With Vienna’s 24-hour curfew lifted and a general reopening scheduled for May 19, Vienna is slowly awakening from hibernation – and aside from old favorites awaiting our return and Kaffeehaus waiters practicing their infamous eyerolls, several new attractions await those venturing back into the city center. Here are 5 upcoming or recently opened events and hotspots you may have missed while socially distancing at home!
A Whale at the MQ
Opening today at the MQ’s main courtyard, Salzburg-born artist Mathias Gmachtl’s Echoes – a voice from uncharted waters is an installation in the form of an 17-meter-long whale, a 5-ton wake-up call raising awareness for the extinction of life underwater wrought in steel. Created over 12 months in cooperation with several marine biologists, the colorful sculpture uses sensors to better demonstrate the danger of noise pollution to species that rely on sound for communication and echolocation: if visitors get too close, the lighting dims and whale songs emanating from the sculpture gradually grow quiet before disappearing completely. See it until June 11, when the installation moves on to Lugano and Montreal!
The Wiener Festwochen Become the Wiener Festmonate
After COVID-19 forced a smaller line-up and a delay until last year, Vienna’s premier culture festival is back for its 70th anniversary with numerous (pandemic measure compliant) concerts, plays, exhibits and multi-disciplinary performances and happenings by local and internationally renowned artists. With events spaced out from May to November rather than over a few weeks as usual, highlights include New York-based The Wooster Group’s (pictured) version of Brecht’s The Mother, British playwright Alexander Zeldin’s trilogy The Inequalities and the Festwochen’s traditional opening concert – broadcast live on ORF2 and 3sat without an audience. The festivities commence next week, starting with Maria Hassabi’s performance art piece Here at the Secession – free entry on the first day!
Matto de Pizza Is Mad About the Pie
Opening in late March, this new artisanal pizza bar is already a runaway hit, boasting long waiting lines for takeaway even during lockdown. Right next to the popular Tuchlauben Eissalon, it’s easy to understand the buzz: their dough is made of three different types of Italian flour and kneaded for 48 hours to achieve optimum consistency, and topped with authentic gourmet fare like Salame Napoli, Mortadella, bufala, Amalfi lemons and many more. Particularly popular is their pizza mortazza – fior di latte, provolone, mortadella, artichoke cream and topped off with roasted pistachios. The best part: they sell by the slice, so just order several if you’re indecisive!
(current opening hours)
Tue-Fri 12:00-15:00 Sat 12:00-16:00
A Stairway to Heaven at Stephansdom
If you haven’t been to the 1st district lately, you may be surprised to see a neon golden ladder glowing atop the south tower of Vienna’s landmark Stephansdom. A symbol of hope created by artist Billi Thanner out of aluminium, gold paint and neon lighting, the Himmelsleiter (ladder to heaven), actually begins within the cathedral, with its first 18 rungs starting at the baptistery and an additional 33 rungs going 36 meters up the tower to a height of 136 meters. Up since April 3 as a special Easter message, the Himmelsleiter will remain until Sep 30 due to popular demand – as we can all use a reminder that heaven awaits.
Lena Hoschek Opens New Flagship Store
Five years after opening her first flagship store to resounding success, Austrian fashion phenomenon Lena Hoschek has moved to new premises, carefully crafting her vision of a luxurious salon to create a singular shopping experience. Famous for her retro-chic contemporary takes on traditional Austrian floral designs, Hoschek’s extreme attention to detail extends beyond her dresses and into her interior decoration, with thoughtful details like bespoke counters, opulent wallpaper with a pomegranate motif and music playing from vintage radios. Just a few blocks away from her previous store on Goldschmiedgasse, her new location is also near her recently opened concept boutique for kid’s couture Bunny Bogart, already a favorite among hip parents.
Mon-Fri 10:00-19:00 Sat 10:00-18:00