Hey there. Yeah, you. Are you an American who is just getting used to living in Germany? Are you perplexed about how to spend your Sundays, when everything seems to be closed? Well, this post is for you.
My husband Bill and I are on our second Stuttgart tour. We spent two years here when he was still in the Army and we’re coming up on our second year post retirement. My husband is a contractor, so we’ve found ourselves having to go it alone for a lot of things. That has made us a lot braver than we were when we lived here a few years ago.
Last night, as we were enjoying a delightful meal in Waldenbuch, we talked about how we’ve been focusing on getting to know the Stuttgart area. The truth is, there’s a lot to do here. But on Sundays, it can seem like everything shuts down. You may be even tempted to hole up in your house. That would be a tremendous mistake. It was one we made during our first two years here; then we had to leave early, which was a real bummer!
We left Germany with a lot of good memories in other countries, but not so many made in Stuttgart. Stuttgart and its environs have a lot to offer. You shouldn’t waste your time here. So today, I’m going to write a post offering ideas on how to spend your Sundays. I’m sure I will miss a lot of activities, so if anyone reading this has something to add, by all means, leave me a comment here or on Facebook.
Many of these suggestions do require access to a car, though some are accessible by train or UBahn.
10. Check out a museum… or perhaps the zoo?
A lot of museums are open on Sundays. The Mercedes-Benz Museum in downtown Stuttgart and the Porsche Museum both have Sunday hours. Not into cars? Check out this link, which has a list of museums in the Stuttgart area, many of which are open on Sundays. You can check out everything from art to wine culture. When you’re finished checking out Stuttgart’s museums, consider a trip to Tübingen, where there are more museums and plenty of great restaurants, some of which are on the Neckar River. Or, you could visit the Wilhelma Zoo in downtown Stuttgart, which has Sunday hours and is a crowd pleasing outing.
9. Visit a castle… or maybe a cave?
The Stuttgart area is blessed with a number of castles. On a nice day, you can climb up to Hohenzollern, a very beautiful castle in Hechingen, south of Stuttgart. Or you can visit Lichtenstein Castle, open every Sunday except in January. Ludwigsburg and Tübingen also have royal residences that can be visited on a Sunday. You can also visit caves on Sundays near Stuttgart. I can’t comment too much on the caves because Bill and I haven’t gone yet. It’s definitely on the list when the weather improves!
8. Relax at the spa.
This afternoon, Bill and I visited the Mineraltherme in Böblingen, the big steamy complex near Panzer Kaserne. We love visiting there on Sundays, although that is probably their busiest day of the week, especially when it rains! The Mineraltherme has a restaurant and snack bar, so you can grab a bite during your visit. Though there is no signage in English, it won’t be long before you get the hang of it. Worried about nudity? Never fear. There is nudity in the sauna area on the first floor, but the second floor has lots of heated pools and a solarium. And everybody wears a bathing suit in that area. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the Mineraltherme for small kids, though I have seen them there on occasion. There aren’t any facilities like kiddie pools at the Mineraltherme. There are other spas in the Stuttgart area, too, and they also have Sunday hours.
7. Go out to eat!
If you read this blog with any regularity, you know Bill and I often go out to eat on Sundays. The Auld Rogue is a good bet. Today, we visited the Brauhaus in Böblingen, which runs a brunch every Sunday. Although it’s a large restaurant with plenty of parking and seating, Sundays are usually pretty crowded there. It’s a good place for German food and beer. While a number of restaurants are closed on Sundays, quite a few are open. You can easily make reservations on OpenTable.de, which is very convenient for finding new places to try that are open on Sundays. Sunday is a great day to try out the local cuisine! When the weather is good, you can find a biergarten and relax while you munch on pretzels and sip German suds.
A few photos from today’s lunch at the brauhaus.
