From open-air concerts to rooftop dining, and maybe even a dip in a pool, discover the best entertainment for the Viennese summer
Although Vienna may be associated with grand museums and years of history, summer in the city is anything but stuffy. From June onwards Vienna comes alive with festivals, pop-ups and sheer fun hiding around every corner. Whether you’re a music aficionado, a film buff or a foodie, the city has something for you. If all that culture has left you thirsty then the plethora of rooftop bars, from the trendy to the traditional, is sure to appeal. When all else fails, a dip in one of Vienna’s many outdoor swimming pools is the perfect way to cool off – it is summer, after all.
Film Festival Wiener Rathausplatz
Each evening from 30 June until 2 September, the grand setting outside Vienna’s City Hall turns into the city’s greatest nightspot. The Film Festival Wiener Rathausplatz features all types of music, from opera to pop, international artists including Alicia Keys and Norah Jones, an anniversary performance of Miss Saigon and classical music stars performing some of Beethoven’s best loved suites. The daily free event also showcases the best in Austrian and international cuisine, with over 25 pop-up food stands on site. Be sure to visit the website to discover the event’s impressive timetable.
As Austria is a landlocked country, open-air pools are a popular destination here and the options in Vienna are plentiful. There are facilities to cater for every taste, whether you are after the classic country-club vibe, offered at the Schönbrunner pool; a venue with stunning art deco designs, such as the Neuwaldegger and Krapfenwaldl pools; or something a little more modern, in the form of the floating Badeschiff pool, situated in the middle of the Danube Canal, complete with a bar and restaurant for wiling away the summer days.
When the nights get longer in Vienna, Austrians head to the roof. The city is home to some of the most spectacular rooftop bars in the world, with views of the picturesque Viennese architecture to match. Dachboden, situated on top of the 25 Hours Hotel, is among the most popular locations and the trendy venue can draw in huge crowds in summer so be sure to arrive early to beat the queue. For a quieter, glamorous experience head to Atmosphere Rooftop Bar, on top of the Ritz-Carlton hotel, and discover a luxury haven with a fantastic Austrian-inspired cocktail menu.
From 22-24 June, Donauinsel – Danube Island – in Vienna plays host to the largest free open-air festival in Europe. Donauinselfest features over 200 live acts across 11 stages, with international artists such as Portugal The Man and Fedde le Grand, as well as Austrian acts and music across all genres. The space is split into 18 different islands with each housing different activities, from the Action & Fun Island, with a range of daredevil pursuits, to the Family Island with hours of activities for little ones. With all of that and more going on, it’s easy to see why visitors flock here in their thousands.
As soon as the evening temperatures reach pleasant heights, outdoor cinemas spring up all across Vienna. In fact, during the peak season of July and August there are certain evenings when you’d struggle to find a square not housing a projector. Some of the most popular screenings include Volxkino, which hosts pop-up screenings in a different unusual location each time; Kino unter Sternen, located in Karlsplatz square, which features talks from prominent actors and directors before each film; and Frameout, situated in the heart of the vibrant Museum Quarter.
Situated on the Danube canal, Summer Stage is a true summer destination in the city. Open from May until September the space, which includes an indoor pavilion and an outdoor terrace, houses restaurants and bars, is the perfect place to soak up the sunshine. The space also plays host to a wealth of free concerts, readings, wine tastings, exhibitions and even has a volleyball court. Whatever your passion this summer, Summer Stage is the place for you.