Home Food Top Things To Do In Düsseldorf – A First-Timer’s Guide

Top Things To Do In Düsseldorf – A First-Timer’s Guide

by Chloe Gunning
Burgplatz, Dusseldorf
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From catching the best views from the TV Tower and exploring the pretty old town, to day trips to Cologne and beyond, here are the best things to do in Düsseldorf.

We’ve just returned from a busy few weeks working with Visit Germany shooting several videos for their #GermanSummerStories campaign. It’s one of the biggest and busiest campaigns we’ve been part of, visiting 7 destinations in 10 days. We were based in the cities of Düsseldorf, Stuttgart and Berlin – two of which were brand new for me. 

I was really happy to pad out my German geography, take in some new sights and get stuck into such an exciting project!

We hopped on a Eurowings flight to Düsseldorf Airport, and then caught a train to the city centre (which only takes 10 minutes!) And there began a busy few weeks of travel mixed with content creation. I couldn’t wait to snap pics and take notes so I could share the highlights with you on my blog too.

Check out the video now, and then scroll down for my guide to the top things to do in Dusseldorf…

Top Things To Do In Düsseldorf

Visit Düsseldorf’s Altstadt

Düsseldorf’s Old Town is very pretty. Skinny cobbled streets run through it, leading to attractive squares and the Rhine River. It’s a buzzy area, filled with shops, restaurants and bars, but it’s small enough to wander on foot. Be sure to check out Burgplatz, St Lambertus Church and the main square, which make up one of the most photogenic spots in the city.

Burgplatz, Dusseldorf

Burgplatz, Dusseldorf

I spotted this lovely moment as bubbles drifted into the skies around the Burgplatz. It’s been named one of the most beautiful squares of post-war Germany, an accolade I’m sure you’ll agree with when you see it!

Bubbles at Burgplatz, Dusseldorf

Bubbles at Burgplatz, Dusseldorf

Moments away is the town hall (rathaus) sitting in an enclosed square. While several buildings make up the complex, in my opinion the most attractive is the old town hall with its impressive clock tower. While in the summer it’s a great spot for festivals, events and generally enjoying the sunshine, in the winter it’s transformed into a winter wonderland as the Christmas markets take over the old town.

Rathaus, Dusseldorf

Rathaus, Dusseldorf

Wondering how to get around Dusseldorf? I'd recommend picking up a Dusseldorf Card which gives you discounted entry at over 50 of the city's top attractions, along with unlimited rides on public transport. 

Wander Along The Rhine Promenade

WOW were we lucky with the weather when we visited in May. The skies were blue and the sun was shining – it was perfect weather for a leisurely stroll along the Rhine Promenade. 

People enjoying the Rhine Promenade, Dusseldorf

People enjoying the Rhine Promenade, Dusseldorf

Built in the 1990s, it highlights the relationship between the city and the river. It connects the old town with the new town too, and from the edge of the promenade there are some amazing views along to the city’s famous bridge and TV tower.

There are tree-lined paths, and while we were ambling along at a relaxed pace, we passed joggers, rollerbladers, cyclists and more all using the route! You’ll also spot plenty of boat tours passing by – another great activity if you have time.

Enjoy Düsseldorf’s Spectacular Sunsets

As mentioned we were very lucky with the weather, and that meant we were rewarded with an epic sunset too! After enjoying a colourful sky behind the city’s iconic cable bridge we raced to see the city from a different perspective. 

Sunset in Dusseldorf

Sunset in Dusseldorf

Our hard work paid off! This photo was captured in Spee’scher Graben, moments from the Rhine Promenade. With romantic gardens and a large pond, it was an incredible spot to find. Just look at the reflections too!

Sunset in Dusseldorf

Sunset in Dusseldorf

Learn While You Drink On An Altbier Safari

Did you know Düsseldorf is home to the longest bar in the world? Well, if I’m being honest it’s not one continuous bar… basically the old town has around 300 bars and pubs in a concentrated area, so you’ll never be far from your next drink!

I’ll admit something right here and now. I’m not a beer drinker. Give me a glass of wine or a cocktail and I’m happy, but beer has never appealed. However, it’s important to note that there’s a big beer-drinking culture in Düsseldorf.

