How to Spend a Day in Düsseldorf
Do you find yourself wondering what to do in Düsseldorf for a day or two? With life slowly returning to ‘normal’, or what we could probably call ‘the new normal’, in our home city, we thought it’s time to share more about what makes our city worth a visit again. We’ve gathered some suggestions from both locals and expats within our team to help you come up with the perfect itinerary for both warmer and cooler weather in the Rhine capital!
From May to September the city is usually buzzing with both locals and visitors alike basking in the sun on the Burgplatz steps next to the Rhine river, enjoying food and drink at one of our many food and wine festivals, barbecuing in the Rheinpark, grabbing a drink (probably altbier) outside on a balmy summer evening in the Altstadt (Old Town) and watching the sunset from Paradiesstrand (Paradise Beach). Summer in Düsseldorf offers plenty to do, as well as long days with more than enough time to explore or simply enjoy the sunny weather. At the peak of summer, you’ll even be spoiled with days where the sun shines from 6 am to 10 pm!
Food & Drink
Summertime offers an abundance of options when it comes to restaurants and bars with outdoor seating and scenic views. Some of our personal favourites include drinks at the ultra-modern Pebble’s Bar at the Hyatt Hotel in the Medienhafen (Media Harbour), seafood or traditional meals at one of the many restaurants on the so-called Kasematten with a view of the Rhine, delicacies and wine at the Carlsplatz market, drinks in Unterbilk’s Lorettostraße and, if you have a little more time, beer and brezels at Galerie Burghof in the northern suburb of Kaiserswerth.
Sightseeing & Tours
Düsseldorf Tourism offers a wide range of fascinating tours with different focuses – whether you want to discover the city’s street art scene on the Urban Art Walk, or learn more about its well-established Japanese community through the Sushi, Sake & Japanese lifestyle tour. Of course there is also the option to do a free walking tour in the Altstadt which will show you a bit more of the city and the history behind it. Alternatively, the city’s Medienhafen, where our headquarters is located, also offers fascinating Gehry architecture that you can go marvel at on your own self-guided walking tour. Lastly, if you’re looking for a good photo spot, go check out the Kuhna mosaic wall at the steps of Burgplatz or walk along the Rheinufer (Rhine promenade) to capture the city’s pretty skyline.
Düsseldorf is quite a green city with plenty of parks and outdoor spaces to accommodate sports enthusiasts, pet owners, picnic parties, barbecues, families, nature lovers and yes, even sunbathers. Go for a walk in Hofgarten or Volksgarten, pack a small picnic to enjoy in the Rheinpark at sunset, enjoy a cold beer on our tiny riverside beach (Paradiesstrand) or go visit the local flock of sheep on the Rheinwiesen that keeps the grass in tip-top shape all year round (yes you read that right)! Movie fanatics can also enjoy their favourite film under the stars in the open-air cinema situated in the Rheinpark.
Winters here are cold, but not freezing – the Düsseldorf area actually has the mildest climate in of the whole of Germany! However, it can still be quite rainy and windy from October to March. Luckily that just gives you the best excuse to pop into a cosy restaurant to enjoy a steaming bowl of ramen or hearty German pub food, attend a cooking class, get inspired at one of our many art galleries and museums, grab a glühwein from the Christmas market to warm you up (fingers crossed they will return in some capacity!), or sip on a flat white while you watch the raindrops dancing on the cobblestones in the Altstadt.
Food & Drink
Just as there is no shortage of outdoor dining options, there is certainly no lack of cosy bars and restaurants to escape to when the weather turns from sunny to somber. Our inhouse coffee snobs recommend Vier Rösterei, Cøffe, Café Schvarz and Copenhagen Coffee Lab for the best cuppa in town, and when it comes to bars the Alstadt’s “longest bar in the world” (aka 300 bars basically connected to each other) shouldn’t disappoint. Kürzer has been a favourite among our talents for years and chances are you’ll probably meet a few of them when you’re there! However, if you’re looking for a less crowded spot, consider The Paris Club on the 16th floor of the 25hours hotel, or options in the Unterbilk and Friedrichstadt neighbourhoods.
When it comes to food we’d recommend a hearty German meal (did someone say schnitzel?) at one of the many breweries and traditional restaurants in the Old Town, of which Uerige and Füchschen Alt are big favourites. Düsseldorf also has a large Japanese community which has culminated into a vibrant Japanese quarter along Immermannstraße and Klosterstraße, fondly known as Little Tokyo. Besides bakeries, bars, hotels, supermarkets and bookshops, this lively quarter is filled with restaurants serving all forms of Japanese cuisine. Few things beat a bowl of ramen at a place like Takumi (the Paitan ramen is the best!) or Naniwa on a rainy afternoon.
Sightseeing & Tours
Just because it’s chilly outside doesn’t mean there is no sightseeing to be done! If it’s too rainy for a walking tour, why not consider doing an altbiersafari, food tour, gallery tour or even a guided tour of our subway that the New York Times describes as “Art and Magic in a German Metro” instead? You can find these tours and more on the Düsseldorf Tourism website. Another touristy thing to do is to go up the Rheinturm (Rhine tower) to admire the 360° views of the city and its surroundings. Although it’s debatable whether it’s better to do this in winter vs. summer, we can recommend going up to enjoy a cup of coffee, cake or a glass of prosecco and the view in the café and viewing platform at 168 meters. The very top floor at 172 meters also hosts a revolving Japanese-fusion restaurant if you want to splurge on a gourmet meal during your visit.
As the art capital of Germany, Düsseldorf offers an impressive collection of art galleries, museums and exhibitions that range from modern art at the K20, international contemporary art the K21, avant-garte and experimental art at Kunsthalle, photography, pop and digital at the NRW Forum and everything in between at Kunstpalast.
The city is not only known as the art capital but also the shopping capital of Germany. If you want the true luxury shopping experience in Düsseldorf, Königsallee with its upscale brands and surrounding department stores would be the place to start. However, if you’re after a more affordable shopping experience, Lorettostraße’s tiny boutiques and second-hand shops, Carlsplatz’s homeware and gourmet shops, and the Altstadt’s Flingerstraße offer more than enough variety. Granted, these areas require you to brave the weather as you’re moving from store to store, but luckily there malls like Düsseldorf Arcaden, Schadow Arcaden and the Kö Galerie for you to shop at too.
During Christmas market season (late November to January) the Altstadt and Königsallee are transformed into a magical winter wonderland where you can indulge in all kinds of warm snacks, glühwein from local wineries, hot cocoa, and more local produce and crafts. It’s definitely worth it to brave the cold and go experience it for yourself! Of course it still remains to be seen if Christmas markets will return to their usual glory, but we’ll have to see…
All we’ll say is…
We hope this guide helps you to plan your ideal day in Düsseldorf anytime of the year! Do you have any suggestions for things to add to our summary? Feel free to let us know @lifeattrivago on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!