21 Family-Friendly Things to Do in Leipzig Germany
on Jul 13, 2023, Updated Oct 28, 2023
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There are so many family-friendly things to do in Leipzig, Germany that you will have a hard time leaving! Leipzig is a vibrant city located in eastern Germany, known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and thriving music and arts scene. You’ll find a unique blend of old-warm charm and modern influences in Leipzig. Plus, beautiful architecture, charming market squares, and lovely green spaces and parks too!
21 Family-Friendly Things to Do in Leipzig, Germany
The city of Leipzig and the state of Saxony sponsored my visit to the area. Many thanks to all involved for a phenomenal press trip! All opinions are mine.
- 21 Family-Friendly Things to Do in Leipzig, Germany
- Where to Stay in Leipzig
- Wander in Leipzig’s Altstadt
- Leipzig Zoo – Zoologischer Garten Leipzig
- Explore Leipzig’s Waterways
- Stasi Museum – Museum in der Runde Ecke
- Explore the Leipzig Music Trail
- Leipzig Spinnerei – Old Cotton Mill
- Where to Eat in Leipzig
- More Posts on Travel in Germany You May Like
- Ready to travel? Use these helpful links to book your stay!
Not convinced you need to go? Here are 21 reasons why! Leipzig is home to many must-visit landmarks, including the iconic Leipzig Zoo, the St. Thomas Church where Johann Sebastian Bach once served as a choirmaster, and the Gewandhaus Orchestra, one of the oldest and most prestigious symphony orchestras in the world.
Leipzig is less than five hours from Munich by car, two and half hours from Berlin, and two hours from Prague. With an international airport and a large Deutsche Bahn train station, it’s easy to get to Leipzig.
If you plan to rent a car while you’re in Germany, make sure to read these tips on driving in Germany.
Hailed as a cosmopolitan people’s city, Leipzig is a university town, the largest city in Saxony, and the fastest growing city in all of Germany. It’s a city for music, art and book lovers, and is famous for its historic role in trade fairs and in helping to facilitate the fall of the Berlin Wall in the Peaceful Revolution which ultimately led to the German Reunification.
The Lonely Planet calls Leipzig “Cooler than Berlin and more hip than Munich.” With these many accolades, the bar is set high for Leipzig – and it does not disappoint. Here are a few things your family will really enjoy when you visit Leipzig.
Where to Stay in Leipzig
There are so many fun things to do in Leipzig that I recommend spending at least three full days in Leipzig. You can use Leipzig as a home base as you explore the eastern state of Saxony, or you can move on and spend a few nights in Dresden too. Whatever you choose, you will really enjoy spending time here!
Downtown Leipzig Marriott
We stayed at the Downtown Leipzig Marriott which is conveniently located across from Leipzig’s Main Train Station, and right at the entrance to the historic downtown. Its rooms are comfortable and it has a very friendly and helpful staff. Your kids may enjoy the pool so check out everything the hotel has to offer.
Wander in Leipzig’s Altstadt
Leipzig’s history dates back more than a thousand years and the city has played such a significant role in commerce, politics, music, culture, and more. Its strategic location along trade routes, such as the Via Regia and Via Imperii, played a crucial role in its emergence as a trading center.
In the Middle Ages, Leipzig became an important hub for the trading goods including fur, textiles, and books. The Leipzig Trade Fair, one of the most significant trade fairs in Europe, began in the 12th century and really set Leipzig on the map.
As you wander the downtown, you’ll get a great feel for this significant town and the important industrial and trading center it evolved into over the years. Make sure you see the following:
Leipzig Market Square (Leipziger Marktplatz)
The Market Square is the heart of the Altstadt and surrounded by so many impressive buildings. Leipzig’s main square is home to many festivals throughout the year, including the famous Christmas Market, many music festivals and so much more.
Old Town Hall – Altes Rathaus
This stunning Renaissance-style building with a distinctive tower now houses the Museum of City History and offers panoramic views from the tower in the middle!