We booked onto an altbier safari – a two-hour tour which would introduce us to the Big 5 (safari / big 5 – geddit?!) We’d visit 5 microbreweries famed for their production of altbier – a style of beer brewed in the region of Westphalia. This type of beer differs from lagers as it’s top-fermented, generally hoppier, and often a little darker.

Altbier safari, Dusseldorf

Altbier safari, Dusseldorf

According to my partner Macca, it was delicious, and this activity was one of his favourite things to do in Düsseldorf! As for me? While I didn’t drink my way around, I still found the tour enjoyable as our guide shared lots of interesting stories about the city. Plus, he showed us a few special spots I’d never have found on my own.

Find out more about beer tours of Dusseldorf and book tickets.

Altbier safari, Dusseldorf

Altbier safari, Dusseldorf

Challenge Yourself With A Game Of 3D Crazy Golf

Hands up if you’re a crazy golf fan? We absolutely LOVE it, and often search for courses on our world travels. When we heard there was a 3D course in Dusseldorf, not only were we intrigued, we also HAD to go!

We arrived at Glowing Rooms, signed a waiver and were equipped with some luminous golf clubs, a glow in the dark ball and two pairs of 3D glasses. 

We entered the first area and were amazed by the UV course. Once the glasses were on, our perspectives totally changed of what was in front of us. It certainly made things interesting! It was a challenging course, but lots of fun, and while the photos show you what it looks like, it’s hard to get across how immersive it is having the 3D element added in.

Glowing Rooms Dusseldorf

Glowing Rooms Dusseldorf

Take In The City’s Modern Art And Architecture

This was my first trip to Düsseldorf, and one of the things that stood out was city’s modern architecture. Walking down the Rhine Promenade, it was lovely to see the bridge and TV Tower, but that was just the start…

A little further on and we made it to Dusseldorf Harbor (MedienHafen district) and the masterpieces designed by US architect Frank Gehry. There are three buildings that brought a smile to my face, each in a twisty, curvy design. 

I particularly liked this one with the mirror finish. As I walked past, I saw my reflection curve around its exterior. It also takes in whatever colours are around it, so it’s one to admire when there’s a colourful sky too. 

Frank Gehry's architecture in Dusseldorf

Frank Gehry’s architecture in Dusseldorf

Frank Gehry's architecture in Dusseldorf (Photo: Macca Sherifi)

Frank Gehry’s architecture in Dusseldorf (Photo: Macca Sherifi)

 

Check Out The Views From The Rhine Tower

The Rhine Tower is often named as one of the top Dusseldorf attractions, and no wonder when it’s THE place for the best views of the city. Sadly we didn’t have time to visit this time, but it’s top of my list for a future visit. 

While there’s a viewing platform at a height of 168m, the star attraction is QOMO, a rotating Japanese fusion restaurant. The menu looks incredible, and I can imagine dinner at that height must be magical, with views of the city’s twinkly lights.

Eat Your Way Around The City

Dusseldorf has a wonderful mix of cuisines on offer. We loved the eclectic mix – from traditional German food and burgers to Japanese delicacies and trendy vegan cafes. Here are a few of our highlights…

Laura’s Deli – Located in the heart of the city, this is a great deli serving up delicious, healthy plates of food. Founder, Laura, worked in the fashion industry before setting up the deli. This means it’s chic and Instagram-friendly, but the food is great too. We both had salads which were tasty, nourishing, and we left feeling very virtuous! If you have any allergies or are following a vegan or vegetarian diet, Laura’s Deli would be perfect. 

Bob & Mary – After a busy day of sightseeing, we worked up a serious appetite. This burger joint is a few minutes from Dusseldorf Harbour (where the modern architecture is) and serves a fun and varied menu of burgers. They’re juicy and delicious, and the sweet potato fries are some of the best I’ve ever tasted. I went for a burger topped with goats cheese, and a side of the truffle mayo. Let’s just say I’ve been dreaming about it ever since!

