© Philipp Kirschner

Four Hours in Leipzig – Discover the Sights of the City Centre

Have you got four hours to spare? Perhaps on the day you arrive before your conference, in the afternoon after your congress programme, or before you leave Leipzig? Then why not use the time to explore Leipzig’s city centre? There is so much to see in a relatively compact area: experience history up close; come with us up high and underground; follow in the footsteps of history, music and literature; and prepare to be surprised at every turn. All you need is comfortable shoes, open eyes and a map or smartphone to help you find your way.

Leipzig’s sights in the city centre

Stunning traces of the past 

A city map is available from the Leipzig Tourist Information Centre. Just around the corner, you’ll find the market square with the Old Town Hall. Dating from 1556/57, it is one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings in Germany and houses the Museum of City History. Visit the permanent exhibitions and immerse yourself in Leipzig’s past. Admission is free. A few metres further on is St Thomas’ Church. It is known throughout the world as the place where Johann Sebastian Bach worked and as the home of the St Thomas Boys’ Choir. The restaurants and cafés in the Thomaskirchhof are ideal for taking a break and enjoying the impressive views. Follow the green of the ring road to the New Town Hall. It is one of the world’s largest town halls. At almost 115 metres, the town hall tower is said to be the tallest in Germany. Next, stop by at the Moritzbastei and pop underground. Its winding vaults are the only vestige of Leipzig’s former fortifications and now combine great food and culture. Just next door, the sky’s the limit: the City-Hochhaus skyscraper – nicknamed the “Uniriese” or “Uni Giant” by locals – is the tallest building in Leipzig. Enjoy fantastic views of the city from the 120-metre-high viewing platform. Directly below you, you will see the city campus of Leipzig University, Germany’s second oldest university, with the impressive Paulinum assembly hall and the University Church of St. Paul.

The musical side of Leipzig

Discoveries along the Leipzig Music Trail  

Back on Augustusplatz, it’s worth taking a closer look at the Gewandhaus. The painting “The Song of the Earth” can be seen through the glass front. And at 720 square metres, it is the largest ceiling mural in Europe. It is an awe-inspiring sight, especially in the evening light! Just like Leipzig Opera directly opposite. Would you like to see even more of Leipzig as a city of music? Then seek out the Leipzig Music Trail. This fascinating route links the city’s musical treasures. You can find the trail online and it is also signposted – curved pieces of metal set into the ground connect the stops on the tour. This will also take you to St Nicholas’ Church. It is the oldest church in the city. Its prayers for peace were a starting point for the Peaceful Revolution in Leipzig. A few steps further on, the Riquet coffeehouse is worth stopping for a photo – and perhaps even a coffee break. The historic coffeehouse with its mix of Art Nouveau and Chinese architecture is adorned with two imposing elephant heads.

Tracing the world’s oldest trade fair city

Through passages and past former centres of trade and commerce

Another must-see is the magnificent Mädler-Passage with the bronze statues of Mephisto and Faust at the entrance to Auerbachs Keller. Prince of poets J.W. von Goethe immortalised Auerbachs Keller in his “Faust”, making it world famous. The wine bar’s prominent guests included none other than Martin Luther. Don’t forget to rub Faust’s bronze foot. They say it brings luck! The Mädler-Passage is one of many passages and courtyards that reflect Leipzig’s history as the world’s oldest trade fair city. They once allowed horse-drawn carriages to pass through to deliver goods. Later, striking trade fair complexes were constructed in the city centre. When walking through central Leipzig, it is therefore always worth looking up: many buildings still display names that refer to passages and courtyards, recalling the trade fairs of old. The Old Stock Exchange is also part of the history of this trade fair city. The baroque building was once a meeting place for merchants. And that’s not all: at the “Markt” S-Bahn station, the former entrance to the underground trade fair centre is now where passengers head down to the Leipzig City Tunnel. The centre was the world’s first underground exhibition building. Why did they hold exhibitions underground in Leipzig, you ask? The answer is simple: the city centre’s trade fair complexes had run out of space.

Shopping and dining in Leipzig city centre

Small shops, big centres and places to indulge

And while we’re on the subject of trade: Leipzig’s city centre is a wonderful mix of historic treasures and modern shopping paradise. Especially in the passages you will find many shops of all kinds, from souvenirs and delicatessen to haute couture. There is also plenty to discover in the two large shopping centres – Höfe am Brühl in town and the Promenaden in the main railway station. And what’s more, there’s a lot to indulge in during your short stay. There are cafés, restaurants and bars along all the routes through the city centre, perfect for a break. Take a seat and enjoy the Leipzig lifestyle.

A dose of fine arts, contemporary history and Bach

Museums in the centre

If you want to delve even deeper into the past, then besides the Museum of City History, there are other museums in the city centre that are worth visiting. The Museum of Fine Arts wows visitors with its spectacular architecture and works from the late Middle Ages to the present day. Visit the permanent exhibition free of charge. The Forum of Contemporary History tells the story of divided Germany and the period after reunification. Admission is free. The “Runde Ecke” memorial museum offers a fascinating insight into the work and history of the Ministry for State Security in the GDR. At the Bach Museum, look forward to an interactive and musical journey through the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach and Bach scholarship. In case you do have more than four hours to spare: museums and galleries outside the city centre reflect Leipzig’s status as a centre for the fine and applied arts.

Guided tours, sightseeing and app tours

Personal recommendations included

Want to explore the city with an expert guide? More information and tickets for guided and sightseeing tours are available from the Tourist Information Centre. The team will also be happy to give you personal recommendations. Or why not let the Explore Leipzig – City Tours app be your guide? For the city centre, you can choose between a highlights tour or a longer route. Interactive elements such as 360-degree panoramas, before and after sliders and videos are always included. Just download the app and get started.

Meet the Leipzig Convention Team

Have these tips whetted your appetite for more? How would you like to have a music-themed supporting programme for your conference in Leipzig? Or how about a city stroll with your congress delegates? The Leipzig Convention Team has many good ideas for the perfect supporting programme to make your conference in Leipzig an unforgettable experience! Let’s get talking – we look forward to hearing from you.


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