You’ve heard all about Munich, you’ve landed in Frankfurt and you’ve explored Berlin, but if you haven’t taken the time to head to Düsseldorf, Germany during your trip, you might want to consider delaying that flight back home.
Why? Düsseldorf is an incredible and vibrant city filled with old historic cobblestone streets, modern shopping hubs and futuristic art installations. It is the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia and has the seventh largest population in Germany. While Düsseldorf has always been known as an art and fashion capital of Germany, along with their numerous international businesses and world renowned trade fair exhibition, Düsseldorf is much more than that.
Düsseldorf has one of the largest populations of Japanese outside of Japan, an incredible and rich food culture, and numerous urban events taking place daily around the city. To top it all off, Düsseldorf has recently been ranked one of the top 10 most livable cities in the world.
So, what do you say… are you ready to explore the city?
Friday: Culture and Traditional Cuisine
A great way to start off your weekend in Düsseldorf is to learn more about the history of the old town and the Battle of Worrigen while strolling along the cobblestone streets and digging into some traditional cuisine.
Morning: Take a walk through the old town (Altstadt) of Düsseldorf
Visit Bolkerstraße, the longest bar in the world with more than 50 bars, pubs and restaurants open all year round. This is a popular place to be during the day and night whether you're looking for a quick cocktail stop or wanting to celebrate the night away with friends.
Explore the small boutique shops hiding in the old town alleyways like Galerie Pearls and VASELINE, these are two hidden gems in the city that are still being discovered. Check them out, and I promise you'll be amazed.
Visit the City Hall (Rathaus) and the Marktplatz for some beautiful photographs. This is where many of the cities annual events take place including the Christmas Markets, Japan Day and the most recent Tour de France Grand Depart.
Explore and learn more about all of the historical statues situated throughout the old town like the Jan Wellem Equestrian Statue, the Monument of Grant Privileges, the Conflict sculpture and the Four Caryatids. You can grab a map and mark these points with an 'X', or you can venture through the city and you'll be sure to stumble across a few no matter where you turn.
Afternoon: Go Souvenir Shopping and Take a Visit to the Market
Head to Carlsplatz for some mid-day snacks, local delicacies, and handmade souvenirs. This is a hot spot for locals to come for lunch and a great place to stroll around if you're meeting up with a friend or two.
Grab a sample of mustard at Löwensenf and stock up on a few souvenirs for your loved ones (Löwensenf is a local mustard special to Düsseldorf with more than 20 different flavors... our favorite was the Garlic "Knoblauch" Mustard).
Take a shot at the Killepitsch bar and bring home a couple more for your friends. Killepitsch is a local herb liqueur from Düsseldorf which apparently was created due to a conversation between soldiers during WWII. It was said that one of the men promised the other that if they got out alive, he would make a schnapps for him, a schnapps no one has ever tasted.
Evening: Embrace the Traditional German Food and Drink Culture
Grab dinner at Hausmann’s Restaurant for a modern take on traditional German cuisine (a recently opened restaurant founded by a famous German chef). It is located in the heart of the old town, so you don't have to walk very far to indulge.
Visit a couple Altbier breweries throughout the old town like Uerige and Brauerei Schumacher for the real Düsseldorf experience (Altbier translates into ‘old beer’ and is a style of beer brewed only in and around the city of Düsseldorf). If you're still hungry, this will also be a great place to grab a few local snacks like Mettwurst (raw minced pork on a bun) or Soleier (a pickled egg with vinegar, mustard, and oil).
Saturday: Modern Fashion and Lifestyle
Once you’ve taken the plunge into the cities historical food and culture, it’s time to check out what makes Düsseldorf one of the world’s most livable cities. Every year there are new and exciting developments including the newly renovated Kö-Bogen, Wehrhahnlinie and Tomás Saraceno’s “In Orbit” exhibition.
Morning: Shop until you Drop
Shop on Düsseldorf’s popular mainstream shopping street, Schadowstraße, for popular brands like C&A, Primark, Douglas and Urban Outfitters. This is where you'll find some good sales and multi-level shops if you're really looking to make a day out of shopping.
