Leipzig is currently the most sought-after city, especially among young people, and one of the most sought-after destinations for a city break.
And not without reason: The student city of Leipzig is full of history, joie de vivre and sights!
From the historic Nikolai Church to the zoo and trendy neighborhoods, everyone gets their money’s worth.
Fancy Leipzig? Then follow us to the best Leipzig sights.
Old Leipzig City Hall & Naschmarkt | Top 1 of the best Leipzig attractions
The Old Leipzig Town Hall is really old. Already at the end of the 13th century, the building of the Old Leipzig Town Hall was first mentioned in documents.
For me, the Old Leipzig Town Hall with its Town Hall Tower is the perfect starting point for a city tour of Leipzig. By the way, it is located directly at the Leipzig market.
As one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings in Germany, the Old Leipzig Town Hall is a landmark of the city and one of the most famous sights of Leipzig. Today, the Old Leipzig Town Hall houses the City History Museum.
At the back of the town hall is the Naschmarkt, where fruit used to be traded and where today food and drinks are served on open-air terraces. At the Naschmarkt you will also find the baroque building of the Old Stock Exchange and the Goethe Monument.
At Christmas time, the medieval Christmas market takes place on this side of the city hall – for me, the most beautiful part of Leipzig’s Christmas market.
A real Leipzig highlight: The Old Leipzig Town Hall is one of the most famous sights and landmarks of the city.
Tip: The tower of the New City Hall is with its 114 meters the highest city hall tower in Germany and is one of the most important landmarks of Leipzig. On a guided tour you can climb the 250 steps to the city hall tower and enjoy the fabulous view over the city of Leipzig.
Neues Rathaus Leipzig – Leipzig Free Tours
- Admission to Old Leipzig Town Hall: 6€ adults; 4€ concessions; free admission for ages 18 and under; free admission to the Town Hall every 1st Wednesday of the month
- Opening hours Old Leipzig Town Hall: Tuesday to Sunday; holidays 10.00 – 18.00; 24.12. and 31.12. closed
Nikolai Church | Top 2
The Nikolaikirche is the landmark of Leipzig and therefore the most famous of Leipzig’s sights.
It is the largest and oldest church in the city. By the way, its full name is City and Parish Church of St. Nicholas.
In 2015, it celebrated its 850th anniversary. After Leipzig received its city charter in 1165, construction of the church began.
However, the original Romanesque building from the 12th century was successively expanded and converted into a Gothic church in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The main tower was added in the 18th century. Since that time, St. Nicholas Church has had its face, which is still preserved today. At least from the outside.
The interior was redesigned in a classicist style during the Enlightenment. Drawing on ancient models, the traditional Gothic elements were reworked.
This is best seen in the columns and the buttressing. The columns were furrowed and palm leaves growing from their capitals cover the cross vault.
Particularly noteworthy is the organ of the Nikolai Church. With its 6,804 pipes, it is the largest church organ in the Free State of Saxony.
But that is not all the church has to offer. Because history was made in the Nikolai Church more than just once.
For example, Martin Luther delivered the first Reformation sermons in Leipzig here in 1539.
Johann Sebastian Bach performed his St. John Passion for the first time in 1724, and in the 1980s the peace movement of the GDR had its beginning and its home here.
Did you know.
The Monday demonstrations, considered the beginning of the peaceful revolution in 1989, originated here in the Monday prayers.
These still take place every Monday, by the way.
As a particularly historic site, the Nikolaikirche is one of Leipzig’s most important sights.
Monument of the battle of nations I Top 3
Hardly anything is so much connected with the city of Leipzig as the Monument to the Battle of the Nations, which is not for nothing one of the most important Leipzig sights.
In 1813, the Battle of the Nations raged not far from Leipzig.
And the name says it all: over 20 nations took part in the fighting.
On one side the troops of Napoleon and his allies, on the other side the alliance of Austria, Prussia, Russia and Sweden.
Until the First World War, it was the largest battle in history.
The Battle of the Nations ended with Napoleon’s defeat and the rollback of his domination over Europe.
A short time later, the idea of building a monument to the battle was already being considered.
However, the foundation stone was laid 85 years later. In 1913 – a hundred years after the battle – the building was inaugurated.
It was renovated from 2003 to 2013.
With its 91 meters height and the life-size warrior figures on the outer facade and inside, it is truly very impressive.
