Leipzig is one of those young cities, with a lot of cultural potential, nightlife and a good vibe that catches you.
Leipzig was a large city in communist Germany (DDR), now renovated by young people looking for a free and alternative city. Since then many artists and entrepreneurs have come to Leipzig, changing the cultural landscape.
Let’s discover Leipzig together!!
- How it all started
- Where to sleep: Accommodation
- What to do in Leipzig
- The Hauptbahnhof train station
- The historic centre (Altstadt)
- Plagwitz and Baumwollspinerei
- S-Bahn stop Wilhelm-Leuschner-Platz
- Panorama Meter
- Various things
- Fiesta and Electronic Music
- Rent a bike
How it all started
With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, buildings were abandoned, as many people left Leipzig in search of new opportunities in large western cities such as Munich or Düsseldorf. An estimated 100,000 people left the city the same year the Wall fell.
After the fall of communism, many industries closed because they were no longer competitive. Between the exodus of talent and the lack of private investment, Leipzig, like other DDR cities, entered a period of decline.
Now, the city is an example of urban design and sustainable growth driven by young entrepreneurs and artists.
The city has much more population capacity than it houses. Today only 550,000 people live in Leipzig. This makes a lot of space for ateliers, social clubs, associations, bars, cafés, discotheques, etc. The city has many buildings and semi-abandoned ships waiting to be reused.
This alternative urban philosophy is the one that made Berlin famous 20 years ago when the alternative Berlin underground roll began.
Where to sleep: Accommodation
In Leipzig you can find very cheap and good accommodation.
- Sleepy Lion: Independent and alternative hostel. Some Leipzig lovers bought an old building and now they have converted it into a Hostel.
- Five Elements: Large hostel, well located with shared or private rooms. (~16€)
We stayed on the last visit in an AirBnb with a private room. In the flat lived a young couple who opened their house to us for little more than 25€.Últimamente la opción de AirBnB está tomando mucha fuerza en Europa. Muchas veces siendo mejor opción si se viaja 2 o más personas y más de 1 noche. Si no lo conoces, aquí comento las ventajas e incovenientes. En general cuestan algo menos que los hoteles de Booking, y tienes un apartamento con cocina y sofá (que se agradece mucha después de caminar durante todo el día).
Ábrete una cuenta de Airbnb y aprovéchate del 10% de descuento en tu primera reserva! Nota importante: cuando ya hayas usado tu descuento, podrás hacerte otra cuenta a nombre de tu hermano, madre, padre, abuelos, amigo, familiar, etc y seguir disfrutando del descuento!
What to do in Leipzig
We began the visit to this wonderful city, one of my favorites in Germany, not only for what to see, but for the people and lifestyle.
The Hauptbahnhof train station
My trips to Leipzig, with some exceptions, always start (and end) at the main train station, in German the Hauptbahnhof. This season, as well as Graz‘s, transmits me very good sensations, for its grandiosity, the immensity of its roofs or, probably, for those moments that Leipzig has given me.
You’ll probably start your trip to the train station, too, won’t you?
The season is huge, I’ve always been fascinated by your great hall. But this station has a particularity that makes it different:
It was designed to be a double station.
In its origins, it functioned as a double station, since one wing served to travel to East Germany and the other wing to the West. It was like two divided stations that had to be crossed by a strict border.
Today, there are also stations of this type in Europe, for example in Basel with its French and Swiss part. Also the airports have clearly separated their international part from the local one.
For this reason, it has no main entrance, but 2 parallel and symmetrical entrances where it can still be read from outside: “Westhalle” and “Osthalle“.
The historic centre (Altstadt)
Leaving the train station, we are in front of the central area. The centre of Leipzig is all within walking distance of Marktplatz, Augustinerplatz and the Bach church.
A few hours may be enough to visit the centre for a leisurely stroll.
Augustus Platz Square
This is the central square of the old town (Altstadt).
In it coexist several architectural styles through the years of history of this square: a baroque architecture, a communist with austere and gray buildings with concrete facades, or the new university with glass finishes and a very modernist style.
One day I was sitting on one of those benches in Augustus-Platz doing a puzzle, an older man sat next to me and we started talking… He told me how it was possible to build the steel and glass buildings in that square. That he didn’t like anything and that they were very ugly.