Explore the beautiful Königsallee and the luxury fashion stores (like Gucci, Burberry and Jimmy Choo) along the canal. Even if you're not planning on dropping a fortune on a new bag, the Königsallee is still quite a sight to see.
Afternoon: Embrace the Local Street Food and Nature
Take a walk through the Hofgarten (Germany’s first and oldest public park), you might even get lucky and catch a local concert like Jazz und Weltmusik at the Music Pavilion. Depending on what time of the day you are there or which season, you may even catch a couple green parrots flying above the tree line, there are quite a few amidst the green spaces in Düsseldorf.
Stop for lunch at popular street food restaurant like Frittenwerk (Canadian poutine) or Curry (German currywurst). Many of Düsseldorf's street food shops are centrally located with great views of the city (plus it also helps that they're affordable and delicious).
Evening: Join the Japanese
Stroll along the Japanese Business District near the Düsseldorf Main Train Station. You'll get a better sense of the cities business district while also learning a bit more on how the Japanese community has integrated into the city.
Indulge in the Japanese cuisine (it’s some of the best in the world)! If you’re hungry, you can head for all-you-can-eat at Wakaiido, or visit one of the locals top rated Japanese restaurants like NA NI WA or Takumi. If you would like to wing it and find your own spot, keep on walking the streets around Düsseldorf's Main Train Station and along Immermanstrasse and you'll likely find the perfect restaurant for you.
Sunday: Adventure and Adrenaline
Düsseldorf is full of art, fashion and culture, but who said that had to be boring? There are plenty of awesome adventurous and adrenaline pumping ways to explore the city of Düsseldorf while still getting your fill of cultural information and art.
Morning: Get Beautiful Panoramic Morning Views
Take the elevator 168 meters up the Rhine Tower for picture-perfect views, coffee and cake. You can buy your tickets at the information desk on the main floor and then swipe your entrance card to gain access to the elevator. If you're heading up in the evening, you may even want to indulge in a delicious dinner up in their panoramic restaurant too.
Hop on a KD Boat Cruise that will take you through the Media Harbour and along the Rhine on a one-hour tour. This is a great way to see the whole of Düsseldorf while learning a bit more about life in the city. Perhaps you'll get inspired and find new places that you might want to further explore (Paradiesstrand/Beach is a great hidden beach in the city).
Afternoon: Get that Düsseldorf Adrenaline Rush
Climb and crawl through Tomás Saraceno’s “In Orbit” art installation at the K21 in a man-made human spider web hanging 25 meters above the ground. You'll be asked to suit up in a full-length jumpsuit and hiking boots so that you can crawl and weave your way through a 3-level wired mesh netting while people watching from above.
Take a Volkswagen Beetle out on a Düsseldorf Safari Tour. You can drive the beetle yourself if you know how to drive standard and you can also pick a tour that will show you the best parts of the city, the way you want to see them.
Evening: Live Like a Local
Looking for a place to stay?
Düsseldorf has quite a different range of hotels and accommodations including the popular business and conference hotels, shared living spaces, urban bed and breakfasts, and central hostels.
But, why not have it all? One of our favorite hotels is central, fancy enough for business, but funky enough to keep that hostel atmosphere and the young local crowds coming in. The Me and All Hotel offers classy and stylish Japanese inspired rooms, while their lobby and rooftop lounge are a little bit more playful. The lobby of the Me and All Hotel is a recreational area with TV’s, lounge chairs and an air hockey table, plus, they have a free co-working space that is open to the public. The Me and All Hotel rooftop lounge has a fantastic panoramic view over the city and is open for local heros and artists to book and perform their creative masterpieces (including comedy sets and live music).
Have a Little Extra Time?
There are a number of other incredible places to add to your weekend itinerary including Kiefernstrasse, Südpark, the Neanderthal Museum, and the Classic Remise Düsseldorf.
Once you’ve seen all there is to see and done all there is to do in the city of Düsseldorf, you might be happy to hear that you’re only a 30-minute drive to the Netherlands and a 45-minute drive to Belgium. So, keep on exploring!
Travel tip shared by Jenna for Travel Dudes.