Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates (view the "External Resources" section below). Austrian federal government has introduced a multi-week lockdown, thus, all the events have been suspended until further notice in early December. Only based on the applicable legal provisions and well-grounded security concept may the organizers proceed with the Christmas markets opening.
With its cozy traditional Christmas markets and beautiful balls, Vienna is a great Christmas destination. At night the city sparkles with millions of LED lights. You won't see too many cartoon and popular culture characters or multiple colors. Vienna keeps the displays simple and elegant. The city center is illuminated by shimmering cascades and glowing arches.
Light displays along the streets of Vienna
Giant crystal chandeliers of Graben consisting of 200,000 LED lights is one of the most iconic Vienna Christmas light displays. From Graben, you can walk to Stephansplatz to look at the cathedral and the Haas Haus illuminated facade. The Christmas market is a good spot to warm yourself up with some mulled wine.
From Stephansplatz, you can walk along the beautifully decorated Kärntnerstraße with hanging light displays created by 550,000 LED lights and about 50 km of crystals.
If you walk from Stephansdom to Rotenturmstrasse, you can see light displays with color—large red shimmering spheres decorate the street.
Lights of the Ring is another display worth seeing. To warm up, you can do it on the Ring tram, passing many decorated shops, luxurious hotels, and markets.
Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace (November 20–December 31, 2020) and Christmas Market & New Year's Market at Schönbrunn Palace (November 21–December 26, 2020); postponed until further notice
Vienna's winter fairy-tale walk is not complete without visiting two palaces, the Belvedere and the Schönbrunn. Their sight will leave you in awe. At the Belvedere, there is a Christmas market which is worth checking out. Schönbrunn Palace hosts a large lavishly-decorated Christmas tree.
Vienna Christmas World on Rathausplatz (November 13–December 26, 2020; postponed until further notice)
The most famous and biggest spot is the City Hall Square, home of Vienna Christmas World. The skating rink, festive decorations, carousel, and a reindeer train add to the festive atmosphere. The Rathaus lights are changing every year, bringing new styles to the city.
There are about two dozen Christmas markets across Vienna, all adding to the festive atmosphere of the city. Pick the one closest to you and enjoy holiday lights while sipping on hot wine or punch.