Vienna's Historical Music Venues, Vienna

Vienna's Historical Music Venues (Self Guided), Vienna

Austria is synonymous with classical music almost to the point of obsession, and to call Vienna the "Music Capital of the World" would not be an exaggeration. It was the home and workplace of some of the greatest ever musicians such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Strauss, Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert and many others. Follow this self guided walk to visit some of the venues where these music greats have performed their best work. You are in for a treat!
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Vienna's Historical Music Venues Map

Guide Name: Vienna's Historical Music Venues
Guide Location: Austria » Vienna (See other walking tours in Vienna)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Author: leticia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Theater an der Wien (Opera House)
  • Musikverein (Vienna Philharmonic)
  • State Opera House
  • Cafe Frauenhuber
  • Michaelerkirche (St. Michael's Church)
  • Niederosterreich Palace
  • Collalto Palace
Theater an der Wien (Opera House)

1) Theater an der Wien (Opera House)

Splendid architecturally, well organized, and with a program of shows that hosts the most important artists in Europe year-round, Vinenna's oldest standing theater is a pleasure for tourists. You can read interviews with singers who say that they love it, too, because of its intimacy and the way its acoustics show off the voice.

Theater an der Wien was opened in 1801; a statue above the original Millöckergasse entrance (around the corner from the present main entrance) shows its founder, Emanuel Schikaneder, playing Papageno in Mozart's "The Magic Flute". The building is also closely linked to Beethoven, who lived here while working on "Fidelio" (his only opera, celebrating the triumph of marital love and female heroism over the cruelty of official tyranny), but also to Johann Strauss Jr, whose operetta "Die Fledermaus" was premiered on 5 April 1874 and has been part of the regular repertoire ever since.

The spirit of musical history probably adds to one's enjoyment, but the performances one sees here – including daring performances of 20th- and 21st-century works – are wonderful in themselves: imaginative and effective staging, fine orchestras and choruses, and exceptional singers. Tours of the foyer, auditorium, and stages (with a sneak peek into the cloakrooms and mask collection) sold at the box office cost €7 per person and are a wonderful way to get the entire history and see backstage areas.

Opening Hours (Box Office):
Mon-Sat: 10am–6pm; Sun / Holidays: 2–6pm
Musikverein (Vienna Philharmonic)

2) Musikverein (Vienna Philharmonic)

Two concert halls in one building, designed in the 1860s with dazzling gilding inside. The larger of the two, the Grosser Saal ("Great Hall"), has some of the best acoustics in the world – along with Berlin's Konzerthaus, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and Boston's Symphony Hall – and is the unofficial home of the great Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which gives regular sell-out performances, while the other hall, the Brahms Saal, is used for smaller-scale chamber concerts.

The Musikverein's most prestigious event is the annual New Year's Day concert, a tradition started under the Nazis in 1939, and one which is now broadcast live around the world to an estimated 50 million viewers from 95 countries. If you are lucky to be in Vienna during the regular season (September-June), go for a real concert instead of a tourist-oriented one. While tickets for "proper" concerts may be sold out months in advance, other times they will be on sale up to the start of the performance. In any case, use the official box office on the left side of the building or the official website, as agencies are known to take a hefty commission.

The concert hall itself also has a rich musical history, as the place where Johann Strauss Jr. personally conducted the waltz "Freut Euch des Lebens" (Life Let Us Cherish – composed for the opening ball), and where Arnold Schönberg unleashed atonal music – or as Schönberg preferred to call it, "the emancipation of dissonance" – on an unsuspecting and unready Viennese public.

Why You Should Visit:
The building is intricately beautiful and the guided tour, fascinating.
The area itself is very happening so you should be checking it out.

One must enter a computer lottery to win the chance to buy tickets for events, but it is well worth the effort.
One could also get a (cheaper) last-minute standing room ticket if one tries.
State Opera House

3) State Opera House (must see)

The State Opera House is an impressive structure with an equally impressive company of performing singers. The history of this location dates all the way back to around the 1860s. The place was originally called the Vienna Court Opera. That name was changed by the Habsburgs in 1920 during the early formation of the first Austrian Republic.

