From June to August, Vienna transforms into a colorful playground of cultural events, outdoor activities, and endless opportunities for exploration and relaxation. One of the highlights of Vienna's summer is the series of open-air concerts, cinemas and festivals. At Vienna's "Schanigärten" you can enjoy coffee, a glass of wine or refreshing cocktails! For another refreshment, the Danube River and Vienna's many outdoor pools become popular destinations for water-based activities. From art and music to outdoor adventures and culinary delights these are our favourite things to do in summer:
Stroll along the Danube Canal
The Danube Canal definitely adds a touch of charm and life to the city. Created as a side branch of the Danube River, the canal runs parallel to the main river. The canal's banks are adorned with a mix of modern architecture, historic buildings, and vibrant street art, creating a unique blend of old and new. One of the coolest features of the Danube Canal are the many bars, restaurants, and cafes that decorates its shores. During the warm months, they open up their outdoor terraces and provide the perfect spot to enjoy a drink or a meal while watching the ships passing by.
In the evening, the Danube Canal becomes even more enchanting as the city lights illuminate its waters. The reflections of the buildings and bridges create a magical setting perfect for strolling along the river with a date or a friend.
Go for a swim in an outdoor pool
Vienna has a lot of open-air swimming pools that provide a refreshing escape from the summer heat. Some of the open-air swimming pools offer water slides, diving boards, and other water attractions and activities. These outdoor pools, or "Freibäder" in German, are popular destinations for both locals and tourists seeking to cool off and have some fun in the sun.
With its multiple swimming pools all around the city as well as rivers and ponds you will have an amazing beach-like day in Vienna! If you want to know everything about Vienna's best swimming spots read our blog!
Rent a boat at Alte Donau
The former branch of the danube river is a beloved bathing spot for Viennese people as it's technically not a river anymore. The Alte Donau which translates to Old Danube resembles a lake-like bathing spot with a beautiful view on our city's skyscrapers. There you can rent electric boats, stand-up paddle boards as well as little floating islands! Boat renting offers a wonderful opportunity to explore this serene and picturesque waterway at your own!
We also offer a wonderful tour where you have a romantic picnic in an electric retro boat. This unforgettable experience combines the best of both worlds - experiencing Vienna's sights and savoring its flavors simultaneously.
Watch a movie in an Open Air Cinema
Silent Cinema Herrmann Strandbar | @vienna_austria
During the warm summer months, several locations throughout the city transform into open-air theaters.
One of the most iconic open-air cinemas is the "Film Festival at Rathausplatz," where the façade of the Vienna City Hall serves as a grand backdrop for the large outdoor screen. The programme starts at nightfall and includes operas, operettas, classical, pop and jazz concerts as well as musical, ballet and contemporary dance performances. In addition you can find top restaurateurs with an international selection of delicious foods and drinks at numerous stalls from 11 am to 12 midnight.
Another beloved open-air cinemas in Vienna is the "Kino Wie Noch Nie" held at the Augartenspitz in the Augarten park. Surrounded by greenery, this cinema creates a unique and memorable setting for movie nights under the stars.
Beyond these well-known venues, various pop-up open-air cinemas like "Kino am Dach", "Silent Cinema", "Science Fiction im Park", "VOLXkino", or "Kaleidoscope" spring up across Vienna during the summer.
Visit one of Vienna's Open Air Events
Besides the many Open Air Cinemas, Vienna also offers a lot of other Open Air Events! Throughout the season, various squares, parks, and iconic venues transform into dynamic stages for outdoor performances, concerts, and festivals:
Kultursommer Wien, a free open-air festival, transforms neighborhoods outside the city center into vibrant festival zones. Artists from various disciplines, including cabaret, literature, music, performance, dance, theater, and contemporary circus, come together to provide a rich tapestry of cultural entertainment.
One of the most famous open air festivals in Vienna is the Donauinselfest. It's the largest free open-air music festival in Europe. For one weekend each year, a chunk of the the 21km long and 250m wide Donauinsel turns into a huge open-air music festival. The music typically covers various genres, including rock, pop, rap, hip hop, electronic music, swing (yep), folk, metal, and all things in between.
The Africa Days also take place on this island! In August, African music, art, culture, and culinary arts are on the program: During the Africa Days Vienna festival on Danube Island, the continent presents itself at close quarters, also musically with three dozen captivating open-air concerts.
Another free music Festival is the Popfest. Over 50 acts provide an impression of the variety of the domestic pop music scene around Karlsplatz, both open-air and indoors for 5 days at the end of July.
Theater im Park is another great event that takes place between two mighty sycamore trees in the private garden of Palais Schwarzenberg. It offers a different program every day from May to September but focus' on cabaret as well as theater and music.
The city's squares, such as Stephansplatz and Maria-Theresien-Platz, also come alive with various open-air gatherings, street performances, artistic installations and raves!
