Düsseldorf: The Ultimate Travel Guide To Düsseldorf, Germany
Last month (Feb 2015) I was in Düsseldorf to experience Karneval courtesy of Air Berlin (RIP). While I was there, besides taking part in the celebrations, I managed to explore the city. Before I flew out I did some research about what I wanted to do and now with the trip behind me, I thought I would share the things I enjoyed. Düsseldorf doesn’t get a lot of love compared to other German cities like Berlin or even neighbouring Cologne, but I am now a fan. If you visit hopefully you will become one too.
For helpful Dusseldorf tips, head to the bottom of this post
**Updated Feb 2020. Many thanks to Air Berlin and Visit Düsseldorf for support for this trip. As always, all opinions are my own.**
Reserve Dusseldorf Accommodations Here
Things To Do
Walk along the Rhine Promenade or Rheinuferpromenade, which will take you from Altstadt or the “Old Town” to the Medienhafen or Media Harbour. It’s a beautiful walk along the Rhine River on a nice day.
You have to go up the Rheinturm or Rhine Tower! Here you can go up to the observation deck or even dine at the restaurant on the floor above to eat a meal with a view. On a clear day you can see far and wide and even the top of the Cologne Cathedral in neighbouring Cologne.
Visit the Medienhafen or Media Harbor and check out the architecture. If you’re a fan of architecture like myself, you will love Düsseldorf. This port area has gone through major redevelopment and it’s fascinating to see the changes in what used to be a glum industrial area.
I am a big fan of the architect Frank Gehry so I was excited to see his trio of buildings that he designed here called Neuer Zolhoff. You can see the buildings above or here’s a collage I made of the three buildings:
From Neuer Zolhoff, you can see across the pedestrian bridge towards the modern Hyatt Regency, Roggendorf Haus, and the Colorium.
I had to walk up to the buildings and see them up close. The building with the coloured men is called Roggendorf Haus and was a previously storage warehouse. It was renovated and then the artist named Rosalie added her colourful “Flossis” men to the exterior. The Colorium is the building, which looks like it’s made of Lego. It’s actually an office building and has the Melia hotel on the upper floors and a rooftop bar.
I love shopping so I had to check out what was happening in Düsseldorf, especially with the Euro down. Düsseldorf is considered Germany’s fashion capital with over 800 fashion showrooms based here. Konigsallee is their big shopping boulevard, which is home to many flagship shops of big brands. Along the side streets are smaller boutiques, malls, and eateries.
I was on a hunt for Birkenstocks but due to my miniature feet, I was not able to nab a pair in 35 or 36. I tried the Birkenstock store in Altstadt as well as other shoe stores but no such luck. Sad face. I didn’t bother checking out stores like COS, H&M, Mango, and Zara, because we have them stateside. I did, however, pop into Zara Home and Comptoir Des Cottoniers on Konigsallee.
Along Konigsallee is the Saturn Sevens mall. I took respite here after walking around town and grabbed a drink and snack in the food court on the bottom floor. There are 7 floors of shopping here!!!
Also, check out Köe-bogen, which is a mixed-use building, designed by star architect Daniel Libeskind. If you’re lacking Wi-Fi, there’s an Apple store in here (!) along with other boutiques, a restaurant, and cafe. Be sure to take a stroll through Hofgarten next to Köe-bogen, Dusseldorf’s first and oldest park.
Across the street from Köe-bogen is Schadowplatz lined with more boutiques. If you walk along Schadowstrasse away from Konigsallee you’ll find a bunch of large retailers like Primark (where I bought a really awesome sweater for 15 Euros), C&A, and Vero Moda.
In Schadowplatz, I found my favourite store in Dusseldorf, DM aka Drogerie Markt (Drug Mart)!!
I totally stocked up on Euro beauty products here!!! I wish I bought more!!
I love museums so it’s no surprise that I made it a priority to go check out a few in Düsseldorf. I did prior research and wanted to visit KIT – Kunst Im Tunnel, and the Kunstsammlung K20 and K21 museums.
