Leipzig is a historical German city with plenty of exciting things to see and do. The city has long been one of Germany’s wealthiest and as a result is a key centre for art and culture. Famous composer Bach was from Leipzig and there are many spots across the city where you can follow in his footsteps, and of course experience the music he wrote. The city is lively and friendly, and crucially affordable. Bars, cafes and restaurants all offer delicious meals and drinks without sky high price tags that often come with more tourist-heavy cities.
The centre of Leipzig is easily walkable with many of its main attractions close together. Like many other German cities, Leipzig was heavily bombed during WWII, however the city was thankfully rebuilt following the fall of the Berlin Wall. This momentous and historic occasion has allowed the city to bring back its Art Nouveau, Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic architecture. Whether you are in the city for art, culture, or simply for a weekend away, there are plenty of things to see and do. Here are 20 to get you started.
- Leipzig, Germany
- Plan Your Trip
- Top Tours
- 20 Things to do in Leipzig
- 1- Celebrate The Works Of Bach At The Bach-Museum
- 2- Admire Old City Hall
- 3- Reflect At St Thomas Church
- 4- Explore The Collections At GRASSI Museum
- 5- Learn The History Of Coffee At Coffe Baum Museum
- 6- Visit The Monument To The Battle of the Nations
- 7- Get The Best Views At City-Hochhaus Leipzig
- 8- Shop Along Madler Passage
- 9- Experience Music History At Mendelssohn House
- 10- See Architectural Beauty At St. Nicholas Church
- 11- Get Arty At Cotton Mill
- 12- Watch The Opera At Oper Leipzig
- 13- Go Dancing At Distillery
- 14- Drink Coffee At Café Bigoti
- 15- Visit The Market Square
- 16- Drink Wine At Auerbach’s Keller
- 17- Admire Fine Art At Museum der Bildenden Künste
- 18- Learn About Animals At Leipzig Zoo
- 19- Immerse Yourself In Music At The Bach Festival
- 20- Uncover The History of Post-War Germany at Forum of Contemporary History
20 Things to do in Leipzig
1- Celebrate The Works Of Bach At The Bach-Museum
The Bach-Museum is dedicated to Leipzig’s most famous composer, Johann Sebastian Bach who was born in 1685 into a musical family and was taught from a young age to play the violin.
He moved to Leipzig in 1723 where he became the choral leader for two churches.
Following this move, Bach wrote most of his choral music in the city, including both ‘The Brandenburg Concertos’ and ‘The Well-Tempered Cavalier’.
The museum serves as an archive to the life of Bach and his family in Leipzig, where Bach died in 1750.
At the museum there are many exhibits on Bach and his music, including some instruments and pages of sheet music.
During the summer months the museum hosts a concert series of baroque music, which Bach was famous for.
Bach-Museum is at Thomaskirchhof 15/16, 04109 Leipzig.
2- Admire Old City Hall
Leipzig’s Old City Hall is one of the most beautiful structures in the city.
Running along one side of the marketplace, the Old City Hall is grand with traditional Renaissance architecture.
The City Hall is open to the public and frequently holds craft fairs, as well as formal balls and weddings.
The city hall also has a beautiful ballroom that was once used for festivals of German royalty.
Inside the Old City Hall is a museum with a permanent exhibition on the city, with key focuses on the Battle of the Nations, Revolutionary Wars and of course the Reunification of Germany.
Old City Hall is at Markt 1, 04109 Leipzig.
- Walking Tour Around Leipzig’s Historic City Center
- Leipzig: 13-Stop Hop-on/Hop-off Bus Ticket
- Leipzig City Centre: Scavenger Hunt Self-Guided Tour
3- Reflect At St Thomas Church
St Thomas Church is one of the most beautiful in Leipzig and one that is well-worth a visit.
Since the 12th century, a church has stood where St Thomas Church stands today.
The current church was built between 1492 and 1496 in the Romanesque style, before gothic details were added in the late 18th century.
Visits to St Thomas Church between April and November also include access to the tower which offers panoramic views across the city from the top.
The church is the final resting place of famous composer Bach, and it is where Bach was choirmaster for 27 years until his death in 1750.
St Thomas Church is at Thomaskirchhof 18, 04109 Leipzig.
4- Explore The Collections At GRASSI Museum
GRASSI is a collection of museums in the city’s museum quarter.
There are 3 museums within GRASSI; the GRASSI Museum of Applied Arts, the GRASSI Museum of Ethnology in Leipzig and the Musical Instrument Museum.
The museums are housed in a large complex in a beautiful Art Deco building.
The arts museum is filled with exhibits on art, design, photography, craft and more, combining both historical and contemporary pieces.
This museum also houses a permanent collection of Bauhaus and Art Nouveau works.
The Musical Instrument Museum is filled with more than 9000 objects making it the second largest musical collection in Europe.
GRASSI Museum is at Johannisplatz 5-11, 04103 Leipzig.
5- Learn The History Of Coffee At Coffe Baum Museum
Coffe Baum is one of the oldest coffee houses in Germany and the café has been serving coffee since 1711.
