The city of Stuttgart is a beautiful city in southwest Germany that will entertain all ages. Known as the “cradle of the automobile,” some of the top Stuttgart attractions are the Mercedes-Benz and Porsche museums! If you’re a fan of the outdoors and looking for what to do in Stuttgart with kids, you won’t need to look far. There are so many beautiful green spaces, gardens, and playgrounds, and the Black Forest sits just to the east.
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**I was the guest of Stuttgart Tourism for the purpose of this review. As always, opinions are 100% my own.
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Best Family-Friendly Activities in Stuttgart
History fans can enjoy stunning architecture, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and medieval castles that feel like you stepped back in time. Stuttgart is also known as one of the best places in Germany to grow grapes and has a prominent wine industry. When you’re visiting Stuttgart with kids, you’ll find something for everyone in the family here.
Located on the banks of the Neckar River is Wilhelma. It should be no surprise that it’s one of the top things to do in Stuttgart with kids. The park dates back over 200 years when King Wilhelm I wanted to build a beautiful Moorish-style glass bathhouse.
Over that first century, different buildings were added, including summer villas and gardens. While the King never lived to see the completion of the park and its gorgeous buildings, it has been cherished by visitors and residents of Stuttgart ever since.
Home of the Stuttgart Zoo
Today, Wilhelma is home to the Stuttgart Zoo and Botanical Garden and is the only combined zoo and garden in Europe. It’s considered one of the best zoos in Germany, second only to the Berlin Zoological Garden. You’ll find breathtaking natural areas located inside the glass greenhouses. They hold a wide range of species of animals and different geological landscapes.
You can see groves of redwood trees and magnolia trees, as well as a beautiful garden of orchids and collections of cacti and other desert plants. Don’t miss Wilhelma’s stunning rainforest-themed playground with different wooden structures.
There’s also a petting zoo with rabbits, Pygmy goats, Shetland ponies, and more. When you get hungry, there are two fabulous restaurants on the grounds of Wilhelma, as well as a café and bistro.
Visitors can attend feeding time and keeper talks throughout the day. This is the best time to see different zoo animals and learn about them.
Wilhelma is also a great place to teach your kids about conservationist efforts. This zoological and botanical park is part of the European Endangered Species Programs (EEP) and makes efforts to protect endangered species of plants and animals. During your visit, you’ll see exhibits presenting endangered species and you can learn about the park’s efforts in conservation, breeding, and reintroduction.
If you visit Wilhelma, it’s generally open from 8:15AM to 5:30 PM, Monday through Friday. There’s a decent admission fee with discounts for children, but there are also special deals for families when you book online.
Check out Stuttgart’s museums
Stuttgart has so many amazing museums on every subject, from art and history to mechanics and human relations. Some of Baden-Württemberg’s most popular museums are in historic homes or castles, while others are in amazing buildings of architectural wonder. Here are some of my family’s favorites.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum is the second most-visited museum in the city. It’s a lot of fun to see the impressive structure of the building with the inside having a double helix design across all 9 floors!
Inside you can visit exhibits covering the company’s long history in design and automobile production. See the first Mercedes-Benz cars as well as concepts for vehicles of the future.
There are also numerous activities and programs for children on the weekends. Join a program with arts and crafts for children as young as 4, or sketch and design for older kids up to 14 years old.
If you’re thinking about what to do in Stuttgart for car lovers, a visit to the Porsche Museum is a must. There’s a restoration workshop where they restore and repair old models. Kids of all ages will love walking through the Porsche car collection with almost 100 cars, including commercial models and race cars.
Older children will appreciate interactive displays focusing on design and technology. There are guided tours just for kids geared towards different age groups. Or your kids can take an age-appropriate self-guided audio tour through the museum exhibits for some independence.
The Staatsgalerie Stuttgart is near the city center and the building is a stunning example of modern architecture. Staatsgalerie originally opened in 1843 and was redesigned next door in 1984. In fact, when you visit you can see the classic building in stark contrast next to the new one!
It’s an excellent art museum for older kids who love art. There are permanent and rotating exhibits featuring modern art by the biggest names in 20th modern art and 21st-century contemporary art. Get up close and personal with famous works by Munch, Picasso, and even Banksy. You can visit every day except Monday, from 10 AM to 5 PM.
