It was so hard to begin this blog that I didn’t know where to start. Having lived here for over a year now, I can say Stuttgart has been one of my favorite places to live in 23 years of military moves. There is always a fest, concert or an event going on. When I first start blogging, my husband joked that I would run out of things to write about in Baden-Württemberg! Ha… how wrong he was!
Today, I am going to write about some of my favorite spots to see when we are downtown in Stuttgart. Some of the tips are on-going and some are seasonal, but all have been worthwhile even if it is only a trip on the train.
Where to Shop?
By taking the train to Stadtmitte (Downtown) instead of the Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station), you can pop out right at the shopping square. On Saturday follow this path straight and you’ll run right into Stuttgart’s Farmers Market. While you are there, stop by the famous “guillotine like” elevator at the (modern) clock tower. I emphasize the “modern clock” because there are three city clocks on this one square.
My friend and fellow blogger, Janice Neil-Abad, told me about this wonderful Farmer’s Market. This Saturday market is held every Saturday on Marketplatz and Schillerplatz, which is located by the church in Stuttgart. This market is the place to find every week seasonal and fresh flowers, local produce and cheese and is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click on season or buy to find what’s in season.
Karlsplatz Flohmarket (Flea Market)
A flea market is also held every Saturday in the city’s Karlsplatz. Sometimes there are other scheduled events , but a few weeks ago we visited for the first time! Treasures abound, our teenage son was overwhelmed with all the vinyl, antiques and cool memorabilia for sale.
Seasonal Flohmarkets (Flea Markets)
Every spring and fall Stuttgart is host to some big Flohmarkets, also located on Karlsplatz and Schillerplatz. The most recent seasonal flea market was held on September 20. Click here for more information on future flea markets.
Whether you shop on Königstraße or in Markthalle, the choices are endless. I try to have a pretty good idea of what I’m shopping for before I head downtown; otherwise my Visa takes a hit. If you see a large % sign in the windows, this means a “sale” is going on. I have found deals in the downtown H&M and C&A stores, including my Dirndl during fest season.
Landkreis Museum (Museum of Baden-Württemberg)
The Landkreis Museum of BW always has something going on. This museum was the host for last spring’s Lang Nacht in der Museum (Long Night in the Musuem), in which the royal crown and jewels of the Württemberg were exhibited.
Also on the second floor of the museum are interactive and fun stations for young children. One in particular my tween enjoyed was the “shooting the deer” station with a digital video screen and archery. She got a few bucks.
The third floor had a Picasso and a Pollock, in which my artist college daughter adored. Be careful not to touch anything on this floor as it is “verboten” (forbidden). In September a the special event was “Mord im Museum” (Murder in the museum).
Kunst Museum (Art Museum)
The Art Museum, right off Stuttgart’s Schloßplatz, celebrates modern arts. The styles of art range from realism to the Gothic Ornate of 1800’s and the Renaissance art era. The Art Museum also displays some modern paintings and artwork which represent today’s creative influence with multimedia pieces and sculptures. This very interesting museum had an €7/person entry fee.
One of the best things about missing a fest in Germany is that most of them are either annual or bi-annual. This means you have a pretty good chance of going the next time around. The downside is there are so many good fests that it’s hard to hit them all. Stuttgart is no exception.
Sommerfest (Summer Fest)
If you were like me and missed this year’s Sommerfest, take heart that it will be here again next August. The reports from this year’s fest was that it was amazing with frolicking in the fountain to really good food and beer!
Hamburger Fischmarket (Fish Market)
The Hamburger Fischmarket is held every year in the Karlsplatz, within walking distance from the old Schoß (castle). The varieties and flavors of different seafood cuisine will transport you to the coast.
We had so much fun at this fest with pirates on a boat, a traveling lighthouse and Irish music playing gleefully.
Some of the tents are very ornate and classy. Others had a walk-up stand to get fried calamari, shrimp scampi and of course fish and chips. Unexpectedly a delightful fest, Stuttgart’s fish fest should not be missed.
The Stuttgarter Weindorf Fest has all things Swabian and wine! Held at Stuttgart’s Altes Schloß (Old Castle) during the end of August and beginning of September, this fest should not go amiss either.
Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt) & Ice Rink
Last year we went to Stuttgart’s Christmas Market several times with family and friends. For me the different puff pastries, cocoas (try the white hot chocolate) and large beers make Stuttgart’s Christmas Market so much fun.
What is also popular during the holiday season is the ice rink, which was really liked by my children. For a small rental fee, you can try your skating legs out. Of course, for those of us “older in bones,” there is a nice stand where we sipped “Glühwein” (heated spiced red wine drink) while watching the younger ones.
The Christmas Market has many artisans and craftsmen who sell hand-made gifts and painted ornaments. By following the crowd to the old Stadt area (Schillerplatz), there you will find the older Christmas market. It seems with every turn the fest continues to go on and on and on. The Christmas Market begins Thanksgiving weekend and goes until Christmas, so enjoy!
My Favorite Place to Eat
So if you are new to Stuttgart or have not been on Stuttgart’s social media, you may not have heard about the Grand Planie near Karlsplatz. I found out about this restaurant within weeks of our arrival and it is clearly my favorite. After visiting several times and testing so many items of their scrumptious and delightful cuisine, they probably think I’m a food critic.
The cake (Küchen) display inside the restaurant beckons you from the umbrella covered patio to try a few desserts. One of my lucky friends lives in downtown Stuttgart. I think Grand Planie is her Stammtisch (an informal group meeting held on a regular basis). Oh, I am so jealous.
So if you are bored for the weekend or just surfing social media, let Stuttgart surprise you! Just hop on the train to Stadtmitte (downtown) Stuttgart, and you will find something going on!
How to Get There
Author’s Profile: Wendy Payne is a military spouse and lives with her family in Stuttgart, Germany. She is a freelance writer, blogger and photographer. She also enjoys gardening, hiking, yoga and sharing Europe with people.
Featured Image Photo Credit: © Wendy Payne