Stuttgart is often overlooked when first-time visitors head to Germany. While Berlin has the nightlife and Munich the culture, Stuttgart offers a little bit of both as well as a cosmopolitan vibe all its own.
First settled in the 10th century, Stuttgart didn’t become a proper city until the 14th century when the Counts of Württemberg decided to make it their principal seat. Decades of upheaval followed, from the Austrians wresting control of the city to the Thirty Years War to the Second World War. Today, the city has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of Allied bombs to become a vibrant metropolis.
Explore the many things to do in Stuttgart. Divided into 23 districts, Stuttgart has charm and character aplenty. Renaissance buildings give way to baroque masterpieces and modern marvels. Stroll through myriad parks and green spaces. Relax in one of the mineral baths dotting the city. End the day partying at an iconic club. Whatever your pleasure, a city break in Stuttgart will surely do you good.
Due to its large migrant population, Stuttgart has a plethora of good restaurants ranging from German to Austrian to Indian and everything in between. Start your day at Zimt & Zucker, a colorful cafe in Heusteigviertel that is filled to the brim with friendly locals. The kitschy environs feature red floors and vintage pendant lights hanging from unfinished ceilings. Grab a signature cinnamon bun to go if it’s too packed to find a seat—which is often the case. Herbert’z Espresso Bar is the place to be if you want stellar espresso with a side of people watching. Chalkboards dot the walls in the inviting and cozy space, which also features hardwood floors and copper kettles.
Lunch spots are varied and run the gamut from light and fresh to hamburger havens. Café Künstlerbund is a Stuttgart institution. The expansive space affords guests many spots to dine on Mediterranean staples such as penne bolognese and maultaschen, a brothy German stuffed pasta dish.
For some food and wine, head to Weinstube Fröhlich, an iconic wine bar-cum-restaurant famous as a meeting place for literary and creative types. The wood-paneled setting puts one in the right mood to try some local wine and the stained glass adds an almost holy element to the proceedings. Aficionados of Thai cuisine love the boisterous Legend of Floating Market in Gerberstrasse for its spicy interpretations on Asian staples. Restaurant Girasole has the best fresh pasta in town—the Italian expat community has made it their home away from home.
After a long night on the town, locals flock to Brunnenwirt in Stuttgart’s Red Light district for currywurst. The iconic midnight snack spot might not be around for much longer, thanks to governmental bureaucracy, so get there while you still can.
While Stuttgart isn’t as well known as say Berlin for its vibrant nightlife, it does offer myriad spots to party the night away.
Like most Germans, Swabians—what the locals are called—love to drink and Stuttgart provides plenty of watering holes at which to partake of a delicious cold beverage. Our favorites? Goldmarks and UHU Bar. Goldmarks is a landmark. Vinyl is the medium of choice here—even the decor is vinyl-based with classic records used as wall decoration and coasters. Regulars groove to the sounds of 1970s soul and punk rock. Due to its cult status, UHU Bar attracts in-the-know residents. Guests must enter a real brothel before finding the mirrored entryway to these cozy boite. The speakeasy character is reflected in the low-lit environs and red brocade chairs.
Clubs in Stuttgart run the gamut from slightly seedy to glamorous. College students flock to Universum on Charlottenplatz to revel at concerts and reggae nights. Im Wizemann boasts an industrial interior where guests have paid homage to bands such as Outkast and Dizzee Rascal. Stuttgart hosts one of the biggest jazz fests in the country and both Rogers Kiste and Bix are popular clubs for blues aficionados.
Swabians love their foosball and many bars, including Sutsche and Oblomow, provide tables for competitive rounds of the pastime.
Want to try something a little different? Watch the local Stuttgart Valley Roller Derby team fight it out against their regional rivals. The squads, comprised of both men and women, were the first of their kind in Germany and ushered in a roller derby revolution. It’s quite physical and exciting to watch. Just be glad you aren’t in the thick of the action.
A charming hotel in the southern part of the city, the family-owned Hotel Traube is not just one building but five. Built in the 16th century, the historic manse exemplifies the half-timbered buildings that dominate Swabia. Each neutral-toned guest room offers the necessary comforts of home including fresh flowers and flatscreen TVs. Some rooms come equipped with chandeliers and velvet furnishings and terraces with a view. Before some shut eye, head to the old school hotel bar for a nightcap. And if you’re not just a pet owner but a cat owner? The hotel welcomes your feline friends for an additional fee.
Bavaria Hotel Münchner Hof Superior
The centrally located Bavaria Hotel Münchner Hof Superior brims with character and charming appointments. Expect in-room sinks and fresh fruit in twins, comfy sofas and spacious wardrobes in doubles. Savor the limitless breakfast buffet each morning and, with the tram basically at your doorstep, it’s an easy ride to and from all the bars and clubs in the city.