The winter market on the square outside Vienna’s giant Ferris wheel is sort of a Christmas market. And sort of a New Year market. And sort of neither.
Consider it more of a gathering point for chasing away the winter blues with a glass of something and a spot of fun.
- Food, drink, and entertainment at the Prater funfair complex
- Live music on many evenings
- Lots of things for the kids to do
- Next dates: TBA (was Nov 18 – Jan 7 in 2023/2024)
- Book a concert experience* for Advent or New Year
- See also:
(The market from above with the Riesenrad Ferris wheel in the background; press photo © Julius Silver / wintermarkt.at)
If you imagine a Christmas market and take away most things but the food and drink stalls, then throw in music and dodgems, you’ve pretty much got the Wintermarkt am Riesenradplatz.
The market’s more down-to-earth than its seasonal siblings nearer the city centre. More rock and roll than Silent Night. A pint of ale to the others’ glass of Chardonnay.
The square in front of Vienna’s famous Ferris wheel welcomes you to the huge Prater funfair with a ring of restaurants, shops, and entertainments. In late November, December, and early January, the space fills with stalls and bar tables, with pop and soft rock piped in over the loudspeakers.
Various stands sell a mix of traditional winter market fare and more general snacks and drinks.
On my 2023 visit, I found all the weird and wonderful varieties of punch, plus Glühwein, Schnapps, wine, beer and hot chocolate
On the food front, have a slice of Austria with a side serving of International. I spotted Buchtel (bit like a sweet roll and made famous by Café Hawelka), Baumkuchen (spit cakes), Kaiserschmarren, pastries, donuts, pancakes and waffles.
On the more robust front: sausages, langos, goulash soup, hot dogs, fries, fried chicken, Flammkuchen (tarte flambée), and more.
In the spirit of the Prater, the Wintermarkt distinguishes itself through more “action”. For example, live acts feature a range of musical styles: Austropop, funk, soul, blues, gospel, rock, etc.
At the previous event, these performances took place Wednesday to Sunday, 7pm to 8.30pm (with different times on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve).
The location also means plenty else to do once you’ve eaten your Bratwurst or toasted the season with a mug or glass of the good stuff.
(Regular musical entertainment is a big feature of the market; press photo © Julius Silver / wintermarkt.at)
For example, Madame Tussauds lives on the same square. Some Prater rides and attractions also remain open through winter when the weather allows. Not to mention the giant Ferris wheel itself, which looks wonderful at night.
(I imagine the views across a wintry landscape, market, and Prater at night from the top of the Ferris wheel make for some excellent photos.)
Is it a place to soak up the Christmas atmosphere? Kind of. Is it a place to warm yourself with snacks and drinks while the kids have wintry fun? Yep.
2024 dates & times
I don’t have details for 2024/2025 just yet. The last market ran from November 18th, 2023 to January 7th, 2024. Opening times were:
- Midday to 10pm (weekdays)
- 11am to 10pm (weekends and public holidays)
- 11am to 5pm on December 24th
- 11am opening on December 31st and stayed open until 2am the next day (the location participated in the Silvesterpfad)
How to get to the Wintermarkt
The Prater and the square are just a short walk from the Praterstern subway station (look for the giant Ferris wheel when you exit the station: it’s impossible to miss). The station is served from the centre by the U1 and U2 subway lines. Trams 5 and O also stop there.
The S1, S2, S3, S4 and S7 city train lines also go to Praterstern.
Address: Prater Riesenradplatz, 1020 Vienna | Website