Leipzig has earned quite a reputation for its urban culture of outdoor eating and drinking (Freisitz-Kultur). Where other towns may have their beer gardens, Leipzig's al fresco culture has something of a cult status in the city. Almost all of its 1,400 restaurants and cafés offer some outdoor seating. The al fresco phenomenon has always been around in Leipzig, but it really started to take off after German unification in 1990.
One of the catalysts was the city planning department's strategy of creating a pedestrian-friendly city centre, and its generous allocation of pavement seating permissions to merchants. At the same time, a programme of renovation work was under way to restore the old exhibition halls and their courtyards, and the network of footpaths was also extended. All these measures helped create a pleasant environment for pedestrians in the city centre.
The concentration and diversity of restaurants, cafés and culture gives the city centre a unique atmosphere, and of course, the pavement tables are the ideal spot for people watching and for being seen. You can find a list of the best places for people watching in the Pubs and Clubs section.