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
- Innovative light projections
- Music, curling, remote-controlled cars & more
- Entry is free
- 2023 dates: Nov 8 – Dec 23
- Book a concert experience* in the Viennese Advent
- See also:
What’s Winter im MQ?
(Press photo of an earlier version © 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.
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 buy punch and snacks. And yes, it has lights. But that’s where the similarities to a traditional Christmas market end.
The various MQ cafés and restaurants open up outdoor areas and/or booths selling food and drink, and you encounter a smattering of appropriate decoration. But you 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 always includes an art installation or two as well as huge visual images projected onto various surfaces like the front façade around the main MQ entrance.
In 2023, those projections appear from dusk and follow a Winter of Love theme conceived by Julia Zdarsky (alias starsky).
Music features in the form of live DJ sets and “winter sounds” courtesy of local radio stations.
And sport plays a role each year, which might sound incongruous until you learn more.
(One of the 2023 light projections by starsky on an outer wall of the MuseumsQuartier; press photo © Osaka)
Curling lanes, for example, fit the winter theme nicely. Oh, and car racing (afternoons on weekends and public holidays): 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.)
The 2023 winter event begins on November 8th and runs through to December 23rd. Formal opening hours are:
- 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