I almost didn’t visit Dresden Neustadt on this trip to Dresden. I was hoping I’d at least squeeze in a dinner, but I just couldn’t figure out how to make time for it, no matter how much I squinted at my calendar.
There was just so much else I had planned. But then, this morning, all h*ll broke loose and my plans went kaput (I’ll tell that story in a future post after I’ve dealt with customer service…).
Headed to Dresden? Read: What to Pack for Germany
Luckily I was able to salvage the day and spent it exploring this cool Dresden neighborhood, which is an absolutely fantastic way to spend a day.
Here are my favorite things to do in Dresden Neustadt, in case you, too, need a perfect day in Dresden’s Old “New City.”
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Things to Do in Dresden Neustadt
Here are my favorite things I did during my time in Neustadt. This is a list that you can easily accomplish in a single day. However, if you only have part of a day to spend in this part of the city, you can cover more ground by signing up for a tour like the Dresden Neustadt Tour in a Vintage Car. I have listed several highly recommended tours at the end of the article for those who want an organized introduction to this neighborhood.
Note: all of these activities in Dresden Neustadt are located in the “Inner New City” or Innere Neustadt. This is because I wanted to do activities that can reasonably be done in a single day, since that is the amount of time many tourists have to visit Neustadt. However, there are also amazing things to do in Outer Neustadt for travelers with more time!
The Baroque Quartier is centered around Königstrasse, a gorgeous tree-lined arcade of baroque homes and buildings, culminating at the Japanese Palace (below). The neighborhood was constructed in the eighteenth century after a fire had destroyed the previous buildings. The newly built area was called “The New King’s Town” since it was a project dear to King Augustus the Strong’s heart.
While you’ll definitely want to explore the main boulevards, make time to duck into some of the passages and shops. This is one of the best places in the city to shop since these boutiques and stores offer unique goods and steer away from mass-produced objects.
I particularly enjoyed strolling this area at golden hour, when the sunlight lit up the trees on Königstrasse. However, if you intend to shop and you’re visiting in summer, you’ll want to come by earlier in the day before the stores are closed!
Local artists decided to dress up some of the passages in Dresden Neustadt, creating fanciful works of art that have become a tourist destination in their own right. The highlight is the “Courtyard of Elements,” which includes a blue wall covered in metal pipework.
When I first saw it, I hadn’t read about it so I didn’t know what I was seeing. It just looked to me as though the drains weren’t draining right since there was a small pool of water in the middle of the courtyard. However, I stopped to listen and I could see how the water on the roof was making its way all the way down the pipes.
These pipes play music when it rains. Sadly, the draining water didn’t make a sound, but if you are in Dresden when it’s raining, head here to take a listen for yourself!
This isn’t the only awesome feature in the courtyards of Dresden Neustadt. Wander around and see what you can discover on your own. I found that some of my favorite courtyards weren’t the most famous ones, but just the colorful ones connected to residential buildings and other non-touristy places.
Pfunds Molkerei (Pfunds Milk Dairy)
This place is famous for being the “Most Beautiful Dairy in the World,” but I personally loved it because…um…cheese. Do I need to say more?
Downstairs the inside is gorgeous, decorated with handpainted tiles and chandeliers. But also, they have cheese samples. So basically, this place is heaven.
It was packed with tourists when I was there because it is on the main city bus tour. They came in waves though, so there were some moments when the shop wasn’t too crowded, but it was never empty.
There are signs everywhere stating that photography is not allowed. I spoke with the management and asked if I could snap a few pics for my website, and they obliged. But I didn’t have enough time to get anything too iconic or without people, since even getting permission as press I was still rushed for time.
While most tourists left after perusing the shop and trying some cheese, I walked upstairs to the restaurant. Since I was visiting on a weekday in November, the restaurant was practically empty. I saw only two other groups of customers during my meal, even though the restaurant had dozens of tables.
I ordered the cheese soup made with cheese from the dairy. It was freaking amazing. While the portions were a bit small for the soup, the sandwich I had after was the size of my head. It was also delicious, with avocado, cheese from the dairy, chicken, bacon, and mayo.
I found the service at the restaurant to be fantastic, and the food was super. The restaurant is a tiny bit overpriced, but not by much considering that it’s a cheese lover’s paradise.
The restaurant isn’t as beautiful as the store, but it is classy and has a great old-world feel. If you’re only in Dresden Neustadt for a day and want a meal that you will certainly remember, then I would suggest Pfunds for the combination of cheese-based amazingness and class.
