New Year’s Eve in Vienna

December 5, 2012 by

Festivals & Events, Free Things To Do, Things To Do, Unforgettable Experiences

New Year's Eve in Vienna. Photo courtesy of Cha già José

New Year’s Eve in Vienna. Photo courtesy of Cha già José

For New Year’s Eve in Vienna, the city dresses up and becomes party central; its elegant Biedermeier buildings spring into life with a series of concerts and gala dinners, firework displays and street parties. Public transport operates all night, but stores close at around 4pm and reopen only on January 2nd.

1) Spanish Riding School

New Year’s Eve sees a special performance at 11am by the snowy white Lipizzaner horses at Vienna’s famous Spanish Riding School. Book well ahead to be sure of tickets.

Planning a trip? See the Spanish Riding School while on a Vienna Photography Walking Tour!

2) New Year’s Eve Trail

New Year’s Eve sees central Vienna transform into the Silvesterpfad street party around Stephansplatz, Heldenplatz and Prater amusement park with open-air rock and pop concerts, operettas, waltzing lessons and classical and folk performances in the streets. Dozens of stalls selling gastronomic treats pop up around the celebrations and at midnight, the New Year is rung in by Austria’s largest bell, the Pummerin, at St Stephen’s Cathedral.

3)  Gala Night

Dress is strictly black tie for the social occasions of the night; waltz to the strains of the ‘Blue Danube’, enjoy solo performances and feast on multi-course dinners at the lavish New Year’s Eve Gala in the City Hall, or at Vienna’s first Grand Bal, held under dripping chandeliers in the Imperial State Rooms of the Hofburg Palace.

4) Classical Concerts

Vienna resounds to the sound of music on New Year’s Eve. Vienna State Opera performs its annual concert of Die Fledermaus by Johan Strauss, while Mozart concerts are played at the Schönbrunn and Auersperg palaces, the Peterskirche and the Imperial Hall.

5) Fireworks

The New Year is welcomed in with firework displays throughout Vienna. The biggest are found at Prater and in Heldenplatz. Get to Prater early for a ride on the giant Ferris wheel before the fireworks, or watch the displays from Leopoldsberg or Kahlenberg.

6) Recovery Tips

Smooth away any headaches on New Year’s Day in Vienna with a restorative brunch and the world-renowned live concert from the Vienna Philharmonic played on a big screen outside the City Hall.

- Sasha Heseltine

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