Another month that feels like the young child staring forlornly through the sweet shop window while December and August get to buy all the nice things. But November in Vienna has its own pleasures.
In particular, you get to enjoy the Christmas flair, but without so many crowds.
Activities for November 2022
Here are a few suggested activities and events specific to November.
Christmas markets and lights
Call me old fashioned, but the Christmas season seems like it really ought to happen in December. However, the preparations and celebrations start much earlier in Vienna.
The city tends to switch on the official Christmas lights sometime mid to late November, though the date rarely gets confirmed too far in advance. However, the authorities have suggested the start date might be pushed back in 2022 as an exemplary form of energy-saving.
The lights tend to take a more upmarket display approach, especially the white chandeliers in the very centre of town.
Lights are fine, but the real fun starts with the Christmas markets.
Although the genuine advent atmosphere does indeed come in December, it’s not a bad idea to pop into those markets before then.
The markets get busier close to Christmas, so a November visit means you have more space to enjoy the cooked and crafted delights (of which there are many).
By the way, the market on the Rathausplatz often has an attached outdoor ice skating experience should you wish to work off the calories.
(And the Eislaufverein offers another chance to skate the Bolero in the open air.)
Top exhibitions in November 2022
(The gorgeous Kunsthistorisches Museum usually has a major exhibition in November)
Plans for November 2022 feature, for example:
- A Helmut Newton retrospective at the Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien, which includes both iconic and rarely-seen works by the legendary photographer
- Austria’s first big Jean-Michel Basquiat retrospective at the Albertina, which also has, for example, the final week (until November 6th) of the marvelous Tony Cragg exhibition
- The lovely Idols and Rivals Old Masters exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, featuring the likes of Michelangelo, Titian, Cellini, Rubens, etc. The museum also has a special coins exhibition
- The Albertina Modern has a focus on New York School abstract expressionism from the second half of the 20th century (Pollock, Rothko, Lassnig, and others). Plus a final chance to catch the photo portrait exhibition The Face (until November 6th)
- A thought-provoking and strangely beautiful George Nuku exhibition at the Weltmuseum
- The big photo exhibition at the Kunst Haus Wien features Gregor Sailer’s almost surreal images of architecture at the margins
- The Grow exhibition at Lower Belvedere looks at the role of the tree in art history and its multilayered relationship with humanity and culture. For some glorious early 19th-century landscapes, see the Joseph Rebell exhibition there, too (until November 13th)
- November 13th is also your last opportunity to see the Jewish Museum’s Love me Kosher exhibition exploring love, sexuality and similar themes in Judaism. The same institution also introduces you to the story of Café Arabia and its owner with the Espresso at last! exhibition
- The Leopold Museum invites you to discover the art of the Hagenbund artists’ association, who were stalwarts of progressive early 20th-century art in Austria. And discover the colourful life of actress Tilla Durieux, complete with accompanying artistic milieu
- The Theatermuseum travels through time and culture to bring us the Austropop exhibition on Austrian popular music
- The Natural History Museum offers us a special exhibition on Brazil
- The Vienna Furniture Museum presents Finer Dining: a look at cutlery and dining culture in the 1950s and 1960s with a focus on Amboss design
Bonus: the Photo+Adventure fair and festival (provisionally November 12th and 13th in 2022) is big on travel photography, for example, which means lots of photo exhibitions from top photographers covering various locations and/or themes.
Find accommodation for November
(Service provided by booking.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
Watch the football
The FIFA World Cup starts up on November 20th. Interest in Austria may be muted for various reasons, so I can’t guarantee huge open-air public viewing (especially given the likely temperatures). But who knows?
However, try these suggestions for pub viewing.
The Christmas markets include a great deal of unique craft items, and the theme of crafted beauty continues at other events:
- The Art&Antique fair at the Hofburg palace (November 10th to 14th) brings together numerous Austrian and international art dealers and galleries. A chance to view (and acquire) everything from the latest contemporary designs to works from antiquity
- Fesch means handsome or pretty in German, and the Fesch’Markt Wien (November 11th to 13th) at the city’s largest brewery showcases the creations of dozens of independent design talents across a host of categories: from food to fashion and furniture
(Ottakringer brewery, host of Fesch’Markt Wien)
- The Weihnachtsquartier (November 25th to 27th) opens its doors for three days of art and design from independent creatives
- The “Presse”-SCHAU fair (November 4th to 6th) typically covers design and lifestyle themes including watches and jewelry, travel, mobility, crafts, and more
- Art at the Park (November 24th to 27th) is a high-quality art fair held on the premises of the luxury Park Hyatt Vienna in the centre of town
Music with a difference
Vienna is the home of classical music, with concerts everywhere. But among the pieces by Beethoven, Mozart and their ilk is a thriving modern and alternative scene.
The Wien Modern festival (throughout November) highlights the work of contemporary composers and performers with some of the world’s top orchestras participating.
Food & beer
As the temperatures fall so the Maronistands rise up like mushrooms, peppering the city with their little huts and heated ovens.
This is your chance to travel back in time for some original fast food: roasted chestnuts. (And potato-based snacks the medieval Europeans missed out on.)
For more modern dietary alternatives, the Vegan Planet fair takes place at the MAK museum on November 19th and 20th.
Finally, beer lovers should find their way to the Craft Beer Festival (November 18th to 19th), when dozens of breweries offer up their wares for the discerning consumer of the amber nectar.
Bon Appetit, as they don’t say in Vienna (try Mahlzeit or Guten Appetit).