The largest city in eastern Croatia Osijek had the town statues towards the end of the 17th century. Since then, its administration has been developing according to the standards of all developed central European cities. The cultural life was mainly related to the theatres first the appearances of various theatre ensembles, the museums (the first museum was opened in 1877 by private donations), collections and printing houses (the Franciscans), and the social life, whose development was accompanied by prosperous economy and developed trade relations, was related to religious festivities, public events (fairs), entertainment and sports. The development of tourism was facilitated by the notable cultural and historical heritage (the Baroque-style Tvrda, one of the most attractive structures of the entire Slavonia), and the geographical location of the town on the Drava river.
The river port on the Drava, especially the winter port (Zimska Luka) with a number of boats, renders a special atmosphere to the largest town of Slavonia. The most important sights in the city include the main square, Trg Ante Starcevica, Trg sv. Roka, the promenade along the Drava ("promenada"), the suspension pedestrian bridge toward Baranja; the Municipal Park of King Petar Kresimir IV and the King Tomislav Park both from the beginning of the 20th century, are protected as horticultural monuments. One of the few Croatian zoological gardens is located in Osijek, along the Drava river.
Numerous events take place in the city throughout the year. The most important of them are the Croatian Tambura Music Festival (in May), attended by tambura orchestras from the entire Croatia, the Osijek Summer Nights (during June, July and August) a series of cultural and entertainment programs in the open, accompanied by excellent food and fairs. The Day of the City of Osijek is celebrated with a cultural and artistic program and thematic exhibitions.
The recreational and sports centre Copacabana, located on the left bank of the Drava river, provides opportunities for various water sports (outdoor swimming pools, a sand beach with various facilities) during the summer months. The city offers various playgrounds: football, handball, basketball, tennis courts, etc.
The surroundings of Osijek provide excellent opportunities for hunting and angling on the Drava river and its backwaters. Hunting in the area known as Kopacki Rit (in Baranja) is famous beyond the Croatian borders. The exquisite gastronomic offer includes traditional Slavonia-style specialities (kulen, paprika-flavoured sausage, other kinds of sausages, ham, bacon, dairy products, etc.), venison and fish dishes (the famous fish paprika stew), making Osijek a kind of gastronomic metropolis of Croatia. The Osijek beer (Eseker) and Baranja wines are offered in restaurants in the town and its surroundings.