It’s not a bad time to visit Vienna. March has a chance of decent spring weather but it’s not peak tourist season, so you miss the crowds that swarm across parts of the city in high summer.
On the other hand, as with February, it’s relatively quiet in terms of major events. Unless Easter happens to fall in March…
Top activities in March 2023
So what little treats does the month offer you that other months might not have?
Vienna always has plenty of art and other exhibitions going on at any one time. It’s still a little early for full 2023 schedules, but, for example, these delights have already appeared in announcements for March 2023:
- Lower Belvedere plans a Klimt exhibition exploring his influences (in cooperation with Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum) as well as a comprehensive exhibition on Belvedere’s own history
- Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien has the largest solo exhibition to date for Kiki Kogelnik
- The Vienna Furniture Museum explores Amboss design and table culture
- The final days of the Wien Museum MUSA’s look at the work of the Bauhaus-influenced designers Friedl Dicker and Franz Singer (until March 26th)
- The MAK celebrates the art of celebration with its THE FEST exhibition
- Discover popular music in Austria in its widest possible sense at the Theatermuseum’s Austropop exhibition
- The Natural History Museum celebrates the bicentennial of Brazil-Austria relations with a special exhibition on the South American country
- The Kunsthistorisches Museum’s special coin exhibition continues through March
Visit an Easter market
(Eggs at the Freyung Easter market)
The Easter markets typically open around two weeks before the holiday weekend. So with Easter Sunday in early April in 2023, the last week of March should see stalls heaving with art, crafts and other wares.
(I’ve already seen one market planning to start on March 24th.)
Take the opportunity to browse for handicrafts and gifts but also to sample traditional (and unusual) Austrian fare at the many booths selling food and drink.
For more seasonal entertainment, read the guide to Easter in Vienna.
Find accommodation for March
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Vinyl, film, and canvas
March typically hosts one or two weekend festivals as Vienna slowly emerges from its winter sleep. For example:
A taste of music
The Ottakringer Vinyl & Music festival (exact dates TBA) is a market, fair, exhibition, and gig rolled into one.
Held in a working brewery, it harks back to the days when music was “real” and not this manufactured nonsense the kids listen to these days. Why, I remember when all you needed was a washboard and a…sorry, pass me my slippers.
Actually, the festival combines a retro feel with contemporary dynamism. “Authentic” is the word I’d use.
And if that’s not enough music for you, then the Vienna Blues Spring starts up toward the end of the month (precise dates TBA), with a host of national and international bands, singers, and musicians from the genre.
Those looking for a shift in style might try the Salam Orient festival (2023 dates TBA), which has a strong focus on music as well as the broader art and culture of the Middle East and Arab regions.
Film and photo
View animated films showcased through the Tricky Women/Tricky Realities festival (March 8th to 12th).
But if you prefer your pictures still, then Foto Wien (2023 dates TBA) celebrates the medium of photography for 2+ weeks with a whole slew of events, exhibitions, and activities.
Art and design
March seems to ignite the art and design fair world into action. For example:
- The WIKAM or Vienna International Art and Antiques Fair has a spring edition (March 4th to 12th) and takes place in rather lovely buildings: Palais Ferstel and Palais Niederösterreich.
- The Edelstoff spring design market typically occupies a March weekend (2023 dates TBA).
- And the SPARK Art Fair Vienna also hits town (2023 dates TBA but possibly March 23rd to 26th).
Enjoy the spring flowers
It’s all a little dependent on the weather, obviously, but March sees the emergence of the green shoots of spring, with tulips, daffodils, snowdrops, and other flowers perhaps optimistically forcing their way up through the soil.
The municipal gardens department does an excellent job of filling Vienna’s many parks (and roadsides) with spring colour. A couple of tips, if the climate allows:
- The Lainzer Tiergarten is a managed nature protection area with free-roaming deer and wild boar, paths through the woodland, playing areas for kids, and places to eat
- The Vienna woods (Wienerwald) cover the hilly west of the city, with numerous walking trails and restaurants dotted throughout
- The city-run Hirschstetten nursery and botanical gardens remain a well-kept secret and usually open from the middle of March
- The Prater is famous for its entertainment complex, but go beyond that to find a huge park area full of woods, meadows, and water features
Take your last chance
March is the final full month of the Viennese ball season, though many balls took a break through the pandemic. Let’s hope all has returned to normal by 2023.
And March is probably your last opportunity to indulge in some winter sports until next winter:
- The Wiener Eistraum open-air ice skating experience typically runs until early March (assuming it takes place in 2023), and the skating season at the open-air rink at the Eislaufverein usually continues into at least the first part of the month, depending on the weather
- Vienna’s “local” Alpine ski resort at Semmering may still be open and is suited to a day trip out to the slopes
Treat yourself to a spa day
Finally, with the weather still liable to turn chilly at times, you can always dip into a thermal pool.
The Vienna spa complex (Therme Wien) has various indoor and outdoor pools, as well as the usual array of spa offerings: from Swedish massages to Austrian pastries.