What are the top things to do in Leipzig, Germany? Is the city worth a visit? Here’s everything you should know about Leipzig attractions.
Thanks to its wide range of museums, galleries, and concert halls, Leipzig is every art lover’s haven. From exploring the historical Romanesque churches, cellars from the 16th century to Art Nouveau buildings, there is no shortage of things to do in Leipzig.
Leipzig got its name from international trade fairs due to its location at the intersection of two key trade routes, Via Regia & Via Imperii. And since the Holy Roman Empire times, Leipzig has been an epicenter for trade, music, and publishing. It has never lost its place as a hub for learning, trade, and culture to date.
If you’re planning a visit this cultural city, don’t worry about where to start or what to do in Leipzig. There is tons of stuff to do in Leipzig, from shopping, touring, and enjoying an evening or night out.
Shopping options are plenty ranging from flea markets, souvenir stores, luxury boutiques, to department stores. Since its home to famous poets and composers like Felix Mendelssohn and Johann Sebastian Bach, museums created in honor of these important figures are also compelling Leipzig tourist attractions.
Here are some fantastic things to see and interesting things to do in Leipzig you should consider.
Best Things to Do in Leipzig and Its Surroundings
1. Tour the Augustusplatz
Located at the east end of Leipzig city, Augustusplatz is the largest square in Europe. In this square, you can explore cathedrals and several historical landmarks. Also, this square hosts festivals, concerts, and seasonal markets all year round.
The city high-rise building is located at the Augustusplatz. This 467-foot tall city High-Rise (Kroch-Hochhaus) is one of the tallest buildings in Leipzig. At the roof of this magnificent building is an observation platform where you can catch the incredible panoramic views of Leipzig city.
When you’re in Augustusplatz, don’t miss visiting the Opera house and Gewandhaus Concert Hall, especially if you’re a fan of classical music. In these places, you’ll enjoy entertainment and harmonious performance of the classicals.
Other notable and must-see buildings in Augustusplatz include Neues Thearter, Museum of Fine Arts, The New Augusteum, Europahaus, and Mendebrunnen.
2. Enjoy the Melodious Performances of St. Thomas/ Thomaskirche Choir
Dating all the way back to the 12th century is this neo-Gothic and Romanesque church. Attending Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church) should be top on your things to do in Leipzig.
After its massive destruction during WWII, it was meticulously reconstructed before its grand reopening to the public in 2000. Some of the scenic features in St. Thomas church include:
- Bronze epitaphs of prominent figures
- The marble baptismal font portraying biblical scenes
- A statue of composer Johann Sebastian Bach.
In this 13th century church, Johann Sebastian Bach was the cantor between 1723 and 1750. The church has also been his burial site since 1950. His statue is one of the key tourist attractions in St. Thomas church.
On Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays, you can stop by to listen to St. Thomas choir motet performance. It is one of the most prestigious choirs globally and will only cost you around €2. After the Sunday concert, be sure to take a tour of the church’s (1702) Baroque tower.
Another interesting fact about this church is that the famous Mozart played the organ here in 1789, and Richard Wagner also got baptized in this church.
3. Explore the Bach-Museum
Right opposite St. Thomas Church is the Bach museum. This museum displays Johann Sebastian Bach’s life and works.
The treasure room is one of the most exciting things to see in the Bach museum. In this room, they display glass cases where Bach kept his hand-written manuscripts.
Because of the high sensitivity and delicacy of the documents, their display is constantly rotated. In other words, they are displayed for a few months and remain hidden for the rest. If you’re lucky, you may find them on display.
In the Bach museum, there are also musical instruments that Bach played, including the console of an organ, a violone from his orchestra, as well as a viola d’amore that a close buddy, Johann Christian Hoffmann, designed for him.
There is also a display of Bach’s family tree. Here, you can trace his family members and find out the members that got involved in music, the ones that were organists, court musicians, instrument makers, and even cantors.
4. Spend an Afternoon at Leipzig Zoo
Founded in 1878, Leipzig zoo is one of the oldest zoos in German. The zoo, which spans over 27 hectares, is home to 850 different species and more than 5,000 wildlife from Asia, Africa, and South America.
Kept in natural enclosures are the rarest animal species like tapir, eastern quolls, Chinese Pangolin, Baikal seal, and Siberian tiger. The Leipzig zoo has 6 themed exhibits, an aviary, an aquarium, and an ape enclosure.
Leipzig zoological garden has become a pioneer of new habitat concepts such as the Gondwanaland biome and Pongoland. The Pongoland indoor project houses Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Orangutans, and Bonobo.
Here, you’ll enjoy commentary and feeding of the animals in some selected enclosures. Leipzig zoo entrance fee is around €21 for adults and €13 for kids between 6 and 16 years. You may enjoy reduced rates if you get lucky, for example, if you visit the zoo 3 hours before closing.
5. Grab a Bite of Leipzig’s Signature Dish, Allerlei
This dish is a mix of sautéed or steamed asparagus, carrots, peas, and morel mushrooms. It is usually served with crayfish and bread dumplings. It’s also believed that this dish was a 19th-century creation in Leipzig as a ruse against marauding tax collectors and soldiers.
Only a handful of Leipzig restaurants prepare this regional dish using traditional methods to date. But, you can be sure to get an original one at Auerbachs Keller. Opened in 1525, Auerbachs Keller is one of the best and second oldest Leipzig restaurants that have remained consistent and serves a wide array of authentic Saxon dishes and beers.
Downstairs, they have a wine bar with numerous wine cellars that even Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Queen Elizabeth II, and Martin Luther also frequented. This wine bar has been in existence since 1438, which makes it the coolest spot to enjoy a drink whilst immersed in Leipzig’s city’s rich history.