In the wake of Napoleonic rule, an increasingly nationalistic mindset had emerged throughout Europe.
And the monuments of the time were meant to impress – often simply by their size.
These thoughts are clearly reflected in the visual language of the monument.
Thus, right at the entrance stands a 20-meter-high Archangel Michael complete with sword, armor and shield.
Inside, the martial image continues with four 10-meter-high sculptures that are supposed to embody the “German virtues.”
The 68-meter-high dome features 324 life-size horsemen.
By the way:
The Monument to the Battle of the Nations is not only a direct testimony to history, it also has an observation deck from which you can get a wonderful view.
You can either climb the 364 steps or take the elevator.
Augustusplatz, Gewandhaus, Leipzig Opera & Panorama Tower | Top 4
On the outer inner city ring, on the eastern side, lies Augustusplatz. Augustusplatz is a square that serves as a traffic junction and where some of the most worth seeing magnificent buildings, such as the Leipzig Opera, the new Gewandhaus and the new main building of the university – the Augusteum and Paulinum – meet.
The Panorama Tower (also known as the MDR Tower) is also close to Augustusplatz.
The Leipzig Opera House is famous, not only for its exceptionally beautiful building, but also for its 300-year-old opera tradition and opera music. Thus, the Leipzig Opera was crowned Opera House of the Year in 1992!
If you want to round off your visit to Leipzig with a unique musical cultural experience, then an opera or ballet evening at the opera house on Augustusplatz is a unique opportunity to do so.
You will find yourself 120 meters above Leipzig when you climb up to the viewing platform in the Panorama Tower. The view from the Panorama Tower over the sights at Augustusplatz and all of Leipzig is breathtaking. If you don’t want to eat in the restaurant, you can visit the viewing platform of the Panorama Tower half an hour before the restaurant opens.
The entrance fee to the Panorama Tower is 3€.
What would Leipzig be without its music?
The operettas of the Opera House or the Gewandhaus Orchestra play in Leipzig on a world-class level. But whether you want to listen to the Gewandhaus Orchestra perform its masterpieces or not, the concert building called Gewandhaus is still worth seeing and it is centrally located in the old town, not far from Leipzig University.
Mädler Passage I Top 5
The Mädler Passagen are an absolute highlight, not only for shopping enthusiasts, but also for architecture fans.
As one of the most magnificent shopping arcades in Germany, it is located not far from the market and in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city center.
When the suitcase and leather manufacturer Adolf Mädler bought the property in Grimmaische Straße in 1911, he first had all the existing buildings demolished.
Also the building Auerbachs Hof, which existed since the 16th century.
Instead, a 142-meter-long, four-story new arcade building followed, complete with a continuous glass roof.
After considerable protest against the new building project, the wine cellar of Auerbachs Hof was integrated into the passage.
This can still be visited today.
It is so well known because Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is said to have stayed here in his student days.
The architecture of the Mädler Passagen convinces with its bright and inviting atmosphere.
Designed in the style of classicism, it shows a particularly opulent face and impresses with antique style elements.
By the way:
The Mädler Passagen were originally designed as a trade fair building with about 5,700 square meters of exhibition space.
Today you will find stores in the upper price segment on the first floor and offices on the upper floors.
These include, for example:
- A glockenspiel made of Meissen porcelain, which plays every hour.
- The entrance portal with two life-size female figures on either side.
The real highlight, however, is the ceiling painting, which shows scenes from Faust.
There are also two sculptures in front of the entrances to Auerbach’s Cellar. These show Faust and Mephisto, as well as the enchanted students.
The Mädler Passage is one of the sights you should see in Leipzig.
Plagwitz and Canoe Tours I Top 6
For some time now, Leipzig has also been called “Hypezig”, which is mainly due to the trendy district of Plagwitz, which you will find on the western edge of Leipzig.
The former industrial site with a dirty river, dilapidated houses and hardly inhabited, has developed since the 90s into a popular neighborhood for hipsters, students, artists and life artists.
“Like Berlin 20 years ago” is often said. And a little bit it’s even true.
In Plagwitz you will find tranquil old quarters, old industrial buildings and wastelands, lots of greenery and many small canals and rivers along which it is wonderful to stroll.
A bit like Berlin after the fall of the wall.
The epicenters are Karl-Heine-Strasse and Zschochersche Strasse.
