Mannheim is known as the Quadratestadt, or City of Squares for its grid-like pattern of its city center and many plazas. Some of these provide great places to shop and make it easy to find your way around as well.
Well, it’s “easy” if you explore Mannheim shopping by feet or by public transport. Probably not so if you’re trying to find your way through the squares by car as the city center consists of one-way streets.
Those squares, one-way streets, and the order of house numbers, were developed with a simple system in mind. But, most visitors — even many residents — are unaware of that system.
Mannheim Shopping Tip
Don’t save your shopping for Sunday since most stores are closed. Shop hours are usually Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm.
Undoubtedly, this Mannheim shopping street is the biggest retail destination in the city. The Planken (in English, “the planks”) got its unusual name from the wooden planks that used to run along the street so that the women wouldn’t get their feet wet. These days, that’s no longer a problem, but the name stuck.
At the Planken, you will find plenty of sophisticated opportunities to purchase the latest designer fashions in clothes and shoes. This shopping street stretches from the landmark water tower all the way to City Hall. Some pedestrian shopping streets run alongside the Planken.
Don’t miss out on the jewelry and leather of Fressgass, for instance. And just when your feet are about to wear out from a busy shopping day, take a rest and grab a bite at the many delicatessens that you’ll find here.
At the end of the Planken, you’ll come to another shopping mecca, the Paradeplatz or Parade Square, which was used by the Elector for troop parades.
If you’re looking for the big-name department stores, more shoes and the latest fashions, then this is the place for you. The Paradeplatz is generally regarded as the heart of Mannheim.
Marktplatz (Market Square)
The Marktplatz is another essential Mannheim shopping stop. Its biggest attraction is the regular open-air markets that occur every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, generally. Here you’ll find the freshest produce in the city and some tasty local treats.
Added to the opportunities for shopping is the picture-perfect location of the Marktplatz. Both the Old Town Hall and a lovely church sit in the square. It’s a great place to spend a leisurely afternoon.