New Town Hall – Neues Rathaus
A grand Neo-Renaissance building with an impressive tower and an observation deck that provides breathtaking views of Leipzig.
University of Leipzig – Universität Leipzig
One of the oldest universities in Europe, Leipzig University was founded in 1409. The most interesting part of the university, in my opinion, is the brand-new Paulinum building.
Located on the site of the former Paulinerkirche, a historic church that survived the bombing of Leipzig during World War 2, only to be torn down in 1968 during GDR times by the German communists. It was recently rebuilt in a new, modern style and can’t be missed as you wander around Leipzig’s Altstadt.
A unique aspect of Leipzig’s architectural and cultural heritage are covered shopping passages dating to the 19th century that were designed to provide a sheltered and elegant space for pedestrians. You’ll find several throughout the historic district that you’ll definitely want to explore. Here are a couple we enjoyed wandering through.
The Mädlerpassage is arguably the most famous and iconic passage in Leipzig. Located near the Market Square, it was built between 1912 and 1914 and named after its founder, Anton Mädler. Home to high-end boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and the historic Auerbachs Keller, make sure you wander through the Mädlerpassage. It’s a great place to duck inside on a rainy day.
Specks Hof is another well-known passage in Leipzig, situated on the Grimmaische Straße. Speck means bacon in German and you can see that theme in the artwork in this passage! It was constructed in the 1900s and is characterized by its impressive Neo-Renaissance architecture.
Leipzig Zoo – Zoologischer Garten Leipzig
Founded in 1878 and home to over 850 different species of animals, Leipzig Zoo is one of the top family-friendly attractions in Leipzig, Germany. With its diverse range of animals, interactive exhibits, and educational programs, it offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
The zoo covers an area of 64 acres and attracts millions of visitors each year.
It also prides itself on its conservation efforts and participates in several breeding programs for endangered species. Leipzig Zoo provides a natural and spacious environment for the animals, allowing visitors to observe them up close while also learning about their habitats and behaviors.
Bear Habitat Playground and Museum
I loved everything about Leipzig Zoo, but I did have a few favorites! First, don’t miss the old bear habitat which has been turned into the most incredible play structure. I’m pretty sure even big kids will enjoy exploring this playground!
Make sure to explore the inside of the bear habitat to learn how zookeepers used to take care of the many bears that lived here!
Take a walk with parakeets and watch the fly all around their enclosure! It’s also a great place to get beautiful pictures of these friendly birds.
Pongoland at Leipzig Zoo
Pongoland, a state-of-the-art primate exhibit that houses several species of great apes, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans is also a lot of fun. Watch these intelligent creatures as they interact with each other, their environments, and really put on a spectacular show for the zoo visitors.
Kiwara Lodge at Leipzig Zoo
Finally, I recommend eating lunch at the Kiwara Lodge. If you’re lucky enough to get a table on the terrace, you’ll eat almost within reach of African animals like zebras and giraffes! What a lovely place to watch animals as you eat!
Explore Leipzig’s Waterways
Fun fact: featuring a 200 mile network of rivers and canals, Leipzig has more bridges than Venice and is sometimes called “Little Venice.” A really unique way to experience the city is on the water.
Leipzig’s waterways include the Karl Heine Canal, the Elster, and the Pleiße River, among others. These picturesque canals and rivers add a lovely charm to the cityscape and do make me think about Venice.
Guided Boat Ride with Stadthafen Leipzig’s City Port Fleet
We highly recommend heading out to Leipzig’s City Harbor for a guided boat ride with Stadthafen Leipzig’s City Port Fleet along Leipzig’s Karl Heine Canal. It’s such a unique perspective and a fun way to take in the city’s architecture, landmarks, and green spaces from the water. What a relaxing way to explore Leipzig and appreciate its beauty! Highly recommend a boat tour when you’re in town.
