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Three Perfect Days: Stuttgart

Though it’s the birthplace of Germany’s automobile industry, Stuttgart is far from being the staid, efficiency-obsessed place that this might suggest. Half the fun of coming here is discovering just how eccentric, creative and delightfully contradictory the city can be.

Author Hannah Stuart-Leach Photography Andrea Wyner

Broad walkways beckon pedestrians at the Schlossgarten, one of the jewels of the Green U / Colin Utz/Alamy

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THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
The callower-than-thou charm of Stuttgart’s Hans im Glück neighborhood

While Stuttgart has plenty of engineers and business types, it’s also home to around 30,000 students. This gives the city a youthful edge, particularly in the quaint, tiny enclave of Hans im Glück. The neighborhood’s clutter of Mediterranean-style cafés and bars overflow with young people musing about the tension between pride and authenticity in Doktor Faustus while trying to set a new world record for longest-lasting beverage. It’s a fun, lively and surprisingly unpretentious part of the city—if not an obvious destination for those who are a bit self-conscious about their age.

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TOWN AND COUNTRY
When is a city not a city? Stuttgart’s bucolic Green U comes close to answering this question.

Despite having some of the world’s finest car manufacturers on their doorstep, Stuttgartians love to walk, and the city has taken every opportunity to make itself pedestrian-friendly. The core of this effort is the Green U, a nearly 7-mile route that runs from the Schlossgarten in the city center, along the Neckar River, and through a series of parks and gardens. Thanks to thoughtfully placed bridges, there’s never a need to cross a road.

The project started in the 1930s with the aim of giving this industrial city the feel of a large village, but it also represents a journey in the evolution of landscape design and urban history. Highlights include Killesbergpark, a former quarry, and Weissenburgpark, with its art nouveau pavilion. Locals are also given to frequent stops at the U’s strategically placed biergartens.

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STUTTGART BY THE NUMBERS

Population: 613,392
Per-capita GDP: $47,200
Percentage of population employed in automotive-related fields: ≈50
Rank among European regions in per-capita R&D spending: 3
Percentage of visitors on business: ≈70
Number of registered nationalities: 173
Area, in square miles: 80
Percentage of land devoted to green space: 60
Area, in square miles: 80
Size of municipally owned vineyards, in acres: 42

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LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
The inside scoop from those in the know

ARMIN G. GROEGER
HEAD OF VISITOR SERVICES, MERCEDES-BENZ MUSEUM
“I really like Esslingen—it’s a beautiful old part of the city, and the architecture is typically German. It’s very peaceful, and you’ll find good food there, too.”

MELANIE WERNER
GRAPHIC DESIGNER
“Although Stuttgart is a city, there’s lots of green space and parks for everyone to enjoy, which is what I love about it. Bärensee, for instance, has three lakes, plus deer and other wild animals.”

ANSELM VOGT-MOYKOPF
TAXI DRIVER/TOUR GUIDE
“You must see the house by Le Corbusier. It’s up in the hills, in the Weissenhof Estate, which dates back to an architectural exhibition in 1927. It’s one of the most important buildings of its kind.”


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