Germany’s 22nd largest city by population within the city limits, Mannheim is the heart of the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region, Germany’s 8th largest and home to over 2 million people.
A city with a rich and varied history, Mannheim was raised to the ground during World War 2 and laboriously rebuilt in the latter half of the century. Mannheim is also the site of the first motorbike and motorcar were built.
Nowadays, Mannheim is an economic hub home to many large multinational corporations. It is known for it’s progressive outlook socially, economically and environmentally and has been lauded as a city to watch with a gay scene scattered across the city.
Mannheim has historically been a very liberal minded city, with openly gay establishments being favourite haunts of artists and writers in the 1930s. Nowadays, Mannheim’s gay community is thriving and welcoming of everyone.
The city is divided into 4 quadrants, and gay-popular bars and clubs can be found in all of them. The majority of venues are located in Mitte (the centre) and around the Wasserturm.
Mannheim hosts the Christopher Street Day LGBT Pride celebrations every August. The last Saturday of every month sees the grand Himbeerparty LGBT party taking place at the Alte Feuerwache. But the largest, most popular gay dance (and cruise) party in Mannheim is GAYWERK.
Mannheim’s neighbouring city, Ludwigshafen, has a small gay scene, too, including a sauna called Atlantis Sauna. Since the two cities are literally right next to each other, it can be said the few gay venues in Ludwigshafen are part of the Mannheim gay scene.
Mannheim City Airport (MHG) is a shadow of it’s former glory. It only runs two scheduled domestic flights to Berlin Tegel and Hamburg. Trams 5 and 6 and Bus 50 take you into the city. Tram journeys take around 25 minutes, buses slightly longer and cost €2.50.
Most international arrivals arrive via one of the many airports neighbouring Mannheim. Frankfurt Airport (FRA), Germany’s largest airport and international hub, is only 30 minutes away by ICE high speed train/bus takes 1 hour-90 minutes (prices vary).
Frankfurt Hahn Airport (HHN) offers a shuttle bus service to Mannheim train station that is cheap but does take around 2.5 hours to get to Mannheim.
Mannheim Hauptbahnhof is well connected to the rest of Germany and is the second busiest, after Stuttgart, in South West Germany. It has good international connections extending as far as Moscow in the East and Copenhagen in the North.
Although the city centre is relatively compact, you have to understand that central Mannheim is laid out slightly different from other cities. “Streets” do not have street names but addresses are instead grouped in blocks, a lot like a chess board. Addresses take the form of a grid reference, followed by a number i.e. Q6, 12 (if in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask a local).
By public transport
Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Neckar (VRN) is the name of the organisation that organises public transport in the Rhein-Neckar region. It offers an integrated system of buses, trams, s-bahn trains and regional trains in Mannheim and to the other towns surrounding it.
Single tickets start from €1.60 and day tickets start from €6.50. The majority of tram routes in Mannheim run every 20 minutes during the day but there are less regular night services available, with some services running around the clock at weekends.
It is easier to flag down taxis in Mannheim or to find taxi ranks, however the same caution should be exercised as in any European city. Be sure to only get into licenced cabs and ensure that you pay by the meter to avoid being ripped off.
For our list of recommended hotels, visit the Gay Mannheim Hotels page.
Luisenpark – built between 1892 and 1903, Luisenpark is frequently cited as one of the most beautiful parks in Europe. Attractions include a large boating lake, the Chinese Gardens and the Pflanzenschauhaus (glasshouse) with its aquarium and butterfly collection.
Friedrichsplatz – just a ten minute walk away from the city centre is this neo-baroque public square. A perfect place to relax and people watch. Be sure to check out the light show on the fountain.
Kunsthalle – Mannheim’s civic art collection is held in a great 19th Century building and is free entry on Wednesdays and between 6-8 most evenings.
Mannheim Palace – a grand palace that is frequently compared to Versailles. Now the majority of it forms part of the University of Mannheim, you can still take guided tours inside.
Wasserturm – famous romanesque watertower that acts as the main landmark of Mannheim. Be sure to get a selfie here.
SAP Arena – large multifunctional arena that is home to Mannheim’s world famous ice hockey team Die Adler (the Eagles).
Unlike other cities and towns in the region, Mannheim does not become swamped with tourists in the summer months. It is located in Germany’s hottest location, the so called Rhine Shift, so summer months can be extremely hot.
In contrast with a lot of central European cities, snow is actually not that common in the winter months. This does not by any means that you shouldn’t pack a warm coat in December, however, as temperatures do drop below freezing.
August sees the large Christopher Street Day festival take to the streets and November has the international film festival, twinned with nearby Heidelberg.
Germany is within the European Schengen visa area. If travelling from outside Europe, check to see if you require a Schengen visa.
Germany is a member of the Eurozone. Cash dispensers are widely available. You may be asked for photo ID if paying with a credit or debit card in a shop.
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