K21’s Tomas Saraceno’s In Orbit installation
KIT – Kunst Im Tunnel
KIT – Kunst Im Tunnel
Altstadt or “Old Town” is the historical center of Düsseldorf. Supposedly there are more than 300 bars and clubs in the small, square area so it has also gained the nickname “the longest bar in the world”. During the day it is totally like every other “old town” but at night, the younger set like to come here to party and drink. My friends and I came here at night and bar hopped. It’s a bit on the young side but it was super fun for us due to Karneval celebrations.
While I am not religious these days, I do love entering into old churches. It reminds me of my late mother and they tend to be stunning inside. While I was on a walking tour of Altstadt, I went into St. Lambertus Basilica and I lit candles for my mother.
I got to try out a little sample of German and international cuisine while I was in Dusseldorf. Here were the highlights:
Walk around Altstadt and you’ll find some street food stalls. Of course, I bought some “fritten” or fries when I was getting hungry while exploring.
I found a good ramen shop in Germany. Random…right? Ramen Takumi is located on Immermanstrasse, a street lined with Japanese businesses and restaurants. At one point Düsseldorf had the most Japanese inhabitants outside of Japan in one city. This was due to Düsseldorf becoming the European HQ for Japanese businesses. Over 500 companies set up here.
Weinerschnitzel!!! We ate at the popular Zum Schiffchen, which serves classic German fare. The restaurant is almost 400 years old and has had diners like Napoleon eat here, so you should too!
I think the Germans love their breakfast buffet. Every hotel I looked up offered free breakfast. This was my typical breakfast at my hotel, the Steigenberger Parkhotel along with some coffee of course.
I had a spectacular meal in the beautiful Dox restaurant in the Hyatt Regency in Medienhafen. This is totally my style of accommodations. It’s chic, modern, and delicious. My companions and I ate at the chef’s table and we ate family style. We ate so much food that I wished that I wore stretchy pants instead of jeans!!
Here’s a collage of some of the meal:
When I travel, I always try to find a farmers market or local market. Carlsplatz is Düsseldorf’s answer to this. It’s the oldest marketplace in the city and was walking distance from my hotel. It’s open 6 days a week and closed on Sundays and holidays.
If in Düsseldorf you must drink altbier, the local beer. It’s actually a dark but lighter tasting ale if that makes sense. It’s not like a pale ale or a stout and I was happy about this since I’m more of a pilsner or hefeweizen type of girl. My group and I went on a tour around Altstadt called the Altbier Safari. It’s a good mix of history and drinking beer. So a fun tour!!!
Prost (Is the German equivalent to cheers in German)!!! Below was at Braerei Kurzer, which my friends and I went to in the day and back again in the evening.
This was at Brauerei Fuchschen
Kaffee Reich is in Carlsplatz market. I went here as it opened at 8 am, which is the earliest for smaller coffee shops in Düsseldorf. I think Starbucks was open but I just don’t do them unless there’s no other choice.
Woyton Coffee is a German roaster and chain of cafes. Someone told me it’s like a local Starbucks. I didn’t want to come here because of that reason but I had to because I was in need of some coffee and I didn’t want to walk far from my hotel one morning. This particular cafe shown below was located in Schadowplatz. There’s a handful scattered around the city including in Altstadt.
I stayed at the historic Steigenberger Parkhotel while I was in Düsseldorf. It is conveniently located across from Köe-bogen and walking distance to Altstadt and Konigsallee. It’s a perfect base for walking and catching trams and buses.
HELPFUL DUSSELDORF TIPS
- From the airport, you can take the S1 or S11 train to the central station. From there you can connect with trams or buses or walk to your accommodations. I took a taxi, which cost about $25US (there are signs posted at the airport for the taxi stand).
- Buy the Dusseldorf Card while you are in town. They are valid for either 24, 48, or 72 hours. This will get you unlimited bus and tram use around the city and reduced or free admission to many attractions. I suggest first mapping out what you want to do before you use the card. Many of the attractions you can walk to if you staying central.
- Don’t be afraid of the language. I had no problem here whatsoever.
- Don’t forget they use the round Euro plugs here!!
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