You’ve paid for your flight, your accommodation and your holiday wardrobe…but now the budget is a little tight. Don’t worry, there are plenty of fun and interesting things to do in Vienna that are absolutely free! So, you can see the sites and make the most out of your time in this beautiful city without pulling on those purse strings.
See the city from the clouds, enjoy an evening at the opera, attend a huge 3-day festival, or get cultural and check out a museum or two. There’s truly no end to the amazing free things to do in Vienna.
Enjoy a picnic on top of the Kahlenberg
A short journey from the city, nestled in the middle of a beautiful Vienna woodland, you will find the majestic Kahlenberg. Known to the Viennese people as the ‘Local Mountain’, Kahlenberg stands at 480m high and offers unparalleled views of the city. Pack up a picnic and a bottle of wine, head up to the very top of this mighty mountain, and enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of the city of Vienna below.
On very clear days, you will also be greeted by views of the stunning Schneeberg-region and the small Karpaten-region too. Enjoying a sunny afternoon or a romantic sunset at the top of Kahlenberg is one of the must-do free activities in Vienna.
Watch a movie under the stars
The Viennese Civil Hall puts on magical events all year round, but when summer rolls in, the hall becomes alive with open-air cinema screenings. From mid-June until the beginning of September, you can sit out under the stars and watch some of the most spectacular movies from the world of ballet, opera, jazz, and world music. The 300 square meter screen truly makes the Viennese Civil Hall come alive, as the vibrant colors of each film dance across the extravagant architecture.
As an excited crowd begins to form hours before the movie starts, it’s a good idea to arrive early to secure a seat. For a magical evening of cultural cinema during summer, a visit to the Viennese Civil Hall open-air cinema is a top free thing to do in Vienna.
Dance until you drop at the Donauinselfest music festival
We are used to spending hundreds of Euros to visit any form of a music festival or concert. But the wonderful people of Vienna put on the biggest open-air festival in Europe each year for absolutely free! Also known as the Danube Island Festival, for three days, on the last weekend of June, 1,500 musicians take to the 11 stages and keep the party going from morning to night.
If you’re more into adrenaline-fuelled sports, then the Danube Island Festival also has you covered, as amazing sporting events such as bike shows, rock climbing, and endurance test happen each day. With over 3 million attendees and 600 hours of entertainment, this is one free festival you don’t want to miss!
Stroll through the Schonbrunn gardens
If you want to add a little culture to your trip, then visiting the breathtakingly beautiful gardens of the famous Schoenbrunn Palace is a must.
Walking through the gorgeous seasonal flowers, along the lush green lawns, and past the glorious Roman ruins, fountains and statues will keep you busy all afternoon. Entering the watch tower and palace have an extra charge, but if you’re feeling in the mood to explore, you can read more about the tour in our Top 10 Things to do in Vienna blog post.
If you are visiting Vienna in summer, then you will be lucky enough to see the free Vienna Philharmonic concert held in the Schoenbrunn Palace gardens each year. To add a historical flair to your visit, a trip to the Schoenbrunn gardens is a magical free thing to do in Vienna.
Marvel at the MUSA artwork
If you’re a fan of contemporary art, then the MUSA (Museum Start Gallery Artothek) should be at the very top of your free things to do in Vienna list. This famous museum has one of the largest collections of contemporary art in Austria, and did I mention that admission is completely free? Visit the Exhibition Space and enjoy works from the latest MUSA collection.
Get ahead of the crowds and see the budding artists of Vienna in the Start Gallery. Or, rent a piece of art from the Artothek, where you can pick from a selection of over 1,700 drawings, paintings, and prints to display at home for 2.50€ a month.
Watch a Viennese Opera
This is no joke. You can actually see a world-famous Viennese opera for absolutely free in the beautiful city of Vienna. During the months of April, May, June, and September, specially selected performances are projected onto a giant screen right outside of the Vienna State Opera.
No matter what the weather, avid Opera fans fill the 180 seats, and are rewarded with an evening of magic, jaw-dropping performances, and spectacular music.
So, grab your umbrella, throw on some layers, and enjoy one of the most surprising free things to do in Vienna.