The charming flair of Chemnitz results from the coexistence of 850 years of city history, mature industrial architecture and the reconstruction efforts of the post-reunification period. The center exemplifies the changeful history of the city. Growth and prosperity during the Gründerzeit, the turn towards modernity, destruction during the Second World War, the GDR era and the new self-confidence after the political turnaround. Where once gray concrete dominated the picture, renowned architects have created a new, multi-award-winning city center.

With the Chemnitz Art Collections and the Gunzenhauser Museum, Chemnitz is the center of 20th century classical modernism in Saxony. With the Villa Esche, Henry van de Veld created a manifesto of modern architecture with his specific interpretation of Art Nouveau.

The treasures from 200 years of Saxon industrial culture are housed in the Saxon Museum of Industry.

One of the world's most scientifically valuable collections of fossil plants is on display at the Museum of Natural History with the 290-million-year-old "Petrified Forest." A new addition in 2014 is the Saxon Museum of Archaeology in Chemnitz.