Great burgers at Bob & Mary, Dusseldorf

Great burgers at Bob & Mary, Dusseldorf

Takumi – Did you know Dusseldorf is home to an area called Little Tokyo filled with Japanese restaurants and shops? The city has one of the highest populations of Japanese people outside of Japan, so it’s definitely a great place if you’re craving ramen or sushi. Being huge ramen fans, we headed to a tiny restaurant called Takumi. It was highly rated, and by the queue outside, we knew it was a popular spot! After a twenty minute wait, we were seated at the bar area, and ordered two tasty bowls of soul-food. My verdict? Absolutely delicious – it tasted authentic and had the seriously flavoursome broth, just like the ramen I had in Kobe earlier this year!.

Take A Day Trip From Dusseldorf

As part of our trip we also packed in a few visits out of the city. Macca has written an amazing blog packed full of information on these, so be sure to check it out. Here’s a quick round up of places you could venture to if you fancy exploring what else is near Dusseldorf. 

Benrath Palace (Schloss Benrath) – This beautiful dusty pink palace was built over 200 years ago as the summer house of Elector Carl Theodor. It’s set in stunning landscaped gardens, that were filled with May flowers when we visited. You can explore the gardens for free, but you’ll need to buy a ticket if you want to see inside.

Benrath Palace

Benrath Palace

Belgian Quarter Cologne – Hipster vibes all round, this trendy area of Cologne is home to cute boutiques like Magasin Populaire, homeware mecca Schee and cool cafes like Heilandt. Street art lovers will adore its vibrant walls, and if you like places like Shoreditch or Brighton’s Lanes, I would describe this as Cologne’s equivalent. It’s also VERY easy to reach by public transport. Just hop on a fast train from Düsseldorf and you’ll be in Cologne in 20 minutes.

Exploring Cologne's Belgian Quarter

Exploring Cologne’s Belgian Quarter

Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord – The landscape park in Duisburg has been created from the former industrial ironworks. Several domineering structures make up the premises, which are free to enter. You can clamber up staircases, get lost in mysterious tunnels and enjoy the views from the very top. Unless you’re a lover of brutalist architecture, it’s not a place of beauty, but there’s something pretty magical about it when it’s lit up in the evenings.

Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord

Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord

Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord

Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord

Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord

Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord

Classic Remise Düsseldorf – A little way from the city centre lies this free museum, dedicated to classic cars. The space itself is interesting, as it’s located in a historic roundhouse. Once you’ve got your automobile fix, there’s a top-rated restaurant on site too.

Zeche Zollverein – Another industrial wonder that’s been regenerated and opened up to the public, Zeche Zollverein is a coal mine complex in the city of Essen. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a great place for art, culture and leisure activities. One of the buildings houses the Ruhr Museum, while in another is an incredible open-air swimming pool (open in the summer months.)

View from the Ruhr Museum overlooking Zeche Zollverein

View from the Ruhr Museum overlooking Zeche Zollverein

Where To Stay In Dusseldorf

25 Hours Hotel

This stylish hotel features a restaurant and bar spread across the top floors, and offers amazing views of the city. There’s a café on the ground floor and it’s just a short walk from all the public transport you could need. We loved the quirky design features, including the bath out on the terrace (yes – I used it!) and the hilarious cards you leave on the door to signal whether you want your room cleaned or not. It’s certainly a hotel with a sense of humour!

Check availability and latest prices here



Booking.com

Our trip was sponsored by Germany Tourism and Eurowings along with several regional partners. For this blog post, I’d like to say a big thank you to Dusseldorf Airport and the North Rhine-Westphalia Tourism. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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4 comments

Jess 30th June 2019 - 11:41 am

Dusseldorf looks like the perfect under-rated city. I can’t believe I’ve still never been to Germany! I need to change that fast.

xoxo
jess

Reply
Chloe Gunning 2nd July 2019 - 11:38 am

It really is! I love how diverse Germany is – you should definitely plan a trip soon!

Reply
Dominik 10th July 2019 - 5:01 pm

Great blog. I live just a one hour car drive away from Düsseldorf, but I was never there, but now I really have to plan a trip.
The next time you are in Germany, I really recommend you to visit Bonn (as former capital and Beethoven’s birthplace) and the Siebengebirge, a great place to hike and enjoy nature.

Many greetings from Germany

Dominik

Reply
Chloe Gunning 18th July 2019 - 9:38 am

Thanks Dominik. I hope you enjoy visiting Dusseldorf soon! Oooh I wanted to visit Bonn (partly for the Haribo connections!) Thank you for your tips!

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