Stadthafen Leipzig’s City Port Fleet’s guided boat rides are a lot of fun with knowledgeable captains. You can even order beer or non-alcoholic beverages on the boats. Bring snacks, sunscreen, and a hat! If you don’t want to take a guided boat ride, you can rent kayaks or a row boat too!
Kayaking or Canoeing
If you don’t want to take a guided boat ride, you can also rent kayaks or canoes to paddle along the canals!
Stasi Museum – Museum in der Runde Ecke
Visit the Stasi Museum – Museum in der Runde Ecke – for an eerie reminder of what life must have been like during the German Democratic Republic (GDR) times. As a reminder, after WW2, Germany was split into four sectors of Allied control – French, British, American, and Soviet.
France, the US, and Great Britain came together to form West Germany, but Saxony was part of the Soviet zone. Here a different vision for Germany took hold, called the GDR. Essentially, East Germans were forced to live under Soviet control and were not allowed to move to the West.
The Stasi Museum in Leipzig, Germany, is a fascinating destination to learn about the history of East Germany and the activities of the Stasi. The museum is located in the former headquarters of the Stasi and provides a unique insight into the surveillance and control methods employed by the East German government during the Cold War era.
What is Stasi?
The Stasi, officially known as the Ministry for State Security, was the secret police and intelligence (read spy) agency of East Germany. Its primary goal was to maintain the power and control of the ruling Communist Party. The museum offers a comprehensive overview of the Stasi’s operations and how it impacted the lives of ordinary citizens.
This museum has been left historically accurate down to floor coverings and paint. Some people say it smells just like it used to when it was used by the Stasi. Grab an audio guide and wander through the exhibits so you can learn the extent the secret police of East Germany took to keep the citizens under control.
When you visit the Stasi Museum, you can explore various exhibits that showcase the tools, methods, and ideologies of the Stasi. Here are some of the exhibits that I found the most interesting:
Spying & Surveillance Equipment
The museum displays a range of surveillance equipment used by the Stasi, including hidden cameras, listening devices, and other sophisticated spying devices. Not only can you learn about the extensive network of informants that the Stasi recruited to monitor the activities of citizens but you can see actual equipment that was used for the sole purpose of spying on ordinary citizens.
The museum features reconstructed interrogation rooms and prison rooms where visitors can get a sense of the intense and intimidating atmosphere that East German citizens were often subjected to.
One of the most significant aspects of the Stasi Museum is its collection of secret documents. These files provide insights into what the Stasi did to keep control. Almost anyone who lived in the area during the GDR times can ask to look at their files. Many people choose not though, because they would rather not know that their dear friends, family members, and neighbors were the very people who reported their activities to the Stasi.
Explore the Leipzig Music Trail
Music lovers will love exploring the City of Music’s 5 km long Music Trail where you learn about many famous musicians including Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Robert Schumann, and Richard Wagner.
See where they lived, worked, composed, played music, and in some cases, died. Leipzig’s Music Trail consists of 23 places you can visit. See as many of them as you have time and interest for. Here are a few that you won’t want to miss:
St. Thomas Church – Thomaskirche
Johann Sebastian Bach was this iconic church’s cantor from 1723 until he died in 1750. Bach’s remains are buried in the church, and the renowned St. Thomas Boys Choir continues to perform here. Make sure to take a look at the Bach Statue outside the church and listen to a choir performance on days they perform.
St. Nicholas Church – Nikolaikirche
St. Nicholas Church played a significant role during the peaceful demonstrations that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. This station commemorates the role of music in the peaceful revolution, particularly with the performance of the “Monday Demonstrations” and the “Liedertafel.”
Mendelssohn House – Mendelssohn Haus
This stop on the Music Trail marks the former residence of composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. The museum provides insights into Mendelssohn’s life and work and houses an extensive collection of his musical manuscripts. Not only was he one of the first conductors to use a conducting baton, he’s also credited for keeping Johann Sebastian Bach’s music alive after he’d been largely forgotten as a composer.
