Being the second largest city in Baden-Württemberg, Mannheim is most famous for its many shopping streets and squares. It’s only about 15 minutes from Heidelberg by train so a lot of people from Heidelberg prefer doing their shopping there rather than on the expensive Hauptstrasse in town. Personally I don’t find Mannheim very fascinating but they do have a lot of shops and the baroque castle at the University of Mannheim is quite impressive (especially inside).
Their Christmas market this year, although smaller than the one in Heidelberg, is fairly nice and there is a variety of festive items you can find, so I’ve given it a slightly higher rating than the Heidelberger Weihnachtsmarkt.
There are two Christmas markets in Mannheim, both open from Nov 28 to Dec 23 every day from 11am to 9pm. The smaller market is located on Kapuzinerplanken and the bigger one is around the iconic Wasserturm (Water tower). While both Weihnachtsmärkte offer food as well as a variety of Christmas gifts and ornaments, I think it’s easier to eat and drink at the smaller market because the food area is more concentrated and there seemed to be more options. The market is also beautifully illuminated by Moravian stars, or Herrnhuter Stern in German.
The bigger Christmas market at the Wasserturm, I suppose, is the main market. Besides food and gifts, there are also amusements for kids: mini ferris wheel and trains, merry-go-round, and even horseback riding on ponies.
As far as price is concerned, I’d say this market isn’t especially expensive. I only got food there though: a Kinderpunch costs €2, a Langos with tomato and cheese for €4, a crêpe with only Apfelmus (apple sauce) is €2.70 and a warm baguette with cheese and salami and tomatoes for €3.50 – not expensive at all, and honestly, with the cheery atmosphere here, price is of little concern. There are stands for people who want to eat and hang out, but like most other Christmas markets, it’s always crowded in front of a Glühwein booth.
Although the markets aren’t that great in size, it’s still an ideal place for friends and families to meet up and spend a festive evening.