A month like the day before your birthday. In October, everyone in Vienna stares impatiently into their coffee while waiting for the advent festivities to start. But October has its own appeal, with, for example, the city’s parks and woodlands ablaze with autumnal colour.
Top activities in October 2022
Most of Vienna’s delights are available all the year. But what can October offer in particular?
(The Kunsthistorisches Museum has its annual Old Masters exhibition)
October sees the heavyweight exhibitions appear, ready for the Christmas visitors. These include, for example:
- The Idols and Rivals exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum combines intriguing anecdotes with works by some of the great artists of Baroque and Renaissance Europe. Other exhibitions there include the special coins exhibition and the last days of the Lucas Cranach the Elder exhibition (until October 16th)
- The Albertina has Austria’s first major museal retrospective for Jean-Michel Basquiat on all month. Also enjoy, for example, their Francesco Clemente exhibition (until the 30th) and Tony Cragg’s wonderful sculptures
- The Albertina Modern begins its look at abstract expressionism (New York style) from October 15th and continues its presentation of highlights from their photo portrait collection in The Face exhibition
- A major retrospective for Helmut Newton takes place at the Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien (from October 19th)
- The Weltmuseum has a (fantastic) exhibition by George Nuku and an exhibition of Chaekgeori paintings by contemporary Korean artists
- The True to Life exhibition at Upper Belvedere explores realist painting across the years 1850 to 1950, narrowly missing out on my childhood
- Lower Belvedere has a solo exhibition of (gorgeous) works by the early 19th-century landscape painter, Joseph Rebell, and a look at trees as art motif in the Grow exhibition
- The Kunst Haus Wien’s final major photography exhibition of the year features Gregor Sailer’s Unseen Places: depicting architecture normally inaccessible to the mere mortal
- The Leopold Museum introduces us to another prominent artists’ association that first appeared during the Wiener Moderne era: the Hagenbund. And they shine a biographical light on the remarkable star of stage and screen, Tilla Durieux
- Explore love, sexuality and Judaism at the Jewish Museum’s Love me Kosher exhibition along with the Espresso at Last exhibition on the iconic Café Arabia
- The Vienna Furniture Museum casts an eye over the development of fine dining culture in post-WWII Austria, with a focus on cutting-edge (ba dum tish!) Amboss cutlery design
- The Natural History Museum dedicates a special exhibition to the wonders of Brazil in the context of 200 years of relationships between the country and Austria
- Discover how nature has inspired architecture, engineering and other fields of human achievement in the Bioinspiration exhibition at the Technical Museum (from October 26th)
- Catch the last month of the Instantly! exhibition of Viennese street photography at the Wien Museum MUSA (until October 23rd)
- The Theatermuseum begins its look at popular music across time in Austria (from October 12th)
- See also the wider exhibition listings for more suggestions and details…
Enjoy the autumn colours
Autumn turns the city’s trees into swirls of yellows and reds. And we have a lot of trees. For some seasonal ambience, try:
- The Vienna woods: these dominate the western edge of the city, but you needn’t travel far from the centre to enjoy nature’s transformation. Try, for example, the Stadtpark, where the Strauss statue adds another golden hue to October’s colours
- Continue the autumnal feeling at the Wiener Herbsttage Viennese Autumn Days (October 7th to 9th) in the palm house and surrounds of the Burggarten park. Expect rare fruit varieties, arts, crafts, and edibles
- Another option in the same Burggarten venue is the markta pop-up farmer’s market (October 20th to 23rd)
- Or pop down to the Prater to combine a Ferris wheel ride with a long country walk along hiking trail 9
Find accommodation for October
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The Erste Bank Open tennis tournament (won by Alexander Zverev last year) takes place toward the end of the month (October 22nd to 30th).
October offers a big opportunity for those who favour the geekier side of cinema, comics and/or cosplay: Vienna Comic Con (October 1st and 2nd) is my favourite event of the year.
Sean Astin, for example, appeared last time out; Jack Gleeson, Clive Standen, Christopher Lambert, Kevin McNally, Anna Shaffer, Nikola Djuricko, and Luka Peroš have already signed up to appear in 2022.
If you prefer your sports on a PC or console, then also consider Game City (not taking place in 2022, though). This huge gaming fair occupies the Rathausplatz square and features eSports events, cosplay, and numerous stands showcasing the latest games and gaming hardware. Entry is free.
Museums, but not as you know them
This is a fun event.
On the first Saturday of the month, a whole bunch of Vienna’s museums traditionally throw open their doors late and usher you in to experience special tours, displays, and/or entertainment.
A lovely buzz runs through the city during this Long Night of Museums (October 1st), which the state broadcasting company (ORF) organises. Thousands mill the streets with a single ticket covering entry to any participating museum.
Talking museums, major art exhibitions normally begin in October to capture the Christmas traffic (scroll back up the page for suggestions).
The silver screen
A couple of October highlights will appeal to fans of cinema:
- Vienna’s leading film festival starts toward the end of October. The long-running Viennale (October 20th to November 1st) has all the accoutrements you expect of such an event: prestigious prizes, special guests, national and international pre-release films, etc.
- The SLASH film festival invites you to discover the darker and more fantastical side of the silver screen (September 22nd to October 2nd)
Form and function
October also hosts art & design events:
- The international Blickfang design fair (October 21st to 23rd) displays the work of independent designers in various fields…from fashion to furniture. You can buy what you see and, most importantly, usually discuss the pieces with the designers themselves
- The Edelstoff design market visits the Marx Halle for its autumn edition (October 1st and 2nd)
- FAIR FOR ART Vienna is an art and antiques fair that drops into the historical Aula der Wissenschaften (October 8th to 16th)
- And Art Austria Highlights adds artistic quality to the traditional Wiener Eislaufverein arena normally used for open-air ice skating (October 6th to 9th)
Music and more
There’s no better time to hold an Oktoberfest than, um, in October. A Vienna equivalent is the Wiener Wiesn Fest (next dates TBA with the new Kaiser Wiesn event in 2022 at a similar location). So pack your Lederhosen, gentlemen and your Dirndls, ladies. There will be much feasting and music.
If you prefer electric guitars and synthesisers to accordions, then take in the Indie Label Woche (2022 dates: TBA). The Reigen music venue hosts rock to pop to punk to hip hop (and more) across six nights of gigs showcasing local talent.
And, finally, for how about a trip to the circus? Circus Roncalli plans to visit on their 2022 tour (September 14th to October 9th).