City of Culture

More Culture for Everyone

Culture is what forms our society, which is why it also plays such an important role in Esslingen. Our cultural scene offers a very diverse program.

Our city festivals and events are known throughout the region. Especially the Onion and City festivals are sacred amongst Esslingen locals. Be sure not to miss the “City on the River” cultural festival, as it only takes place once every three years.

Recurring cultural highlights

Bürgerfest - big town festival

The big City Festival originates from the inaugural ceremony of the Vogelsang Bridge in 1973 and has been celebrated every year since then.

Swearing Day
Swearing Day was a central constitutional event held in Esslingen every Sunday after St. Jacob’s Day up until the loss of the Imperial immediacy. This tradition has been resumed and celebrated in the Swearing Courtyard each year as a prelude to the Esslingen City Festival.

Entertainment for Young and Old
A variety of Esslingen’s clubs offer a colorful entertainment program on different stages throughout the city. Concerts, performances, and visits to the many facilities promise a rich cultural experience.

Esslingen is home to range of culinary delights that entice with both local and international specialties, and local flea markets invite guests to browse while children enjoy the Games Festival and various activities at the Maille.

Other highlights include the Esslingen Environmental Day, complete with many special offers and interesting conversations at the information stands, as well as the “Eßlinger Zeitung” run. This sporting event on Sunday morning is an integral part of the Environmental Day and enjoys great popularity among athletes near and far.

Zwiebelfest - Onion Festival​

“Zwiebel” or “Zwieblinger” (onion or onioner) are what the Esslingen locals have been called ever since, according to legend, a market woman drove the devil out of the city by giving him an onion instead of an apple.

This is why the Onion Festival is celebrated every year in August on Esslingen’s Marktplatz. The eight Onion Festival hosts entertain their guests in rustic arbors with attractive culinary highlights. In addition to numerous live musical performances, the supporting program also features traditional onion balancing, a day for traditional costumes, the crowning of the Onion Festival Queen by the Eßlinger Zeitung, and much more.
Onion Festival

Erdbeer- und Klimafest - Strawberry and Climate Festival

The Küferstraße-Blarerplatz-Ottilienplatz traders’ community puts on the Strawberry Festival ever year in June. On this day, all of the city’s streets and squares are devoted to strawberries: they hang from street lamps, in shop windows, and are on sale in various forms.
Strawberry and Climate Festival

While a red carpet leads guests through the Strawberry Festival, a green carpet for the Climate Festival is rolled out on Ritterstraße.  

A smorgasbord of information and special actions that directly or indirectly deal with climate change are presented in different pavilions. There are also plenty of delicious culinary offers, all organic, of course. 

Esslinger Frühling und Esslinger Herbst - Spring and Fall Festival

Every year, the Esslingen City-Initiative attracts myriad visitors to the Esslingen Spring and Esslingen Fall festivals, each of which also features a business-open Sunday.  
Esslingen autumn
Esslingen springtime

ES Funkelt - ES Sparkles​

Stroll, shop, and eat until midnight! That’s what Esslingen invites guests to do while enjoying a city decorated with unique lighting installations on the last Saturday before Christmas.  
ES Sparkles - long shopping night

The Esslingen Medieval Market & Christmas Market

The Esslingen Medieval Market and Christmas Market is unique – and “more full of adventure than any other in Germany”. With more than 200 booths, the Esslingen Market is also one of the largest in the region.

For almost four weeks at the Medieval Market, merchants in historical garments offer their goods for sale just as they did hundreds of years ago. Craftsmen like pewterers, felt-makers, tinder-makers, blacksmiths, rope-makers, basket-makers, broom-makers or glass-blowers demonstrate their craftsmanship. Furthermore, in the streets and on various stages artists fascinate their audience with juggling, music and nonsense.

All around, Esslingen´s medieval half-timbered houses create a unique and spectacular backdrop. The Middle Ages with all one´s senses, lock, stock and barrel. It is little wonder that crowds flock to this spectacle - from the region, from Germany, from all over the world. Esslingen is never so close to its history and to itself than in the pre-Christmas weeks - when the whole town takes a thrilling trip back in time.
The Esslingen Medieval Market & Christmas Market

stadt im fluss - City on the River​

Esslingen’s cultural festival "City on the River" puts the spotlight on the city’s channel landscape once every three years. The next “City on the River” festival will take place in 2015. Artists present the known and lesser known places along Esslingen’s Neckar channels that run through the inner city are from an unfamiliar perspective.
City at the river

PODIUM Music Festival​

The "PODIUM Young European Music Festival Esslingen" has taken place every year since 2009 in Esslingen. The classical music festival was created by students and is organized to this day by a young event team. This multiple award-winning project with offshoots in many European countries was supported in 2013 by the Podium Music Foundation.
Podium Festival

Kino auf der Burg - Open Air Movies at the Castle​

Every year since 1993, the community movie theater has organized an open air movie in the inner courtyard of Esslingen Castle. The movies and supporting event program are organized by volunteers and hosted in a medieval atmosphere.
Movies at the Castle


Esslinger Stadtmarketing & Tourismus GmbH (EST)
Marktplatz 16 (Späth’sches Haus)
73728 Esslingen a. N.
Phone (07 11) 39 69 39-0

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