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New Year Celebrations in Vienna

At the change of year, the whole of Vienna is given over to partying and dancing. Whether you start the New Year in style at the New Year’s Eve Ball at the Imperial Palace or celebrate it on the streets of Vienna – the choice is all yours.
 
Around New Year, Vienna becomes the place to be.

For changing the dateline in style, no other city beats Vienna. The last days of the year become a whirl of concerts and entertainment. While the Vienna Symphony traditionally performs Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, the Vienna Philharmonic is playing a selection of waltzes, polkas and operetta tunes, and its festive New Year's Day concert is a big social event. Tickets for all three concerts are drawn without exception in February via the website of the Vienna Philharmonic. Despite this, there's no need to miss the New Year's Concert: that's because it's shown live on TV in 90 countries as well as on giant video walls both at the New Year's Market on City Hall Square and also on the square in front of the Vienna State Opera.

On both evenings, the State Opera and the Volksoper give gala performances of Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus. The State Opera Fledermaus will be screened live on the video wall on Karajan Platz in front of the Opera House from 7.00 pm, where it can be watched for free. Other musical events at the change of year can be enjoyed at the Musikverein, Konzerthaus, Theater an der Wien and the Kammeroper.  And, if you got the tickets well in advance, you can toast the turn of the year at the 'New Year’s Eve Ball’ in the highest style imaginable. The ‘New Year’s Eve Ball’ in the Hofburg ballroom is a time for rustling ball gowns, glistening jewellerey and the imperial majesty of the Austro/Hungarian Empire of yore. Just as the Habsburgs used to celebrate the New Year!

Vienna also turns the inner city into one big celebration. Starting at 2 pm on December 31 until 2 am on January 1, Vienna's old city centre transforms into a vibrant party arena. Thousands of people follow the New Year's Eve Trail, in the city center, at City Hall Square and in the Prater. Along the famous trail, dozens of gastronomes serve punch and culinary treats, while numerous stations provide entertainment with a show program, waltzes, an operetta, rock, pop and folk music as well as a DJ line-up.

Waltzing into the New Year in Vienna is an experience everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. The place to do it is under the brilliant chandeliers of the world's largest 'outdoor-ballroom' on Graben Street. The Vienna Dance Schools even offer open-air crash courses in the waltz, for those who need to learn or brush up on their dancing skills. New Year galas are held in the City Hill and Vienna’s leading hotels, while the Majestic Imperator train, a ‘palace on rails’, allows you to ride into the New Year in luxurious style.

Those who want to take off into the New Year in romantic style should have a ride in one of the old carriages of the Giant Ferris Wheel at the Prater, where from the top overlooking the illuminated panorama of Vienna, they can raise a toast to the city with a glass of sparkling wine. Another romantic way of ringing the New Year is to view the lights of the city from a boat trip along the Danube. Or you can make your way to the Kahlenberg, Leopoldsberg or Cobenzl, hills on Vienna’s fringe providing the best view of all the fireworks.
 
As midnight approaches, St. Stephen's Cathedral becomes the rendezvous of all revellers. Just before the old year comes to an end, the music stops and the countdown begins, culminating in the booming chimes of the 'Pummerin' from the cathedral bell tower, to the accompaniment of the Strauss's Blue Danube Waltz as midnight passes.

All throughout Austria you will experience fireworks. Innsbruck for example has brass band parades and evening fanfares in the Old Town at New Year's; Graz and other smaller cities also stage a string of events to celebrate.
 

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  • Silvester in Wien © Wien Tourismus / Karl Thomas Silvester in Wien © Wien Tourismus / Karl Thomas
  • New Year's eve ball at the Imperial Palace in Vienna © HOFBURG Vienna New Year's eve ball at the Imperial Palace in Vienna © HOFBURG Vienna
  • Silvesterfeiern in Wien © Österreich Werbung/Diejun Silvesterfeiern in Wien © Österreich Werbung/Diejun
  • Silvester in Wien © Österreich Werbung, Foto: Popp Silvester in Wien © Österreich Werbung, Foto: Popp
  • Neujahrskonzert in der Staatsoper in Wien © Oesterreich Werbung, Trumler Neujahrskonzert in der Staatsoper in Wien © Oesterreich Werbung, Trumler

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