If your family just got word that you’re heading to Stuttgart Army Airfield in Stuttgart, Germany, you’ve come to the right place. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill guide.
You won’t discover what schools are the best, where you should live, or the best doctor; instead, you’ll find things you actually want to know, like favorite day trips, radio stations, and all the yummy places to eat.
First Things First: The Basics
This Duty Station Spotlight is from Alex, an introverted-extrovert and work-at-home meeting and event professional who’s been living in Stuttgart, Germany, for the past three and a half years.
What were your first impressions of the area?
I think culture shock is the best way to describe our first impression of Germany! So many things were different about the housing process and daily life, it wasn’t until several months in that we truly started to love our new home.
As we prepare to leave, there are so many amazing things unique to Germany that we are going to miss so much!
How did you feel at the end of the tour? Did your impressions change?
Germany has become our home, and is the birth place of both of our daughters. We are excited to get back and closer to family, but it’s going to be so hard to leave this chapter behind. I would say we’ve done a complete 180 since that first few weeks here!
What is ONE THING you wish you had known before moving to Stuttgart?
One thing I wish I knew before moving to Stuttgart (or overseas in general!), is that there would be several moments (mostly in the first few months!) where we would question the choice to move abroad — strongly question!
I think I was under the impression it would be an easy transition, filled with new adventures and travel – essentially one long Instagram-y vacation.
In those first few months, I had to essentially re-learn how to grocery shop, get out of my comfort zone and ask for help with anything German related (since I barely spoke the language, and didn’t take into account things like contracting a cell phone, or a gym membership, etc.).
The transition was not easy, but as time progressed we got the swing of things and everything that was so hard at first became easier and easier, until it was all just normal, and wonderful!
Long story long (I’m very good at those!), hang in there and know it will take time to adjust, and once you do – it will be wonderful!
Good (Local) Eats
If someone came to visit you, and you had to take them out to eat, what would your TOP THREE favorite places be?
In our town we have the best German and Italian! Gasthaus Lamm and Dolce Vita in Herrenberg are beyond! Definitely our go-to spots! When we’re in the mood for Thai, we always grab Rainbow Thai in Böblingen!
Favorite place(s) for coffee and/or dessert?
Backer Baier is our pastry shop of choice, right in our little town!
Is there a farmer’s market scene in there? Tell us about it!
I’m going to sound like a Herrenberg fan girl, but I’m really in love with our town! We have the Best farmers market on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.
Best place for brunch? And your favorite thing to order, please!
Brunch isn’t really a German thing, so we usually enjoy brunch at home on the weekends. I’ve heard there are some fun spots in downtown Stuttgart though!
Get Around (and out of) Town
Top five favorite things to do in Stuttgart, Germany:
1. Travel! We are so close to so many amazing destinations (less than 4 hours to Paris, 1.5 hours to vineyards in Strasbourg, France, 2.5 hours to Zurich…)
2. Picnic on the lawn of the Schlossplatz downtown
3. Enjoy fieldwalking all over Baden-Württemberg
4. Stop and pick flowers at a local Blumenfeld
5.Visit a nearby spa town like Baden-Baden for a treat-yo-self overnight!
Picture this: You have a whole weekend to go somewhere within driving distance: Where are you going and what are you doing?
Rothenburg-ob-der Tauber is a super charming German town about two hours away. Great for a fun day trip! The Alsatian region of France is just under two hours away as well, as is great for a wine weekend!
What was your favorite park in town?
Any museums worth checking out? Please share their exact names so I can reference them specifically!
The Mercedes museum is supposed to be great, but sadly I never made it!
All the Extras
Favorite radio station?
USAG Stuttgart has their own station playing everything that’s on American stations.
Info on your favorite hair salon/hair dresser, please and thank you.
Sadly, no! I’ve gotten good at diy mani/pedis though!
Check out these tours in Stuttgart:
Like a Local
Were there any instagramers, bloggers, or specific non-military affiliated Facebook groups you followed?
Any festivals, fairs, or events worth checking out?
The area has so many great Christmas markets from November to January, and there’s a big Spring Fest in Stuttgart!
And don’t miss the Ludwigsburg pumpkin festival in the fall. It’s the world’s largest pumpkin festival, and every year they choose a theme and the entire palace grounds are filled with pumpkins and statues coordinating with the theme! It’s a must-see!!
Tell us about the weather.
It’s a lot like living in the Northeast US, with less snow in the winter.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention about Living in Stuttgarg for someone who is moving there soon?
It was such an amazing place to have babies! Both of our daughters were born here, and the experience was great.
If you’ve been stationed at Stuttgart Army Airfield in Suttgart, Germany, please share your favorites in the comments!