© Stuttgart-Marketing GmbH trickytine

15 May 2019

An insider’s guide to Stuttgart

Follow Karina to her favorite spots and discover Stuttgart like a local,

By Karina Grützner, Director Convention Marketing, Stuttgart Convention Bureau

Stuttgart doesn’t ring a bell? No worries! The city in Southwest Germany that is home to global players like Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Bosch is gaining more and more importance in the international meetings industry. The thriving European hub with easy access to Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich combined with Stuttgart residents’ taste for the good life makes the city an appealing destination for conferences and events. Let your delegates tap into the city’s vibrant atmosphere and come with Karina on a stroll to her favorite places in town.  

What's Driving Stuttgart? Stuttgart is the birthplace of Gottlieb Daimler, who invented the motor car at the end of the 19th century. He represents the city's inventiveness and innovative spirit which can be seen in its global companies as well as its mix of Mittelstand (startup and mid-sized) companies. Stuttgart is an important high-tech center that enjoys a well-earned reputation for its economic strength, cutting-edge technology including mobility, automotive and aerospace technology, engineering, green tech, as well as its strong creative industries and its enthusiasm for research and development. The city boasts a strong entrepreneurial and innovation mindset and an exceptionally high quality of life.

Visitors unfamiliar with Stuttgart are often surprised that the city with strong manufacturing roots is also a very livable and charming one with rolling hillsides, vineyards and lush greenery amid the Neckar River Valley.

Stuttgart has a strong cultural heritage (while at the same time being open and welcoming residents from 180 countries who live around here), great cuisine and local wines, and a wide variety of venues - including art museums and castles - that can serve as great locations for meetings and events.

All these factors make Stuttgart one of the most dynamic regions in Europe - innovative in approach, international in outlook. "One of the nice things about the city," Karina explains, "is that it's really compact. Everything is easily connected - the meeting venues and the hotels as well as the sights. You can see a lot in two days, which is nice for those visiting Stuttgart for a conference."

Two Palaces in the Heart of the City © Julian Herzog

 “I like to start by taking out-of-town guest to the heart of Stuttgart: Schlossplatz, the major public square with fountains and gardens, where you can often find events, concerts and other activities that make it great for meeting people. Schlossplatz means Palace Square, and it may be the only one to feature two palaces, the Neues Schloss (New Palace), and Altes Schloss (Old Palace),” Karina says. Both palaces offer a portfolio of historic meeting locations suitable for many kinds of events, with plans to convert more space into meeting rooms. “The city has found a way to combine innovation with Stuttgart’s charm.”

Housed in the Altes Schloss, a 16th century palace, the Landesmuseum Wurttemberg is a cultural museum that traces the influence of the local Swabian culture. Within a short walking distance, the historic Stuttgarter Markthalle (market hall) in an Art Nouveau building, offers possibilities to discover all the culinary options – sensory overload and certainly something else for your attendees!

Stuttgart’s Cultural Mile features the award-winning Stuttgart Opera, Staatstheater Stuttgart (Stuttgart State Theater), and world-renown Stuttgart Ballet. World-class museums include the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, a contemporary and modern art museum, and the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (State Gallery), which features art dating from the 1300s to 20th century modern art.

Not only do these venues offer great options for side programs after the meetings, they provide meeting space themselves in a stunning setting! One of the largest and most modern convention centers in Germany is the ICS International Congress Center. Located in walking distance to Stuttgart International Airport, it holds many meetings each year and draws many visitors to Stuttgart. Organizers looking to add something special can hold their meetings in the state-of-the-art ICS and then hold a reception for attendees at any of the venues around Schlossplatz. 

Mercedes-Benz Museum © Daimler AG

“With that in mind, I highly recommend the Mercedes-Benz Museum,” Karina says. It is the only museum in the world to document the more than a 130-year history of the automobile from the very beginning without a break. Built to resemble the Wankel engine, the museum is located outside the Daimler headquarter and unique event location. In 2017, a group of 2,700 incentive winners had the whole place to themselves including a personal meet and greet, photos and autographs with Jutta Benz, brand ambassador and the great granddaughter of Carl Benz!  

Delegates and incentives guests will also enjoy the Porsche Museum, another meeting venue, whose interior is designed as sharply as its sports cars. Including an open-air terrace and restaurant (which overlooks exhibits and provides a view of the factory across the way), the museum offers nearly 6,500 square feet of conference space for private events.

Depending of the time of year, highlights include the Stuttgart Wine Festival in August, the Cannstatter Volksfest Beer Festival from late September to mid-October, and one of the oldest and largest Christmas markets in Germany with individually decorated stalls. 

Check out the great vista

“I love taking guests to different but spectacular views of the city,” Karina says.

 One of the finest views of Stuttgart's vineyards and the idyllic Neckar River Valley can be enjoyed from the Württemberg hill. On the top of the hill, king Wilhelm I erected in 1820 a mausoleum for his beloved consort, the Grand Princess Katharina of Russia. The hill is easily accessible and the great views can be combined with one of the nearby offered wine tastings.

Another great view is from the Fernsehturm Stuttgart, the world’s first television tower. Built in 1956, the 217-meter tower, designed as an elegant concrete needle is the city’s landmark. From the viewing platform, visitors can enjoy a view of the Black Forest and Swabian Alps as well as vineyards and hills around the city.  

The Teehaus in Weissenburgpark, from spring to fall, and Karlshöhe, situated on two of the city’s hills, are beer gardens that offer a chance to relax in nature with a cold drink and local food plus a great sense for Stuttgart’s special topography.

© SMG Romeo Felsenreich

Where to Eat

The Stuttgarters like to eat well. The choice between a rustic brew house, a local wine tavern or a fine restaurant is a tough one.

Try the restaurant and event location Cube in the Kunstmuseum, which offers a contemporary menu combined with great views overlooking Schlossplatz. For traditional Swabian cuisine, Karina suggests Weinstube Fröhlich, a cozy place with tasty local cuisine and extraordinary potato salad (that’s a must try) and ideal to start exploring the local bar scene afterwards.

A real gem is Wielandshöhe, where Michelin-starred Chef Vincent Klink serves amazing food with one of the best views of the city. As an added treat, you can take the rack railway that is part of the local transport system to go there. 

Wherever you go, Karina recommends trying one of the local specialties like:  

  • Maultaschen: a kind of ravioli that originally contains meat, spinach, onions and herbs while vegetarian varieties or gourmet treats are popular as well.
  • Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat: a potato salad that goes with Maultaschen, Saitenwürstle (frankfurter-style sausages), or barbequed meat.
  • Swabian pretzels: a traditional snack sold in every bakery and enjoyed any time in the Swabian (southwest) region where Stuttgart is located. Residents eat pretzels plain or spread with butter.
  • Swabian Zwiebelrostbraten: fried steak with onions, frequently served with Spätzle, a type of pasta made with fresh eggs.
© Stuttgart-Marketing GmbH

“Each of these foods has an origin myth that accompanies it. My favorite one is the story behind Maultaschen,” Karina says. According to the legend, the local dish was invented in the Maulbronn Monastery close to Stuttgart. The Cistercian monks wanted to fool god and hide their meat during the fasting period so they mixed it with spinach and stuffed it inside a pasta-dough. Even today, the Maultasche is called “lord-cheater” and remains an inherent part of the Swabian cuisine. “It is a perfect example of the mindset of inventiveness,” Karina adds. “Why not visit a cookery class to make local food yourself?” 

For more information on meeting in Stuttgart, drop a line to Karina info@congress-stuttgart.de or visit www.congress-stuttgart.com.