Dreikönigskirche (Church of the Magi or Church of the Three Kings)
Located on Hauptstrasse (below), the Dreikönigskirche (or Church of the Three Kings) is a baroque building that has a few peculiarities. Instead of being oriented east, as most Christian churches tend to be, it is oriented to the boulevard. Churchgoers found this very upsetting at the time the church was built.
Most of the church did not survive the Dresden bombings, and it has been mostly reconstructed. However, the steeple and the altar did survive. That is why these two pieces are older with visible signs of damage. I personally find the mix of styles at this church to be very inspiring.
A few notes for those who want to visit inside the church. There is a checkout desk to the right when you enter. I waited in line here for about ten minutes before finding out that this was not a ticket booth. Entry to the church is free, and photography is allowed inside as long as you don’t use a flash.
During my visit, there was organ music playing. I was the only visitor inside, which was fantastic since it gave me time to really look at the altar and the side angels. There is also a very detailed brochure at the front in multiple languages that goes over the history of the church.
Inside there is a chic-looking cafe. I didn’t see how the prices compare to other cafes in Neustadt, but I did pop in to check out how delicious it smelled.
The Goldener Reiter (The Golden Horsemen or Golden Rider)
If you walk across the August Bridge to Neustadt, the Golder Reiter is one of the first things you’ll see. Located at the end of Hauptstrasse (below), he is turned towards the boulevard, beckoning you to begin your journey in Neustadt.
While much of what you see in Dresden has been restored after World War II, this statue escaped destruction during the war and is the original statue of King Augustus the Strong that has stood in this square since the eighteenth century.
During the war, it was packed away for safe-keeping, which is how it survived when so much of the city did not.
Nightlife Tour or Pub Crawl
A nightlife tour of Dresden Neustadt is the only thing on this list that I didn’t personally get to do, but I want to recommend it to you because I’ve heard that it’s an absolutely wonderful tour!
Because I had already booked a rental car for the next day, I didn’t want to plan a last minute pub crawl that would keep me up late the night before. However, this tour was highly recommended to me by a friend and someone working at my hostel, and I’m super bummed that I missed it!
You can check pricing and availability for the tour here.
Similar in feel to Philadelphia’s Redding Terminal or the markets in Seattle and Milwaukee, the Martkhalle is a blend of eateries, souvenir shops, farm-fresh vegetables and fruits, local meats, honey, and anything else you might want to pick up to cook, give as a gift, or decorate your house with. It’s a delightful collection and worth a stop, even if you’re not planning on shopping.
One option is to eat lunch here since the food is priced economically and there are many different options. Great for when you’re traveling in a group and can’t decide what kind of food to get!
If you are in the mood to shop, some of my favorite stalls included the local Saxony porcelain and pottery shop, the Russian goods shop, and the organic soaps.
If you’re staying in an Airbnb or self-catering apartment, this is also a fun place to pick up some of your groceries. Local wine, cheese, and sausage, anyone?
Walk Hauptstrasse to Albertplatz
Whether you start your trip to Neustadt by crossing the bridge, or if you begin at Die Welt der DDR like I did (below), at some point, you’ll find yourself on Hauptstrasse, the most prominent street in Neustadt. Stretching from the Golden Reiter to Albertplatz, Hauptstrasse is a tree-lined pedestrian walkway with cafes and shops.
Albertplatz is flanked with two beautiful fountains. Unfortunately, when I was visiting in November, they were not turned on.
Die Welt der DDR (The World of the GDR)
The small museum is located on the second story of a shopping center. It features objects and displays about life in East Germany during the communist era. While the signs are rarely in English, you get a good feel for what life looked like based on the objects and rooms from the GDR.
I really enjoyed visiting this museum. It might be slightly overpriced at seven euros per person, but I was very happy that I went. (Note that they do take credit cards). It’s an immersive experience, but it also only takes an hour (or less). I always appreciate a focused museum that allows you to get deep into a single topic.
While the museum isn’t too interactive, I thought the option to dress up in clothing from the GDR was an especially cool section and not something I’ve seen in other museums. The gift shop is full of reproduced items from the communist era in Germany, along with used books and records from the period.
If you don’t have time to go to the museum, but still want to do something in Neustadt that relates to communist history, check out Dresden Neustadt: City Tour in a Vintage Car.