Explore the museum and its 15 rooms containing more than 500 coffee related artefacts and exhibitions focusing on coffee production.
One of the most exciting exhibits in the museum is a coffee cup used by Napoleon in 1813.
The café is cosy and, like the museum, has nods to the history of the building and its famous visitors which included composers Wagner and Bach.
Coffe Baum Museum is at Kleine Fleischergasse 4, 04109 Leipzig.
6- Visit The Monument To The Battle of the Nations
One of the most famous landmarks in Leipzig is the Monument to the Battle of the Nations built in commemoration for the defeat of Napoleon’s army in the city.
Bruno Schmitz, alongside fellow architects Franz Metzner, Clemens Thieme and Christian Behrens designed the monument, which was completed in 1913.
The monument is large, with a base spanning 124 square meters (407 square feet), and reaching a height of 91m (299ft).
Unlike other monuments constructed at the time, the architects opted for inspiration from ancient civilisations rather than classicist elements.
The monument is inspired by both Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in its design.
The monument has an inner chamber that includes 16 statues of warriors and stands as a symbol for the soldiers who lost their lives during the battle.
Monument to the Battle of the Nations is at Str. des 18. Oktober 100, 04299 Leipzig.
7- Get The Best Views At City-Hochhaus Leipzig
For some of the best views across the city, scaling the City-Hochhaus is a must.
Hermann Henselmann designed the skyscraper which was built between 1968 and 1972.
The skyscraper was designed to replicate an open book.
The building was originally part of the city’s university, but is now privately owned by Merrill Lynch.
Despite being privately owned, it is possible to visit the tower and their observation deck on the 31st floor.
From here there are beautiful views across the city and on particularly clear days views towards the Ore Mountains in neighbouring Czech Republic.
City-Hochhaus is at Augustuspl. 9, 04109 Leipzig.
8- Shop Along Madler Passage
Madler Passage is a beautifully designed shopping arcade filled with historical touches.
The building was constructed between 1912 and 1914.
Theodor Kösser designed the building after he won a design competition.
The building’s design combines the style of an exhibition hall and shopping arcade to create a unique structure that has become a landmark in the city.
The ceiling is glass, allowing natural light to flood in, creating welcoming shopping environment.
The entrance to the arcade is guarded by two life-size female sandstone statues, with further statues and bronze figures placed throughout.
Enjoy a a relaxing meander through the arcade and admire the beautiful architecture and the many independent boutiques before stopping for a drink at one of its bars or cafes.
Madler Passage is at Grimmaische Str. 2-4, 04109 Leipzig.
9- Experience Music History At Mendelssohn House
Another musical destination that is a must visit in Leipzig is the Mendelssohn House, which was established as a museum in 1997 to preserve the composers last surviving home.
Mendelssohn, who died in the Leipzig home in 1847, lived on the first floor of the building with his family.
The museum documents the composers life through an impressive collection of Mendelssohn’s documents, furniture, letters and paintings.
The museum comprises of three floors with 20 rooms filled with interactive exhibitions and artefacts from the life of Mendelssohn and his sister Fanny, who was also a musician.
In keeping with the musical theme, the museum has a dedicated salon where concerts are played weekly during the summer.
Mendelssohn House is at Goldschmidstraße 12, 04103 Leipzig.
10- See Architectural Beauty At St. Nicholas Church
Another beautiful church and must-visit place in Leipzig is St Nicholas Church.
The church dates from 1165 and is predominately Romanesque in style, with Gothic additions added in the 16th century, and Baroque structures in the 18th century.
The church is famous thanks to its beautiful pastel-coloured interior.
The church features tall pastel pink columns with a delicately constructed ceiling with pink, cream and green detailing.
Contrasting the pastel is a bold black and white checkerboard floor.
Bach was the musical director at St Nicholas for a time, starting his career there with a cantata performance in 1723.
The church became nationally renowned in 1989 during the Monday Demonstrations as it was a hub for prayers for peace during the revolt against communist rule.
St Nicholas Church is at Nikolaikirchhof 3, 04109 Leipzig.
11- Get Arty At Cotton Mill
Leipzig’s Cotton Mill is a transformed former cotton spinning mill that now serves as a studio space for artists.
The cotton mill was built in the 1880s and was in operation until the 1990s.
Today the mill houses approximately 100 studios, theatres, gallery spaces and a number of small businesses.
The Cotton Mill is the true creative heart of the city, and one that is well worth visiting.
It is also a popular destination to meet people before heading into the city.
Cotton Mill is at Spinnereistraße 7, 04179 Leipzig.
12- Watch The Opera At Oper Leipzig
Indulge your senses and have a musical evening out at Oper Leipzig.
The opera house opened in 1960 and features stunning 1950s interior design touches.
Kunz Nierade and Kurt Hemmerling designed the theatre with much of the building being made from sandstone.
Despite its dull appearance during the day, the building uses glass well which allows it to fully light up at night, creating a unique piece of architecture in the city.
The main auditorium is trapezoidal and seats 1273 guests.
This unusual shape allows for every seat to have perfect views of the stage.
The opera house offers a varied annual program including performances of famous works from Mozart, Wagner and
They also hold regular poetry slams, performances of musicians and specially tailored performances for young children.
