Famous for its museums, churches, and coffee shops, Leipzig is one of the best cities in Germany to visit. Sometimes overlooked for its big-hitting siblings, like Berlin, Leipzig is a smaller but mighty German city that you should definitely visit. There are heaps of the best things to do in Leipzig all across the city – which makes it a great place to explore.
With a rich cultural, historical, and musical heritage to be proud of, Leipzig has a taste of everything that’ll suit every type of visitor. History, check! Culture, check! Views, check! Trust me, Leipzig has it all.
In so many ways, Leipzig is a wonderful German city to visit if you want to see a glimpse of old Europe. With its long-established libraries, open-air markets, publishing houses, and museums it’s the kind of place where you’ll easily fill a weekend exploring.
Not only that, Leipzig is a totally creative city and its artist have embraced it as their home. This, along with all the places to see in Leipzig, make it totally eclectic and not just a run-of-the-mill kind of city.
So, to help you get the most out of your time, take a look at some of the best things to do in Leipzig that we loved during our visit.
Have an amazing trip to Germany.
1.) Bach-Museum Leipzig
Leipzig is where famous musical genius Johann Sebastian Bach died, but most importantly, this city was where he also lived and called home. During his time, Bach composed a lot of his musical compositions in the city of Leipzig, which he considered his home from 1723 to 1750.
So, you can consider him a Leipzig local!
Today, Bach-Museum Leipzig is dedicated to the life and work of Bach, featuring a heap of musical instruments and manuscripts from Bach himself.
Now, one thing to remember, the delicate musical manuscripts handwritten by Bach can only be displayed for a few months at a time, so make sure to check out the museum’s schedule to get a chance to view these treasures up close.
The Bach family is filled with talented musicians in almost every generation, and you can trace back their musical legacy by looking at the Bach family tree displayed in the museum. It’s such a unique place and well worth taking a gander whilst in Leipzig.
Afterwards, book this amazing canal tour by boat through Leipzig. The tour lasts around 70-minutes and it’s such a good way to get an introduction to Leipzig.
2.) Old City Hall
Erected, all the way back in 1556, visiting the Old City Hall (or Rathaus) is one of the best things to do in Leipzig when you visit. In fact, you can’t miss it.
To this day, the Leipzig Rathaus is considered one of the most iconic Renaissance buildings in Germany and totally gorgeous to see.
Now, one thing to look out for is the Old City Hall’s magnificent exterior is dominated by a tower featuring a Baroque crown. You see, at the top of the tower, you can see a roofed balcony where public proclamations are held and have done so for many years.
Inside the Old City Hall, you will find museum housing artefacts that tell so much about Leipzig’s history and the city’s development. So if you are a history buff who also takes interest in architecture, the Old City Hall will be a nice treat for you.
It is a fitting backdrop for the Markt, a large square where festivals, concerts, markets, and fairs are held throughout the year. It’s always pretty bustling and no doubt you’ll come away with a few goodies on the weekend.
3.) St. Thomas Church
Over the years, St. Thomas Church has seen many great musical and religious personalities bloom over the years since it was founded in the 12th century.
As you go inside and marvel at its Gothic interior, you’ll be amazed to know that great composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Richard Wagner, and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy played within these very walls.
Best of all, Bach, made his mark here, serving as the music director in his time and is buried here. Once inside, you’ll get to peek at the Gothic paintings that line the walls.
It’s one of the best things to do in Leipzig if you want to explore the city’s history.
Also, if you’re religious, you check the worship schedules and attend one, you’ll also be able to see the Thomanerchor, one of the oldest boy’s choirs still in existence today.
4.) Grassi Museum
The Grassi Museum can be found on the Johannisplatz and is actually a combination of three museums: the Ethnography Museum, the Musical Instruments Museum, and the Leipzig Museum of Applied Arts.
Not just a respite spot on a rainy day, The Grassi Museum(s) are well worth a visit and one of the best things to do in Leipzig that houses artefacts from all over the world.
The building itself is impressive and still well-preserved from the 1920s, featuring a wonderful mix of Art Deco and New Objectivity styles.
Inside, you’ll find that the Leipzig Museum of Applied Arts houses ceramics, furniture, and glassware from the 20s and 30s.
In another hall, you can find Roman artefacts which are recovered from Eythra, a town close to Leipzig. Overall, about 200,000 items, tools, and artefacts are displayed in the ethnography museum, and they came from all over the world.
Just don’t expect to see everything in one visit!
5.) Coffe Baum Coffee Museum
Love Coffee? Then you’ll want to pop inside the Coffe Baum Coffee Museum of Leipzig.