Japanisches Palais (Japanese Palace)
This baroque building marks the end of Königstrasse in the Baroque Quarter. Today it houses the ethnographic museum along with two other state-run museums. Whether you choose to peruse the collection or simply enjoy the beauty of the building from afar, make sure you spot this important Dresden landmark while in Neustadt.
Appreciate the Street Art
While the Kunsthofpassage has some of the most famous street art in the city, Dresden Neustadt is teeming with beautiful murals and other important pieces of street art. You’re sure to spot many works just by walking through the neighborhood, but if you want to learn more about the street art scene in Dresden, you can sign up for the Dresden Street Art Tour which includes works in Dresden Neustadt.
I found this little charming spot when I was headed to the Augustus bridge to leave the neighborhood. Behind the Westin Hotel building, the hotel has put up this adorable little spot with a bench. It’s positioned so that taking a selfie here will frame some of the more beautiful buildings on the other side of the Elbe in your picture.
Whether you seek out this exact Selfie Point bench, or just wander the promenade on the Elbe, make sure to spend time near the water here. Photographers can’t miss getting these views of the Altstadt, but non-photographers will still enjoy the beauty in this part of Neustadt.
Currently, under reconstruction and a heap of construction, the bridge isn’t exactly beautiful at the moment. However, this is the main way to get back and forth from the Altstadt to Neustadt, and it also is one of the best spots for photographing the Old City from the water.
Dresden Neustadt Tours
If you want to see Dresden Neustadt, but don’t have a full day to devote, here are some highly recommended Dresden tours that will give you the ability to see some of these sites and learn more about the city. Click the links to check prices and availability.
- Dresden Neustadt: City Tour in a Vintage Car
- Bar & Pub Crawl of Dresden Neustadt
- Dresden Street Art Tour including Dresden Neustadt
- Dresden Neustadt Street Scavenger Hunt (German only)
How to Get from Dresden Altstadt to Neustadt
Dresden is an extremely walkable city with great public transportation options. I personally used a taxi to get dropped off at Die Welt der DDR. This cost about fourteen Euros, but I chose this route because I was stranded in the middle of nowhere due to my morning plans getting messed up, and I just wanted to be doing anything else asap.
I would not suggest taking a taxi if you’re staying in Dresden Altstadt. Instead, you should use the train or walk across the bridge.
Getting from the Neustadt back to my hostel, I chose to just walk. It was about one and a half miles from Albertplatz to my hostel (way past the Altstadt). So if you’re staying in the Altstadt and you’re in the Baroque quarter, it’s a much shorter walk than that.
I highly recommend you walk at least one way because then you can cross on the Augustus Bridge. The walk back to the Altstadt has one of the best views in the city.
If you have a late night in the Neustadt and you feel walking or using public transportation would be unsafe, then ask for someone at the bar or restaurant to call a taxi for you. If you need to pay with a credit card, then tell the person ordering the taxi but also double check with the taxi driver just in case. Trust me on this one.
5 Things to Pack for the Trip to Dresden
- The Lonely Planet Germany guidebook for your trip. I’ve been looking for a hard copy here since I don’t like getting stuff delivered to me in Bulgaria, and I can’t find one. Definitely get your guidebook ahead of time.
- Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut wrote this novel about his experiences in Dresden during the war. You can get a paperback, Kindle, or Audible copy. I’ve been listening to it on Audible while I walk around the city.
- Dresden Welcome Card If you’re going to explore the city’s sites for more than a day, this two-day city card will save you money by giving you free admission to many of the city’s major sites and discounts to many others.
- A Camera since Dresden Neustadt is super photogenic. I used a mix of my Nikon D810 and my Samsung8 smartphone.
- Travel Insurance Policy information, because things happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’re going to be doing any hiking or outdoor activities in Germany.
I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for two years, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance when participating in outdoor activities. Even in the cities, though, you’ll be happy when you’re able to replace your stuff if it’s lost or stolen.
More about Traveling to Dresden
- 21 Things to Know Before Traveling to Germany: Tips & Advice
- Germany Packing List
- The Best & Worst Dresden Tours
- 17 of the Most Instagrammable Places in Dresden, Germany
- 27 Pictures of Dresden to Inspire Your German Wanderlust
- Dresden Street Art: 15 Famous Pieces and Offbeat Gems
- How to Get from Berlin to Dresden
- How to Get from Dresden to Berlin
- 10 Reasons to Travel to Germany in Autumn
- The 50 Most Beautiful Castles in the World
- What to Pack for Germany