Should the thought of another soft-lit wooden hut selling Christmas baubles have you reaching for the vodka, consider an alternative to the traditional Christmas market. Try the Winter im MQ event at the MuseumsQuartier while clutching an organic cocktail and wearing an Egon Schiele t-shirt.
- Open-air cafés, restaurants, and art installations
- Traditionally includes:
- Innovative light projections
- Live music, curling, remote-controlled cars & more
- Entry is free
- 2023 dates: TBA (was Nov 10 – Dec 23 in 2022)
- See also:
What’s Winter im MQ?
(Press photo © Alexander Eugen Koller)
The Museumsquartier (MQ) forms the heartland of contemporary culture in Vienna, with its modern art, innovative architecture and never-ending catalogue of performances, exhibitions, workshops, and the like.
And the MQ has its own “Christmas” event, primarily on the main courtyard sandwiched between the Leopold and MUMOK museums.
I put “Christmas” in quotation marks deliberately, and not just because the proper title is normally Winter im MQ, MQ Wintergarten or similar. Consider the event a more paganistic alternative to tinsel and santa hats.
Yes, you can usually buy punch and sausages. And yes, it has lights. But that’s where the similarities to a traditional Christmas market end.
The various MQ cafés and restaurants typically open up outdoor areas and/or booths, and you encounter appropriate decoration. But you really only find crafts and souvenirs in the MQ shop with all its interesting items.
This being the Museumsquartier, however, art and fun plays a central role in the event.
Lights! Art! Music! Sport(?)
The event has always included an art installation or two as well as huge visual images projected onto various surfaces by Lumine artists.
Music tends to feature in the form of live concerts, live DJ sets, and “winter sounds” courtesy of local radio stations.
And sport usually plays a role each year, which might sound incongruous until you learn more.
Curling, for example, fits the winter theme nicely. Oh, and car racing: try your hand on a “winter” course with remote-controlled cars.
All-in-all, the mix of the artistic ambience and refreshingly innovative light displays offers a spirited alternative to the more usual yuletide charms of the rest of Vienna.
This is where the younger elves might come to wind down once Santa’s left the toy factory.
(If you want a more traditional Christmas market, then simply walk out of the main MQ entrance and cross the road to the large market on Maria-Theresien-Platz.)
I don’t have dates for 2023 yet, so watch this space or official channels. For the record, the previous winter event began on November 10th and ran through to December 23rd. Formal opening hours were:
- Monday to Friday: 4pm to 11pm
- Weekends and public holidays: 2pm to 11pm
How to get to the event
The MQ is at the bottom of Vienna’s main shopping street, so well located for some relief from credit card stress.
Subway: take the U2 or U3 lines to Volkstheater or the U2 to Museumsquartier (the two stations are at either end of the MQ complex)
Tram: line 49 stops at Volkstheater. You can also catch lines 1, 2, D, 71, 46 and 49 to Ring/Volkstheater and walk up to the MQ
Bus: take the 48A to Volkstheater or the 57A to Museumsquartier
Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna | Website