Stuttgart has eleven museums, with exhibits in modern and ancient art, as well as natural history; and those devoted to the industrial endeavors of the Mercedes-Benz and Porche automobile companies. Home to the philosopher Hegel, his birthplace is today a museum. The writer, Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was also born in Stuttgart.
The State Theatre (Staatstheater Stuttgart) here is home to prominent companies of opera and ballet. The State Gallery (Staatsgalerie) has a collection of old masters of the Italian and German Renaissance and Dutch/Fremish works inherited from the 18th century dukes of Württemberg. The collection grew with 19th century works of 'Swabian Classicism,' and since 1945, with 20th century and contemporary works of art.
Among local historic structures, mostly destroyed in the war but now restored, are the Altes Schloss, the old castle (1300-1500), the Alte Kanzlei (the 16th century chancellery), and the Neue Schloss, or new castle (1746-1807). The Schloss Solitude is a romantic castle in a nearby forest. The Cathedral Church (Domkirche), St. Eberhard's, became a Protestant church in the 1500s. The pulpit here dates from the 1100s.
Gay history has been sparse in Stuttgart compared to other major German cities but Magnus Hirschfeld came here in 1898, to meet with a faction of the Social Democractic Party who favored the agenda of his Scientific Humanitarian Committee to repeal Clause, 175, which had criminalized homosexuality in 1871. They proposed to 'out' closeted gay German aristocrats and parliament members.
More recently the highly acclaimed gay African-American ballet dancer, Christopher Boatwright, found a home here, performing with the Stuttgart Ballet for a decade beginning in 1973. He found this city to be more racially tolerant than most of American society of the time. In those early years of the modern gay movement he helped to establish an open community here, centered around the State Theatre opera and ballet companies. He then returned to the US to perform for 4 years in the San Francisco Ballet before he died.
Near, but not directly on the Neckar River, Stuttgart has a number of small lakes and streams. Its location among hills gives the city a climate that's warmer than surrounding areas in winter, but cooler in summer. Some 7 hills here were once covered in vineyards for the region´s fine wine, and some remain still. Around 400 stairways climb these hills, and descend to the valley to three major breweries that provide some of Germany´s best beers.
The hills and valleys are united by the ¨Green U,¨ a winding set of walkways linking several of the major parks of the city. These include the Rosenstein, and the lovely lake-studded Killensberg, as well as the Wilhelma Zoo and Botanical Garden (established in the 1850s), with over 800 animal species. The zoo, built in a Moorish style, includes a huge 19th century palace, and various pavilions, with parkbenches nearby known for gay and straight cruising and necking. The Stuttgart TV tower, also in the Rosenstein Park, is said to be the oldest such structure anywhere.