While Dresden may be known for its Altstadt (old town), its Christmas Markets, and its many landmarks, the Neustadt or new town offers a lively alternative to crowds of tourists and souvenir sellers and offers some fun things to do while you are in Dresden.
In the 1990s, the Neustadt was known for its alternative scene and carefree attitude. Some of that attitude can still be seen in graffiti-covered buildings and tattooed twenty-somethings, but the area is beginning to fill up with young families. From the Dresden Hauptbahnhof, city tram lines 7 or 8 will take you to the Neustadt. Visitors can also walk to Neustadt from Altstadt by crossing the Augustbrücke, a bridge spanning the Elbe.
A popular destination in the Neustadt is the Elbwiesen or the riverbanks of the Elbe. On hot summer nights, the riverbanks become packed with people having parties, cookouts, or just relaxing. Concerts, outdoor movies and beer gardens are all hosted along the river, especially during summer months.
A visible symbol of the Neustadt is the gilded sculpture the Goldener Reiter, situated at the head of the Hauptstraße on the Neustädter Markt square. The sculpture depicts King August the Strong astride his steed and is so brightly polished that it practically illuminates the square at night.
The Hauptstraße is a pedestrian-only street with shops and restaurants, including the Watze Brauereiausschank, a local brewery and café and a museum dedicated to the history of Dynamo Dresden football club and East German soccer.
One of the most popular areas of the new town is Louisenstraße. Hipsters and stroller-pushing young parents both reside in this part of town. And, a rarity in Germany, many vegetarian and vegan-friendly cafes can be found here. The busy street is lined with popular cafes and bars, as well as tattoo parlors, sex shops, and hostels.
Alaunstraße, which intersects with Louisenstraße, also has many dining options including Vecchia Napoli, a popular Italian restaurant known for its wood fired pizzas and elaborate tropical drinks; Amarena Capanna, another popular Italian spot, with tiki hut inspired décor; and Devil’s Kitchen, a vegan café.
At the intersection of the Louisenstraße and Alaunstraße is a lovely beer garden and several food carts, offering everything from meat-centric German fare to crepes to pastries. The area is easily identified, just look for the model of a car pinned with heart and arrow on the roof of one of the food carts.
Dresden’s Neustadt is well worth exploring, but that’s not to say the Altstadt is uninteresting. A great way of experiencing both sides of the city is to stay in the Neustadt, a cheaper option anyway, while visiting the landmarks of Altstadt during the day. We stayed at the Hostel Louise 20 and can recommend it. The ease of walking or taking the tram between the old and new parts of town cannot be overemphasized. Staying in a hotel or hostel in Neustadt, on either Louisenstraße or Alaunstraße, allows for a completely different point of view than is typically found in travel guides.
Written by and photos by Morgen Young for EuropeUpClose.com