Traditionally, many people go to the Rathausplatz square on New Year’s Eve to party in front of the town hall, where numerous huts provide food, drink and knickknacks for a day or three around December 31st.
- Market did not take place the last three years, so check locally
- Nor was the Rathausplatz square accessible for New Year’s Eve celebrations in 2022, so ditto
- Less of a formal market and more of a place to grab a snack or drink and buy a hat you may well only wear once
- Next dates: TBA (if it repeats in the future)
- See also:
(Waiting for dusk and party fever)
Whether or not this counts as a good market kind of depends on your expectations.
It’s nothing like the Christmas market on the same square, but then it’s not meant to be.
You have fewer stands, for starters, which means a bit more space to breathe (at least until New Year’s Eve).
The Rathausplatz traditionally hosts the city’s official fireworks display, though none took place in 2022. And it’s a common stop on the Silvesterpfad New Year’s Eve trail (again, not in 2022); the preparations for any year-end festivities can take away some of the glamour of the otherwise beautiful location in front of the town hall.
What will you find in the booths?
Well, let’s just say many of the arts and crafts brigade seem to prefer to celebrate the New Year at home.
On my last visit, most of the huts fell into one of three categories, all with the feel of the kind of booths you’d expect accompanying a funfair and in tune with New Year’s Eve expectations:
- Food stalls, with mostly fried snacks and perhaps lacking the regional diversity of somewhere like the Schönbrunn market
There was plenty to drink, whether Irish whiskey, sparkling wine or…punch (in New Year mugs, too, shaped like a mushroom or with a lucky horseshoe design).
One or two stands converted to covered shelters, so you could eat and drink “inside” if the weather demanded it.
- New Year knickknacks: an array of lucky charms with the typical motifs of the season, namely pigs, clover, chimney sweeps and similar
- Party gear, particularly garish hats and headbands
(A cheese stall in among the party-oriented booths)
A handful of stands sold, for example, cheeses or honey products or decorations, but most were there to ensure you had a fun time long into the night.
So think of the Christmas market as the refined couple, enjoying a gentle evening stroll with a dash of style and self-assurance (albeit in the company of thousands of others).
And think of the New Year market as the brash and gaudy teenager, with a bigger appetite for food and entertainment.
I have no details at the time of writing about whether or when the event next takes place. Check locally for the latest news.
The previous market (way back in 2019/2020, when corona was still just a beer brand) opened from December 29th to January 1st. Times were:
- 11am to 9.30pm (Dec 29)
- 11am to 8pm (Dec 30)
- 11am to 2am the following day (Dec 31)
- 10am to 5pm (Jan 1)
How to get to the Rathausplatz
It’s hard to miss if you’re touring the main sightseeing areas on foot. The park surrounding the Rathaus square glitters with lights.
Subway: Take the U2 line to the Rathaus station, where you emerge at the rear of the town hall
Tram and bus: The trams 1, D and 71 stop at Rathausplatz/Burgtheater, which is at the entrance to the market. Tram 2 also stops at Parlament, which is just a touch further south. Note that these trams may not necessarily serve these stops during the evening of New Year’s Eve, because of the crowds.