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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

A night at jazz club Bix

Picture 12 of 14

STEP OUT OF STUTTGART’S main rail station, and immediately it hits you: the hoppy smell of Dinkelacker, one of the local brews. There’s a protected vineyard up in the hills behind you, and straight ahead, a cosmopolitan stretch of consumerism.

The core of Germany’s car industry—Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Maybach and Daimler all have roots here—Stuttgart is hardly a monochrome industrial center. It’s the birthplace of the German hip-hop scene, and home to the most multi­cultural community in the country. Its streets heave with hipsters and are lined with health food stores, underground jazz joints and candlelit rock clubs.

As for the look of the place, Stuttgart is not the most conventionally beautiful city in Germany (many of its historic buildings were destroyed in World War II), but its architecture is stunning in its variety, ranging from baroque to Bauhaus, along with the kind of brutalism you’d expect. The cranes twirling across the skyline suggest there is more to come.

The further you explore Stuttgart, the more you find to recommend it, and the same goes for the people who call it home. These no-nonsense folk, it is said, are born with “a noodle in their mouth and a broom in their hand.” And while that idiom might be hard to decipher, what’s beyond doubt is that Stuttgart’s residents are inordinately welcoming, inventive and fun.

And, like their city, they’re full of surprises.

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