
Subway: The Stadtpark station on the U4 line is literally next door.
Otto Wagner, a father of modern architecture, designed the entrance building to the station. Look out for the Jugendstil portal entrance to the park next to the station (which featured in the second series of the Vienna Blood period detective series, as did the Kursalon itself).
Tram: Take the tram line 2 to Weihburggasse: the Kursalon sits diagonally opposite the stop, across the park.
Address: Johannesgasse 33, 1010 Vienna | Website