10 Things to Do in Vienna in October

I can think of a long list of reasons, including monuments, museums, palaces, gastronomy and shows, for you to visit Vienna in October.

Carmen Navarro

Carmen Navarro

8 min read

10 Things to Do in Vienna in October

Vienna in Autumn | ©Jose.Jim

Vienna is a romantic city filled with exceptional architecture, a wealth of museums, activities and events. When the gates open for the Viennale, the Wiener Wiesn folklore festival comes alive, the best of local gastronomy meets the Oktoberfest, and the amazing Halloween celebration along the Prater, it's clear that the best month of the year to visit Vienna has arrived.

In October the temperature is usually perfect for enjoying the parks, monuments, gardens and the many attractions. It's 31 days of festive atmosphere. Whether you're looking for a weekend getaway or a stopover before Innsbruck, there are plenty of things to see and do in Vienna in October.

1. Enjoy a museum night

Albertina Museum Exterior| ©Sandor Somkuti
Albertina Museum Exterior| ©Sandor Somkuti

Better known among the Viennese as ORF for its German acronym (Lange Nacht der Museen), Museum Night is an October classic. Austria's museums and private art galleries open their doors to welcome visitors from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. and it is a unique occasion to visit Vienna's best museums such as:

The regular activities are still going on and the whole city adds special events such as a visit to the charming Liechtenstein Palace, usually closed to the general public. And best of all, you can visit all the museums with one ticket. Yes, for only 15 € you will have a kind of all-inclusive tickets. By the way, public transport services also join this annual move, although I still recommend you to book the Vienna Explorer Pass for the rest of the days.

Specifically, Vienna's offer also includes some guided tours such as the Third Man Canal, as well as some free tours with the careful attention of local guides. Really, it 's all advantages with this initiative, but remember that the massive attendance makes advance reservations necessary.

Book the Vienna Explorer Pass

2. Visit Schoenbrunn Palace and enjoy the autumn colors of its gardens.

Autumn in Schoenbrunn Palace| ©a_marga
Autumn in Schoenbrunn Palace| ©a_marga

Your photos of your visit to Schoenbrunn Palace will tell everyone that you've been to Vienna, but if you're looking for a postcard-perfect picture amidst the vibrant reds and yellows, you should take your photos in October.

In the mid-1750s, architects Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and Nicola Pacassi designed and built this Baroque palace as the summer residence of the imperial family, the Habsburg dynasty. And on October 14, 1809, the end of an era was signed in the palace against Napoleon, a historic date for the nation.

Its monumental scale and luxurious design made Schönbrunn Palace one of the most emblematic buildings of imperial Austria. The building has been a World Heritage Site since 1996. Access is easy, from the Vienna Metro you will find a stop with the same name. If you book a visit to Schonbrunn Palace, you will know:

  • The circular Chinese salon, where Maria Theresa held private meetings.
  • The Great Gallery where the imperial banquets were held.
  • The Sissi Path, an emblematic place that often makes it to the big screen.
  • The Gloriette, with the best exterior views of the complex.
  • The impeccable gardens with the Tiergarten Schönbrunn, the world's first zoo.
  • A fleet of 600 cars is exhibited in the Imperial Carriage Museum.

Book your visit to Schonbrunn Palace

3. Travel back in time to the Baroque Organ Festival or Quintessence Organ Festival

Baroque Organ Festival| ©LocalJuliam
Baroque Organ Festival| ©LocalJuliam

On October 1, the Quintessence Organ Festival organizes another first-class musical event in the Franciscan Church in the center of Vienna. Classics by Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Vivaldi, or Beethoven touch the heart of the audience instead of appealing exclusively to the intellect. Each piece is a sublime celebration in which the audience experiences a sensory experience.

Ingenious presentations, choreographic contributions and cleverly humorous arrangements are the ingredients for a new approach to the enjoyment of classical music.

Don't forget that Vienna is the capital of classical music and no matter what time of year you go, you can book:

Buy tickets for a classical music concert

4. Take a cruise on the Danube

Danube River Cruise| ©Marco Verch
Danube River Cruise| ©Marco Verch

It's not all about museums, galleries and palaces. Gastronomy is one of the must-do activities in every traveler's agenda and what better way to do it than cruising the Danube?

Booking a dinner cruise on the Danube is perhaps one of the main attractions that Vienna has and is rarely mentioned, but I recommend that you let yourself be seduced by the Danube in all its royal and romantic splendor, especially if your getaway is in good company.

With the temperature warm, sail along the romantic illuminated banks and enjoy the excellent onboard restaurant service on any of the available cruises.

Book a Danube Dinner Cruise

5. Don't miss the Festival of Contemporary Music

At the Wiener Konzerthaus.| ©Andreas Praefcke
At the Wiener Konzerthaus.| ©Andreas Praefcke

Although Vienna is considered one of the cradles of classical music, the great musical culture of its inhabitants is not limited to it. A good example, in which you can participate, is the city's Contemporary Music Festival.

This festival takes place every year from late October to early November. Although there are several venues, the main venue is the Konzerthaus, one of Vienna's most beautiful concert halls.

Within its program, which usually has more than 50 performances, you will find all genres of music, so you are sure to find something you like.

