Naturhistorisches Museum Vienna (Natural History Museum) in the winter snow
© WienTourismus/Christian Stemper

Viennese winter dreams 2019/20

Winter in Vienna download

Three-four time dominates in Vienna in the first few weeks of the year. It all begins with the change of year, which is celebrated here with the New Year's Eve Trail through the city center. Sparkling wine and snacks are served at stands and colossal live acts on stages. And the waltz is danced on the squares in the city center – for example, on the centrally located Stephansplatz, when the Pummerin, the large bell in St. Stephen's Cathedral, rings in the New Year at the stroke of midnight.

The waltz dream continues at the New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic. The always fully sold out concert in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein is broadcast to the world. In 2020, Andris Nelsons takes to the podium. A real Eldorado of waltzing is then offered by the 450 balls held during the ball season in January and February.  The season gets off to an elegant start with the New Year’s Ball in the Imperial Palace, and reaches its zenith with the famous Opera Ball at the Vienna State Opera. The Philharmonic Ball, the Kaffeesieder Ball and the Johann Strauss Ball are other enjoyable highlights of the season. Those who like things less classical can party in trendy clubs such as Flex, Grelle Forelle, Pratersauna or Volksgarten Disco.

If autumn is "the" wine tavern season in Vienna, then late winter is the ideal time for the coffee house. Not only because these oases of coziness are the place to round off a shopping tour of the shopping streets in comfort. Connoisseurs have long since discovered the café as an attractive place to have breakfast – or appreciate the combination of delicious pastries and lively music in the concert-café. Even more lavish is the choice of delicious pastries in the city's patisseries. After all, the rich assortment of pastries is as much a part of Viennese cuisine as its other culinary symbols: Wiener Schnitzel and Kaiserschmarren.

After dessert, it's off to the museum: In the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, the two great old masters Caravaggio and Bernini are at the centre of an exhibition (until the middle of January). The Leopold Museum has two exhibitions devoted to German Expressionism (until the middle of April) and the expressive work of Richard Gerstl (until the middle of January). With “Schiele – Hundertwasser. Imagine Tomorrow” (from the middle of February), the Leopold Museum focuses on two iconic artists, whose works will draw a great amount of attention to themselves in a show presented in the form of a dialog. The Kunst Haus Wien reviews Street Photography from across seven decades (until the middle of February). The MAK – Museum of Applied Arts provides a fitting stage for the “All-rounder of Vienna Modernism”, Otto Prutscher. While Gunther von Hagens grants us fascinating insights into his “Body Worlds” (until  February). With Cindy Sherman, the Bank Austria Kunstforum focuses on a very special photography exhibition devoted to the topics of Identity and Transformation within contemporary art (from the end of January). Things continue in a modern vein with Herbert Brandl and the exhibition “Exposed to Painting” at Belvedere 21 (from the end of January). In the new year, the Albertina focuses on Wilhelm Leibl and presents the representative of German Realism in a comprehensive show. And while we’re on the subject of café: The Lower Belvedere puts on a sparkling exhibition with “Into the Night. The avant-garde in the night café”. Art is shown from the 1880s to the 1960s (from the middle of February). The year’s birthday boy Ludwig van Beethoven accompanies us in the Beethoven Museum, in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, in the National Library, and in the Mozarthaus Vienna with exhibitions that exude their very own tone.

Sport is also part of the Viennese winter program, as the cold season (November to March) offers the perfect opportunity for ice skating or curling. The Ice Dream (January to the beginning of March) transforms City Hall Square into an 9,000 m² ice rink on two levels that permits everything from sporty moves to popular music hits as well as convivial walks on the winding ice paths in the adjacent park.

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