The center of Mannheim is laid out like a chess board, with no real street names. Addresses in the Quadrat take the form of a grid reference, such as Q3, 12 designating a block. Note that the streets themselves are not named, rather "Q3" refers to the block itself. If you follow a street from Q3, you might end up at either Q2 or P3. It is best to navigate by "following" the blocks rather than the streets. If you get lost, a rather high probability, simply ask a local. They are used to it.
Mannheim was a small fishing village before it became a city at the beginning of the 17th century. It was constructed on the site of a fortress guarding the confluence of the rivers Rhine and Neckar. Even now a few remnants of the fortification can be seen, and the peculiar street layout owes to that part of its history. For 58 years, Mannheim served as a royal residence and gave Schiller, Lessing, Goethe and Mozart a home for some time. Before World War II Mannheim was a beautiful city, but was flattened in bomb raids due to its industrial significance. When it was time to rebuild the city, Mannheim, like many other German cities, opted for an all out modern approach to urban development. Thus, most of the old quarters were replaced by buildings typical of the 1950s. If you are not an adept to architecture, their appeal might not be easy to grasp. As a result, the impression is more of an industrial city with a few spots of beauty.
Modern Mannheim is the second biggest city in Baden-Württemberg and one of the hotspots of immigration. Because of that you'll encounter a lively and colorful mixture of nationalities and cultures in the city. The Mannheim/Heidelberg area hosts the largest concentration of US military personnel in Germany, and barracks are found in many of the suburbs.
Get in and away
Transport from Frankfurt airport, to Mannheim or neighboring Ludwigshafen, is by ICE high speed train (30 minutes, €25), or Lufthansa Airport Shuttle bus  (60 minutes, €35). The Lufthansa Airport Shuttle may be ticketed together with the airfare and Lufthansa (also Condor, SAS or South African Airways) passengers can have luggage checked in directly to the final destination. The shuttle arrives/departs at the front of Dorint Kongresshotel on Friedrichsring 6 near the Water Tower (Wasserturm). The old departure near the central station no longer exists.
From 2004 to 2011 there were daily passenger flights from Mannheim City Airport.
Mannheim is a regional transport hub with ICE, IC and regional trains all stopping in Mannheim Hauptbahnhof.
Mannheim is served by Eurolines (Deutsche Touring) with overnight long distance services to destinations in France, UK and other neighboring countries. The bus station (ZOB) is at Heinrich-von-Stephan-Str, near the Main Station (Hauptbahnhof).
The public transportation system is quite extensive. Bus routes cover Mannheim, and the street car system connects Mannheim to Ludwigshafen across the river, Heidelberg a few minutes away, and Weinheim, in addition to major routes across and through the city.
- Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Neckar (Rhine-Neckar Transport) - Public transportation network
- Water tower (Wasserturm), Friedrichsplatz. One of the most famous icons of the Jugendstil (Arte-Nouveau style) in Germany, the water tower (and small park surrounding it) is a great place to sit in the summer for a picnic or just a little rest. The park is surrounded by the Rosengarten, a conference hall of reddish brick, and the colors on a sunny day are amazing.
- Mannheim Palace (Barockschloss Mannheim), Bismarckstraße (It is right next to the main train station.), ☎ . part of the University of Mannheim
- Paradeplatz (the center of the city, pedestrians-only). A small park, surrounded by shops, restaurants and everything you can imagine.
- Konkordienkirche. (church): With about 92 meters the tower of the church is the highest one in Mannheim.
- Christuskirche, Werderplatz 15, ☎ . (church): The original Steinmeyer Organ with about 8000 pipes is one of the biggest within Germany and was built in 1911.
- Luisenpark, Theodor-Heuss-Anlage 2, ☎ . entrance to one side is free, but there is a charge to enter the other side.
- Herzogenriedpark, Max-Joseph-Straße 64, ☎ .
- Reiss-Engelhorn Museum, ☎ . At D5 and C5 (see above for explanation of downtown addresses), the REM houses a permanent exhibit on world cultures along with an exhibition hall whose contents range from photography to astronomy.
- Technoseum (Museum of Technology), Museumsstraße 1, ☎ .
- Kunsthalle (Art Gallery), Friedrichsplatz 4, ☎ .
- National Theater Mannheim (NTM), Mozartstraße 9 (The street car stops right outside the theater), ☎ . has a different show almost every night (for some shows, like ballets or opera, the language barrier is not an issue) student tickets are much reduced (5 or 15 euro).
- Cineplex, P4 13, ☎ . Includes showings of films in original English
- SAP Arena, An der Arena 1, ☎ . Ice hockey, Handball and music concerts.
- Congress Center Rosengarten (m:con), Rosengartenplatz 2, ☎ . Music concerts and conferences.
