The King of the Waltz (Johann Strauss II) performed at the Kursalon, and the venue continues this tradition with its visitor-friendly classical concerts.
- Listen to the best of Mozart & Strauss
- Very central renaissance-style building
- …dates back to the 1860s
- Close to the famous golden Strauss statue
- Book a Mozart & Strauss concert* at the Kursalon
- See also:
Back to the past
(The nighttime ambience)
When they pulled down the huge city fortifications in the mid-19th century, Vienna suddenly gained a lot of prime real estate immediately around the old town.
One of the many buildings constructed on the vacant land was the Kursalon, which opened in 1867.
At the time, many architects took a historicism approach to their work, mirroring some style of the past. In the case of the Kursalon, Johann Garben went for the Italian Renaissance look.
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.
The King of the Waltz (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.
Another famous composer, Franz Lehár, conducted military concerts here in 1900 and 1901 before pursuing the wider musical career for which he is better known.
The beautifully-restored building serves as a prestigious event venue. For example, the Viennacontemporary art fair takes place there in September 2023.
Most importantly for visitors to Vienna, the Sound of Vienna classical concerts have brought the Kursalon’s musical heritage back to life.
(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)
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 their ever-changing repertoire of works and performers. But it’s an easy way to experience classical Viennese music in grand and authentic surroundings.
(So authentic, in fact, that the Kursalon featured in the second season of the Vienna Blood historical detective drama.)
Tickets & visitor tips
Tickets to the Kursalon Strauss and Mozart concerts are available from the venue itself or from online providers. For example:
(Booking service provided by Tiqets.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
(Nothing on your dates? Try some alternative concerts*)
If you go, ensure you complete the 2-in-1 Strauss experience: the rear of the Kursalon looks out over the Stadtpark city park and the golden Johann Strauss is just a few steps away. The statue counts as one of Vienna’s “iconic” photo opportunities.
(You might have to queue: 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 then need are plate-sized sideburns to complete the 19th-century Vienna experience.
Lehár also has a more discreet memorial not far from Strauss (sadly, not everybody wants to be photographed with Franz). Go deeper into the Stadtpark for some other musical monuments, such as ones for Bruckner and Schubert.
How to get to the Kursalon
The venue is in 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, too, for the Jugendstil portal entrance to the park next to the station (which also featured in the second series of the Vienna Blood period detective series).
Tram: Take the tram line 2 to Weihburggasse: the Kursalon sits diagonally opposite the stop, across the park.
Address: Johannesgasse 33, 1010 Vienna | Website