A visit to Vienna’s New Year markets is the perfect way to enjoy the lead-up to the change of the year. The stands at the New Year’s market in front of Schönbrunn Palace are laden with handicrafts from Austria, good luck charms, culinary delights, punch, and mulled wine. Part of the New Year's Eve Trail, the New Year’s Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz (between the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Museum of Natural History) offers a similar variety of attractions. Events on the New Year’s Eve Trail officially kick off on 31 December, 2014 at 3pm. Packed with live music stages as well as food and gift stalls, the trail winds its way through the streets and lanes of the historic city center, with music from waltz to pop to get everyone in the party mood. At midnight, revelers gather on Stephansplatz to hear the ringing of the Pummerin, the great bell of St. Stephen's Cathedral, and to dance to the strains of the Blue Danube Waltz.
Anyone who wants to practice their steps in advance can attend a crash course at one of Vienna’s dance schools during the evening. Beginners can also pick up the basics of the Viennese Waltz at the Vienna Hofburg on the last day of the year: on 31 December at 2pm in the Kleiner Redoutensaal, a waltz class is given by teachers from the renowned Elmayer dance school. The former Habsburg residence will also set the stage for the Hofburg Silvesterball Hofburg on the night of 31 December, 2014. The glittering ball, with dance music from traditional waltz to jazz, features artists from Vienna State Opera and Volksoper Vienna together with big name orchestras. From the grand opening by the debutantes to the public quadrilles at 12:30am and 2am, the programme follows Vienna’s grand ball tradition. Partygoers also dance in the New Year at the capital’s numerous clubs and music venues, and celebrations are held at many of its hotels, as well as at City Hall, which hosts elegant New Year’s Eve galas.
Every year, the Vienna Philharmonic marks the change of the year with the very best in classical music at its famous New Year’s Concert in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein. The concert is broadcast all over the world. Due to exceptionally high demand, tickets for the New Year’s Concert (Jan 1), the dress rehearsal (Dec 30) and the New Year’s Eve concert (Dec 31) can only be obtained via an online draw held on the Vienna Philharmonic’s website. Registration for the ticket draw for the 2015/16 concerts will be possible during January 2015. In line with tradition, Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus is performed at Vienna State Opera House and at the Volksoper on New Year’s Eve. The Wiener Konzerthaus stages a performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony by the Wiener Symphoniker. And entrance to the House of Music is free of charge on December 31.
- New Year’s Market in front of Schönbrunn Palace, Dec 27, 2014-Jan 1, 2015, 1130 Vienna, www.weihnachtsmarkt.co.at
- New Year’s Village, Dec 27, 2014-Jan 1, 2015, Maria-Theresien-Platz 1, 1010 Vienna, www.silvesterdorf.at
- New Year's Eve Trail, 31 Dec, 2014, 1010 Vienna, www.wien-event.at
- Hofburg Silvesterball, 31 Dec, 2014, Hofburg, 1010 Vienna, www.hofburgsilvesterball.com
- New Year’s Eve gala in Vienna City Hall, 31 Dec, 2014, Lichtenfelsgasse 2, 1010 Vienna, www.silvestergala.com
- Vienna Philharmonic, www.wienerphilharmoniker.at
- Vienna State Opera, Opernring 2, 1010 Vienna, www.wiener-staatsoper.at
- Volksoper, Währinger Strasse 78, 1090 Vienna, www.volksoper.at
- Wiener Konzerthaus, Lothringerstrasse 20, 1030 Vienna, www.konzerthaus.at
- House of Music, Seilerstätte 30, 1010 Vienna, www.hausdermusik.at