6. Check Out the Ever-Fresh Produce in the Markt
Markt is an old rectangular square center with numerous shops and restaurants. In the winter season, the Christmas market is normally held here. So if you happen to be in Leipzig around Christmas time, be sure to check it out.
The market square has an Easter market and a weekly produce market at other times of the year. Also, there are occasional weekend markets and concerts in contemporary times. For instance, during the gothic festival (Wave- Gothic Treffen), the world’s largest gothic festival, they display medieval themed stalls, as well as sideshows such as jousting in the market square.
The Markt architecture appeal is a blend of the old and the new trends. To the east, the Markt neighbors the Old Townhall arcades. The Northern side is the newly rebuilt Alte Waag building, which was Leipzigs hub of trade fairs for centuries and housed the city scales.
To the southern side are the new conversions and buildings representing silhouettes of Leipzig’s historical buildings.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Leipzig
7. Visit the Altes Rathaus, Old Town Hall
On your next trip to Germany, include visiting Altes Rathaus, among your top things to do in Leipzig. Founded in 1556, Altes Rathaus is a key example of Renaissance architecture adorned with gables, mullioned windows, and a tower.
This 2-story building is the most stunning historical landmark in Leipzig. It has a sophisticated ballroom that hosts exhibitions, events, and concerts all year long.
In this hall, you can visit the Museum of City History to learn in-depth details of the Leipzig development history from the medieval era to the present day. One of the most striking displays in the museum is the miniature city model from the 19th century.
The Altes Rathaus is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. If you visit this place, be sure to check the earliest texts in German, including Sachsenspiegel’s hand-written copy, the custumal of the Holy Roman Empire, and the 13th-century law-book.
8. Enjoy the Crazy Night in Leipzig
The nightlife at Leipzig is pretty exciting and entertaining. There are lots of things to do in Leipzig at night.
Numerous vibrant pubs are conveniently situated in Leipzig city center, and all are packed with bars, taverns, wine cellars, and even nightclubs. You can go into one of the bars and grab a drink or two after sightseeing the Leipzig city.
Thanks to the well-planned pedestrian pathways, you can even barhop and experience the diverse nightlife options. Be sure to try different Leipzig beers like Gose (top-fermented beer) and Schwarzbier (black beer).
9. Visit the Grassi Museum
The Grassi Museum also called ‘Museums in the Grassi,’ is one of the most amazing Leipzig attractions. It hosts three separate museums, including the Musical Instruments Museum, Ethnography Museum, and Applied Arts Museum. The museum was named after Franz Dominic Grassi, an Italian businessman who lived in Leipzig.
Franz had been bequeathed more than 2 million marks in the Leipzig city upon his death that helped built the ‘Old Grassi Museum’, Mende Fountain, and Gewandhaus. That ‘Old Grassi Museum’ became too small for the growing number of collections, which prompted the then director to start the ‘New Grassi Museum’ construction project – done between 1925 and 1929.
There are beautiful pieces dating back between the 15th and 20th centuries in the musical instruments museum. On the other hand, the Ethnography museum boasts of over 200,000 exhibits from South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Australia, Oceania, America, Africa, and Europe.
Perhaps the most interesting museum is the applied fine arts museum. This is a contemporary exhibition space hosting modern artwork by up-and-coming city artists and designers. The applied arts museum also hosts art deco ranging from glassware, ceramics, and furniture.
10. Check out Leipzig Hauptbahnhof
Covering 8.3 hectares, Leipzig Hauptbahnhof is the largest train station in the world by floor area. This station is no typical train station as it also has a facade that is almost 300 meters long.
Leipzig Hauptbahnhof also doubles up as a museum. There are 5 historic locomotives on track 24, including the 1930 aerodynamic DRG Class SVT 137 diesel locomotive and WWII era DRB Class 52 steam engine.
Around 20 years ago, the station’s concourse was turned into a 3-story shopping mall with high street shops and boutiques.
11. Marvel at the Leipzig’s Panorama in the Panometer
A trip to Leipzig wouldn’t be complete without a tour of the Panometer. Watching the present theme in this unusual museum should be top of your list of the things to see in Leipzig.
Back in 1909, a 161 foot tall and 187 foot in diameter gasometer, situated in the southern of Connewitz, was converted into a visual panorama by Yadegar Asisi, an Austrian artist.
The Panoramas has been showing different themes since 2003, and it gets updated after 2 or 3 years. Some of the past visual panoramas included stuff like the Amazon, Mount Everest, Ancient Rome, and the Battle of Leipzig. The Titanic panorama remained on display between 2017 and 2019.
From 2019 to the present, the panorama on display is the Carola’s Garden. When watching the garden’s pictures, it gets so up close that you can even see the pollen sticking on a bee’s legs.
Thematic exhibitions accompany each visual panorama. Until now, the panoramic pictures are around 98 feet high and 344 feet in circumference, and they remain the to be the largest pictures in the world.
See related: 66 Interesting Facts About Germany
12. Go See the Mendelssohn-Haus
The Mendelssohn-Haus should be part of what to see in Leipzig. That is because the Haus is the only preserved 19th-century private apartment in Leipzig. It belonged to composer Felix Mendelssohn who moved in with his family in 1845 and passed away in 1847, still residing in this apartment.
In 1997 on Mendelssohn’s 150th birthday, the apartment was converted into a museum to display his life and work. The museum shows some hand-written documents, original furniture, and watercolors that he composed.
In 2014, the museum was updated with a new and interactive display. The exhibition lets the visitors feel what it’s like to conduct an orchestra.
The grounds of the museum are maintained as historic gardens. And what was previously known as the coach house is now a chamber music venue.
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