In fact, the building of Augusteum and Paulinenkirche, which were damaged in the war, but had repairs, were nevertheless dynamited by the communists to impose their style and ideals.
Today (since 2013) there is a glass and steel building that reminds us of the Augusteum that was there one day.
The City-Hochhaus Tower
In this tower, something happened to me that will mark me forever, or at least that place. Every time I pass near that tower, my hair gets creepy.
One summer afternoon we were sitting at the foot of the tower when a man committed suicide. She fell just 2 meters from Paula, sitting on her back, me and Javi were sitting on the bench looking at her when we saw something fall from the sky.
The noise was thunderous. There was hardly anyone on the street. The shock wave even broke one of the crystals on the façade.
We didn’t think about it much at the time, but… in addition to the indelible image so unpleasant it could have killed us as well.
Someone from the university came out after a while with the gold-colored blanket and a plastic ribbon. I guess it wouldn’t be the first time. From then on, he avoided passing near the tower.
Let’s go back to the Tower
The “Panorama Tower” dominates the skyline of Leipzig, it is the tallest building by far (142 meters).
The design of the building is quite peculiar, has the form of an open book standing, as the building was part of the university. It was then sold to an American investment bank and there are currently offices for rent.
To go up to the upper viewpoint you can get there in an elevator paying 3€. You will also find a bar/restaurant.
Johan Sebastian Bach and Leipzig
Bach worked as a composer and choir director in this church from 1723 until his death in 1750. He was also a teacher at the music school associated with St. Thomas.
In fact, Bach’s tomb is in the same church today. Why? How?
In 1900 an anatomy teacher was commissioned to search for and identify Bach’s remains in the Johanneskirche cemetery to take him to his present tomb. The remains are believed to be yours, but we don’t know for sure. It was just what Professor Wilhelm His assumed. The same one that published a portrait of Bach in 3D from his skull measuring its nooks cradle a needle.
Other leading classical composers have a history in Leipzig, for example Wagner or Mendelssohn.
Markplatz literally means “market square”. There you will find the old town hall (Rathaus) and a beautiful and busy square. They usually do a lot of events in summer like concerts and promotions, so it’s hard to take a good picture of the empty square!
Why is the Auersbachskeller famous?
One of Leipzig’s most famous and oldest (second) restaurants/wine cellar. In the 16th century it was already known and today it is a luxurious restaurant. Besides, it’s not as expensive as it might seem.
This place is important because Goethe was inspired to write “Faust I”, the Germanic work equivalent to Spanish Quixote. In addition, a scene from this famous play takes place in that location.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century is located within a commercial passage, Mädlerpassage, near the market square. It was also used to expand and restore the restaurant.
In the passage you can see 2 sculptures by Mephisto and Faust, the protagonists of the work. Going down to the restaurant you can enter pretending that you are going to consume it, but without ending up doing it and leaving before the service arrives.
Barfuß Gasse (Barefoot Alley)
It is a pleasant street with a lot of life due to the multitude of terraces and bars. It’s pretty popular with the locals. The terraces are as much in summer as in winter, since they put stoves and blankets.
It’s a huge monument dedicated to the fallen in the battle of the Nations. It’s gigantic. The lake at his feet represents the tears of the relatives.
Völkerschlachtdenkmal? Aggg, very long, isn’t it?
As the name is very long, and Leipzig a young city, short names are given to this type of German word. The “Völkerschlachtdenkmal” is called “Volki”. Much better!
Other aliases or nicknames known to everyone in Leipzig are:
- “Kulki” for Lake Kulkwitzer See
- “Cossi” for the other lake Cospudener See
- “VoKü” for Volskküche
- “Karli” for the bar street Karl-Liebknecht-Straße
- “Karha” for Karl-Heine-Straße
Let us return to the Völkerschlachtdenkmal…
It was built in 1913 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle. As a curiosity to say that the monument was privately financed by 2 people.
The ticket is 8€, but looking at it from the outside I think it’s enough.
The easiest way is to get there by bike, but there is a tram stop with the same name: Völkerschlachtdenkmal
Plagwitz and Baumwollspinerei
It is a neighborhood with abandoned factories, wide streets, large buildings, where many students live.
The Baumwollspinerei (known as Spinnerei) is now a centre for art, culture, sculptures, ateliers, start-ups and co-working spaces. It opened in 2005. Formerly, as its name suggests, it was a cotton factory.
