Most things that happen in the Museumsquartier (MQ) complex are like driving down a little motorway exit that takes you away from the mainstream into alternative landscapes.
The Weihnachtsquartier is no different: an exhibition and market with a focus on independent design.
- Dozens of independent labels and designers showcase and sell their wares
- Products include art, fashion, food, jewellery, accessories, and more
- High quality and good for gifts
- 2023 dates: Dec 1-3
- See also:
(The market & exhibition space © weihnachtsquartier.at / photo: Monika Saulich)
If you take around a hundred independent labels and designers and give them a bit of space to display and sell their work, then you’ve pretty much described the Weihnachtsquartier. Billed as a “Christmas” design exhibition with sales, the name refers more to the timing rather than the content.
Usually held over the first weekend of the Advent season, the event offers a chance to pick out something different that wasn’t mass produced and advertised by an unnaturally slim model on TV.
I was surprised at both the quality (excellent) and diversity (ditto) of the products for sale on my visit. Everything from specialist mustards to handmade baby shoes: we got a lot of Christmas shopping done here.
So expect a wide range of products and materials: from leather handbags to Limoges-style porcelain, beeswax cloths to body butters, jewellery to jams.
Equally, don’t think of this as some high-class design fair. The atmosphere is casual and friendly. Most of the designers at the event are local to Austria, so you can add central European flair to the list of product qualities.
Exhibitors have to convince a jury of their worthiness, which eliminates any possibility of the exhibition becoming a junk-filled free for all.
In fact, you can often speak to the designers themselves if you want to learn more about what you’re buying. And all those we spoke to seemed very forthcoming and friendly.
The organisers of the Weihnachtsquartier are the same folk behind the Schönbrunn Christmas market, which is an absolute delight and further evidence for the quality of the event.
Dates, tickets and tips
Well, the good news is the event is free, so no tickets are required. You’ll find it in the western parts of the front MQ tract; when you’re facing the Museumsquartier main entrance from outside, go inside and turn left.
The 2020 and 2021 Weihnachtsquartier fell victim to the hiatus around COVID, but the event returned in 2022 with around 100 exhibitors. Dates and times for the 2023 edition are:
- December 1st: 2pm to 8pm
- December 2nd: 10am to 8pm
- December 3rd: 10am to 6pm
If you visit a little earlier in the year, the same organisers also hold the Pots und Blitz design market, a similar concept to the Weihnachtsquartier but centered around ceramics and porcelain.
Other short-term design markets typically found in Vienna around Advent include Fesch’markt and Edelstoff.
And don’t forget all those Christmas markets, of course, with their arts and crafts stalls.
For example, pop over the road from the Weihnachtsquartier to find one of Vienna’s largest and more traditional ones: the Weihnachtsdorf on Maria-Theresien-Platz.
How to get to the design market
The simplest route is to take the U2 subway (or replacement tram service during construction work) to the Museumsquartier station. For other public transport tips and directions, see the Museumsquartier article.
Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna | Website