Kaiserslautern is a city in southwest Germany, near the boarders of France and Luxembourg. While Kaiserslautern isn’t known as a tourist destination, the nearby U.S. Air Base in Ramstein does bring thousands of people to the area. Whether you’re stationed here, visiting family, or looking for an off-the-beaten-path place to visit in Germany, Kaiserslautern offers plenty of unique things to do and see.
If you’ve heard of Kaiserslautern before now, it’s likely you’re part of a military family. The Kaiserslautern Military Community is a community of about 60,000 Americans supporting U.S. Armed Forces and NATO installations at Ramstein Air Base, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, and more.
My brother was stationed in Kaiserslautern, so one Christmas we got to see first-hand some of the best things to do in the city.
Best Things to Do in Kaiserslautern, Germany
Kaiserslautern isn’t known as a tourist destination. But the city does get a lot of visitors through the Air Base and the friends and families of those stationed here.
You can find some great places to visit in Kaiserslautern, or K-Town as the Americans call it. Learn about the history of the area and experience German culture at these top sights in Kaiserslautern.
1. Gartenschau Kaiserslautern
Opened in 2000 as the first Rhineland-Palatine state garden show, Gartenschau Kaiserslautern is a park offering events, leisure activities, and special exhibitions. The park features a mini golf course, a small football field, a playground, life-size dinosaur models, an open-air theater, and more.
Gartenschau Kaiserslautern is only open in the summer months from March through October. An ice rink at Gartenschau Kaiserslautern is open from November through February.
2. Japanischer Garten
Japanischer Garten Kaiserslautern opened in 2000, transforming an unusable urban park into a paradise Japanese Garden. It is the largest Japanese garden in Europe covering around 13,500 square meters.
The garden offers tea ceremonies and garden tours, as well as various cultural events like painting and Ikebana courses. Japanischer Garten is open in the summer months from April through October.
3. Burg Hohenecken
Burg Hohenecken is the ruin of a hilltop castle above the Kaiserslautern village of Hohenecken. Built sometime around 1200, it is considered one of the best examples of castles from the Hohenstaufen period.
It’s a short but steep hike up to Hohenecken Castle atop the 376 meter-high Schlossburg plateau. There is no admission cost to explore the castle. The castle’s large defensive wall and parts of the keep remain partially intact. At the top of the hill, you’ll get fantastic views of the village below.
4. Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern
Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern is a large art gallery featuring paintings, sculpture, and graphic art from the 19th century and onward.
Their collection includes around 900 paintings, featuring contemporary works by artists like Anselm Feuerbach, Carl Spitzweg, and Johann Wilhelm Schirmer, as well as significant examples of German impressionism and expressionism. The museum also has a heavy focus on American art.
5. Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern
Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern is the city’s premier theatre for music, drama, and dance. The theatre offers a varied program and diverse selection of drama, opera, dance, chamber concerts, musical theatre, and special productions.
It is the only theatre with a permanent ensemble in the Palatinate and is the second largest in the state.
6. I Heart KL Sign
The “I Heart KL” sign is the perfect stop for a photo opp. You’ll find the sign outside of Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern at the corner of Willy-Brandt-Platz and Burgstrasse.
7. Fish Statues
You’ll see the fish statues all over town. The fish is K-Town’s unofficial mascot, and the city’s coat of arms features a fish in the middle. Legend says that in 1497, a fisherman caught a fish that weighed 350 pounds and was six metres long from the Kaiserwoog (Emperor’s Lake). The fish had a ring around its neck with the inscription: “I am the first of all the fish to be placed in this lake by Emperor Friedrich II on October the 5th 1230”.
In 2001, Kaiserslautern celebrated its 725th anniversary of receiving city rights. Companies and organizations could purchase fish statues to decorate and place around the city.
8. Kaiserslautern Christmas Market
If you’re visiting during the holidays, you have to visit the Christmas Market. Nearly every town in Germany hosts a Christmas Market, and Kaiserslautern is no different. Arguably everyone’s favorite German Christmas tradition, Christmas Markets are full of festive fun and cheer, hot Glühwein, handcrafted gifts, and delicious foods.
The Kaiserslautern Christmas Market opens in late November through mid-December, typically closing before Christmas. The market reopens as a Silvestermarkt (New Year market) after Christmas and closes before New Year’s Eve.
Where is Kaiserslautern, Germany?
Kaiserslautern is a city located in southwest Germany in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate at the edge of the Palatinate Forest. It is situated not far from Germany’s borders with France and Luxembourg.
The closest international airport is in Frankfurt. It is about a 1.5 hour drive or train ride from Frankfurt to Kaiserslautern.
Kaiserslautern Things To Do Map
Ready to explore Kaiserslautern? Plan out your stay using the map below.
I hope you have a wonderful time in Kaiserslautern, Germany!
Where to Stay in Kaiserslautern
Kaiserslautern has some exceptional accommodations. We stayed at SAKS Urban Design Hotel Kaiserslautern, a stylish hotel in the heart of the city. The hotel has comfortable rooms and suites and a restaurant and bar located in the lobby. Every Tuesday and Saturday morning, there is a local market that takes place on the plaza outside where you can try local foods.
- Where We Stayed: SAKS Kaiserslautern
- Top Hotel: Hampton by Hilton Kaiserslautern
- Great Value: Hotel Schweizer Stubb
- Unique Stay: ALCATRAZ Hotel am Japanischen Garten
More Kaiserslautern Tips
Looking for more fun things to do in and around Kaiserslautern, Germany? Check out these top posts:
Ready to visit Kaiserslautern, Germany? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book Your Flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels in Kaiserslautern using Booking.com.
- Start Packing: Check out my packing list resources so you’re prepared for your trip.
What are your favorite things to do in Kaiserslautern, Germany? Let me know in the comment section below!