Discover 15 of Stuttgart’s Top Spots to Visit
Time flies! It’s been almost five years since we landed in Stuttgart, Germany—what a ride! It all started as a surprise move but, it’s been a journey packed with enriching experiences.
Getting the hang of the language? Check! Navigating the city like a pro on public transport? You bet! And the best part? The amazing friends and neighbors that we have made. I can’t wait to show you around my favorite places. So, come along, and let’s take a look at my top 15 must-visit spots in Stuttgart, Germany. Ready for the tour?
1. Johanneskirche am Feuersee (St. John’s Church at Firelake)
Originally built in the 19th century, Johanneskirche is one of the most beautiful churches in Stuttgart. Notably, this Gothic church once suffered damage from bombs during World War II. Since then the church has been rebuilt and restored. Its tower, purposefully left unfinished, is a silent reminder of the past. Step inside, and the stained glass windows are a beautiful sight to see, as well as the rest of this historic church.
A highlight for locals and visitors is the surrounding lake outside where you will find swans, ducks, fish, and sunbathing turtles throughout the year. Nearby there are restaurants, bakeries, and cafes, but you will also find many locals sharing lunch with friends on benches in front of this picturesque spot in Stuttgart West.
2. Bärensee (Bear Lake)
Stroll through Stuttgart’s scenic park where three man-made lakes – Bärensee, Neuer See, and Pfaffensee – offer a tranquil escape. It’s a local favorite for a relaxed day out, with paths that weave around the water and past the charming Bärenschlössle restaurant. Once there, grab a bite and savor the views, including a lovely meadow where you may be lucky enough to spot deer. With hiking, biking, and beautiful views it’s perfect for a family outing!
3. Schloßplatz (Castle Square)
Schloßplatz is the heart of Stuttgart, where you can bask in the sun on lush green grass in the summer or stroll along with your glühwein in hand at the Christmas Market come November. The castle square is framed by historical buildings and a shopping paradise on Königstrasse. The Neues Schloss (New Castle) adds a touch of royal history, it was once a home for kings and is now a government site. It’s our go-to spot for a mix of culture, play, and shopping. All year round there are festivals and events offered here, plus the local restaurants are not to be missed. It’s a definite must-see when you are in the area.
4. Schloß Solitude (Solitude Palace)
You’re in for a treat at Stuttgart’s Solitude Palace, affectionately known as Schloss Solitude, it’s just a hop, skip, and jump from the city. Tour the palace for a perfect blend of history and a fairy tale wrapped into one. Imagine peeking into the past where a duke once roamed, with all his treasures and trinkets on display. Be sure to explore the manicured gardens encircling the palace. Bring a blanket and a picnic or drinks if you’d like to stay and unwind on the beautiful grounds. This is popular with the locals, for others their onsite restaurant and cafe may be more your style. Either way, it makes for a lovely afternoon.
5. Birkenkopf -Rubble Hill
Visiting Stuttgart’s Rubble Hill is a very emotional experience. I can’t help but feel a deep connection to the past. Here you will find the aftermath of WWII – a stark reminder of the destruction that once fell in Stuttgart. A hill created from the city’s ruins serves as a solemn tribute to those difficult times. I find it’s a place to reflect and honor the resilience of those who came before us and to hope for a peaceful future. After viewing the memorial, be sure to take in the beautiful views overlooking Stuttgart. If you want to extend your time there, there are options to hike further and enjoy the surrounding scenery.
6. Ludwigsburg Residential Palace and Gardens
Just north of Stuttgart lies Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg or Ludwigsburg Residential Palace, a Baroque beauty where Duke Carl Eugen’s love for luxury shines throughout the palace. It’s home to Europe’s oldest preserved palace theater, impressively still complete with its original stage effects. After touring the palace, don’t miss the beautiful Fairy Tale garden showcasing 40 scenes from popular fairy tales. If you have little ones, you won’t want to miss it. An added bonus when visiting during the Christmas season is a chance to experience Ludwigsburg’s beloved Christmas Market. Plus a visit in the fall will bring you to the world’s largest pumpkin festival. Ludwigsburg is a charming town that you will absolutely love!
7. Porsche Museum
At the Porsche Museum, architecture meets automotive innovation. Inside, it’s a journey through Porsche’s evolution with over 80 iconic vehicles and 200 small exhibits. The VW Beetle developed by Ferdinand Porsche can also be seen. There are interactive displays throughout the museum and my kids loved sitting in some of the cars. My husband was in heaven, but despite not being car buffs my kids enjoyed touring the museum and I did too. There is also a cafe on site to curb your hunger after you tour the museum. This was a perfect rainy day activity for our family that you won’t want to miss-rain or shine.
8. Mercedes-Benz Museum
Stuttgart’s Mercedes-Benz Museum is a tribute to the car that Carl Benz gifted the world in 1886. As one of the most visited museums in Stuttgart, this place doesn’t just show off old cars; it weaves the story of the automobile into the fabric of our lives and times. Imagine walking among more than 160 vehicles – on nine levels, from the earliest horseless carriages to sleek race cars and even visions of tomorrow.
Spread over 16,500 square meters and twelve rooms, these treasures take you on a journey. You can explore this world through two captivating tours – one that traces the legendary milestones of the brand and another that showcases a collection of automotive gems. Stuttgart’s Mercedes Museum is a must-see for car enthusiasts, but also enjoyable for families, too.
