Celebrating 25 years of partnership, Houston and Leipzig are two wonderful cities that share many similarities. Although both are unique in their own ways, what they do have in common is a passion for the arts, delicious food (plus great coffee), and a thriving community that anyone would love to call home. Since Leipzig may be new to some, let’s highlight some great things about the second largest city in Eastern Germany (behind Berlin) that will undoubtedly show you why these sister cities have supported one another for many years.
Shopping Is a Thing
Did you know that Leipzig was known as the marketplace of Europe? Where Houston is known for the Galleria (Texas’s largest mall) with its many shops and boutiques that many have traveled far and wide to visit and the Port of Houston, Leipzig has a deep-rooted history as a source of trade and commerce. If you head into Leipzig’s city centre, you’ll not only find popular fashion stores like H&M and Zara, but you’ll also get the opportunity to shop at famous department stores including Breuninger and Peek & Cloppenburg.
As we toured the area, we enjoyed dipping off and back on to the main streets to “hidden” yet beautifully restored passageways and covered arcades that gave life back to what once was — Leipzig’s instrumental and historical influence on trade in the region. Want to spend an afternoon shopping? A stop at Mädler Passage, Höfe am Brühl, or Specks Hof would be the perfect idea! Plus, who wouldn’t want a little retail therapy where luxury chocolates, hand-crafted stationery, fine wines, and of course, fashion can be found at every corner. No brainer.
The Birthplace of Creativity
Houston will definitely beckon the art lover in you. Expect to ooh, aww, wow, and gaze as you slowly peruse through museums, independent art studios, and pop up art shows. And Leipzig is no different. We dove deep into the art scene in Leipzig, and even if we had a few more days to spend there, we still wouldn’t have gotten an opportunity to see it all. We spent several hours at Spinnerei, which is a cotton mill (the largest in continental Europe) turned into a space spewing of creativity. With over 100 private art studios and 12 galleries, it is truly a sight to see.
Like Houston, Leipzig also has its very own Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of Contemporary Art. And in addition to the larger art museums, there are many smaller exhibits and galleries across the city including GRASSI Museum of Applied Art and G2 Artspace which is home to a private art collection of contemporary visual art. But the icing on the cake had to be the street art! It was everywhere, and we stopped to grab a photo op every time we saw one.
I’ll Take a Latte
It wouldn’t be like us if we didn’t enjoy the wonderful cafes and coffeehouses in Leipzig. To say that I love coffee is an understatement and just as I enjoy some alone time sipping on a latte at a local cafe here in Houston, I was very excited to come across several intimate places to tuck away for my beverage of choice. I’ll be blunt — coffee is synonymous with Leipzig. Not only does one of Europe’s oldest coffee shops still exist in Leipzig, Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum, but Leipzig was also one of the most important places for coffee-mill production with the first load of coffee beans arriving there in 1693. Coffee is a huge part of the culture in the community, and when you pair that with their homemade pastries, it really doesn’t get any better. I even purchased some German coffee to bring home with me from a local roaster, and I am thoroughly enjoying it as I type. #sipsip
Fun Surrounds You
Aside from shopping and taking in the many art spaces, Leipzig is great when you want to spend a fun-filled day with the family too. The Houston Zoo is known far and wide for being the second most visited zoo in the United States, and Leipzig’s Zoo Leipzig und Gondwanaland is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Just a quick walk from the city centre will land you right in the middle of what is being called the “Zoo of the Future”. It has its very own rain forest, over 300 exotic animals, and offers a scenic boat trip that takes you almost 40 feet up for more incredible views!
Looking for something more adventurous? Head to BELANTIS, the biggest theme park in eastern Germany. With more than 60 rides it will certainly be an afternoon to remember. One question for Houston while we’re on the subject? Can you please bring Astroworld back? 🙂
Urban Swank did receive a sponsored trip to Leipzig. However, any opinions expressed are our own.