Imperial magnificence can be like ice cream: wonderful, but at some point you just can’t face another dollop of neogothic architecture with baroque sprinklings. Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier (MQ) is the spicy hummus option.
- Pedestrianized complex of modern & contemporary art museums, cultural venues, shops, and restaurants
- Dynamic event and exhibition programme
- Access to the complex is free, but you need tickets for individual museums
- Book a tour of the MQ*
- See also:
Museums and attractions
(Part of the front façade above the main entrance to the complex)
In a few words, the MuseumsQuartier is modern, alternative, urban, and home to some pretty impressive art museums…a place of vibrant culture, but also a place to relax.
The complex began life in the early 18th century as the Habsburg Imperial stables. The Baroque architect responsible (Fischer von Erlach) still influences the cityscape today in such buildings as Schönbrunn Palace and the Karlskirche.
The stables cared for hundreds of animals and dozens of coaches and carriages. On a dark, moonless night, you might still pick up the scent of a stallion and the whispered commands of an Imperial groom. Or possibly not.
The main attractions for visitors within the MQ are:
- Leopold Museum (famous for the huge Schiele collection and permanent exhibition around the era of the Wiener Moderne. Also has a variety of special exhibitions)
- MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art with several special exhibitions on at any one time and often drawing on its own extensive collection)
- Kunsthalle (venue for special contemporary art exhibitions)
- Architekturzentrum Wien (Austria’s museum of architecture, with permanent and special exhibitions)
- FOTO ARSENAL WIEN (a new institution focusing on photography and featuring top international exhibitions)
(Inside the main courtyard with the MUMOK building on the right; press photo © Hertha Hurnaus)
- The Libelle viewing platform and art venue (with a small café up top)
- The Zoom Kindermuseum (for children)
- The MQ Freiraum and MQ Salon exhibition spaces
Numerous kiosks, cafés and restaurants inhabit the area, and all sorts of passageways and other locations offer space for art installations and similar.
The MQ Art Box, for example, features a changing series of installations in a giant glass container. Past contributing artists include the likes of Daniel Spoerri and Jakob Gasteiger.
Ticket & visitor tips
(A side entrance to the complex)
The MQ complex is free to enter and wander around, but each institution within the MQ has its own opening hours and ticket options.
- The MQ Point at the main entrance is the info centre, shop and meeting point for weekly English tours* of the complex and its architectural secrets
- Don’t expect much to happen before 10am. However, with all those cafes and restaurants, you can enjoy a breakfast coffee while you wait for your museum to open
- In the warmer months, open-air bars appear in the main courtyard and the evenings see the MQ turn into a scene of relaxed revelry. The colourful temporary courtyard furniture has become an iconic image of summer in Vienna
- Look for little surprises around the complex, particularly the ceiling frescoes in the various passageways
- If you don’t want to pay to go into a museum, you can still pick up arty trinkets and art books (mostly in German, of course) from the MQ Point and adjoining bookstore
(Front view of the MQ complex and main entrance. Some events take place on this front plaza)
Events in the MQ take place throughout the year, so don’t be surprised to find a temporary art installation, concerts or even a curling rink in one of the courtyards. Events of particular interest to visitors include:
- Winter im MQ: the MuseumQuartier’s alternative to a Christmas Market. More salsa than Santa. Look out for the huge light projections on various facades (November and December)
- Frameout open-air cinema: an eclectic mix of movies to view in the MQ in summer (July and August)
- MQ Vienna Fashion Week: daily fashion shows and more, featuring designers from around the world (September)
- Weihnachtsquartier: a weekend exhibition and market showcasing local designers. Takes place sometime during Advent (late November or early December)
- Art Austria: major art fair with prestigious galleries and works across genres and eras (typically late spring or early summer)
- Pots und Blitz: an autumn ceramics exhibition and market
- Veganmania: vegan market and street food in early summer
- WAMP: design market that makes several appearances a year in front of or inside the MQ
How to get to the MQ
The complex lies close to the centre, just beyond Maria-Theresien-Platz square and the Kunsthistorisches and Naturhistorisches museums.
Subway: travel to the MuseumsQuartier stop on the U2 line. The MQ is quite big, so is also adjacent to the Volkstheater stop on the U2 and U3 lines. There are various entrances, but the three main ones are marked on the map below.
Tram/bus: the 49 tram and 48A bus stop at Volkstheater. Other close-by stops are Getriedemarkt (bus 57A) and Ring/Volkstheater (trams 1, 2, D and 71).
The MQ has an underground car park just in front of it: a reasonably-priced Contipark Parkgarage.
Address: Museumsplatz 1/5, 1070 Vienna | Website