6. Take a walk in the woods.
The Stuttgart area offers many nature parks that are great for wandering through the woods. We are fortunate enough to live right next to one and when the weather is good, we run into many hikers, horseback riders, dog walkers, and bikers. Chances are good there’s a park near where you live… or at least some fields where you can enjoy some fresh air. You can even visit parks where you walk barefoot. Best of all, you don’t usually have to spend money to take a walk in the woods.
5. Walk in the treetops.
Visit Baumwipfelpfad. It’s a very cool treetop walk that is a bit of a drive from Stuttgart, but well worth the trip. Get to the top of the walk and slide down! When you’re finished, you can visit the spa in the neighboring town of Bad Wildbad. It also has Sunday hours. If you like fresh fish, you can visit the Zordel trout farm, a place that seems especially popular with kids, who are welcome to feed the fish.
The tree walk!
4. Check out some ruins.
There are lots of castle ruins in the towns around Stuttgart. Last Summer, Bill and I hiked up to Hohennagold, ruins that are situated on a hill overlooking the charming town of Nagold. Much to our delight, there was a snack bar at the top where ice cold beer in frosted mugs, coffee, and cake were being sold. That was a nice treat after a long hot hike up to see some awesome ruins! Herrenberg also has ruins, as well as a very cool bell museum and church that is open on Sundays. You can also visit Hohenurach’s ruins, which pairs nicely with a visit to Bad Urach’s waterfall or the local spa. Chances are good your area has ruins to visit, too.
3. Visit Triberg and check out the waterfall and cuckoo clocks.
Triberg is a really cute town south of Stuttgart that boasts the highest waterfall in Germany. It’s also home for many cuckoo clock stores and excellent Black Forest cake. Because it’s a tourist friendly town, a lot of places are open on Sunday. Parking may be a challenge; it definitely was when we visited last May. We ended up parking at the Netto, which was closed on the day of our visit. It was not a problem and we enjoyed a great day seeing the falls.
Glorious view in Triberg.
You could also visit other nearby cities like Heidelberg, Freiberg, Heilbronn, or Ulm. They aren’t too far from here, though traffic may make you rather take a train rather than try to drive! They’re all great places to explore. Or, if you feel more adventurous, take a day trip to France or Switzerland. They are both within a couple of hours’ drive. But do your research before you go, because things are closed on Sundays in France and Switzerland, too.
2. See a show!
From the movie theater at Patch Barracks to the stages in Stuttgart, there are plenty of entertainment options in Stuttgart. You can catch a film, a concert, a play, or a musical. Bill and I have so far enjoyed two great concerts in Stuttgart– Lyle Lovett and Diana Krall. This summer, we have plans to see Van Morrison. Check online for showtimes. You could also go bowling on Panzer if all else fails. Or you could play ExitGames in Stuttgart, which I plan to goad Bill into doing someday.
1. Make some local friends and have a gathering.
When Bill and I lived here the first time, we didn’t know very many Americans at all. We didn’t join Facebook until we’d been in Stuttgart a year already. There was no such thing as Stuttgart Friends, let alone any of the other speciality groups that have formed since we got here. This time, there seems to be a group for everyone! One of my favorite groups is the Stuttgart Beer Club, which occasionally has beer tastings. Beer isn’t your thing? Not to worry. There’s a group on Facebook for you. If there isn’t, why not form one? Then, once you’ve made some buddies online, make some plans for socializing on those boring Sundays.
I’m in a group that is becoming famous for its BBQs. Of course, we don’t usually have them on Sundays… instead, we recover from them on Sundays. 😉 One great thing about living abroad is that your fellow countrymen tend to be friendly. I find it a lot easier to make real life friends when I live abroad… and this is my fourth time living abroad, so I have a good frame of reference. Also, when you make friends in the Stuttgart area, you get to see where other people live. Some folks live in very cool houses or beautiful towns you wouldn’t have otherwise visited.
I hope this post gives you a few ideas of how to spend those pesky Sundays. Really, I’ve just scratched the surface of things to do around here. Once you get used to them, Sundays in Germany can be wonderful!