Opening hours and Shopping late
The general range of opening hours for shops in Germany is Monday to Saturday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., but each shop determines its hours individually. As a rule of thumb, smaller shops in quiet streets have shorter opening hours (with most closing at 6 p.m. on weekdays and at 12 noon on Saturdays), while most city center shops close at 8 or 9 p.m. Late-night shopping for groceries is possible at so-called “Spätshops” or “Spätverkauf” (informally called “Spätis”), which have a special permit to open late. Shops are traditionally closed on Sundays.
How to pay in shops and restaurants
As you may know from reading our formalities section on Banking & Payments, cash and debit cards are the prevailing means of payment in shops and restaurants in Germany. Smaller shops and restaurants may only accept cash payments. Credit cards and cheques are uncommon and rarely accepted. So make sure to find a cash machine/an ATM before you head for a night on the town. They are marked with the eurocash (“ec”) sign.
Side note: How to tip in restaurants
Whatever German restaurants may say on their menus: Service is included in the price of your food and drinks. However, in Germany we generally tip waiters and waitresses for good food and service at 10% of the bill. The only time you don’t tip is when food or service were really bad. You don’t leave the tip on the table when you leave. Instead you round up the bill as you pay, e.g. when you are asked to pay 16.30 EUR, you say “(Make that) 18 EUR, please.”
Shopping for Groceries: Shops and Markets
Every neighbourhood and quarter has its bakery, butcher and various supermarkets (Aldi, Frida, Kaufland, Konsum, Netto, Rewe, etc.). Many neighbourhoods also hold weekly markets on a main square in the area. The largest one with lots of regional and fresh produce is held each Friday at Lingnerallee next to Großer Garten (between Deutsches Hygienemuseum and the Transparent VW Factory). To find the closest farmers’ market, click here for a market calendar of regular markets.
Shopping for Groceries: International speciality shops
Fatima und die 7 Zwerge
Nürnberger Straße 28
Tel.: 01573 3678631
S.I.S Indian Shop
Tel.: (0351) 8412918
Latin American Food
Gestiefelter Kater – Der russische Laden
in der Neustädter Markthalle
Metzer Straße 1
Tel.: 0179 931 22 65
Kalinka – Russische Spezialitäten
Schweriner Straße 44
Pfotenhauer Str. 45
Tel.: (0351) 44723336
Shopping for …everything else
From the main station across Prager Straße to Altmarkt you will find countless large clothes chain stores and two shopping centres/malls. The Äußere Neustadt district in contrast is famous for its large number of small, independent and quirky shops. Happy (window) shopping!