Leisure time in Mannheim

Tourist attractions

  • Schloss Mannheim – the baroque castle aka the University of Mannheim
  • Wasserturm – the old water tower and the surrounding park
  • Paradeplatz – a fountain in the centre
  • Marktplatz – the old town hall and a farmer’s market in the Turkish quarter
  • Luisenpark and the TV-tower

Events in the autumn semester

  • Wine festivals – especially the wine festival in a neighbouring town Bad Dürkheim provides much more than only drinks
  • Oktoberfest – starts long before October, so you have the opportunity to enjoy beer in many cities
  • Christmas – Germans take Christmas seriously. First Christmas delicacies arrive to grocery stores in October and in December, there will be Christmas markets and decorations everywhere.

Food

  • Korean-approved Korean food at Soban. A large variety of other international restaurants: Turkish, Chinese, Thai, Indian…
  • Pizza and Döner-kebab everywhere
  • Pommes frites and currywurst at Big Pom or in the corner of Galeria Kaufhof at Paradeplatz.
  • Not an average café, Cafe Vienna, for an experience and excellent vegan food
  • Several grocery store chains (Aldi, Penny, Lidl, Rewe), organic stores (Bio, Alnatura) and special stores (Asian market at Galeria Kaufhof)

Shopping

Mannheim covers a good selection of shopping opportunities over all price ranges, from Primark to Tesla. If something cannot be found in Mannheim, the closest store is probably located in Frankfurt.

It is worth noting that all shops including convenience stores are closed on Sundays. Food can be bought only at gas stations and at the railway station. Bakeries are usually open in the morning.

Entertainment

  • Nationaltheater Mannheim – only one of several locations in Mannheim that provides theater and other shows
  • Mannheim SAP Arena – a stadium for sports and concerts
  • Movies – in several cinemas, also in English

Nightlife

Partying is not my forte, but I attended a farewell party at Chaplin and have heard about weekly Latino parties at Baton Rouge. Before winter season, student organisations host parties twice a week in Schneckenhof, at the University.

Nature

  • Luisenpark
  • Herzogenriedpark
  • Waldpark Mannheim and Reissinsel
  • The banks of Rhein-river

Sports

  • The beautiful surroundings at the river banks and in the Waldpark inspired me to run rather than to sweat inside.
  • However, if you are interested in training at a gym, the university gym is cheaper than most of the others (but still pricey compared to UniSport back in Finland). Heads up for other gym memberships: contracts starting from 6 months and ranging up to 2 years seem to be common, so definitely read the fine print before signing.
  • The University of Mannheim has also other kinds of activities from sports teams to group workouts. If you are used to the quality group lessons of UniSport in Finland, you will be gravely disappointed, though.

People

Besides sports, there are several other possibilities to meet new people and get together. VISUM organises evenings for relaxed language training (Cafe lingua), weekly get-togethers (Stammtisch), parties and trips. Other student organisations arrange for example movie screenings or socialising over dinner.

Museums

You absolutely cannot leave Mannheim before seeing the Schloss museum located at the heart of the University. It is gorgeous. There are plenty of other museums, too: Technoseum (technology museum), Planetarium, Kunsthalle (art), Reiss-Engelhorn-museum…

Churches

There is a church in every quarter, or so does it feel. There should be one for every orientation, including a mosque. Some churches are worth visiting for the looks alone, for example Jesuitenkirche near the university.