How to spend your free time in Dresden

Offering beauty and inspiration to locals and tourists alike, Dresden’s famous sights and endless events and activities make it a great place to live and explore. While the saying is ‘Business before pleasure’, Dresden also takes its fun seriously, and offers students a wide range of art, culture, sport, and entertainment.

Dresden – the capital of art and culture

Anyone who has strolled through the historic old town of Dresden knows exactly what we are talking about. From magnificent buildings from the Renaissance and Baroque periods to impressive buildings from the 19th century – cultural and architectural masterpieces from history can be discovered on almost every corner of Dresden’s old town. One of the best-known buildings is the Dresden Frauenkirche, which became a landmark worldwide following its destruction in 1945 and subsequent reconstruction. After its reconstruction in 1985, the Semperoper is also enjoying international popularity and is the most famous opera house in Germany today.

But Dresden has more to offer than just architectural beauty. Numerous museums offer exhibits for every taste, from classical and modern art to scientific discoveries and innovations. The association of the State Art Collections alone comprises 15 (!) Institutions that are among the most important museums in the world – whether the Residenzschloss or the Dresden Zwinger, the Albertinum or the Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau, Pillnitz Castle, or the Grassi Museum in Leipzig. The exhibitions and collections of the Dresden City Museum represent the more than 800-year history of the city. Our recommendation: The permanent exhibition titled “The Human Adventure” in the German Hygiene Museum Dresden includes  over 1300 exhibits and deals with topics such as nutrition, sexuality, the functions of the brain, as well as death. Using various media installations and interactive stations, visitors can explore people, their bodies, and their health in a unique and inspiring tour of what we know, and are still learning, about ourselves.

Out and about


Walks in the fresh air, bike rides, or a cozy picnic with friends – Dresden’s numerous green spaces bring the great outdoors right to your doorstep. The largest and most beautiful park – the Great Garden – is located a short walk from the city center. In addition to the park’s theater, the open-air stage, and a gondola pond, a few restaurants and beer gardens invite you to take a short (or longer) break in the sun. Within the Great Garden are two other popular excursion destinations, the Dresden Zoo and the Botanical Garden. Those who prefer to be more active should take a closer look at the oversized skate park on Lingnerallee or the Ostra sports park – two paradises for sport enthusiasts. Germany’s only rock national park – Saxon Switzerland – is just a short 30-minute train ride from Dresden center. What can you do in the Elbe sandstone mountains? Hike, hike, hike. Whether over the Bastei bridge or along one of the countless hiking trails such as the Malerweg: the breathtaking views alone are reward enough. Don’t forget your camera!

Saxon Switzerland is a national treasure, of that there is no doubt. But rest of the countryside around Dresden has also captured the hearts of locals and tourists with its bucolic scenery and local flavor. Walk through the vineyards of nearby Radebeul, Coswig and Meißen, ride along the famous Elbe Cycle Path (all the way to Hamburg!), or enjoy village festivals offering local cuisine. Ever heard of Pulsnitz gingerbread? No? You will!

Nightlife in Dresden

Those who spend their time in lecture halls and seminar rooms during the day will be rewarded with a trip to Dresden’s Neustadt in the evening. The outer Neustadt – Dresden’s trendy district – is THE place to end a day in Dresden in a fitting way. In the many restaurants, pubs, and bars, people from all over the world, young and old, come together to people-watch and let their hair down. The highlight is the Neustadt district festival “BRN – Bunte Republik Neustadt”, which has been taking place every summer since 1990 and continues to surprise with ample artistic performances and long raucous nights.

Diversity is also guaranteed when it comes to Dresden’s club scene. One of the most spectacular clubs in the city is located in an old power station on Wettiner Platz in Dresden Mitte. Large staged shows with DJs like Robin Schulz, an indoor waterfall, artists doing gymnastics while hanging from the ceiling – that’s Kraftwerk Mitte. For those who like things a little smaller, the Minimal and House Club Paula in the old industrial neighborhood is the place to go. A Neustadt cult location and the go-to party is Katy’s Garage on the corner of Louisenstrasse and Alaunstrasse – right next to the Scheune, yet another live music location with someone on stage almost every night. Whether it be beer gardens, after-work cocktails, or indie music concerts – everyone will find something for them.

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