Variational inference is a scalable technique for approximate Bayesian inference. Deriving variational inference algorithms requires tedious model-specific calculations; this makes it difficult to automate. We propose an automatic variational inference algorithm, automatic differentiation variational inference (ADVI). The user only provides a Bayesian model and a dataset; nothing else. We make no conjugacy assumptions and support a broad class of models. The algorithm automatically determines an appropriate variational family and optimizes the variational objective. We implement ADVI in Stan (code available now), a probabilistic programming framework. We compare ADVI to MCMC sampling across hierarchical generalized linear models, nonconjugate matrix factorization, and a mixture model. We train the mixture model on a quarter million images. With ADVI we can use variational inference on any model we write in Stan.