Leipzig’s active nightlife offers something for everyone. In the city center, the tiny Barfussgässchen (nicknamed “Drallewatsch”) off the Markt is jam-packed with cafés and bars and busy all day and into the night. The main party strip, albeit with a more alternative flavor, is in the Südstadt district along Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse (“Karli”) just south of the center. An up-and-coming nightlife zone is Karl-Heine-Strasse in the industrial-arty western suburb of Plagwitz.
The Performing Arts
Given its great musical legacy, it’s no surprise that Leipzig is home base of one of Germany’s finest orchestras, the Gewandhausorchester. Currently, the Lithuanian conductor Andris Nelsons is music director, following in the footsteps of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy who held the post from 1835 to 1847. The orchestra performs in the Gewandhaus, Augustusplatz (www.gewandhaus.de; tel. 0341/1270280; tram: 4, 7, or 15), a modern hall built in 1981. It faces the acclaimed Oper Leipzig, Augustusplatz 12 (www.oper-leipzig.de; tel. 0341/1261275), which presents not only opera but also musicals and ballet.
As in Berlin, electronic sounds dominate Leipzig’s club scene. One of the oldest dance venues in town is Distillery, Kurt-Eisner-Strasse 108A (known as “Tille”; www.distillery.de), where top DJs like Andre Galuzzi or Tama Sumo often helm the decks on Fridays and Saturday. It’s within walking distance of the partly crowdfunded Institut für Zukunft, An den Tierkliniken 38-40 (www.ifz.me), which hosts readings, concerts, parties, and workshops Thursday to Saturday. In Plagwitz, Täubchenthal, Wachsmuthstrasse 1 (www.taeubchenthal.com) spins hip hop, soul, and electro and also hosts concerts several times a week in a cleverly converted old wool mill. While in Plagwitz, also check out Elipamanoke, Markranstädter Strasse 4 (www.elipamanoke.de), the self-titled “sound lab for electronic music” in a gritty industrial space; it’s open Friday and Saturday from 11pm to 8am. The only remaining section of the old town fortifications, Moritzbastei, Universitätsstrasse 9 (www.moritzbastei.de, tel. 0341/702590) has been a student-flavored cultural center since 1982 (yes, Angela Merkel’s day). In a vaulted warren of rooms, it presents an eclectic non-mainstream program of concerts, theater, film screening, art exhibits, dance parties and other events. A café serves coffee and light meals from 10am (Saturday from noon, closed Sunday), while at night a cocktail bar and a wine bar welcome relaxed crowds.
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