Imperial magnificence can be like ice cream – wonderful, but at some point you just can’t face another dollop of Baroque architecture, even if it does come with Rococo sprinklings. Vienna’s Museumsquartier (Museum Quarter or MQ) is the hummus and organic celery option.
- Pedestrianized complex of modern art museums, cultural venues, bars, shops and restaurants
- Hosts regular events and temporary exhibitions
- Access to the complex is free, but you need tickets for individual museums or the backstage tours*
- See also: Vienna Museums | | Klimt in Vienna
Museums and attractions
Opened in 2001, the Museumsquartier is modern, alternative, urban, and home to some pretty impressive art museums…a place of vibrant culture, a place to relax, a place to wonder what the artist was smoking when he came up with THAT idea.
The site was once the Habsburgs’ stables, built in the early 18th century and housing hundreds of animals and dozens of coaches and carriages. The architect responsible – Fischer von Erlach – also designed Schönbrunn Palace.
On a dark, moonless night, you might still pick up the scent of a stallion and the whispered commands of an imperial groom. Or not.
The three main attractions within the MQ (for visitors) are:
- Leopold Museum (famous for the huge Schiele collection)
- MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art)
- Kunsthalle (temporary exhibitions)
But the MQ hosts way more than these three. For example:
- Zoom Kindermuseum (for children)
- Architecture center
- The Winter at the MQ winter event
- The Weihnachtsquartier design market
- Shops, cafes, bars, restaurants & freely-accessible exhibitions
Ticket & visitor information
Each institution within the MQ has its own opening hours and sells its own tickets. However:
- The three main attractions (Leopold Museum, MUMOK, Kunsthalle) are included in the Vienna Pass sightseeing pass
- The MQ Point (info centre and shop at the main entrance) sells combination tickets
- Opening times vary, but don’t ever expect much to happen before 10 am. However, with all those cafes and restaurants, you can enjoy a breakfast coffee while you wait for your museum to open
- Tours in English* introduce you to the complex and take you behind the scenes
- In the summer, open-air bars appear in the main courtyard. The evenings turn the MQ into a scene of relaxed revelry
- Look for little surprises around the complex. For example, an entrance passageway in the southeast has a spooky ceiling fresco by French artist Stéphane Blanquet
- If you don’t want to pay to go into a museum, you can still pick up arty trinkets and art books (mostly in German, of course) from the MQ Point and adjoining bookstore
MQ events take place throughout the year, so don’t be surprised to find a temporary art installation, concerts or even a curling rink in one of the courtyards. Main events include:
- Wiener Symphoniker – an annual (free) open-air concert from one of the world’s greatest orchestras
- Winter at the MQ – the Museumquartier’s alternative to a Christmas Market. More salsa than Santa
- Vienna Wine Fest – the first one was held in 2019, and I’m hoping this becomes an annual event
- Electric Spring – a two-day music festival featuring the best of hip hop, etc.
- Weihnachtsquartier – a weekend exhibition and market showcasing local designers, held during Advent
How to get to the MQ
Subway: travel to the Museumsquartier stop on the U2 line. The MQ is quite big, so is also adjacent to the Volkstheater stop on the U2 and U3 lines. There are various entrances, but the three main ones are marked on the map below.
Tram/bus: the 49 tram and 48A bus stop at Volkstheater. Other close-by stops are Getriedemarkt (bus 57A) and Ring/Volkstheater (trams 1, 2, D and 71).
There’s an underground car park just in front of the MQ: a reasonably-priced Contipark Parkgarage.
Address: Museumsplatz 1/5, 1070 Vienna | Website