Visit the amusement park Prater
Known for its iconic giant Ferris wheel, the Wiener Riesenrad, the Prater has much more to offer: It's full of turbulent roller coasters, spooky ghost trains, restaurants, snack stands and a oasis of greenery for relaxing.
After taking a ride on one of the many attractions you can visit one of Prater's restaurants like the famous Schweizerhaus. Besides the classic Viennese culinary specialties, such as Goulash and Wiener Schnitzel, the trademark dish of the restaurant is Schweinsstelzen - and you have to try it! Basically, a Stelze is an huge pork knuckle, which is first boiled with caraway seeds to produce tender salty meat before then being roasted to create the most amazing crispy crackling.
Right next to the amusement park area, you'll find the "Green Prater", the spacious forest and meadow area which was once an imperial hunting ground and was opened by Emperor Joseph II to the public. It's a paradise for walkers, runners, bicyclists and riders. To get an overview, just walk along the tree alley.
Go for a hike at Kahlenberg
One of Vienna's city hiking paths (number 1) is the hiking to Kahlenberg. It's an uphill walk through vineyards and wooded hills rewarded by a marvellous view of Vienna and the Danube.
The starting point and the end of the hike is the last stop of tram line D (Nußdorf). From there the path is 11 kilometres long and the hiking time is approximately 3 and a half to 4 hours. On the way you'll pass Cafés, Restaurants and Heuriger in Wildgrubgasse, Kahlenberger Straße and Nußdorf where you can try Viennese wines and delicacies. You’ll really start to love this trail when you begin to catch the mesmerizing views over the city. Whether you're seeking a serene escape from the city or a chance to embrace Vienna's beauty from a different perspective, the city hike at Kahlenberg is a great activity for a warm summer day!
Eat Austrian food at an Heuriger
Wieninger am Nussberg | @aufgetischtwien
A really authentic gastronomic adventure in Vienna is to drop into a Heuriger! Heuriger are wine tavern typically serving their own traditional in-house wines in a rustic setting.
To experience the true essence of a Viennese Heuriger, head to the outskirts of the city, especially to Grinzing, Nussdorf, Penzing or Ottakring and Neustift am Walde. These neighborhoods are known for their picturesque vineyards and historic wine cellars, creating an idyllic setting to enjoy the local wines and dishes.
As for the wine selection, Heuriger wine taverns showcase a wide variety of white wines, such as Grüner Veltliner and Riesling, as well as red wines like Zweigelt and Blauburger. A typical non alcoholic drink is the grape fruit. To complement the wine, you can enjoy a delicious array of Viennese dishes. From hearty Schnitzel and savory Goulash to Austrian cheeses and delicious pastries, the Heuriger menu and the cold buffet offers a journey into the city's culinary heritage.
Enoy a cold drink at a rooftop bar
Lamée Rooftop | @oli8ia
There are many beautiful rooftop bars in Vienna but they are mysterious beasts though, because you have to really seek them out - they can be hidden in hotels, in top floors of shopping centres and all sorts of quirky places, including massive tram stops. But they are the perfect places heading to for a summer spritzer at sunset with friends, so it's worth it to find them:
One of the rooftop bars is "Dachboden". It's a part of the 25 Hours hotel, but open to the public and has a glorious view into the historic city centre, looking across to Museums Quartier and the Hofburg.
Another famous rooftop bar is Lamée Rooftop. The trendy bright rooftop bar is in the centre of Vienna with a view directly to St. Stephen's Cathedral. They specialise in cocktails and wines here, so your best bet to order is a Kaiserspritzer or Hugo.
Atmosphere Rooftop bar at the top of Ritz Carlton, Aurora Rooftop Bar, Das Oben or Das Loft are worth visiting as well. There are also less fancy rooftops where you have a beautiful view above the city: At the top of Gerngross at Mariahilferstraße is a terrace hidden at Akkakiko and Brandauer. At the rooftop of Wirr am Brunnenmarkt you can overlook a bustinling market.
Enoy some ice cream in the city
Do you love ice cream? Then you’re like us. Strolling through the city's charming streets, it's easy to stumble upon ice cream parlors and inviting cafes that invites you with their colorful displays of gelato and sorbet. From classic flavors like rich chocolate and creamy vanilla to more adventurous options like lavender honey or elderflower, there's something for everyone!
You can find delicious ice cream in Vienna nearly everywhere but our favourite ice cream vendors are the Austrian Eis Greissler, the famous Tichy and the vegan ice cream from Veganista.
Relax in the shadow in a park and have a picnic
On a sunny day in the middle of a picturesque park or watching the sunset from a hill, overlooking the city - with its numerous parks, gardens, and green spaces, Vienna offers you all of the possibilities for a magical picnic! Read our blog post about the best picnic spots in Vienna to find your perfect place to be on a hot summer day!
Main Pic: ©Maciej Bledowski
To-Dos in Summer
6 min reading time
Jul 28, 2023
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