If you like your Christmas markets sandwiched between mighty imperial buildings, then Maria-Theresien-Platz is another must on your list.
- Wonderful location between two grand museums
- Strong selection of arts, crafts, and food stalls
- Around 70 booths
- 2023 dates: Nov 15 – Dec 26
- …continues as a Silvesterdorf from Dec 27 – Dec 31
- Book a concert experience* in the Viennese Advent
- See also:
The market itself
(View down from the Naturhistorisches Museum)
The setting is, of course, fantastic. This is Vienna at its best.
This location means you can feast on sausages at the market, then view the Feast of Venus by Rubens, then discover how our ancestors coped when the giant animals of prehistory objected to being turned into meat products.
After all that science and culture you might need a bracing drink (also available from the Christmas market).
As well as the two museums, the square borders the Ring boulevard, beyond which lie the giant Burgtor gates and the Hofburg palace complex. The square’s other side leads to the main entrance to the Museumsquartier (MQ).
If that wasn’t enough, the market huts slip around a large 1888 monument to Empress Maria Theresa (1717-1780).
So eat your chocolate-coated fruit below the alert gaze of the lady who famously said:
While other nations do battle, you lucky Austria, you wed.
(The Empress had 16 children to exploit for her peace-through-marriage policies.)
The quality of the stands is, as often in Vienna, high. The only stand there that has plastic toys, for example, is from the Natural History Museum. So we can understand that, given the location and importance to kids.
You’ll find all the usual Christmas market goodies, of course, like traditional snow globes.
Incidentally, the first patent issued for a snow globe was to a Viennese surgical instrument manufacturer (I have questions). The family-run business still makes the globes today and often pops up at different markets.
(A market booth selling specialty chocolates)
My feeling was that 2023 boasts a wider selection of stands offering decorations. Not to mention a few extras, as the location continues to be one of the largest.
Three intriguing stops, for example, on my visit were a stand selling Lithuanian candle houses, another featuring mountains of Italian cheeses and salamis, and the Urban Sidewalker booth with its unusual and lovely maps of Vienna and stylistic representations of famous buildings.
The market takes a similar form to a Celtic cross, where the four ends have the highest density of food and drink stalls. The end nearest the Kunsthistorisches Museum includes some covered areas with bar tables, just in case it rains or snows.
I’d describe the food choice as seasonally traditional: Leberkäse, Langos and Lebkuchen, pastries, pretzels and potatoes in various forms (tornado fries, wedges, baked potatoes etc.), soups and roast chestnuts. But also arancini and French nougat, just to add a touch of international flair.
- Unlike many markets, the Maria-Theresien-Platz version has a temporary toilet facility (costs €0.5 to use)
- This is definitely one that looks best after dusk, with both museums lit up, and a ghostly Empress watching over it all
(Market view before we had to worry about energy costs)
- This is one of the few markets where you can take reasonable photos from above: climb the steps leading up to either museum or go up to the top of the small slope at the MQ side of the square
Sadly, the MQ’s Libelle viewing platform is closed at this time of year, otherwise it would likely offer a rather fine view down over the Weihnachtsdorf.
If you’re still up for more after visiting, you have three diverse options:
- The famous and popular Christkindlmarkt sits a bit further along the Ring boulevard (clockwise on a map)
- Go anticlockwise around the Ring to eventually find the Art Advent Christmas market on Karlsplatz, which has a unique artistic and organic flavour to it
- Alternatively, if you want to enjoy a Christmas market without too much of the Christmas bit (or much of the market bit, frankly), then wander up to the MuseumsQuartier for their winter event
2023 dates & times
The 2023 dates are November 15th to December 26th, after which the market transitions into a Silvesterdorf New Year market (held from December 27th to December 31st).
Opening hours are:
- 11am to 9pm (Sun to Thurs)
- 11am to 10pm (Fri and Sat)
- Closed earlier on December 24th (4pm), 25th to 30th (7pm) and 31st (6pm)
How to get to the square
Subway: Take the U2 or U3 line to Volkstheater or the U2 to Museumsquartier, then a short walk
Tram: The D, 71, 46, 49, 1 or 2 lines all stop at Ring/Volkstheater (requires a short walk)
Bus: Take the 48A to Ring/Volkstheater
Address: Weihnachtsdorf Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna | Website