One of the largest cultural spaces in Europe playfully celebrates the arts, of all shapes and sizes.
The MuseumsQuartier is Vienna's art museum playground, a jumble of modern and Baroque buildings housing some of the city's newest museums. Spread over 60,000 square metres, the MuseumsQuartier (or MQ) has three major museums and countless smaller museums, all wrapped up in the long elegant terrace of the former court stables. Started in 1998, it was conceived as a modern counterpoint to the foreboding 19th-century museums just across the road.
Pass through its rather grand stable gateway and you'll be greeted with three distinct styles of building, housing three art galleries with rather different approaches. Straight ahead is the Kunsthalle Wien, with its deceptive neoclassical front. Inside you'll find bright modern exhibition spaces, used to show off the latest in contemporary arts. Every visit here is a surprise, as all exhibits are temporary.
To the left is the Leopold Museum, a giant tiled white cube that holds an in-depth collection of early 20th-century Austrian art. The collection was built up over 50 years, and includes many drawings and paintings by Klimt, as well as the largest exhibition of Egon Schiele works in the world. These are set among 19th-century works, showing how the art of the Vienna Succession differed – and how it evolved into Austrian Expressionism.
Finally, to the right, is the great grey monolith of the MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art). This breaks away from a purely Austrian focus, and has works from across the world of 20th-century Modern Art. Here you will find Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono among its 9,000 paintings, sculptures and films.
If that isn't enough, the MQ has plenty more art on offer. The Architekturzentrum Wien delves into the twists and turns of modern architecture, with some eye-opening exhibits. The ZOOM Kindermuseum, lets kids get hands-on in exploring art and culture. And there's a host of spaces in Quartier21 that are rented out to artists-in-residence, temporary exhibitions and artistic groups.
It all makes for a heady, if exhausting experience. But the MQ has that covered too. When it's time for a sit-down, try out the now-famous Enzis in the courtyards. This multi-coloured outdoor lounge furniture has become something of a trademark for the MQ – just sit back and relax in one for a while.