Wait a minute! You haven’t heard the name Chemnitz at all and have no clue where exactly it is? Well let me assure you, you are one of many people. Even in Germany this city is not exactly famous and is more known by its former GDR name Karl-Marx-City.
Let us begin our journey
So you are wondering why you should visit a place you have never heard of – not a good sign right? Or maybe it is. Different to Leipzig and Dresden the third biggest city of Saxony will give you space to breathe and you will not be overrun by tourist groups. Which makes it a well hidden secret travel location you should see. Let me take you through my perfect day in Chemnitz and show you some places only locals know.
We are starting our day with The Brühl. Once it was a flourishing market street with loads of little shops but after 1990 most of them closed and this area became ghostly empty. Now it has been brought back to life and is becoming the place we all knew it could be, there are all kinds of events happening there like flea markets and other events. Grab yourself some breakfast in a small bakery like “Bäckei Adler” on Elisenstraße. Saxony is known for its cakes and pastries so go nuts.
While you are walking towards the big tower you see in the distance to get to the main square you will pass by the main swimming pool of the city. Boring? I beg to differ. Just hop inside for a second, to see the building from the inside (it’s free don’t worry). When it opened its doors in 1935 it was one of the most modern places in Europe. The Bauhaus architecture still amazes me every time I enter this place.
Back on the street, you will take a left turn in front of the hotel tower and yes there he is. Our beloved Nischel. That is the nickname we gave the Karl-Marx-monument a long time ago. It is a reminder of the past of the city “Workers of the world unite.” you can read on the wall behind it. The second-largest bust in the world by the way. In order to bring more life to the city, there are free concerts happening there is summer, which is always a great event.
Wait there is more..
Now you can dip your feet into the fountain in front of the red tower. Grab yourself some delicious Italian ice cream from Cortina and head to the main square. Have a look at town hall and get a glimpse of what Chemnitz looked like before 75% of its buildings were destroyed in 1945. But Chemnitz is no Dresden and was reconstructed in a more industrial way. Can that be charming? You can decide that for yourself after the trip.
Just enter “DasTietz” just a few meters from the main square. You can visit the museum there if you want. But you can also just have a look at the petrified forest in the atrium (also free). Those pieces are some of the biggest in the world.
From there you can follow the main street towards the main station. You can stop by to get a real German national dish called Döner (it really is German). If you follow the street you will get to the Theaterplatz. Possibly one of the nicest places regarding architecture in the city. It features the Opera house, art collection and the Petri church. I highly recommend doing a guided tour around the opera house to see what is happening behind closed curtains.
Now it is all up to you if you want to keep discovering more interesting building or if you want to make your stay more about relaxation and fun. Don’t worry I got you covered either way!
Do you want more of the cities history?
If you want more culture and history you should visit the cities STASI-archive. It is a reminder of the communist days where people spied on each other. Every first Wednesday of the month there is a free guided tour, which I highly recommend. The archive contains more than 7,5km of STASI files. People can go there to get access to their files. However, most people do not wish to know who spied on them and when. Nonetheless, it is a remarkable place if you are interested in the GDR.
Talking about remarkable underneath the city you can find some catacombs. The origins go back to the 16th century and they were originally built to store beer. During the second world war, they were utilized as an air-raid shelter, which saved the lives of many people during the bombing of the city. It’s open on the weekends between 2-5pm.
I just want to relax and go crazy in the clubs
If you like having a relaxed day you should visit the Schlossteich in the middle of the city. You can rent a boat or just lie in the grass on the little island and enjoy the sun. During the evening people usually have barbecues there, which you can legally do in Germany. Buy some beers and you can have a fun evening.
If you prefer going to a restaurant check out Miramar just above the Schlossteich. It gives you a nice view over the city and offers a nice variety of food.
You want to dance and go crazy? No problem. You can check out Club FX (also called foxhole) for the ultimate 90s experience. A small basement student club with cheap drinks and walls full of old pop culture magazines. Listen to all your old favourite songs and meet nice people.
Also worth a visit is the Atomino which offers great music and also great events throughout the week. From Bingo to concerts you can find all kind of entertainment there.
You don’t feel like talking to people? Just go to my favourite cinema in the city – Metropol Cinema shows new movies a bit later than the big chains and offers a great atmosphere of the old cinemas we all know from the movies. It’s cheap and quite often you will be almost alone in the cinema.
All in all, I can say that visiting Chemnitz is worth your while. It is less crowded than most places and has a lot to offer for a lot less money compared to other touristic cities.
Discover the city while it remains a hidden gem – you can book your perfect hotel via bidroom.com