Many of the members of the Opera end up performing with the Vienna Philharmonic. The group has a large repertoire of very famous pieces as well, such as La Traviata, La Clemenza di Tito, and Verdi’s Don Carlo. You will see many very famous singers coming to this venue to sing. Some of the world’s most famous directors have also earned their fame here – from Gustav Mahler to Herbert von Karajan and Claudio Abbado. Apart from the singers and orchestra, the building itself is worth the visit. The State Opera offers guided tours of the location in 12 different languages. They are available every day of the week and last for around 40 minutes.

Do not buy opera tickets from the dressed up people outside on the street – they don't sell real tickets!
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Cafe Frauenhuber

4) Cafe Frauenhuber

Vienna's oldest café, which has been going since 1824, is, as you'd likely expect, unchanged and traditional: vaulted ceiling, huge chandeliers, deep burgundy upholstery, newspapers on racks, classically attired waitstaff and no recorded music. One little change is that these days they have an outside terrace, but there is still one other good reason to come: the café's storied history, including performances by Mozart and Beethoven. The former gave his last concert in public here on March 4th, 1791 (the famous Piano Concerto No. 27), while the latter was a regular as patron and pianist, having usually sat in the back room which is easily visible from the front.

The waiters expect you to walk in and seat yourself – something that is unexpected to foreign visitors who think that such beautiful "period restaurant" must require that they be seated. No, no, go ahead and take the menu, sit down and try the usual fine Viennese fare of schnitzel, beef goulash, and either Kaiserschmarr or Haustorte for dessert. As well as these, they serve good breakfast and a range of vegetarian dishes.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 8am–11pm; Sun & Holidays: 10am–10pm
Michaelerkirche (St. Michael's Church)

5) Michaelerkirche (St. Michael's Church)

The oldest building on Michaelerplatz, and the source of its name, Michaelerkirche was first built in the 13th century, though the Neoclassical facade, added in 1792, somewhat obscures this fact. The high polygonal Gothic bell tower from the 16th century may be seen from far away, having become one of the Inner City's symbols. Above the entrance, on top of the pediment, resting on Doric columns, stands a group with winged angels and St. Michael slaying Lucifer (1725). These sculptural figures were executed by the Italian sculptor Lorenzo Mattielli, who also sculpted the Hercules figures at the Hofburg entrance, just opposite the church.

Inside, the church retains its plain Gothic origins, but sculptor sculptor Karl Georg Merville's "Fall of Angels" steals the show: a monumental stucco alabaster Rococo sculpture, tumbling from the ceiling above the high altar. The gilded pipe organ (1714) – Vienna's largest Baroque organ – is very fine; it was once played by the 17-year-old Joseph Haydn, who lived next door in a small attic room. The very first playing of Mozart's unfinished "Requiem" first took place here on December 10, 1791, in a requiem service for the composer. Just to the right of the church's entrance, you will find two dark reliefs commemorating said performance.

Off the north choir is the entrance to a huge crypt, discovered by U.S. soldiers in 1945, when they forced open its doors, which had been sealed for 150 years. Found lying undisturbed for centuries were hundreds of mummified former wealthy parishioners, clothed in their burial finery that was perfectly preserved by the rarefied air within.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 7am–10pm; Sun & Holidays: 8am–10pm; free admission
Crypt Tours (DE/EN):
Thu-Sat: 11am / 1pm (Apr-Oct), except on church and public holidays
Niederosterreich Palace

6) Niederosterreich Palace

Palais Niederösterreich holds a special place in Viennese history as the site of a revolution, the birthplace of a republic, and a host to famous musicians. It was originally the seat of the Estates House of Lower Austria, from 1861 the State Assembly building and from 1918 the Parliament of the new Republic of German Austria; add to this having been the focal point of the Viennese 1848 uprising and you can see why it's a building with rich history.

So far as music is concerned, Franz Liszt performed here in 1822, Beethoven held a similar performance in 1825, and Schubert premiered some of his works in the palace, too. After the legislature and the ministries moved out in 1997, the building underwent substantial renovations and restoration work, and is now used for concerts, exhibitions, and for private functions and events.

