More sun, more water, more parks, more ice cream parlours, more barbecue areas, more summer fairy tales. Whether you’re enjoying a view of one of the largest Art Nouveau complexes in Europe, sat beneath shady trees or wriggling your toes in the sand with a cocktail in your hand — summer in Mannheim is something you’ll enjoy in many different settings.
Sure, we’re a little spoiled. We have rivers. We have lakes. We have beaches. We have forests. We have music. We have a summer culture and a climate almost like that of the Mediterranean. In other words, Mannheim has just a bit more of what you need for cool days, hot nights and a summer fairy tale.
If you are arriving by car from the east, you can look forward to one of the most beautiful entries into any city in Germany. Free from traffic jams and stress, the elegant Augustaanlage takes you directly to Friedrichsplatz, where the water tower stands enthroned in the middle. Is this really Mannheim or maybe Paris or Rome? Right around the square, you’ll find palm trees and picturesque water features. The park is composed of neo-Baroque Art Nouveau elements and invites you to linger, soak up the sun and take a breather. Beneath the arcades, cafés serve fresh croissants and latte macchiato with a view of the fountains of Friedrichsplatz — and the day begins like a dream.
From here, you can head to the nearby Luisenpark, one of the most beautiful parks in Europe: 41 hectares of nature in the middle of the city and so much to do. Practice yoga in the shade of majestic old trees or enjoy some family action in the themed playgrounds as the sun smiles down on you. Games, fun and lively activities result in happy and exhausted kids — every parent’s summer night’s dream. So at sunset, you can take in the cultural magic of the lake scenery in peace and quiet.
Wanderlust? The largest Chinese teahouse in Europe is ready and waiting to transport you to Asia, while the plant nursery invites you into the tropical jungle. Or how about a safari? In the animal areas, you can meet giant butterflies, penguins from the Chilean Humboldt Current, and flamingos from Africa as well as mini sharks and the world’s smallest crocodile.
The classic way to unwind, however, is and always will be to take the iconic Gondoletta boats over the Kutzerweiher — which brings us to the big summer theme in Mannheim: water.
Two major rivers, several lakes and two competing summer souls in our breast: to get wet or simply to watch? If you want to dive into our water world, don’t miss Lake Rheinau — almost a Mediterranean summer holiday world in itself. Two beaches of 5,000 square metres each, between them a magical little island, a water trampoline with catapult, a beach-soccer pitch and of course the aqua fun cable park for big and small riders. If you prefer a more tranquil atmosphere, you can enjoy another option: an SUP rental service invites you to explore the lake standing, paddling and in a completely different way.
As well as a number of other lakes, there are also four open-air swimming pools spread throughout the city: the Sandhofen open-air pool, the Rheinau park pool, the Herzogenriedbad pool and the Carl-Benz baths. Mannheim is a true paradise for swimming and bathing.
Fancy doing nothing other than sunbathing, chilling, maybe playing a little frisbee, walking, meditating or watching ships? Then head for the Rheinpromenade in the Lindenhof district, where the Gasthaus am Fluss on the Rhine terraces entices you to enjoy dinner in one of the city’s most beautiful beer gardens. If you’d rather barbecue for yourself and celebrate the summer night with friends, then head to the Neckarwiese in the Neckarstadt district.
No matter which river you choose — the Rhine or the Neckar — both riverbanks are a melting pot of Mannheim’s diversity. The meadow beside the Neckar is a barbecue paradise where many different cultures express their own special grilling skills. Since food connects people, there are other places in Mannheim where you can grill in public, for example, at the Mannheim lido on the Reiss island on the Rhine as well as in the barbecue huts in the Käfertal forest or the barbecue areas in the Luisenpark and Herzogenriedpark.
At the edge of the squares, beach bars like the Neckarstrand and the OEG Citybeach tempt you with their sun loungers, palm trees, well-chilled drinks and a great view of the Neckar.
On the opposite bank, the ALTER project area is sure to catch your eye. This is an experimental public space with free sports and cultural activities, where Mannheim feels very much like Berlin. Try your hand at the skater course, shoot a few baskets on the basketball court, play some high-tempo table tennis and then enjoy the sunset at a free concert — this combination is unique to Mannheim.
Still haven’t had your fill of music? A few metres further on, the summer stage in front of the Alte Feuerwache offers free live music. You still want more? Then check out the hip café KIOSK, which regularly hosts musicians who sweeten the afternoon and evening acoustically — also outdoors and for free!
If you prefer a more classic style, you can surrender to Mannheim’s ice cream culture. Ever since Dario Fontanella invented spaghetti ice cream in Mannheim in 1969, more and more ice cream producers and ice cream cafés have made their home in the city, complementing each other perfectly. Our tips: the ever-popular Fontanella and Cortina on the Planken as well as the fledgling zeitgEISt ice cream factory in the Lindenhof district.
Where’s the best place to end a summer’s day in Mannheim? If you book early, you’ll get a seat in the evening sun on the terrace of the Michelin-starred restaurant Marly on the banks of the Rhine. After that, head straight to the beach bar of the boutique hotel Speicher 7 for a sundowner, where the stylish rooms are perfect for dreaming about the next perfect summer’s day...