Vienna’s cultural appeal, in fact, is what draws an ever larger number of gay and lesbian travelers to the city. Both the State Opera and the Volks Opera offer some of the world’s best opera performances. The new Museums Quartier (MQ for short) is on the list of must-see destinations, and the KunstHaus Wien often showcases major gay-themed exhibits and queer artists from Mapplethorpe to Pierre & Gilles.
And while Vienna does not have a single predominantly gay and lesbian neighborhood, the city has a quite lively and diverse gay and lesbian scene. Don’t expect a large number of “gay only” places in Vienna, but rather an abundance of “gay friendly” and mixed places throughout town. Though many historic figures that have helped shape the city in centuries past are left in an historical closet, Vienna’s young gay couples can be seen walking hand-in-hand along the Ringstrasse Boulevard.
Some of the most fun gay spots in town are located around the Naschmarkt area. The Naschmarkt, a vast open-air food market is any chef’s dream and connects the 4th with the 6th district of the city. Here one can find the G&L Community center with the popular Café Willendorf, the ornate Café Savoy and the twentysomethings’ hangouts Chameleon and Mango Bar, among other places.
In recent years, several queer events have taken center stage in the cultural landscape of the city. The spectacular “Life Ball” HIV charity event in May continues the Viennese Ball tradition in a truly colorful form, the “Wien ist Andersrum” (Vienna is Queer) cultural festival in early June offers a smorgasbord of off-beat cultural performances with G&L sensibilities. The Rainbow Parade (late June) is one of the fastest growing Pride Events worldwide.