According to a local legend, Vienna residents got a privilege to host a "Krippenmarkt" as early as 1298. This old tradition has thrived up to now.
The most famous and biggest spot is the City Hall Square, home of Vienna Christmas Dream. The skating rink, festive decorations, carousel, and a reindeer train add to the festive atmosphere.
The Christmas Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz gathers people between the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Art. It features a stage where Christmas carols and music is performed. There is also a carousel and two curling lanes.
The Christmas Market on Freyung is perhaps the most traditional, and it has been held there since 1772. Now it's a great place to buy souvenirs and presents, traditional crafts, and art.
And, of course, if you are in Vienna during the holidays you can't miss the market by Schönbrunn Palace. Its imperial architecture offers a romantic setting for a winter walk.
The markets usually open in late November and last a few days after Christmas, so you have plenty of time to meet with friends, have a mug of punch or mulled wine, and eat lots of chestnuts!