A walk through the neighborhood is worthwhile in any case and you will certainly find your own personal Leipzig sights.
Plagwitz is also known for its many galleries and artists’ studios.
There is simply a completely different flair here than in the city center.
Plagwitz and also the adjoining neighborhood of Lindenau are the best Leipzig sights for young people.
The heart of Plagwitz’s creative scene is the Spinnerei.
Since the 1990s, the former cotton spinning mill has increasingly become home to various alternative art projects, home to artists and home to smaller manufactories and factories.
But designers and start-ups can also be found here.
A walk through Plagwitz is not complete without a visit to the Spinnerei.
If you are interested, guided tours are offered for a fee.
My insider tip for Plagwitz
- Westwerk: Less known than the Baumwollspinnerei is the Westwerk, which is also an old industrial site with galleries, bars and restaurants.
Old scene district Südvorstadt | Top 7
Where do you find the students, the alternative people and the young people? That’s what interests me the most on my city trips! Maybe it’s because of my nostalgic tendency to my own student days… anyway, this is usually where life flourishes, it’s colorful and diverse and reveals to me the true value of openness and tolerance of a city.
The Südvorstadt is and remains a great tip for pretty cafes, alternative stores and hip party places. The Karl-Liebknecht-Straße (short “Karli”) is the promenade that leads you from the center via Peterssteinweg straight through the Südvorstadt to Connewitz.
To the left and right of the Karli you can store, stop for a bite to eat, watch the hustle and bustle of Südvorstadt from the many terraces, in short: You can enjoy yourself there for a whole day!
My favorite places and tips for going out in Südvorstadt
On your walk through Leipzig’s Südvorstadt – whether on foot or by bike – you can stop at cafés, pubs, cinemas and clubs and let the alternative flair of Leipzig take effect on you.
Here are a few sights and attractions of a different kind:
- Café Puschkin: The café is open daily from 09.00 – 02.00. From breakfast on the street terrace to cocktails in the barrel cellar, you’ll find the right flair at Café Puschkin at any time of day.
- Löffelfamilie: The Löffelfamilie is a cult illuminated sign from the GDR of VEB Feinkost, which is now a listed building. It shines every evening for 90 minutes until nightfall. Alternatively, you can light up the spoon family yourself by cell phone. The cost of 3 euros will be donated to the Löffelfamilie e.V. association. Address: Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 36
- VEB Feinkost Leipzig: The whole area of the former canned food production “Volkseigene Betrieb Feinkost” is today a place where you can visit summer theaters, flea markets, street food markets and clubs. Even as a young girl I used to run to the store Mrs. Hippie to buy fancy clothes. In addition to Mrs. Hippie, the deli site has a bookstore, a beer garden directly under the cult neon sign “Löffelfamilie,” summer theater or summer cinema, and a flea market every first Saturday of the month, as well as the club “Absturz.”
- Club Absturz: The club is located on the VEB Feinkost premises. As the name suggests, the party here is wild. Whether indie, 80’s or Russian disco, the program is colorful.
- Institut für Zukunft: Electro shed with an interesting ambience – industrial, unadorned, dark, electronic.
- Distillery: The “Tille” is Leipzig’s Berghain and the top address for famous DJ sets. With its 25 years of club history, it is the oldest techno club in the new German states and a permanent fixture in Leipzig’s nightlife. If you’re into electronic music, you’re sure to have a long party night at Distillery.
Alternative scene district Connewitz | Top 8
Connewitz is the Schanzenviertel of Leipzig. Connewitz has always been known as the autonomous and left-wing alternative quarter of Leipzig and this has not changed until today. The Leipzig district in the south is colorful, shrill and yet middle-class. Many families now live in Connewitz.
Here, all social classes and a colorful smorgasbord of many ideals of life meet, which is the charm of this neighborhood.
You can get to Connewitz by simply walking along Karl-Liebknecht-Straße in Südvorstadt. Discover the colorful house facades, the cultural scene and the cozy stores in Connewitz and combine your walk with a detour to the Wildpark, if you feel like peace and nature.
My favorite places and insider tips in Leipzig Connewitz
- Werk II: The socio-cultural center Werk 2 in Connewitz is a particular favorite of mine! Not only does the most beautiful Advent market with homemade handicrafts take place here during Advent, but cultural highlights are offered in the old factory halls all year round. Whether theater, ceramics workshop, drum courses, wine fair, disco or concerts – a look at the program of Werk 2 is worthwhile.
