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 great for gifts
- 2021 dates: TBA (free entry)
- See also: Wintergarten at the MQ | MQ Vienna Fashion Week
What’s the Weihnachtsquartier?
(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 in the first weekend of the Advent season, the event offers a chance to pick out something different, something unique, something 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. 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 and tickets
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 Weihnachtsquartier was cancelled due to COVID regulations. I’m keeping an eye out for new dates for 2021. Opening hours are typically:
- Friday (2pm to 8pm)
- Saturday (10am to 8pm)
- Sunday (10am to 6pm)
How to get to the design market
The simplest route is to take the U2 subway to the Museumsquartier station. For other public transport tips and directions, see the Museumsquartier article.
Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna | Website