The Landesmuseum Württemberg is an important German museum inside a 10th-century castle. It houses some amazing artifacts from the local area and around the world. There are archeological finds that date to the Bronze Age!
Learn about things like the ancient Mayans, Swiss watchmaking, or German glass across the ages. There is also a children’s museum with hands-on activities and art workshops.
TIP: We recommend getting an audio guide for your tour since many of the exhibits do not have English translations.
Spend a day in Stuttgart Parks
On a good weather day, the best way to experience Stuttgart is to visit a local green-space. In addition to their beauty, you’ll find fun and unique things to do for the entire family in the parks of the Stuttgart area. There are too many to mention, but our favorites make up the Green U, a collection of gardens and parks that sprawl out in a ‘U-shape.’
One of the main gardens in Stuttgart is Schlossgarten which sits in the heart of the city. It reaches north and meets a curve in the Neckar River. Schlossgarten covers 61 hectares or over 51 acres and includes a few different parks. The biggest is the Rosensteinpark that’s adjacent to the Wilhelma.
If you’re looking for things to do in Stuttgart with kids, you could spend an entire day in Schlossgarten. At the southern end, is the Carl-Zeiss Planetarium. All along the grounds, there are fountains, ponds, statues, and street art murals. Walk along paved paths or take the kids to the playground.
There are different ball courts, restaurants, cafes, and places just to lounge on the grass. And at the northern end of Rosensteinpark is the Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History and its beautifully manicured garden.
Killesbergpark or Höhenpark was built out of an old quarry in 1939 for a garden show during the reign of the Third Reich. It played a part in Germany’s difficult past as a meeting point for Jews being moved to concentration camps. After World War II, this beautiful park continued to be the site of many garden shows in the city.
You can find the park on the north side of Stuttgart, across the highway, and west of Rosensteinpark. There are so many things to do in this park and it’s a popular gathering place in the city. Many events are held here besides garden shows. There’s an outdoor amphitheater and an indoor performance art theater. There’s a beer garden, bakery and cafe, and a restaurant.
There are miles of walking paths and beautiful fountains. But one of the coolest things to do here is to climb the 40-foot tall spiraling Killesberg Tower (Killesbergturm). Nearby there’s the Killesberg Railway, where you can take a nostalgic ride on a miniature narrow-gauge steam railway train!
Take in the City Views from Above
Stuttgart is an amazing mix of medieval castles, innovative architecture, urban vineyards, lush parks, and towering mountainsides. To see the beautiful skyline of the city, you have a few special places you can visit.
Especially if you’re going to be in Stuttgart with kids in the fall, I recommend taking in the city from above, because the foliage is out of this world!
For unique and interesting things to do in Stuttgart with kids, visit the Fernsehturm Stuttgart, a TV tower on the southern side of the city.
Built in 1956, it’s the first tower of its kind. you can visit and take an elevator to the top for great views of the city! Walk the observation decks or visit Panorama Cafe at the top and enjoy a coffee and pastry with a view.
You can also take guided tours of the tower during the week if you reserve a spot when you book your tickets. April 1 through October 31 the TV Tower is open every day except Monday, from 10 AM to 10 PM. November 1 through March 31 it’s open from 10 AM to 9 PM on Tuesday through Saturday, and on Sundays from 10 AM to 7 PM. Children 5 and under are free, but also look for the discounted Family Ticket rate.
On the northeast side of Stuttgart, across the Neckar River is the Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill. This hilltop mausoleum was built by King Wilhelm for his second wife, Queen Catherine. You can go inside the mausoleum, walk the tree-covered grounds, and enjoy a stunning hilltop view of the city.
The story of the Württemberg Mausoleum is a dramatic story of love! King Wilhelm fell in love with Catherine (whose father was the Tsar of Russia) upon meeting and he divorced his first wife so he could marry her. Their union also strengthened Germany against Napoleon.
Queen Catherine immediately got involved in charity work and was loved by the common people of Stuttgart. But after just three years married, she got sick and died suddenly. The king destroyed the existing castle on this spot and builders spent four years building the mausoleum for his queen. When King Wilhelm died in 1864 he was interred in the mausoleum with Queen Catherine.
The mausoleum presents a beautiful example of Neoclassical design. It was actually used as a Russian Orthodox church for almost 75 years after it was finished. There are a few other buildings on the grounds, including the priest’s house (that’s now the visitors center).