Founded in 1717, Coffe Baum is regarded as one of the oldest coffee shops in all of Europe and something of an institution. What’s more, the entire building is still in its original form.
The upper floors of Coffe Baum have been transformed into a museum dedicated to the history of coffee and how the coffee house culture in Saxony began.
More than 500 artefacts filling 15 rooms are displayed at Coffe Baum; you will see early porcelain cups along with their leather cases, vintage coffee containers, old posters and advertising materials, roasters, and brewing machines. It’s all totally cool to see.
Oh, and don’t forget to stop for a brew of coffee and a slice of Baumkuchen at the coffee shop itself. Yum!
6.) New Town Hall
Completed in the 1900s, the New Town Hall or Neues Rathaus is an iconic landmark in Leipzig you can’t miss. In fact, you can see its tower from all over Leipzig.
At 377 feet high, it is considered the tallest city hall tower in all of Germany.
Looking more like a palace than a mere town hall, Neues Rathaus has stood witness to important historical events in Leipzig’s history.
Inside, the ornate marble staircase is a must-see, and the intricate architectural details of the building are hard to miss.
Afterwards, take a trip to the Monument to the Battle of the Nations (1813 Battle of Leipzig). Completed in the early 1900s it’s housed in a vast parkland that’s great to explore on a sunny day.
To get here, take public transport to Leipzig Völkerschlachtdenkmal – it’s all really easy from there.
7.) City-Hochhaus Leipzig
There might not be a greater view of the city than from City-Hochhaus Leipzig.
In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s one of the best things to do in Leipzig if you’re looking for views across the city. A modern skyscraper 36 storeys high, it’s the tallest and one of the newest structures in the city.
After riding to the topmost floor, you will walk up a set of stairs to get to an outdoor terrace. and see the entire city sprawling before you. We loved going up at sunset.
From here, you can take in the famous landmarks of Leipzig. From the green parks, and the modern buildings to the far-out memorials away from the city centre.
8.) Mädler Passage
Auerbach’s Keller, the basement wine bar that Goethe made famous in Faust, has evolved throughout the centuries since it first opened in 1529.
Now, it has an extension in the form of the Madler Passage, a posh shopping arcade between Grimmaische Straße and Neumarkt.
Obviously, shopping is the main reason why tourists are drawn to Madler Passage, but the architecture and literary fans stroll along the passage for entirely different reasons.
You see, Mädler Passage is an impressive mix of art nouveau and neo-Renaissance architecture that’s a total gem to see.
Decorating the hallways are bronze figures illustrating scenes from Faust. If Goethe were alive today, he would both be confused and awed by Madler Passage.
If you want to linger a bit longer, there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and boutiques to while away your time in. Just take your cards or coins with you – you’ll end up buying a few things.
9.) Mendelssohn House
Known as the only authentically preserved residence of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, the Mendelssohn House is now a lovely museum dedicated to his life and work. It’s one of the best things to do in Leipzig if you’re interested in the life of this world-renowned composer.
The house itself was designed in the late Biedermeier architecture, a style popular during Mendelssohn’s time.
Nowadays, you can take a tour inside the house and check out Mendelssohn’s personal belongings, especially the sheet music and watercolour paintings.
A video library has been added to the museum, as well as an Effektorium or a conductor’s podium where you can try your hand at a virtual orchestra. It’s pretty neat!
10.) St. Nicholas Church
St. Nicholas church has gone through many architectural evolutions since the 12th century.
Originally Romanesque, it went through the Gothic period, and now it is Baroque in style. I mean, someone obviously couldn’t make up their mind!
Interestingly, the first Lutheran service in Leipzig was held here, and the pulpit in the north chapel was even named after Martin Luther.
Historically, St. Nicholas Church had seen the starting point of the Monday Demonstrations.
These are totally significant because they were the spark that led to the reunification of the country in 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
11.) The Leipzig Cotton Mill
The Leipzig Cotton Mill is an artist’s haven – even though it might not look like much from the outside.
Formerly an industrial site, it is now the heart of the city’s arts and cultural scene, with about 100 artists setting up different shops — from art galleries and exhibits to pottery stores, goldsmith shops, and porcelain manufacturers.
More than 240,000 spindles are housed in about 20 cotton factories within the Leipzig Cotton Mill, a powerhouse of commerce and industry in the city.
Nowadays, you can also find cute cafes, yummy restaurants and more in this vast complex.
While you’re here, don’t miss out on dropping by a huge art supply store, where thousands of art materials, craft supplies, and various tools are sold.
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