Stuttgart may not be the kind of city you imagine when planning a trip to Germany. However, although charm is not something you would find here, this city is well-known for its efficacy and ingenuity. Read on, I will share my experience of some exciting places to visit in Stuttgart.
Places To Visit In Stuttgart: Mercedes or Porsche Museum
Both Mercedes and Porsche have factories in Stuttgart. It’s kind of funny that in the United States, Mercedes is one of the very top luxury cars (at least the ones that are kind of affordable). Still, in Germany, they are considered an average, everyday car. Even the taxis are Mercedes sedans.
I’ll start with the Mercedes tower because it’s in the Hauptbahnhof (central train station) in the centre of town. The building is accessed on the east end of the centre hall either by staircase or elevator. It’s 184 feet high, so I’d opt for the elevator. You have a 360* view of the city from the viewing platform on the top.
I love museums, but I am not much of a car person, so I only went because my friends wanted to. But colour me surprised, the Porsche was a great museum! They have pretty much every Porsche on display from the start of production to the very newest model. The timeline winds around the building keeping the centre open to the ceiling.
The Porsche museum is a little outside the city proper. Still, it can be accessed via S-Bahn stop – either Neuwirtzhaus or Zuffenhausen.
Places To Visit In Stuttgart: Ritter Sport Factory / Museum
Ritter Sport is a brand of chocolate candy bars made in Stuttgart. They are distinctive because they are square instead of a rectangle. They have tons of different types with all kinds of fillings or add-ins. They even make minis which look a lot like the single Ghirardelli pieces. You can see how the candy is made at the factory and even make your own candy bar! But most people go because you can get all the flavours in the gift shop. Also on display is art from the personal collection of the Ritter family. Where else can you get art and chocolate in the same place?
Places To Visit In Stuttgart: Jewish Memorial
When I lived in Stuttgart, my apartment building was directly in front of this memorial. Still, I didn’t notice it until a friend told me about it. During World War II, Jewish families living in the city were deported to concentration camps from the North train station, just down the street. There is a long concrete wall at these tracks with the names of every person deported and the dates and locations of the deportations. It’s a moving tribute that is important to see.
Places To Visit In Stuttgart: Schloss Solitude
Schloss is German for a palace, and thanks to the wealth of the 18th and 19th-century German aristocracy, there are a lot of palaces in Baden-Württemburg. Schloss Solitude is an incredible display of Rococo design. In addition to the magnificence of the palace, Solitude is located on a hill overlooking the Stuttgart valley. So even if you don’t go inside the building, the view is worth the trip.
Places To Visit In Stuttgart: Chinese Garden
Hidden above Heilbronnerstrasse in Stuttgart’s Nord (North) section is the Chinese Garden. It was initially part of the International Horticultural Exhibition that took place in Stuttgart in 1993. The beautifully cultivated Garden is now tucked away in the corner of the city, almost like an oasis. Walking through the intricate gate, you are instantly transported to another continent. There are traditional buildings with swooping tiled roofs and stone statues and water features – in addition to the foliage. It’s pretty amazing how much has been placed in the Garden, as it’s not a very big space. Be warned, the street it’s on is a very steep incline, and the shortcut street is even steeper.
Places To Visit In Stuttgart: Stadtbibliothek
Speaking of the Stadtbibliothek, the Stuttgart city library is one of the newest buildings in the city. Its architecture is highly modern; it almost looks like a giant Rubix Cube. Its big windows glow blue at night. It’s really unique. The library is huge – nine stories tall – with an all-white interior, clean shelves of books, and a centre atrium spanning the entire height of the building. It reminds me of a giant Apple store. There’s a cafe and a viewing deck on the roof.
Places To Visit In Stuttgart: Feuersee
Another hidden oasis in the civic centre of Stuttgart is the area known as Feuersee. Literally translated to ‘fire lake’, a few blocks from the city’s central plaza is a small lake with a beautiful gothic-revival church. There are fountains, ducks to feed, and usually locals playing with tiny toy speed boats. Restaurants dot the surrounding neighbourhood, and a walking path circumnavigates the lake.
Places To Visit In Stuttgart: Natural History Museums
Stuttgart has two Natural History Museums, both of which are in Rosenstein Park in the northern portion of the city. The Löwentor (Lion Gate) building houses an extensive paleontology exhibit with realistic renderings and dinosaurs skeletons. There is also a lovely exhibit of amber. The Rosenstein Castle building focuses on mammals and modern animals, separated by an ecosystem. Rosenstein has a beautiful garden outside the building, and, in fact, the whole park makes for a lovely place to stroll.
Places To Visit In Stuttgart: Rosenstein castle and gardens
Rosenstein Castle can be accessed by U-Bahn station Wilhelma (also the zoo, so it’s a bit crowded) Löwentor can be accessed on either side of Rosenstein park at Nordbahnhof or Löwentor U-Bahn stations.
During World War II, about half of the city was destroyed by air raids focusing on the city centre. When the war ended, Stuttgart’s residents did the only thing they could think of to clean up the destruction – they picked up the pieces and literally moved them out of town. They started piling them up on a hill (Birkenkopf) just outside the city, raising the elevation of that hill about 40 meters. Now the hill stands as a testament to the rebuilding of the capital. There is a bus stop at the base of the hill, and the path to the top is paved. Not only is it an interesting piece of history to see, but you’ll also get an incredible view of the city and a moment of peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle.
A few final words
Stuttgart is centrally located within the state of Baden-Württemburg with both a train station and airport making it easy for you to jet off to a neighbouring country. Or you can partake in the German culture and spend your time in the park grilling and drinking beer that costs less than a dollar or a lovely bottle of wine made from local grapes.
Locals can be found dining outdoors on any day the sun is shining. Office workers in severe black suits will take ice cream breaks in the plaza. When it gets cold, get ready for pumpkin fests and Christmas markets.
Grab yourself a Turkish döner (think gyro) or fresh pizza to share or go full German and gorge on maultashen, kind of like German ravioli. If you don’t feel like hitting up Oktoberfest, don’t worry, Stuttgart has its own – Volksfest. It’s got a Spring festival too, Fruhlingsfest, then when December hits, it’s all Christmas Markets all the time.