The most parts of Mannheim are safe, but there are a couple of districts that have higher crime rates. Examples are Vogelstang, Neckarstadt-West, Jungbusch (night) and some others. Street crime and violence, however, are very rare, so you will be perfectly ok if you simply use your common sense. In particular, it is not dangerous at all to visit the pubs and clubs of the Jungbusch or the Neckarstadt.
- Mannheim is known for its many pretzel stands. Little pretzel baguettes with mozzarella and tomato are quite yum.
- The Döner is a kind of Turkish kebab found throughout Germany and is definitely worth trying! One of the most popular Döner stalls is located right across the train station, called City Döner. It is very common to have a Döner there after partying.
- Blau (German for "blue"), Jungbuschstrasse 14. is the favourite hangout for leftists, post-punks and alternative culture adepts. It is also here where you are likely to run into activities of the "Büro für angewandten Realismus" (office for applied realism), a group of artists that organise cultural events every now and then. Additionally, there are displays of their artwork in the pub.
- Onyx, Friedrichsplatz 12 (near the Wasserturm), ☎ . is bustling with activity almost every night after normal working hours. They offer a full bar and excellent menu for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Typically more dressy than other hangouts.
- Café Bernstein, Seckenheimer Straße 58 (located in the Schwetzinger Vorstadt. 10 min walk from Main station), ☎ . is a nice French style Bar/Café that offers a good selection of beers and wines. They also offer a small but fine selection of lunch/dinner. Reasonable prices. Exceptional friendly staff!
- Café Odeon, G7,10. is a nice Bar that belongs to an alternative Cinema. Reasonable prices and relaxed people.
- SOHO Club, J7,16 (located on the Ring-road that begirds the inner city), ☎ . is a small club with reasonable prices, good music and relaxed guests between 20 and 40. Music varies from night to night. Don't miss the cocktail happy hour until 11PM
- Murphy's Law, Kaiserring 10-12 (Bahnhofvorplatz), ☎ . is a great Irish pub that serves up Boddington's and Kilkenny on tap (a rare find), in addition to the usual suspects. The pub fare is better than most, especially the Irish breakfast, chili, and fish and chips. It's usually packed on the Weekend nights with English, Irish, Welsh, Scottish and American ex pats and a few Germans (typically University students) thrown in there for local flavor. Just a hop and a skip from the main train station. Weeknds, Fall to Spring usually feature live music. Tuesday is trivia night. Be sure to say hello to John at the end of the bar.
You might also want to have a look at http://www.schneckenhof.de (German language), which has a detailed Nightlife guide. http://www.meier-online.de has a calendar and guide for all kinds of events and locations in Mannheim, Heidelberg and Ludwigshafen.
- Youth hostel (Jugendherberge Mannheim), Rheinpromenade 21, ☎ .
- Etap Hotel, Langlachweg 18 (about 8km east), ☎ .
- Hotel Luxa, U1 11, ☎ .
- Bed & Breakfast Mannheim (Apt Inn Mannheim), Waldparkstraße 30, ☎ . An affordable hotel with kitchen located within walking distance of the train stations in an historic building in Lindenhof. €50.
- Dorint Kongresshotel Mannheim, Friedrichsring 6, ☎ . Quality hotel in the centre of town.
- St. Ignatius und Franz-Xaver, Jesuitenkirche, A4, 2 (15 min from central station, direction Nordwest; bus 60 to "Mensa"). Sat: 18:30; Sun: 9:30, 10:30 (span.), 11:30, 18:00; Mon-Fri: 18:00
- Hl. Geist, Moltkestr. 14 (5-8 min from central station, direction east). Sun: 11:00, 13:00 (Croat.), 19:00; Tue, Thu: 18:00, Fri: 10:00
- St. Joseph , Bellenstr. 67 (8-10 min from central station, direction south). Sat: 18:45; Sun: 11:00; Tue, Fri: 19:00; Thu: 9:00
- Bertha Benz Memorial Route - Follow the tracks of the world's first automobile journey back in 1888 (Mannheim - Pforzheim - Mannheim)
- Ludwigshafen is right across the river.
- Heidelberg the most famous city near Mannheim and is reachable by tram/street car (40 minutes), regional train (15 minutes) or IC (10 minutes).
- The cathedrals at Mainz and Speyer, and the cathedral and Nibelungen bridge at Worms are all about 30 minutes away.
- The gardens at Schwetzingen are worth seeing (about 30 minutes away by regional train)
- Weinheim is a nice little town with the traditional red roofs and is reachable with the tram no. 5.
- Ladenburg is an idyllic and historical town with traditional red roofs reachable by regional train (18 mins).