Oper Leipzig is at Augustuspl. 12, 04109 Leipzig.
13- Go Dancing At Distillery
Distillery is one of the most popular nightclubs in Leipzig and renowned for its resident DJs playing a variety of House, techno and rave across a number of floors and basement rooms.
The Distillery also has a terrace where barbecues are regularly held.
The nightclub first opened in 1992 and fast became a Leipzig institution thanks to its varied musical offering.
Distillery is at Kurt-Eisner-Straße 91, 04275 Leipzig.
14- Drink Coffee At Café Bigoti
Enjoy a cup of coffee in style at Café Bigoti, a favourite of Leipzig’s residents for a quick cup on the way to work, or to enjoy slowly while catching up with friends.
Expect to smell freshly roasted coffee beans as you enter the cafe, before browsing their delicious menu.
Café Bigoti has an extensive cake menu for those who want something sweet with their drink, and an excellent dinner menu for those dining later in the day.
Inside the atmosphere is warm, cosy and welcoming with its exposed brick walls, wooden tables and mismatched crockery and glassware.
Café Bigoti is at Burgstraße 1-5, 04109 Leipzig.
15- Visit The Market Square
One of the best things to do in Leipzig is to explore its market square.
Standing on the edge of the square is the Old Town Hall.
The market square serves as a popular meeting point for tourists and locals alike as it is in the centre of the city and has excellent access to the city’s public transport network.
The square frequently holds markets, makers fairs and of course traditional Christmas markets.
Each week a fresh produce market is held at the square with vendors selling food from the surrounding local area.
Even on a non-market day the square makes a beautiful destination to visit and photograph.
Leipzig Market Square is at Markt 1A, 04109 Leipzig.
Recommended tour: Leipzig: Old Town Guided Tour
16- Drink Wine At Auerbach’s Keller
One of the best wine bars in Leipzig to enjoy a glass is Auerbach’s Keller.
The cellar bar first opened in 1525 making it one of Germany’s oldest taverns.
Today the tavern is also a restaurant that offers excellent food and of course some of the best wines in the city.
Auerbach’s Keller was frequented by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of Germany’s most famous writers.
Goethe has a room of the restaurant named after him due to his frequent visits, as does Luther, a religious reformer who was often found drinking at the tavern.
Auerbach’s Keller is at Grimmaische Str. 2-4, 04109 Leipzig.
Recommended tour: Leipzig: Mulled Wine Motorboat Tour
17- Admire Fine Art At Museum der Bildenden Künste
Museum der Bildenden Künste is a fine art museum in Leipzig that houses an impressive collection of works from the Middle Ages to more contemporary pieces.
Uniquely, the museum was not founded by a sole individual, and was instead founded in 1858 by a collective of local merchants, traders, bankers and publishers who wanted a space for Leipzig to display its growing artistic collections.
Inside the museum are more than 4600 paintings, 5000 photographs and a vast collection of sculptures, works on paper and more.
The museum charts 500 years of arts history and includes works from Frans Hals, Caspar David Friedrich and Max Beckmann.
Museum der Bildenden Künste is at Katharinestraße 10, 04109.
Recommended tour: Leipzig: Private Walking Tour with a Professional Guide
18- Learn About Animals At Leipzig Zoo
For a fun family day out in Leipzig look no further than Leipzig Zoo.
The zoo is divided into themed worlds, ensuring the animals it cares for are in appropriately designed habitats keeping as close to nature as possible.
The themed worlds include Pongoland, Gondwanaland and Africa.
The zoo has regular keeper talks and feeding times which are perfect for the whole family.
Talks include an elephant bath, feeding of seals, giant otters and tigers.
The zoo has a variety of animals from all over the world including rare and illusive snow leopards and pangolins, to orang-utans and tapir.
Guided tours of the zoo are available, with exclusive and interactive packages available allowing visitors to help with the care of some of their animals.
Leipzig Zoo is at Pfaffendorfer Str. 29, 04105 Leipzig.
Recommended tour: Leipzig: 1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus and Leipzig Zoo Ticket
19- Immerse Yourself In Music At The Bach Festival
Bach Fest is a Leipzig-based festival celebrating all things Bach.
The Neus Bachgesellschaft founded the festival in 1904 as a celebration of Bach’s works, before the city took over the running of the festival 4 years later.
The festival consists of a wide variety of events across the city with large concerts held at the opera house to pop up stages featuring local musicians taking on some of Bachs works.
The festival ran sporadically until 1999 when it finally became an annual event.
20- Uncover The History of Post-War Germany at Forum of Contemporary History
Forum of Contemporary History was opened in 1999 to document and share the history of Germany during its division following the Second World War.
It’s permanent exhibition focuses on the divide and the oppression it’s citizens felt under the one party state and the soviet occupation.
The museum hosts regular talks and lectures, movie nights and special exhibitions focusing on this turbulent time in German history.
There are more than 20,000 objects displayed in the museum including propaganda, household objects and even vehicles from the time.
Forum of Contemporary History is at Grimmaische Str. 6, 04109 Leipzig.
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