Visit April 1 through November 1 from noon to 5 PM. There’s a small entrance fee to the mausoleum, but you can still tour the grounds. Guided tours are included free with admission if they’re being held that day.
Take a Ride with the ”Zacke”
One of the coolest ways to see the city is by taking a cogwheel train ride on the Zahnradbahn Stuttgart, simply known as the “Zacke.” This yellow commuter train is one of the most popular Stuttgart attractions, and dates back to 1884! Today it’s a regular train for locals, but you can take it on a 20-minute ride and get off at Weinsteige.
The incline along the route is super steep, so people board with their bicycles, in case you have one too! I just suggest avoiding morning and evening commute times for your sake and out of respect for locals.
The ride to the top provides great urban views of the hilly city, but the view from the top is even better! Walk a few minutes from the Weinsteige station to the Santiago-de-Chile-Plaza. This is a viewpoint named after a Chilean consulate. There are a few benches there, as well as a low wall and stunning views of the entire city of Stuttgart. The consul donated different Chilean statues as a thank you, including a Moai, one of the busts from Easter Island!
Sample the Goods at Stuttgart Market Hall
The Stuttgart Market Hall has roots in its current location going back as early as 1450. The current building was built in the art nouveau style in 1914 and was declared a protected historic site in the 1970s. Today, you can visit this indoor market in the heart of the shopping district of Stuttgart.
The market hall holds 33 different stalls and 3 restaurants across 2 levels. Walk between the stalls in this beautiful, light-filled hall. You can peruse rows of gourmet candy and tropical fruit. There are deli items like German sausage and marinated olives. Shop for pastries, nuts, and dried fruit. Or you can try local specialties, as well as items from Spain, Croatia, France, Greece, and more!
The Market Hall is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 6:30 PM, and on Saturdays from 7 AM to 5 PM. In the surrounding area, you’ll find plenty of restaurants, high-end luxury brand goods, clothing stores, and more.
Go Shopping in Stuttgart
There are so many great shopping centers in Stuttgart, but 2 really stand out to me. They’re the pedestrian-only walkway of King Street and the historic Bohneviertel District.
Königstrasse (King Street)
King Street was the location where King Wilhelm kept his stables in the 19th century. In the 1970s it was turned into a pedestrian-only shopping street and today features a variety of shops and eateries along a half-mile strip.
On the northern end is the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, as well as Oberer Schlossgarten with a playground in it. Walk the wide, bustling street with coffee shops, designer brands, and boutique clothing stores on all sides. Stop and enjoy art installations or sit on benches under huge, old shade trees while the kids run around and burn off some energy!
Just east of King Street is the Bohnenviertel Quarter (aka the Bean Quarter) with its quirky shops and unique finds. This is the place to come if you’re looking for things to do in Stuttgart with teens. They’ll love the fun boutique stores!
You’ll find interesting jewelry stores, antique shops, sushi restaurants, and chic cafes. Walk the cobblestone streets and admire the old German architecture. It’s also fascinating to think that the entire neighborhood used to be a Jewish neighborhood, dating back to the 14th century.
Relax at the Stuttgart Public Library
When visiting Stuttgart with kids, it’s worth visiting the Stuttgart Public Library! The award-winning library moved into this striking cube-design structure in 2011. Architecture lovers in your family will be blown away by all of the details in this space. Outside, glass bricks somehow calm and soften the building as they take in and diffuse light.
Inside, the entire building is calming and sleek, floor after floor. Everything is in a monotone color palette of stark white. It’s all breathtaking as soft light illuminates floor after floor of bookshelves. More light comes from a central skylight at the top of the multi-level structure.
The library is magical to explore on its own, but if you come on a Tuesday, check the calendar! At different times throughout the day, the children’s library holds a variety of story times and special programs around different themes. In front of the library, there are fountains and a play area, as well.
Find Amazing Things to Do in Stuttgart on Your Family Vacation
Your whole family can find things to do in Stuttgart! While the big draw is the automotive museums, that’s just the beginning of the amazing Stuttgart attractions you have to choose from. If your family loves history and nature, you can find it everywhere in this enchanting old city. So whether you’re spending a weekend in Stuttgart with friends or looking for a home base for the family for a while, this city certainly ticks all the boxes.