In Vienna, there are the four seasons—and then there’s ball season. As in waltzes, tuxes with tails, and mandatory floor-length gowns. As in the Opernball (the Opera Ball, held at the opera house, Staatsoper, in March). And the Kaiserball (the Imperial Ball, on New Year’s Eve at the Hofburg Palace). There’s a ball honoring flower growers (January), pharmacists (January), and coffeehouse owners (February). The good news? Most of them—and they count in the hundreds—are open to the public, if you want to shell out big bucks for a ticket.
As for the Imperial City’s real seasons, it’s generally warm and sunny in summer, cold and snowy in winter. In August, temperatures can reach well into the 90s, which drives many locals out of town (and leaves lower rates on hotels for tourists). And while the Christmas holidays can be downright chilly, with average highs not even topping 40, the city is teeming with markets, including the Christkindlmarkt, which goes up in November in front of the town hall. (There are some two dozen smaller markets, too, including one outside Schönbrunn and another near Karlskirche.)
High season, culture-wise, is definitely in May, June, and September, when all of Vienna’s world-class artists—be it from opera, orchestra, jazz, or theater—are all over the calendar. And, happily, this corresponds to the best weather: mild temps (rarely above the 60s), not much rain, and fewer crowds than the bright middle of summertime.