If you look for things to do in Leipzig as a tourist or a newcomer you may initially find not all the much but shopping centres, churches and monuments to long dead men with women getting never a look in. But take some time to scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find that there is much to see and enjoy in Leipzig. I’m writing this article to cater for those of us on a low budget that may be looking for fun things to do during the cooler months.
If you’ve spent a bit of time in Deutschland you’ll notice the Germans are notorious starers. Staring back is not a deterrent. I don’t understand why they do it, but if you smile, they generally smile back. Pick somewhere public and you’ll see what I mean. If you’re lucky you’ll enjoy a parade of cute puppy dogs also, I often see pugs, scottie dogs and french bulldogs strutting around Leipzig with their owners.
Go bike riding in one of Leipzig’s beautiful parks. Even in the cooler months, bike riding is a great way to get around with most of Leipzig’s roads wonderfully flat with a separate cycle path. There are various bicycle hire options around Leipzig such as Next Bike. It’s worth knowing that you need to ride on the left, you don’t need a helmet and you can’t ride through the market square during the day, there’s far too much foot traffic and usually some kind of event on, so plan your trip accordingly.
Visit the lakes
If you like being by the water, regardless of the weather, take a trip to Markkleeberg See (Lake). Get Tram 11 to the end, and take a short walk to the water. If the weather is fine, you’ll no doubt see people swimming without or without swimsuits. Quite unlike Australia where children or adults naked in public is seen as some sign of offence (with parents afraid the naked children might be victims of pedophiles).
There is also the famous Cospudner See but I’ve not had an opportunity to visit there yet.
Visit the Wild Park
If you are Australian like me, you’ll definitely enjoy a trip to the Wild Park, to see wild and protected woodland animals in their natural habitat, including some which are endangered. Walk in the spacious woodlands, grab a glass of wine (and laugh at the Germans eating yet another bratwurst), stomp in the leaves. The downsides were the paid farm area (€5 ) which had too small enclosures, especially for the rabbits and that the whole time I visited I heard the sound of rifles shooting from the near by forest which was rather disturbing. Highlights includes friendly deer, owls and otters and these creatures that were like a cross between a huge guinea pig and a rat but I don’t know the name!
(Tram 9 goes to the wildlife stop or it’s a nice walk from Connewitz.)
Go to the Park
Leipzig is lovely and green, so why not take a bottle of wine and a rug to a nearby park. I particularly like Clara Zetkin Park which has a cafe with live music, buskers and a icecream van. It’s a great place to do some writing or reading.
Enjoy a Cafe
Pick up a table at an outdoor cafe (or stay inside if it’s really cold and rainy) order a coffee or mug of glühwein and watch the people going by. You can opt for the cheap and cheerful bakery chains like Lucas or but the coffee comes from a vending machine, not unlike what you’d see in a hospital waiting room. A couple of my favourite cafes so far in Leipzig are Fleischeri, Goodies, and Marshalls Mum. There’s also Corsoela, which is below my language school. The cakes are amazing but the coffee is the vending machine type I mentioned earlier. Also, in case you’re wondering, Konditorei means pastry shop not air conditioning like I first thought when I arrived in the heat of July to discover Europe doesn’t do aircon.
Galleries and Museums
In Leipzig, galleries and museums have a free day each month. The City History Museum ( Old Town Hall , New and Schiller House ) and the museums in the Grassi ( Grassi Museum for Applied Arts , Grassi Museum of Musical Instruments and Grassi Museum of Ethnology ) offer every first Wednesday of the month free admission, the Museum of Fine Arts, every second Wednesday month.We went to the Agyptisch Museum on Sunday for 5€ each, most museums and galleries are low cost when not free.
If you’re an art lover I’d also encourage you to check out the work of Michael Fischer. A football-pitch-sized mural by Leipzig artist Michael Fische to mark the 20th anniversary of Germany’s “peaceful revolution”. The eastern facade is at the Leipzig Marriott hotel, between Richard-Wagnerstraße and Brühl:
You can also see a Fische’s work in Karl-Liebknechtstraße, surrounded by trendy bars and cafes. If your timing is right, you might score a happy hour cockail.
Go to a flea market.
Unlike Australia and England, second hand shops selling cheap second hand goods (usually for charities) are not so common. We have Oxfam but most of the non-clothing items items cost more than they do new even though they are not vintage. The real action is at flea markets. The AGRA antique and flea market,(last weekend of the month) Alte Messe Leipzig Flea Market (First weeekend of the month) and periodic markets at Cottagwegstraße are especially fun.
Have a read
I encourage everyone to buy a kindle for the sheer portability of a library of books in the langauge of your choice. You may not get the smell or tactility of the printed edition but the ease of carriage is a definite plus. Go to one of Leipzig’s many bars or pubs and order some pommes frites and a beer or wine. Enjoy the heating and the ambiance, even if you have no idea what people are saying. If you’ve run out of books (a disaster for a keen reader like me) you can buy English books at Connewitzer Verlagsbuchhandlung in the city centre.
Go to the movies
The cinema is cheap here (at least compared to Australia) and there are film festivals held regularly. As you are probably aware, most films screened in Deutschland are dubbed in Deutsch. If your Deutsch is not so flash you can see quite a few OV (original voice) films each month. You can even enjoy a glass of wine and some films serve the German version of nachos.
Leipzig is a great place to live, there’s always things to do and lots of free events on from festivals to concerts. I’m not so interested in sports and I find myself more drawn to the outdoors during the day and the indoors at night as the weather cools. I’ll add more posts of this ilk to my blog as I discover more things to do and see! I’d love to hear about things others enjoy in their home town.