The Planken is located directly in front of the Wasserturm. (The first shops are Burger King and McDonald's on the left corner, and a bank on the right.) There are many tram stops here -- lines 5,4 and 2 stop at Rosengarten, just across the street from the Planken, and the 4 and 2 run down the Planken itself. The five also runs to the Marktplatz, where the Planken ends.
There are shops of every variety here: restaurants and cafes for a yummy lunch or dinner, ice cream parlors, department stores, clothing stores, a chocolate shop, bakeries, jewelry stores, many shoe stores, etc. The Cineplex movie theatre is located here, and shows a few English (OV - Original Version) movies each week.
The tree-lined street itself is interesting -- it's entirely cobblestone, which as an American, I find beautiful! There are statues scattered along the sidewalk, and the people themselves provide ample entertainment during a quick lunch outdoors. At the end of the Planken, in Marktplatz, there is a large glass cube statue which was erected to memorialize the Holocaust victims of Mannheim. Names of victims are printed on the inside of the glass, so that you must look through the cube to read the names on the other side. It's worth a look if you're in the neighborhood.
Also, there is a very unique fountain on the end of the Planken by the Wasserturm. It's made up of origami shaped statues, and is easily my favorite spot to relax while enjoying an ice cream cone. (See photos)
There is also an ATM near the Deutsche Bank that accepts most cards.
What to buy: Pretty much anything can be found here. I especially recommend stopping by one of the ice cream parlors. The ice cream in both of them is creamy and rich, and cheap! Only 1 euro per scoop, whether in a cone or dish.
Rhein Neckar Zentrum is a mall and shopping center just outside of Mannheim. It's easily accessibe by Tram (Stop name: Tivoli, Line: 5), and has a shop to suit every need. Grocery stores, department stores and a pet shop are sprinkled throughout the usual fashion and gift shops. There's also a great selection of restaruants and a movie theatre, though nearly all films are only available in German.
What to pay: Some shops are pricier than others, but there are plenty of bargains for those who are willing to search them out.
While the grid-like structured centre is perfect for shopping, I found one shop that made it extra-special to me. I finally got some new shoes by GEOX which are generally very expensive. In Mannheim, however, the GEOX store had 40% off of most items, so I managed to get my shoes for a price that I'd never expected.
What to buy: whatever you wish
What to pay: about the same as in every other German city
One of my neighbours is from Syria and she had given me a very good recipe, but I needed one more ingredient, Sesame paste. In the area left to the farmers' market, the G blocks, there are many grocery stores selling food from all over the world.
There is a large Turkish bakery with lots of sweets and bread. Very colourful cakes are on display in the window, looking like wedding cakes.
I was looking for the Arab store which I knew to be close. On my way there I passed a Spanish and a Portuguese store, an Indian one, two more Turkish shops and a general Asian one.
The Arab store had exactly what I needed,but it took a while until the assistant understood
what I was talking about. Her German was not very good, I don't speak any Arabic at all, but
in the end we managed. Of course, I couldn't leave without some of the very sweet Arabic
Haha, those who have read some of my pages will know that I place tips on bookstores for some cities. I simply cannot do other than enter and browse around.
Mannheim has a good one, too – Buch Kober. There are even 2 of them in town. The usual selection of what I like: extremely well organized and filled travel section, nice things-you-don’t-need-but-cannot-live-without, like agendas, calendars, candles, etc.
And they serve coffee, so you can sit there, browse through books before you decide to buy them.
A place to easily spend some hours.
The 2 stores have a similar stock. Well, the travel section in the one in Kurpfalzstrasse is a bit bigger. The one in Planken has more selection in these specially produced books (on all kinds of subjects – achitecture, cooking, plants, etc).
What to buy: No, I will not write down what I bought. VT would kill me, as I would need to write pages and pages and pages….
The usual prices for books; the special issues have quite reasonable prices.
Coordinates on GoogleEarth:
Kurpfalzstraße: 49°29’12,54’’ N; 08°27’54,95’’ E
Planken: 49°29’07,31’’ N; 08°28’21,65’’ E
For all of us that need to break the supermarket shopping habits from time to time, Südlandhaus in Mannheim has all kinds of culinary treats for gourmets.
I like their writings in the website, where they say that we can fill our car with the most expensive motoroil, but fill in cheap olive oil into our stomachs….. How true !
But whatever you buy here, it is all fresh or from sources, which Südlandhaus’ people constantly control for being of good quality. Whoever looks for plastic food – you won’t find it here.
They have all different kinds of wine from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and other well known countries. Good brands !
You can also get here all kind of Schnaps (several European countries), olive oil, balsamico vinegar, coffee, honey - you name it. Also fresh seasonal products such as truffles, asparagus, new wine (Federweisser).
Yes, it has its price. But remember, it is fresh and no plastic !
Unfortunately, the website below is only in German. It is also no online shopping; it would be against Suedlandhaus’ philosopy (and I like that).
But you could check the site, and maybe you find what you were looking for
What to buy: .
Coordinates on GoogleEarth:
49°29’14,38’’ N; 08°28’09,32’’ E
Without Tess having recommended it just some days ago, I would never have realized that there is a shop where chocolate lovers are in heaven – and would most probably need to be forcibly taken out of there.
