We’re looking forward to FMX in Stuttgart, Germany, which begins on April 30th. It’s most certainly one of our favorite conferences of the year and and an event we never want to miss. I’ve been attending the conference for many years and have really enjoyed seeing it grow and prosper with great presentations from wonderful speakers. In case you haven’t been to Stuttgart before, we thought we’d share a few tips.
And if you have a few tips of your own, please share in the comments….
If it’s your first time visiting Stuttgart, it’s an easy city to get around using public transport. If you arrive by air, it’s a quick 30 minute train ride to the main Hauptbahnhof station in the center of town (Google link), for only 4.20 €. The city is very walkable and I usually stay about a 20 minute walk (or 10 minute S-Bahn ride) away from the event location.
You’ll see signs in Stuttgart for both the S-Bahn (“S” logo) and the Stadtbahn (“U” logo). The S-Bahn is a system of seven train lines (numbered S1 through S7) that is a subsidiary of the venerable Deutsche Bahn. All routes flow to/from the city center (Schwabstraße stop) and out to the outlying areas. For much of the time, these lines are underground subway lines.
The Stadtbhan is a light rail system (numbered U1, U2, etc) that provides different routes and generally runs at ground level alongside roads, though some lines are on their own right of way.
Fares are coordinated on the two systems (and busses) and are based upon a “zone” system wherein the fare varies depending upon how far you travel. You can purchase your ticket at each station, where most have touch screen displays that can be switched to a variety of languages. Generally, if you’re staying in the center of Stuttgart, you’ll travel through one or two zones to get to where you’re going. The costs break down as:
- A cash fare single one way ride is €2.90 (2 zones)
- A day pass for unlimited rides in 2 zones is €7.00
The bottom line? I just pay as I go with paying cash for each ride at the stations. If you have a credit card with a chip (not U.S. chips), you can pay via the machines at the stations as well.
The Google Maps app on iOS or Android is great for figuring out which stations, lines, and transfer points you need to use.
This isn’t a Stuttgart specific thing, but if you use Google Maps be sure to download an offline version of your map before heading to FMX. In the app, just do a search for “Stuttgart” and then in the menu on the left select “Offline Maps”. Click on “Custom Map” and you’ll be able to select the area of the map you want to cache for offline viewing. It’s a big help in saving roaming data charges or inconsistent mobile signals.
When traveling, I also find Google Translate indispensable. It’s not a perfect solution, especially for long paragraphs of complicated text. But if you’re trying to read a sign or figure out what “butter” is called in German (it’s “butter”, by the way), it’s incredibly useful. You can even take a picture of a sign use OCR to translate the text in the photo. Like Google Maps, you can also download languages for offline use.
During the mid-day break at FMX, there’s a decent amount of time to grab lunch and there are many places in the area to do so. Here is a quick listing of a variety of places to grab a bite that are close to the FMX venue.
Backhaus (Google Maps Link)
There are numerous places that have simple carryout sandwiches and other times, but one of our favorites is right near the Stadmitte S-Bahn station.
Backhaus is a German chain of bakeries which offers a selection of sandwiches, open face pizza-like slices, and other items available for carryout (including coffee, juices, and other drinks).
Feinkost Böhm / Feinkost Böhm Sushi-Ya (Google Maps Link)
An upscale market featuring a wide selection of carry out items – salads, meats, cheeses, bread, sushi, fruits, vegetables, and more. It’s also a great place to grab some quality snacks for your hotel or Airbnb rental.
One corner of the building also houses Sushi-Ya, a great spot to grab some delicious Japanese food. The store (and restaurant) aren’t the cheapest places to buy lunch, but the quality is outstanding.
Tiffany Thai Style (Google Maps Link) / Sushi & Wok (Google Maps Link)
Both of these places are on the upper level of the street, located about a ten minute walk from the FMX conference location.
Tobi’s (Google Maps Link)
Just a couple of minutes from the FMX venue, this chain has a variety of regional fare (menu) like Maultaschen, Kässpätzle, and Schnitzel. Just order inside and they’ll bring your meal out to your table in short order.
To beat jet lag or lack of sleep from too many weiss beers, a good coffee shop is critical. Two nice shops in the area are Cafe Treppe (Google Maps Link) and Waranga (Google Maps Link). Waranga is a non-descript place on the corner of the building overlooking the pedestrian plaza. It opens at 11am is especially nice in good weather because they can open up the glass walls to make it open air, with the added bonus that it is effectively a wine bar.
Amadeus Restaurant (Google Maps Link)
This spot has a been a favorite of ours for years and generally serves as an informal meeting place for fxphd members past and present and fxguide readers. Almost every night, you’ll find us there after the conference ends for some Hefeweizen and delicious Swabian food like Maultaschen, Maultaschen, Schnitzel or fresh white asparagus salad (which is in season during FMX).
Late night bar: Palast der Republik (Google Maps Link)
One of the reasons we like this bar is that it is open after everything else seems to close (until 2AM during the week). It also has a great selection of beer, which is also critical in making our list of top places.
Stuttgarter Frühlingsfest (Google Maps Link)
What goes together better than copious amounts of beer, food, and crazy amusement park rides? Not sure those things do go together, but Europe’s largest spring festival is happening every year at the same time that FMX takes place and if you haven’t been before, I suggest you check it out. Located a short ten minute ride away from the Stadtmitte station that is close to the FMX venue, the event runs from 1:00pm – 11:00pm during the week of FMX. Just take the S1, S2 or S3 S-Bahn to the Bad Cannstatt station and follow the lights to the festival, which is free to enter.
There you’ll find an all ages mix of people wearing dirndl and lederhosen, live music, beer halls and tents, rides, and lots of food. Food selections run from the traditional Wurst, Schnitzel, roasted chicken to German favorites such as churros (huh?). The beer is great and the people watching even better. And since there are places to sit and drink outside, it’s not incredibly loud. You can still grab a table and have a decent conversation — which is one of the great things about seeing other artists at FMX. Inside the tents? Well…that’s a different thing altogether.