Tour his masterfully restored home, the Mendelssohn House, learn about his sister Fanny who was also a talented musician, and if you visit on a Sunday, you might even be able to enjoy a short music concert. The Mendelssohn House features concerts every Sunday at 11 am.
Kids will enjoy this stop as they dress up in period clothing and practice their conducting skills with an interactive virtual orchestra called the Effektorium.
Gewandhaus Concert Hall
The Gewandhaus is home to the very famous Gewandhaus Orchestra, the oldest city orchestra in the world. Felix Mendelssohn was the conductor and music director of this famous orchestra from 1835 – 1847. He transformed it into the cultural institution that it still is today.
Schumann House (Schumann-Haus)
This station commemorates composer Robert Schumann and his wife Clara Wieck, both influential figures in the Romantic period. The museum in the Schumann House showcases their life, work, and their contributions to the world of music.
Bach Museum & Bach Archives
Make sure to visit the Bach Museum where you can learn about the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach.
See Bach’s favorite instrument, the organ! You can also enjoy interactive multimedia exhibits that enable you to listen to his compositions, explore musical themes, and even hear historical instruments from a virtual baroque orchestra on the wall!
Leipzig Opera House
Catch a performance at the Leipzig Opera House, one of the most prestigious opera houses in Germany. The venue offers a diverse program of operas, ballets, and concerts suitable for all ages.
The Grassi Museum is a series of museums – one of each houses a huge collection of musical instruments from different eras and cultures. You’ll enjoy exploring a wide range of instruments, including pianos, violins, harpsichords, and more. The museum also offers workshops and interactive exhibits that allow visitors to learn about the history and sound of each instrument.
Leipzig Spinnerei – Old Cotton Mill
The Spinnerei is a former cotton mill which has been turned into a haven for artists featuring many galleries, stores, and residences. It’s a great example of creatively reusing an abandoned industrial complex to make something interesting and useful. You can take a one-hour guided tour, check out contemporary art exhibits, or attend one of the many events or festivals.
The Spinnerei is in the Plagwitz neighborhood. It’s about a half hour trip on public transportation from the downtown area. We took the street car and it was a very easy trip.
Where to Eat in Leipzig
There are lots of great places to eat in Leipzig. You really can’t go wrong with stopping in at any cafe, bakery, or restaurant lining the many squares. However, there are a few historic or iconic Leipzig restaurants that you really shouldn’t miss!
Dinner at the Bayerisher Bahnhof
The Bayerisher Bahnhof was the oldest preserved terminus station in the world, once referred to as “Gateway to the South.” One million passengers departed from here in its Golden Days of 1875 to head to Bavaria, Italy, and Italy.
It’s no longer used as a train station. But you will love its new life as a delicious restaurant that you don’t want to miss! Make sure to try the famous Gose beer and enjoy a Frankischer Brotzeitteller (similar to a charcuterie board).
It’s about a 20 minute walk from downtown Leipzig or an easy hop on public transportation.
You’ll find the Bayerisher Bahnhof at Bayrischer Platz 1. It’s open daily! Make a reservation for an indoor table or enjoy a first come first served spot in their lovely outdoor beer garden.
According to their website, this restaurant is the fifth most famous restaurant in the world! No trip to Leipzig is complete with eating here. Located in the Mädler Passage, Auerbachs Keller is celebrating 500 years of business in 2025!!
The famous German poet Goet used to eat at Auerbachs Keller and here you can see inspiration for his famous epic poem “Faust.” If you aren’t familiar with Faust, it’s a tragic play in two parts based on the medieval legend of a man who sold his soul to the devil. Make sure to tour the restaurant if you can, to see impressive historic art representing Faust and Goethe.
Auerbachs Keller is a very popular restaurant so make a reservation to ensure there’s room for you!
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