Book tickets for a classical music concert

6. Let yourself be enchanted by the magic of Halloween in Vienna

Halloween in Vienna| ©daduda Wien
Halloween in Vienna| ©daduda Wien

An encounter with vampires in a dark corner of a club, a visit to the terrifying Museum of Torture(Foltermuseum) or perhaps for those with sharp humor, a trip into a coffin at the Museum of Funerary Goods (Bestattungsmuseum) are some of the activities you can do on this terrifying night.

If you want something more, you can also join a marathon with your ghostly costume, celebrate Queerloween or live the magic of Halloween with glamour at The Contouring. You'll need between €5 and €20 to access these personalized experiences, but if you're looking for a family-friendly venue without missing out on the spooky atmosphere, meet the entertainment veterans at the Prater.

Halloween at the Prater

The Prater is a large public park characterized by the Würstelprater (amusement park) and flanked by arching chestnut trees. A place where Halloween is celebrated in style. This complex has been open to the public since 1895 and still retains some of its iconic attractions. Among realistic costumes appear artists, acrobats and musicians and the whole family can enjoy musical theater, its passage through the Black Mamba, the Tornado or the Magic Rotor, among many other proposals. Admission is free and you pay per attraction between €1 and €5.

7. Experience Wiener Wiesn-Fest

Wiener Wiesn-Fest| ©Harald Klemm
Wiener Wiesn-Fest| ©Harald Klemm

The Wiener Wiesn-Fest attracts more than one million visitors every year at the legendary Kaiser Wiese in the Prater. For many, it is **Austria'**s biggest folk festival- and for good reason! In addition to the local beer, lively music and typical regional cuisine, there is something else that definitely makes a difference: around 700 hours of live music are offered over three weeks.

The Wiener Wiesn-Fest is also a great experience because it is held in three splendid tents. Spectators can enjoy it in person or via social media, and it now offers a hybrid experience. In addition to the popular shows, such as the 20-piece Jäger Marching Band or the evening parade with flags and torches through the Prater, musicians from Austria and Bavaria also perform online.

Practical information

  • Where: Prater/Riesenrad.
  • Price: depends on the number of days you want to attend.
  • When and hours: first days of October. From Monday to Saturday it is open from 11:30 am to midnight, while on Sundays it closes at 8 pm.

8. Surprise yourself with the Hofburg Palace is at the top of the list

Hofburg Palace| ©Dennis Jarvis
Hofburg Palace| ©Dennis Jarvis

Today its facilities are open to tourists and serves as the workplace of the Austrian federal president. On this tour you will visit its rooms and even the famous Sissi Museum, focusing on the life of Empress Elisabeth, who was called "Sissi", her childhood, her tragic death and her impact on fashion.

The Hofburg Palace has a rich history spanning nearly 800 years and its 2,600 rooms have served as the residence of emperors, kings and even presidents. Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical architecture present showy rooms fused with Renaissance architecture.

This is the largest palace in Vienna and houses interesting exhibits such as the Ephesus Museum, the Austrian National Library, the Albertina Museum, the Austrian Film Museum and the Vienna Papyrus Museum. In October, with the arrival of national celebrations, parades and events around the palace are recurrent.

9. Attend the Austrian National Day parade and enjoy the fireworks

Austrian National Day Parade| ©Expo Austria
Austrian National Day Parade| ©Expo Austria

Visit the land of Sigmund Freud on the National Day of the Republic of Austria! The Heldenplatz square in front of the Hofburg Imperial Palace hosts a military parade. This holiday created in the early 20th century commemorates Austria's first day of independence and political neutrality on October 26, 1955.

It is a day of rest when the streets are decorated with national flags, colored lights and fireworks. The patriotic holiday is also an opportunity to get to know Austria better.

In addition, you can take the opportunity to enter the office of the Austrian State President in the Hofburg Palace and visit the palace museums free of charge.

10. Reserve space for extravagance and fashion at the Blickfang design fair

Blickfang Vienna| ©Jonathan D
Blickfang Vienna| ©Jonathan D

Looking for an unusual gift, a new piece of jewelry, an innovative lamp or a handmade chair? The Blickfang Design Fair is the ideal place to buy that souvenir that everyone will be talking about. You can just enjoy the extravagance of proposals that are as sustainable as they are inspiring, or you can satisfy your curiosity for the latest trends in art.

The products and items on display are as varied and colorful as the 175,000 m² museum building. Since 2013, Blickfang has been held in the MAK's Joseph Kranz Gasse wing, a uniquely designed venue.

The permanent exhibitions delight in equal parts. So consider this visit to Blickfang a double dose of inspiration and guilty pleasure, then tour the MAK museum itself. Book your tickets.

Practical information

  • Where: Weiskirchnerstraße, 3.
  • Price: about €12. Tickets can only be purchased online.
  • When: from around October 20 onwards

Weather in Vienna in October

Autumn in Vienna| ©I C
Autumn in Vienna| ©I C

You may have the idea that the weather in Vienna in autumn may be too cold. In reality, temperatures have not yet dropped too much, so October is considered one of the best months to enjoy all the things to see and do in Vienna.

Although it is always a good idea to check the forecast shortly before you travel, highs generally hover around 15 degrees Celsius, while lows average around 9 degrees Celsius.

Book Vienna Explorer Pass