As Viennese as Schnitzel, the city’s annual ball season evokes images of richly decorated baroque interiors, elaborate gowns and tailcoats, and much old-world charm to go with the waltzes. But that’s just the surface of the contemporary ball culture – the tradition has managed to stay relevant as diverse social strata and professional associations were eager to have their own balls.

Less conventional events popped up next to long-established institutions, mirroring the society in this metropolis. Every year, over 400 hundred balls are held in Vienna; here’s a small selection to get you started.

1. The One with the Long History | Vienna Opera Ball

Meticulously planned, the Opernball remains the biggest and most prestigious social event of the year, oozing sophistication and a healthy dose of nostalgia.

When: February 20, 2020

Where: Vienna State Opera

2. The One with the Inclusivity | The Vienna Rainbow Ball

Catering to liberals and progressives, the Regenbogenball celebrates diversity and just being yourself with a flamboyant party for and by the LGBTQ community.

When: January 25, 2020

Where: Parkhotel Schönbrunn

Alternative balls: Hip Hop Ball, Wiener Technoball, Wiener Vegan Ball.

3. The One with a Social Conscience | The Vienna Refugees’ Ball

Organized by the Integrationshaus, this multicultural ball promotes awareness and strengthens the city’s community and cohesion while boasting one of the very best live music lineups in the city.

When: February 22, 2020

Where: Rathaus (city hall)

4. The One with All the Beautiful Flowers | The Blumenball

Vienna’s municipal gardeners go all out for their annual shindig, decking the Rathaus in fresh flowers from the city’s green houses, and gifting potted plants to the ladies.

When: January 17, 2020

Where: Rathaus (city hall)

5. The One with the Best Coffee | The Kaffeesiederball

With coffeehouse culture such an integral part of the city’s identity, it’s no surprise that the Viennese Coffeehouse Owner’s Association’s ball is a major social highlight.

When: February 14, 2020

Where: Hofburg

6. The One with the Musicians | Vienna Philharmonic Ball

Traditionally held in the storied Goldener Saal of the Musikverein, the world-famous orchestra makes a point of playing the music themselves at their annual ball.

When: January 23, 2020

Where: Wiener Musikverein

7. The One with All the Cake | Confectioners’ Ball

Have you got a sweet tooth? Then the Zuckerbäckerball is for you! Held by Vienna’s bakers and confectioners, offering amazing sweets and pastries for the festivities is a point of pride for the organizers.

When: January 16, 2020

Where: Hofburg

Still uncertain? We also have a quiz that helps you choose a ball.

For more options check the whole ball calendar for the 2019/2020 season.

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Jusztina Barna attended a bilingual English-Hungarian high school where her love for literature and linguistics was planted, further sprouting once she gained an English degree. In Vienna since 2016, she also studied German and Business Management and is currently preoccupied with the human side of technology and digital exclusion.