Festivities will kick into high gear with the opening this year of the traditional market on November 23rd. Leipzig’s Christmas market can trace its roots back to 1458 making it the second oldest in Germany. The main action is centered about the historic Marktplatz in front of the old town hall, with more activity extending along the streets radiating from here.
The Zentrum (city centre) takes on a carnival atmosphere of festive lights, parades, music, smells and noise, and hundreds of types of wonderful food, drink and gift stalls. The streets of the Zentrum are thronged with people and it just gets busier and busier as Christmas Day approaches. Shops of all types as well as restaurants stay open late into the evening.
It’s hard to capture the mood in words but with the dark evenings, wintry skies and plenty of snow (hopefully, as there wasn’t much last year) it all adds to the ‘old Europe’ feel.
Within the largely pedestrianised city centre you’ll find many quirky attractions including the world’s largest Advent calendar, a lovely old-fashioned carousel, and the “Old Leipzig” arts and craft market.
On the Augustplatz you can take a chilly spin on a 38-metre ferris wheel. And near to the Nikolaikirchhof look for a pyramid-shaped wooden tower with a rotating top, and a bar at the bottom that serves alcoholic punch (just go see it!).
Weather wise Leipzig always gets some snow over the winter and the chances are good for a white Christmas. The city copes well with snow and during the Christmas holidays locals like to get out for a walk or some tobogganing or even cross-country skiing in Leipzig’s many parks.
The Christmas market is over by mid-day December 23rd and generally speaking pretty much everything is closed on Christmas Day. However you can find some surprising spots that do remain open. Our best tip is the Glashaus beer garden in Clara Zetkin park which is open Christmas Day. You can get glühwein (mulled wine), beer, hot chocolate and snacks while sitting outside next to an open fire.
The lead up to Christmas is a very special time to visit Leipzig. For Leipzig hotel reservations Booking.com consistently shows the widest selection and the best prices. Our hotels and hostels section has more information.