Easy to locate on Herrengasse – the preferred address of the nobility from the time the Habsburgs moved into the Hofburg Palace until the fall of the dynasty in 1918 – in an area teeming with pubs, bars and restaurants and some amazing architecture, so well worth checking out if you're in the area.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8am–5pm
Collalto Palace

7) Collalto Palace

In the second week of October 1762, shortly after the Venetian patrician family Collalto acquired this palace on Schulhof Strasse, a young music prodigy named Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart performed with his sister Nannerl in its original splendor as part of their maiden trip to the city. Mozart himself was only six years old and it was his first public engagement. The host, Count Collalto, was so impressed by the young talent that he even published a poem afterwards in homage to the event. A few days later, Mozart would famously go on to perform for Empress Maria Theresa at the Schönbrunn Palace.

Unfortunately, the palace is not to the public, but a plaque outside commemorates the historic occasion: "It was in this house in the 2nd week of October 1762 that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) made his first performance in the city that would become his home and destiny (The Viennese Mozart Community, 1956)".

Take a walk around the back of the nearby church (Kirche am Hof) into Schulhofplatz to look at the tiny restored shops which occupy the space between the buttresses of the Gothic choir. In Bognergasse, to a side of the church, is the Engel Apotheke (pharmacy) at No. 9, with a Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) mosaic depicting winged women collecting the elixir of life in outstretched chalices.

Walking Tours in Vienna, Austria

Create Your Own Walk in Vienna

Create Your Own Walk in Vienna

Creating your own self-guided walk in Vienna is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Vienna's Art Nouveau Architecture Tour I

Vienna's Art Nouveau Architecture Tour I

To see some of Vienna’s most architecturally intriguing buildings, take this self-guided walking tour that will introduce you to the city's 20th-century landmarks, most of which revolve around the Viennese Secession movement, or the Austrian Art Nouveau. From Otto Wagner's massive Postsparkasse to the towering Urania Observatory, these then unconventional buildings brought an...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Vienna Old Town Walking Tour

Vienna Old Town Walking Tour

Encircled by the grand Ringstrasse, the historic Old Town of Vienna, known as Innere Stadt, is a designated World Heritage Site. Today, the “inner city” abounds in upscale shops and cafes lining pedestrianized Kärntner Strasse and Graben, with art galleries and restaurants dotting the surrounding streets. This self guided tour offers you a chance to visit Stephansplatz dominated by Gothic St....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Klimt Paintings Tour

Klimt Paintings Tour

Gustav Klimt's name is indelibly linked with Vienna and its art. He was a public figure in the city and a founding member of the Vienna Secession who resisted the conventions of the national art establishment to become a wildly influential figure in the Jugendstil (or Art Nouveau) style. While he lived a rather secluded life, his paintings snatched such critical accolades as first prize at...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Famous Homes of Vienna

Famous Homes of Vienna

From creative artists to big thinkers, Vienna was the home residence for a number of celebrated people. Talented musicians, composers, architects, and even famous psychologist once resided in this beautiful city – once the capital of a great empire. Follow our self-guided walk to tour the former dwelling houses of Strauss, Mozart, Beethoven and Freud, now converted into museums which acquaint us...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Old Town Chocolate Stores

Old Town Chocolate Stores

Vienna is famous for its mouth-watering confections. In its specialty shops and boutiques, usually located on the ground floors of historic buildings, you will find the best roasted coffee, high quality chocolates, sweets, wafers, cocoa and, of course, Mozartkugels. Don’t hesitate to visit the wonderful chocolate stores in the Old Town featured in this guide.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles
Vienna Introduction Walking Tour I

Vienna Introduction Walking Tour I

A city of green parks, opulent architecture and elegant shopping, crowded theatres and boulevards for leisurely sauntering—Vienna is rightfully regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The etymology of its name is subject to a debate in which some say it comes from vedunia ("forest stream"), which subsequently produced the Old High German “uuenia” (“wenia”), the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Top 16 Austrian Things to Buy in Vienna

Top 16 Austrian Things to Buy in Vienna

Vienna stool, Viennese schnitzel, Viennese waltz, Vienna sausage, Viennese apple strudel... There's so much Vienna to it, that you might think you've heard it all. Luckily, chances are that you haven't and there's much more in store left to be discovered about this fascinating...
7 Ultimately Austrian Foods to Taste in Vienna

7 Ultimately Austrian Foods to Taste in Vienna

Once the center of the vast Hapsburg Empire, stretched from France in the West to Russia in the East, Austria has embraced many ethnic influences in its cuisine over the course of centuries. Many of the country's distinctive dishes reflect its multinational heritage. Coffee culture, for...