Divided by the Rhine, Düsseldorf is a small city in Western Germany known for its fashion and rich art history. Despite its reputation as a business destination, there are plenty of things for tourists to discover in this pleasant, green city.
From boundary-pushing architecture in the Medienhafen district, to traditional beers and cobbled streets in the Old Town, Düsseldorf is a city of fascinating contrasts. There’s a lot to discover – so here are my top 6 things to do in Düsseldorf to get you started…
1) Rhine Tower
Get your bearings with the stunning city views from the top of the Rhine Tower, or Rheinturm. This 240 metre high building is the tallest in Düsseldorf. Visit on a clear day to see all the way to Cologne through its panoramic windows. There’s also a revolving restaurant 170 metres up – the perfect spot for a lunch with a view!
2) Wander the Altstadt
Perhaps one of the prettiest neighbourhoods in Düsseldorf is the Old Town, or Altstadt; a compact area of cobbled streets and gabled houses. Packed into the small district are over 300 brewpubs and bars, as well as plenty of excellent restaurants to choose from. This isn’t “party central”, though; the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, and in warm weather the bars and restaurants spill out into the street.
3) Carlsplatz Market
The Carlsplatz Market in the Carlstadt district has been trading since 1910, making it the oldest market in Düsseldorf. In recent years, the traditional market has become more gentrified, with many fixed food stands and micro cafes turning it into foodie destination. One of the most popular hotspots is the Fischaus Obst stall, famed for its fish soup. With wine bars, pastry shops, and even a small coffee roastery – this is the ideal spot for an al fresco lunch.
4) Browse the shops along Königsallee
Known affectionately as the “Kö” by locals, the Königsallee is a plush shopping boulevard running either side of a canal. Lined with the flagship stores of many premium brands – like Cartier, Prada, and Louis Vuitton – this is a great place for some window shopping. It’s also quite a pretty street, with a string of chestnut trees lining the canal and a series of elegant bridges running across it.
5) Museum Kunstpalast
Thanks to the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, the city’s world-renowned art academy, Düsseldorf is well-known as a city of art and culture. Head to the city’s largest art gallery, the Kunstpalast, for a glimpse into this rich art scene. The museum’s permanent collection is a complete chronology of German and European art, running from the Gothic period through to the 20th A must for art lovers.
6) Explore the Architecture of the MedienHafen
Once a neighbourhood of old, crumbling warehouses and dockyards, in the past few decades the area around Düsseldorf’s docks has become a contemporary office district known as the MedienHafen. Packed with fascinating architecture by the likes of Frank Gehry and David Chipperfield, the MedienHafen also retains many of its 100-year-old warehouses, wharfs, and dockyard equipment. You’ll also find many restaurants and bars, with terraces spilling into the wide, leafy boulevards.