Leipzig is pretty spread out. Fortunately the trams, buses and S-bahn do an excellent job at whisking Leipzigers around. Biking and driving are great options too. In fact, the bicycle is absolutely our favourite mode of transport. Walking in Leipzig is realistic and enjoyable in and between the central city areas.
WHERE TO LIVE ?
Not many people choose to live directly in the Zentrum (or ‘innenstadt’, inner-city) preferring the surrounding central areas. There’s a ring of residential and commercial areas around the Zentrum including the very posh and expensive ‘viertels’ or quarters such as the Bachviertel (Zentrum-West), Musikviertel (Zentrum-Süd) and the Waldstraßenviertel (Zentrum-Nordwest). These viertels are where many of Leipzig’s well-to-do live in renovated Altbau buildings and fancy modern apartments. Leipzig’s low-income and new immigrant populations tend to concentrate to the east (Zentrum-Ost). Students favour Reudnitz (Zentrum-Südost) probably because it’s cheap and close to the largest University of Leipzig campus. These are broad generalizations however and exceptions abound.
Like most Leipzigers, new arrivals tend to rent while they find their feet. Thankfully Leipzig is not like other major cities where property prices or rents are so skewed that low or medium income people are excluded from certain areas. You can find reasonably priced accommodation everywhere, even in the posh areas. This situation combined with a good transport system means that your first accommodation should be based on the sort of facilities and services you want, as well as the local vibe, rather than purely on price.
Are you a working family with young kids? Take a look at Schleußig. Are you a singleton who wants your own pad near the Zentrum but money is tight? Then the cheaper Zentrum-Ost areas of Neustadt and Volkmarsdorf could be your best bet. Want to be close to the green space of Johanna and Clara Zetkin parks? Look for a place in the Bachviertel. Leipzig has a wide variety of areas and while there are some slightly dodgy and run-down parts of town you can feel safe living, working, studying or playing just about everywhere**
Take a look at our quick overviews below of Leipzig’s central areas. Match the area with the pins in the map above. Click on the links for more detail about that particular area.
|Zentrum||The city centre or ‘Zentrum’ is lively and mostly pedestrianised. Loads of shopping, restaurants, business offices, and hotels as well as the City Hall, a major University of Leipzig campus and numerous cultural and historical sites. Pleasant to hang out but not an especially popular area to live.|
|Zentrum-West (Bachviertel)||Easy access to the Zentrum and right beside the wonderful Johanna and Clara Zetkin parks. The entertainment and nightlife area of Gottschedstraße is here. Bachviertel district is associated with the life and work of the composer J S Bach. Top residential area. Expensive.|
|Zentrum-Nordwest (Waldstraßenviertel)||Large and diverse area with many amenities including the Zoo, Red Bull Arena, and the Rosental park. Waldstraßenviertel district is unique in Germany with many fine examples of Wilheim-era Gründerzeit architecture. Top residential area. Expensive.|
|Zentrum-Nord (Gohlis)||Small busy area without an obvious vibe. Mixture of office and residential. Shops, restaurants and services focused on Gohliser Straße. Westin hotel major landmark. Close to Leipzig central train station (‘Hauptbahnhof’) and the Zentrum.|
|Zentrum-Ost (Neustadt & Volksmardorf)||Busy working class area with affordable shopping, restaurants and services. A small apartment goes for as little as €185/mth cold rent (kaltmiete) here. Considering proximity to the Zentrum this is very good value.|
|Zentrum-Südost (Reudnitz)||Location of University of Leipzig hospital campus and related buildings. Reudnitz is cheap and cheerful with a studenty vibe. Streets around Ostplatz tram stop (trams 12, 15) are popular with students attending the many university institutes and campuses.|
|Zentrum-Süd (Musikviertel)||The Musikviertel district of Zentrum-Süd has some of Leipzig’s most impressive Gründerzeit buildings such as the Roßbachpalais on Beethovenstraße. Top residential area. Expensive.|
|Südvorstadt||Karl-Liebknecht Street is lined with shops, cool bars, restaurants and nightclubs and very frequent trams connect to the Zentrum and south to Connewitz. Südvorstadt is trendy and ‘downtown’ without actually being downtown. Moderate to expensive rents.|
|Connewitz||Curious mixture of ordinary working folk and retired older people, students, and dreadlocked hippies. Leipziger Ratsholz forests, river and recreational areas at your doorstep. Cheap rents, cheap shopping.|
|Schleußig||Quiet family-oriented area where everyone seems to have a bicycle. Self sufficient in shops, restaurants and basic retail and commercial services. The southern part of Schleußig has leafy streets of detached single family homes. Moderate rents.|
|Plagwitz (Lindenau)||Favoured by professional artists and those with a creative flair or bohemian lifestyle. Plagwitz is trendy but without the yuppies, fancy cars or wine bars. Cheap rents. Lindenau (and Alt-Lindenau, Neulindenau) is not as nice as Plagwitz. Some areas dodgy at night. Slightly lower rents in Lindenau attract low income families and singles.|
WHAT ABOUT LIVING FURTHER OUT?
Leipzig is spread out but is compensated by a good transport system. Many Leipzigers live well out of the Zentrum in places like Meusdorf, Markkleeberg, Miltitz or Wahren. This is practical if working at one of the large employers on the outskirts or if friends and family are already there. The trams and S-bahn criss-crossing the city make sure no one is isolated. But if your life revolves around being close to the centre of Leipzig the rents further out probably won’t be low enough to make it worthwhile.
**OK, so a few straight words on areas to avoid. Anger-Crottendorf looks kinda drab and we wouldn’t want to live there since rents are almost the same in Volkmarsdorf next door. Stötteritz has nice parts, but still has some derelict parts. Parts of Altlindenau are deserted at nightime. In that neck of the woods we’d prefer to live closer to the funky Karl-Heine straße in Plagwitz. And finally some parts of Georg-Schumann-Straße in Gohlis are not particularly attractive. We do re-iterate however, Leipzig is safe and there is no significant crime or right-wing problem.