There are plenty of free things to do in Leipzig, especially during the summer, and in this article, I will introduce some of my favorites.
Always recommended is a stroll over Karl-Heine-Straße in the borough of Plagwitz. After some window shopping around the little shops on the avenue, take a closer look at the cafes such as Dipascale which is my favorite when it comes to coffee. If on a budget, you will also find a Späti there that allows for a drink on the cheap that you can enjoy sitting in front of the old factory at Westwerk. A great opportunity to inhale the spirit there, check out some of the StreeArt and artwork around Westwerk.
After that, a small staircase down at Kaiserbad allows you to get straight to Karl-Heine-Kanal that invites for a great stroll along the canal. You may also spot some wildlife there. I remember one evening where I was sitting on the river bank and a heron as well as a couple of nutrias, ducks and eventually also a badger turned up just meters away from each other. If you have a stand up paddle board, the canal will also be your point of call for a relaxing round on the water.
Another great option for chilling outside is Clara-Zetkin-Park, just a short stroll away from the city center. The park is huge and under its current name came into being as 4 separate parks were united. During the times of the GDR, the area was once the ground of the Leipziger Stadtparkrennen, a motorcycle race that draw up to 200 000 visitors between 1950 and 1958. Now all is super calm there and you can chill by one of the lakes, by the Elsterflutbecken canal or just on the grass.
Heading just a little bit further, you will come across Sachsenbrücke. This bridge is a popular hangout for locals and visitors alike where you can find live music occasionally, but always a number of people and very good vibes.
Towards the evening you should make your way towards Völki, the monument of the battle of nations where Napoleon was defeated in in 1813 and at that point the biggest battle that had ever happened in Europe. Ultimately the defeat lead to Napoleon's exile on Elba and also brought his reign to an end.
The monument is huge and has a staircase that you can climb up to just a little below the top. From up there, you will have a wonderful view towards the city and can enjoy the sunset at the very scenic spot.
Leipzig also has a number of lakes to offer that the locals are using as their retreat of choice during hot days, most of them just a bike ride away from the city.
The most popular one is Cospudener See in the south. You can chill at the northern shore their or find yourself a quieter spot anywhere else around the lake. By bike, the lake can easily be circled and also invites you to a tour towards Markkleeberger See and Störmthaler See. All of those are the result of former coal and mining areas that were eventually flooded and the plan is to interlink them as well for extended boating adventures.
Another great option is Kulkwitzer See in the west. In my opinion the one with the clearest water. I think you will be stunned to discover that you can see still the ground when 30 meters into the lake. To get there, I recommend to navigate your bike along Goldrutenweg and Lausner Weg to avoid the crowded main streets. Another great spot just on your way is Eisdiele am See where you can enjoy truly homemade ice cream served by one of my favourite ice tenders in Leipzig.