Even before the city was founded in the 13th century, there was a traffic route at the place where today’s Hauptstrasse is located, which was retained as a street after the foundation. At that time, the street only ran from Karlstor to today’s Universitätsplatz until it acquired its current length with the expansion of the city in the 14th century. At that time, there was a large gate at each end, like the Karlstor at the eastern end, which is still well preserved and is considered a Heidelberg sight.
If you walk through the Hauptstraße, the many elderly buildings that decorate the image of the street with their good preserved condition will catch your eye. These include, for example, the Haus zum Riesen, the building of the Hotel zum Ritter St. Georg, the Church of the Holy Spirit, the City Hall and many more, which have lasted along the Hauptstraße for many years.
Indeed, there are surely not as many small boutiques as once, but there are still some privately managed shops in the Hauptstraße. By this way, one can distinguish oneself from the big concerns in a small tea shop, some lovingly arranged flower shops, some chocolaterias, a unique sugar shop at the side of the Hauptstraße and an antiquarian bookstore. And if one is already strolling through the street, it is also worthwhile to visit the Kurpfälzisches Museum that you pass by anyway.
So if you really want to have a look at several shops in the Hauptstraße and not just run through them quickly, you should perhaps have a little plan of which shops you really want to visit. Because, who is not familiar with it, while strolling through shops you can easily forget the time and the day is over faster than expected.
For those who want to “just” eat out, there are larger restaurant chains in the Hauptstraße, such as MoschMosch (Japanese), Hans im Glück (burger grill) or Pizza Hut. There are also plenty of independent restaurants like Gino’s (Mexican), emma Café-Bar or the Restaurante Papi (Italian). If you are in a hurry, there are of course kebab shops and even two Subway branches in the Hauptstraße.
In the many historical buildings there are also some restaurants that have been in existence for several decades. For example the Gasthaus zum Roten Ochsen near Karlsplatz. The restaurant is considered a traditional student restaurant and is now run by the sixth generation. The Gasthaus zum Seppl is also considered to be a historic restaurant in Heidelberg.
In summer many of the cafés and restaurants also have outdoor seating. So if you get a seat during warm weather, you can comfortably watch the hustle and bustle in the popular pedestrian zone over a coffee or a meal.
Location & Directions
At the western end is the Bismarckplatz. The big bus and tram station is served by many lines and thus you have a good connection here as well. Stops such as Universitätsplatz, which is relatively close to the centre of the main street, are also easy to reach by bus.
But if you prefer to travel with your own car, there are many parking possibilities close to the Hauptstraße. For example, you can park in P12 at Kornmarkt, or in P13 at Karlsplatz.