9. Wilhelma Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Wilhelma Zoo isn’t just a hit with the kids; it’s a treasure for everyone! It’s known as the largest zoological and botanical garden in Europe with over 2 million visitors each year. Once King Wilhelm I’s private hangout, this place mixes royal history with a Neo-Moorish vibe and lush greenery. Now, it’s a wonderland for 11,00 animals and 1,200 species plus 8,500 plant types. You won’t want to miss its new Australia exhibit complete with adorable koalas. You can enjoy multiple restaurants and cafes throughout the grounds, a large playground for the kiddos, and a cute gift shop you will want to be sure to stop by on your way out. It’s an adventure for the whole family, right here in Stuttgart!
10. Killesberg Höhenpark
Discover a favorite local escape at Killesberg Höhenpark. What was once a quarry has been artfully crafted into a vibrant landscape by gardeners and designers. Among the seasonal floral beauty, expansive lawns, and a flamingo pond, you’ll find fun-filled activities: Take a nostalgic ride on the ‘Killesbergbahn‘ mini train, enjoy a bite to eat at the various restaurants and cafes, cool off in the inviting outdoor pool, let the kids roam the adventurous playground, climb the lookout tower, and visit the animal enclosures with friendly llamas and goats. Plus, don’t miss the old-time fair with nostalgic rides and treats for the kiddos. It’s a delightful mix of nature and fun for all ages and our personal go-to for a little slice of relaxation and family fun in the city.
11. Stuttgart Christmas Market
Stuttgart’s Christmas Market is magical – imagine a wonderland with over 300 festively decorated stalls and attractions nestled in the heart of the city! With a live nativity, an annual contest for the best-decorated stall, and a giant Ferris wheel you will be sure to have fun. You’ll find everything from handmade toys to handmade Christmas ornaments, plus the smells of mulled wine, roasted nuts, and other tasty treats. For the kiddos, there’s a special area with a carousel, a train, and even a roller skating rink. It’s a festive spot, kicking off in late November and wrapping up right before Christmas Eve. Over 3.5 million people visit every year, join in the fun and make some new holiday memories!
12. Cannstatter Wasen (Stuttgart Volksfest) & Stuttgarter Frühlingsfest (Stuttgart Spring Festival)
Twice a year, the festival grounds on the Neckar in Bad Cannstatt buzz with excitement for the Stuttgart Spring Festival and the Cannstatter Volksfest. These celebrated events draw over 5 million people annually and are considered among the best folk festivals worldwide.
The Cannstatter Volksfest is a bustling autumn affair that stems from a 19th-century agricultural fest established to uplift the spirits and improve farming practices after a year of famine. With rides and vibrant tents, it now attracts around 4.3 million visitors each season. It’s also the 2nd largest beer festival coming in right behind Munich’s Oktoberfest.
Come spring, the area is slightly quieter but no less joyous for the Spring Festival, Europe’s largest springtime celebration, where over 1.4 million guests enjoy a blend of funfair rides and cozy festival tents. It’s a blend of tradition and festivity, cherished by both locals and tourists alike. An experience you won’t want to miss.
13. Fernsehturm Stuttgart (Stuttgart TV Tower)
The Stuttgart TV Tower is a must-see – it’s not just a piece of broadcasting history as the world’s first reinforced concrete TV tower, but it’s also a gem for panoramic views. Some thought it was a bit of an eyesore when it popped up in 1956, but now it’s a beloved landmark. Climb up to the observation deck, and you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view that stretches for miles – perfect for all seasons. It’s a fantastic spot for a family photo, too! After viewing this special landmark, don’t forget to stop at one of the cafes or restaurants for a bite to eat.
14. Stuttgart City Library at Mailänder Platz
If you wander down to Mailänder Platz, you’ll stumble upon this ultra-modern city library that’s an architectural gem (not to mention a social media star!). Inside, you’ll find a large kid-friendly section, a music library, and even a graphic collection. It celebrates local literary talents with a dedicated exhibition.
The brain behind this architectural gem? Korean architect Eun Young Yi, making the Stuttgart City Library a global hot spot for design lovers. Pretty awesome, right? And don’t miss the roof terrace – it offers breathtaking city views and a cafe where you can relax. On your way out, you’ll find shopping, restaurants, Starbucks, and fountains for the kids to play in during the hot summer months.
15. Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. This pumpkin festival is a bit of a drive or a train ride from Stuttgart, but don’t let that deter you. Set against the backdrop of the enchanting Blooming Baroque (Blühenden Barock) gardens, near the Ludwigsburg Residential Palace, is an annual celebration featuring over 600 unique pumpkin varieties and a staggering display of over 450,000 pumpkins. Each year the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival has a new theme and new displays to see. Not to mention, all the pumpkin-inspired food and drinks served for you to enjoy. Plus, you could be among the few that have visited the largest pumpkin festival in the world! It’s a must-see in my book.
Stuttgart: A City of History, Culture, Cars, and Charm
I have a confession to make, I could go on and on with more than 15 amazing places to visit in this area, there is so much more to share! Stuttgart is a great place to visit and live, and even though I have more personal favorites, they will have to wait for another day. For now, enjoy these 15 spots and stay tuned for more. Happy exploring!!
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Disclaimer: Please know that while I pour my heart and soul into providing you with the most accurate and up-to-date information, the world has its way of changing. The details and insights shared here were accurate at the time of penning them down. However, in time, some specifics might shift. Always double-check before making any plans. Safe travels and warm wishes.