There’s a very curious bar there, the Charly-town. In the bar the furniture is moved in a robotic way.
The Kunstkraftwerk is an old power plant, now converted into a new artistic space similar to the Spinerei.
S-Bahn stop Wilhelm-Leuschner-Platz
It’s a commuter station I really like. It’s in the heart of the historic centre. I like the communist style, something strange, with that cubic and empty shape. Above all because I didn’t expect it and it caught my attention… even though it’s not that big a deal?
Although there are escalators to go up and down, you can also climb the 14×8= 112 steps and complete your daily exercise portion!
It is a large restored tank-building in which immense 360-degree immersive photos are displayed. Which would be the equivalent of today’s virtual reality.
Inside the exhibition, all the details were very well taken care of, music, light, etc. In addition, the sensation of being inside the sea is achieved to perfection. My brain was gonna explode. Fucking insane!
With the Titanic exhibition, I don’t think you get as much out of it as you get out of other 360 photos.
Inside you will not only find the photo, but also a small exhibition to get into the subject (in German and English).
It’s expensive, but I recommend it 100%. The price is 11.50€ or 10€ students. More info
Other things that might interest you if you have more time…
It’s the museum house where the German composer lived. They have a brunch on Sundays, with live music. The entrance fee is 8€
I don’t like to see animals caged in a zoo. Although, in Leipzig, the great Gondwanaland dome with tropical climate caught my attention. This dome contains a tropical ecosystem in its interior, with plants, rivers, birds, fish, etc.. A river takes you by boat around to discover the fauna and vegetation. It’s inside Leipzig Zoo. 21€ entrance fee.
It is far from the centre, but if you have a bicycle you can get there easily. It’s an old lighthouse built by Bissmark. With its 30 meters of total height, you have good views of the northern area of Leipzig.
Test Virtual Reality at F-society
Bar where you can try these kinds of games or immersive experiences.
More info, the street is Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 8. Sundays closed
They are vegan gazebos in social centers where paying a donation you can eat. The people who go to those places are very open, friendly and great to meet local people.
It is known locally as VoKü.
We were at the Japanische haus in Eisenbahnstraße on Saturday afternoon and the experience was very enriching. Besides having a good dinner, we were talking to a lot of people.
For vegans, Leipzig is one of the most vegan-friendly cities in Germany, you will have no problem finding all kinds of food.
Fiesta and Electronic Music
Electronic music parties are currently very fashionable in German nightlife.
Mega meetings of electronic music in abandoned buildings or ships was the origin of this type of parties, which are still made, although many have resulted in a club. The difficult thing is to find out where and when they are, because they don’t communicate officially, but by word of mouth or through closed facebook groups.
Some of the most remarkable sites for this type of party in Leipzig:
Institute für Zukunft, it’s my favorite. It’s an old abandoned industrial ship. A place somewhat lost from the hand of God, but the interior gloomy, with tiles on some wall, several rooms and everything very dark. I think it’s worth a look. Photos are forbidden!
- Distillery, a very undergorund discotheque, very close to the Institute für Zukunft.
- Ost Apotheke, as its name suggests was an old pharmacy, now has very alternative parties from time to time.
- Damenhandschuefabrik, I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard a lot about him. It was an old women’s glove factory.
- Westwerk, abandoned factory converted into workshops and art market by day and into a nightclub.
- Conne-island, small island to the south, at the end of the street of the bars. This is the most “commercial” place and something normal of the previous ones…
and some bars…
- Die Nato, is a pub located at the beginning of the street of the bars “Karli”.
- Alte Flescherei, very cool bar, old butcher’s shop of the last century now converted into a bar. They keep the original decoration. It’s called “FLEISCHEREI” CAFE-BISTRO-BAR
“in Jahnallee 23
Rent a bike
Very practical, since in Leipzig it is very easy to move by bike and not very friendly to walk, as everything is very far and the trams are not very widespread.
Next bike, is a company with which to rent bikes easily with an app.
The prices are 1€ for 30-minute journeys or 9€ for 24 hours.
You need to have an internet connection at all times, or at least to rent and leave the bike.Preparing a trip through Germany? Reed my Full Guide to Travel Germany with tricks, itineraries, transportations, destinations, German culture, food, etc.All for organize your trip to Germany