Outdoor Cinephilia

The perfect end to a summer’s day at Vienna’s “walk-in” movies

On The Town | Ana Costa | June 2013

On summer nights, daylight lingers longer – almost begging us to stay outside. But after the sun sets on your dinner, the movie you go to next doesn’t need to take you back indoors. Vienna offers a wide variety of open-air cinema.

There are pre-screenings of new films, contemporary, cult and classic movies, and even opera is on offer. Many show films in the original language with English or German subtitles. Admission is free at the Sommerkino am Rathausplatz, at Kino unter Sternen (Cinema under the Stars), next to the Staatsoper, and at the wandering VOLXkino in den Bezirken that screens movies in various public parks, from June through September.

For €4 to €9, you can visit the Arena Sommerkino, Kino im Schloss (Cinema in the Castle), and Kino am Dach (the Rooftop Cinema) – although the spectacular nightscape at these last two may detract from the film!


Kino by Kino

A long-standing classic, sommerkino on rathausplatz is one of the biggest and most popular screening sites in the city, showcasing a programme, which includes opera, ballet and jazz concert screenings as part of the 2013 Film Festival. If opera is all you need, selected performances from Mozart to Wagner and Strauß to Puccini are broadcast live on a massive screen next to the vienna state opera. Entering its 24th season, the volxkino, opens its programme on Karmelitermarkt with the Austrian premiere of Jesus Henry Christ (2012), a film based on Dennis Lee’s Academy Award-winning short film of the same name.

kino unter sternen at Karlsplatz, is an exception to the usual outdoor cinema. Directors, musicians and actors are invited to talk in front of the screen an hour before the film starts. The programme concentrates on Austrian cinema and exiled actors and directors, who found a new place to work and live in Hollywood.

Schloss Neugebäude in Simmering hosts the kino im schloss. The castle has two courtyards, the first encompassing restaurants and bars of all sorts and second set up for movie screenings with popcorn, nachos and drinks on offer. It is self-dubbed, the "romantic open-air cinema", but it may be of less interest for pure anglophiles as all films are shown in German.

Above the din of the Gürtel is the kino am dach at the Hauptbücherei (Main Library). As the name suggests, it is located on the roof with views of 7th and 8th districts, leading downtown. You can enjoy a film, a nice cocktail at the bar and the sunset over the rooftops of Vienna.

For the month of August the arena sommerkino takes over at the popular alternative music venue in the 3rd. Last year’s line-up consisted of documentaries with football-related topics and the 2013 programme is yet to be unveiled. But it is sure to include Austrian and European films, with very few Hollywood flicks.

The options this summer take you from memorable classic films to B-movies you never heard of, and let you enjoy premieres you missed in winter under the summer sky. A comfy cushion, a big blanket, some aromatic popcorn and good company will do the rest.


Film Festival 2013 am Rathausplatz

30 June – 6 Sept., Admission: Free 



Opera live on the Square

Apr., May, Jun. & Sept., Admission: Free 

1., Opernring 2



Kino unter Sternen 

29 Jun.– 20 Jul., Admission: Free

4., Resselpark, Karlsplatz




6. June – 21 Sept., Admission : Free 

10., Columbusplatz & 2.,Karmelitermarkt



Kino im Schloss.

14 Jun. – 29 Aug., Admission: Free 

Schloss Neugebäude, 11., Otmar-Brix-Gasse 1



Arena Sommerkino

Opens 5 Aug., Admission: Free

3., Baumgasse 80



Kino am Dach

28 June – Sept., Admission: Free

Hauptbücherei 7., Urban Loritz Platz 2




5 July – 30 Aug. Admission: Free

Gartenpalais Schönborn

8., Laudongasse 15 – 19 



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