- Conne Island: If the program at Werk 2 doesn’t appeal to you, you should check out the dates of the Conne Island cultural association, which has been hosting concerts and club events here for over 20 years.
- UT Connewitz: In the UT Connewitz, one of the oldest movie theaters in Germany, not only films are shown, but artists also appear on stage.
Ilses Erika: For partying and dancing I also recommend the Tanzcafé Ilses Erika.
The Rising Star – The Eisenbahnstraße | Top 9
15 years ago, Eisenbahnstraße was still a no-go, a drug neighborhood and was called the most dangerous street in Germany. Even today, Eisenbahnstraße is still not a showcase neighborhood in Leipzig, but something is happening and a glorious future is predicted for it as a trendy street.
More and more small stores, cafés and bars are settling in Leipzig’s former social hotspot. Vacant houses are being revived and used as cultural centers or for workshops.
My insider tips for Leipzig’s Eisenbahnstraße
- Damascus: The Eisenbahnstraße is a great place to enjoy a kebab or shawarma in one of the many Arabic restaurants. Here the bread is home-baked and the meat comes directly from the charcoal grill.
- Bistro Kulturapotheke: A good address for coffee and culture lovers. Readings and concerts are held here regularly.
- Analog Café Bar: Here you will not only find a cozy ambience, but also the best coffee and cake in the east of Leipzig.
Bike tour to the lakes of Leipzig | Top 10
Pack your swimsuit, take your little sister and then let’s get out to the … Leipzig lakes! Fancy a popsicle and sunbathing? Then pack your swimsuit for your short trip to Leipzig! (provided that the temperatures allow it).
In Leipzig, an endless number of lakes provide the necessary cooling in summer and are a great destination for tourists looking for some relaxation. The Leipzig Neuseenland is an old lignite mining area from GDR times. The remaining holes were flooded and the surrounding area was lovingly recultivated.
Many of the lakes are easily accessible from the city center by the public transportation system “L” of Leipzig (streetcar and bus):
Cospuden bathing lake ( called “Cossi”)
Kulkwitzer bathing lake ( called “Kulki”)
Elster reservoir Bösdorf
Other lakes of the Leipziger Neuseenland can be reached by car or by bike: Strömthaler See (bus line 106 runs only on weekends), Hainer See, Albrechtshainer See, Grillensee, Moritzsee, Kahnsdorfer See, Werbener See, Haubitzer See, Großstolpener See, Bockwitzer See etc.
My top tips for excursions to the Leipzig lake district
The best thing to do is to grab a bike and take a bike tour from the center of Leipzig to a lake of your choice! My absolute favorites are the Kulkwitzer, Cospudener, Störmtahler and Schladitzer lakes.
- Kulkwitzer See: Kulkwitzer See was one of the first lakes to be created in Leipzig and is still one of the most popular. The popularly called “Kulki” is not only a diver’s paradise, but here you will also find a beautiful campsite, boat rentals and cute little cafes on the shore promenade, which also invites you to take a walk.
My tip: If you take a bike tour around the Kulkwitzer, then I can recommend the café Ab ans Ufer with boat rental on the Makranstädter side. Address: Falkenhain 31, 04420 Markranstädt, opening hours (April – October): Monday to Sunday 10:00 – 20:00.
- Schladitzer See: I especially recommend the Schladitzer for a bike tour along the coal-steam-light bike route. From Hayna, take the lakeside loop trail to Schladitz Bay. A beautiful beach and crystal clear water await you for your day at the lake. You can also cycle around the Schladitzer See.
- Störmtahler See: On the Strömthaler you can choose between lake tours, kayak tours, water treaders, rowing boats, jetlev and amphibian tours and visit the floating venue “Vineta” with bistro.
- Lake Cospuden, “Cossi”: Lake Cospuden not only has the longest sandy beach and the best water quality, but is also ideal for cycling around.
Get to know Leipzig with Leipzig Free Tours – Walk like a local
Those were my Leipzig tips for you. The suitcases are certainly already packed, what about you? Now all you need is a great city tour for an unforgettable city trip to Leipzig. Take a look at the Free Walking Tour in Leipzig. It’s a great way to get to know the city and hear exciting stories. For groups or for anyone who just wants to treat themselves, there are also private city tours. Let’s go!