Called Chocolaterie Stoffel, this family run business offers almost everything you can imagine, made in chocolate. They produce it in their manufacture in a small town called Bobenheim, but most of the sales is done in the Mannheim city one.
The truffles are hand rolled, they have 200 hollow forms to make all kinds of chocolate things big and small childs cannot live without.
Well, what can I tell you – you need to check it out for your own.
Thanks Tess for allowing me to place this here as well :-)
But – we should all remember, Tess gets all the credit for having found it !
(haha, we should negotiate commission for her in the shop).
What to buy: I bought:
“Broken chocolate”: 100 g for 2,70 €;
Marzipan-orange roll: 1,99 €,
Little chocolate mobile phone: 1,60 € (hahaha, who knows me, knows for whom I got that!)
Wine grape: 3,95 €
Coordinates on GoogleEarth:
49°29’05,04’’ N; 08°28’19,61’’ E
What to buy:
If you look for a typical gift from Mannheimer, try "Mannheimer Dreck", perhaps it is in Endlish dirt of Mannheim. Usually I don't like to eat dirt, but the Mannheimer dirt is ok. It is a kind of spicy cake. This one I bought in Café Waegele.
Mannheimer Dreck dates back to the early 19th century. There was a law which said that you have to pay 2 "taler" if people put their excrements on the street. A baker wanted to make a joke and made a kind of gingerbread with these ingredients: nut, almonds, marzipan, cloves, ... He put that into the window of his shop and calles it dirt of Mannheim! You can imagine, how happy his customers were....
The Mannheimer Dreck you get today is still made with the original recipe and you also get a certificat.
What to pay: Depending on the size of the box you take.
I lived in Mannheim for a while (and still miss these days). Those days I didn’t need to do my grocery shopping in the supermarkets, as the farmers’ market has all I needed and FRESH ! Just recently I needed some real food fix again, so I drove all the way (60 km) from Darmstadt just to get this wonderful atmosphere again and do some shopping.
Mannheimers are so lucky ! They can go shopping here 3 times a week even ! (in other towns, it is mostly twice). The market is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from early morning until around 2 p.m.
I can highly (= highly) recommend to visit this market for anyone who travels here for business or is close by during sightseeing !
What to buy: You can get all and everything here from fresh flowers to any kind of fresh fruits and vegetables. Also bread, cheese, sausages – whatever you can imagine.
During autumn, of course fresh mushrooms are available.
Prices are very much fair, mostly even cheaper than in supermarkets.
And remember, you will get fresh food and no “plastic food” here.
What to pay: I bought some spices, marjoram for example, 25 g for 0,80 €, bags with 50 g of lavender for
0,50 €. Look at my last picture – all in all, I paid 4,50 € for the spices.
Chocolaterie Stoffel is one of my favourite shops. Go there, have a look at the shop window, then after having seen that, go inside. Just stand there and smell! yummie, yummie! That shop is a shop for the senses! And for chocolate lovers , of course. I like "Bruchschokolade!, which means, that he breaks from a big part of chocolate (pic) as much as you want to have. At Easter, you get Easter bunnies there, at Christmas a Santa Claus made of chocolate. Usually you can choose between black, brown and white chocolate. I just bought the Mannheim landmark, the Water tower there. You can get a small as well as a bigger one, made of chocolate there. You can also buy wine there, of course a chocolate bottle. But I didn't try that until now.
The main shopping area in Mannheim is the street leading from the watertower to the Paradeplatz, the center of the downtown area. While streets in downtown Mannheim have no names, but letters and numbers, this street is known as "die Planken", meaning planks, wooden boards. The name is easily explained: Before paving the streets, it was all muddy when it was raining. And back then, with the long dresses the ladies were wearing, this was very uncomfortable. So the ladies complained to the city authorities, they should do something to make shopping nicer and more comfortable. The city authorities had wooden boards put down and soon everybody was talking of doing their shopping on the planks, the Planken. The name stuck, even though today there is not a single wooden board in sight, and the street still is the main shopping street.
You find outdoor cafés there,a cinema, a large bookstore, several clothing stores, shoe stores, pharmacies and many other stores.
Mannheim Farmers' Market is the largest open air market in the area. Many restaurants chefs go there early in the morning to buy fresh products. It is held year round, Tuesday,Thursday and Saturday morning.During May you can get asparagus there,late summer, early fall it's a good place to find lots of fresh mushrooms. From November on they offer chestnuts for roasting, very good.In addition to vegetables, bread and meat you can also get lots of fresh flowers there.
The picture shows the fountain in the center of the market square.
One pedestrian zone of Mannheim is called Planken. It begins just on the other side of the water tower.
In summer time there are lots of cafés, reastaurants, bars and ice cafés and great shops to spend your money.
Each tuesday, thursday and saturday morning there is a local market on the market square in F1. You can buy there fresh vegetables from the region, flowers, cheeze, meat, bread, oil,.....
But it's also woth to go there just to take some pics.
See more pics in the travelogue
Take the tram to the "Paradeplatz" and get off there - you will find a pretty busy shopping mile there. Nothing real spectacular, but one shop next to the other!
The sandals on the picture will be hard to find - we saw them in a museum and liked them enough to take a picture!!!