Shopping in Stuttgart
Stuttgart is a modern city with a full range of shopping options. In this article we’ll point you to some key shopping areas and offer a few tips regarding particularities about shopping in this area of Germany.
There are several sizable malls in and around Stuttgart.
- Breuninger – Marktstrasse 1–3, 70173 Stuttgart
- Breuningerland – Tilsiter Strasse 15, 71065 Sindelfingen
- Das Gerber – Sophienstrasse 21, 70178 Stuttgart
- Mercaden – Wolfgang-Brumme-Allee 27, 71034 Böblingen
- Milaneo – Mailänder Platz 7, 70173 Stuttgart
- SchwabenGalerie – Schwabenplatz 7, 70563 Stuttgart
You can also find shops for every kind of goods all along the Königstrasse (which translates to “King Street”). This busy shopping street runs 1.2 km (0.75mi) from Stuttgart’s main train station all the way through downtown. This is one of Germany’s longest pedestrian shopping street and is lined with department stores, boutiques, restaurants, and convenient seating areas.
One key difference between Germany and many other countries is that nearly all shops are closed on Sundays. Many shops also close relatively early in the evening. The shopping malls occasionally have special shopping nights during which all the shops stay open until midnight.
Pharmacies and Drugstores
If you’re used to American drugstores, which sell everything from prescription medications to toiletries to greeting cards to candy, then coming to Stuttgart will require a bit of an adjustment. In Germany, as in most of Europe, there is a separation between pharmacies (Apotheke) and drugstores (Drogerie-Markt). Pharmacies are usually fairly small since the focus is on medicine. You buy both prescription and over-the-counter drugs by asking for them from the pharmacist. You can also buy a limited range of beauty and wellness products inside a pharmacy. Drugstores are where you can buy all your toiletries, as well as baby supplies, makeup, and some health foods. (For greeting cards you’ll need to go to a gift shop or post office, and candy is best purchased at a supermarket or a specialty shop.) The most common drugstore chains are Rossmann and dm.
Stuttgart has a large variety of stores where you can get your groceries. If you like to go to a large supermarket with a wide selection, you should try Rewe, Edeka, Kaufland, or Real. For lower prices and a rotating selection of seasonal items, check out Lidl, Aldi, Netto, and Bonus. Organic or “Bio” groceries are also a popular choice in Stuttgart. Although all grocery stores have some organic products, shop at Naturgut or Alnatura for a fully organic experience.
Online grocery shopping is very uncommon in Germany: only Rewe offers an online ordering and home delivery service via their app (available from the Apple Store or Google Play Store). Other supermarkets offer an online look at the week’s discounted items, and some also have the possibility to order non-grocery items online. However, only Rewe gives the convenience of filling your online shopping cart with food either for pre-assembled pickup in store or scheduled delivery right to your door.
There are many smaller shops and specialty food stores in Stuttgart. For example, a Metzgerei is a butcher’s shop, where you can buy not only meat but also prepared dishes like Maultaschen. Obst- und Gemusehandler are greengrocers that may also sell some other local products like herbal infusions. There are weekly outdoor markets all over Stuttgart where local sellers set up trucks or stands with fresh produce, meat, cheese, and baked goods.
You may notice some particularities about grocery shopping in Stuttgart. If you want a shopping cart, you’ll need to put a 50 cent, 1 Euro, or 2 Euro coin into a slot to release the cart. Most shoppers bring their own bags to carry away their groceries, although you can also pay for paper, reusable plastic or cloth bags. German cashiers strongly prefer you pay with exact change when paying with cash, and if you hand them a large bill they are likely to ask you if you have change or something smaller. Fortunately, most supermarkets accept payment with credit card (including not just MasterCard and Visa but also American Express, Apple Pay, and Google Pay). There is also an expectation that you will move on quickly after the cashier has scanned all your items. You should pay and then move your groceries quickly off the end of the lane. There are sometimes counters off to the side where you can finish packing your items more securely for the trip home.
Most importantly, all grocery stores in Stuttgart are closed on Sundays except for the Edeka inside the airport. They are also closed on national holidays, so you’ll want to be careful about shopping ahead particularly when there is a Monday holiday! However, service stations always have a few convenience items, and many restaurants and bakeries are open on Sundays.
Germans love to shop at markets: there are weekly farmer’s markets, special produce stands at certain times of years for specialties like asparagus and strawberries, and flea markets for secondhand goods.
In Stuttgart, you should absolutely visit the historic Markthalle. This indoor market has a wide variety of vendors offering the best of everything edible: fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and seafood, European cheeses, bread and pastries, salads and spreads, spices and other specialties from specific regions of the world, and more! It’s located just steps from Schlossplatz and Charlottenplatz.
Stuttgart has several weekly outdoor markets. Farmers bring in fruit and vegetables, bakers have stands with bread and other baked goods, and there are also trucks with meat, fish, cheese, or prepared foods. You can check the current schedule for dates and locations. You can also check out the Stuttgart Markets site for information about flea markets, handicraft vendor stalls, and even Christmas tree sales.
A big advantage of living in Germany is that fresh bread and other baked goods are readily available from local bakeries. In Stuttgart there are many chains as well as owner-operated bakeries, and they offer a much higher quality (and fresher) product than what you can buy in the supermarkets. You can get to know many local and seasonal specialties since bakeries change their selection throughout the year to reflect regional favorites for that time. Bakeries are also a great place to meet for a coffee and a chat with new friends! Be aware that most bakeries only accept cash payments, though.