Welcome to Düsseldorf, a beautiful city in western Germany located on the banks of the Rhine River, filled wiht beautiful places to visit, marvelous landmarks and attractions. With its mix of modern architecture, historical landmarks, and vibrant culture, Düsseldorf is a must-visit destination for any traveler.
Whether you’re here for business or pleasure, the city has something to offer everyone. From world-class museums and art galleries to scenic river walks and bustling nightlife, Düsseldorf is sure to leave a lasting impression. Join me as I explore some of the top places to visit in this charming city.
In a nutshell: Düsseldorf highlights
Düsseldorf offers more than just being the state capital, fashion city, home of the Altbier, and Fortuna. The city has a lot of top sights to offer visitors. The heart of Düsseldorf is its old town, which has various streets with their own distinct character, such as Bolkerstrasse or Kurze Strasse.
The city has many special places that you can explore one after the other. For instance, you can mix with the locals on Nordstrasse. If you’re a museum enthusiast, you can visit the somewhat different exhibition house KIT or the K21 with its funky temporary exhibitions.
If you are planning a trip to Düsseldorf, the old town is definitely a must-see attraction. It is not only the original and historic part of the city, but also the hub of cultural, entertainment and social activities. The old town is located close to the Rhine and boasts a number of streets, each with its own unique character.
Düsseldorf’s old town is a vibrant hub of activity, filled with various streets each having its own unique character. One of the most well-known streets in the old town is Bolkerstraße, which has gained fame as the “longest bar in the world”.
It is a popular spot among locals and tourists alike for its lively atmosphere and multitude of bars, pubs, restaurants, and nightclubs. It’s worth noting, however, that the street as a whole is considered a bar, and not a single establishment with a long counter.
While Bolkerstraße is often associated with drinking and partying, it’s also a great place to experience the city’s culture and history. At the beginning of Bolkerstraße, visitors will find the Heine Haus, where the famous German writer Heinrich Heine was born. The house may not be prepared as a museum, but it houses a bookshop on the ground floor, which sometimes also hosts literary events.
Despite the popularity of Bolkerstraße, there are other streets in the old town worth exploring as well. For example, Flinger Straße is a bustling shopping street filled with a variety of shops and boutiques.
Don’t forget to stop by Heine Haus at the beginning of Bolkerstraße to learn about the life and legacy of Heinrich Heine.
2. Kurze Street
When exploring Düsseldorf’s old town, many visitors tend to focus on the famous Bolkerstraße, known for its lively bar scene and being the “longest bar in the world.” However, just a few meters away lies Kurze Straße, a lesser-known street that offers its own unique charm.
Despite being overlooked by tourists, this street offers a taste of the typical Düsseldorf pub culture, with a mix of cocktail bars, brewery pubs, and even two punk bars, Engelchen and Tube.
Continuing further down the road, you’ll find Ratinger Straße, another hub for local brewery culture. Here, you’ll not only find a diverse range of beers but also a variety of dishes typical of the Rhineland region. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty stew or a classic pork knuckle, you’re sure to find something that will satisfy your appetite.
Exploring the different streets of Düsseldorf’s old town is a great way to immerse yourself in the city’s culture and history. With each street offering its own unique character, it’s worth venturing off the beaten path to discover the hidden gems that Düsseldorf has to offer.
3. Ratinger Street
If you’re looking for a night out in Düsseldorf but don’t feel like joining the hustle and bustle of the Ballermann, Ratinger Strasse might be more your style. This lively street is just a few steps away from Kurze Strasse and is known for its Rhenish brewery culture and delicious food. On warm evenings, locals and tourists alike gather at the bar tables on the street until midnight to enjoy the atmosphere.
But don’t worry, the party doesn’t have to stop there! If the public order office asks for quiet on the street, you can head to the Milestone, which is open until 5:00 a.m. on weekends.
A few meters further towards the Rhine, you’ll come across The Stone, which sometimes hosts live music performances, often featuring well-known names. The concerts here are usually rock and punk heavy, which is fitting given that the Ratinger Hof, the birthplace of German punk and new wave, stood here in the 1970s and 1980s.
Although the rancid booth where the Toten Hosen played their first gigs was unfortunately demolished, The Stone now occupies the same spot and carries on the spirit of the area’s musical history. Whether you’re looking for an energetic night out or just a place to enjoy some good music, Ratinger Strasse has plenty to offer.
4. Flinger Street
Flinger Street is a must-visit for anyone who loves to shop. With a variety of stores to choose from, it’s a paradise for fashionistas and those looking to update their wardrobe. Classics such as Only, Zara, Foot Locker and Rituals are just some of the big names you’ll find here.
But if you’re looking for something a little more alternative, take a quick turn onto Kapuzinergasse and have a look around Pick Up – a legendary store in Düsseldorf that’s been around for decades.
As you reach the end of Flinger Street, you’ll come across the charming Kabüffke, a local institution that’s been around for over 60 years. Here, you can experience a true Düsseldorf tradition by enjoying a Killepitsch, a popular local herbal liqueur, out of the window. This experience is not to be missed! And if you want to take the delicious droplet home with you, there’s a souvenir shop right next door where you can purchase it in a dress.
If you’re new to Düsseldorf, we recommend joining a tour of the old town. A guided tour is the perfect way to get an overview of the city’s many attractions, including the famous Flinger Street. The knowledgeable guides always have insider tips and interesting stories to share that you might not have discovered on your own. So, grab your walking shoes and join a tour to explore the many highlights of Düsseldorf!
5. The Leaning Tower of Düsseldorf
The Basilica of Saint Lambertus is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the rich history of Düsseldorf. This stunning church is one of the oldest and most significant buildings in the old town. It was constructed in the 14th century and has been an iconic landmark of the city ever since.
One of the most remarkable features of the church is its leaning tower, which is clearly visible from many parts of the city. The tower leans at a noticeable angle, giving the church a unique and somewhat surreal appearance. This leaning tower has become a symbol of Düsseldorf and has even been featured on postcards and other souvenirs.
The story behind the crooked tower is quite interesting. After a devastating fire in 1815, the tower had to be rebuilt. However, the builders made a mistake by using fresh wood, which then warped as it dried. This caused the tower to lean to one side. Although the builders tried to fix the problem, they were unable to straighten the tower completely. Despite this mishap, the church remains a true masterpiece of Gothic architecture.
Visitors to Düsseldorf should definitely take the time to visit the Basilica of Saint Lambertus. Even if you cannot climb the leaning tower, the church is still a sight to behold. Its intricate design and stunning stained-glass windows are sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who sees them.
When the weather is sunny and warm in Düsseldorf, taking a leisurely stroll along the Rhine river is a must. You can start your walk from Burgplatz, where you’ll be greeted by the impressive castle tower that stands tall over the old town.
The tower now houses the Maritime Museum, which is a great attraction for anyone interested in ships and maritime history. At only 3 euros per person, the museum is an affordable option for those on a budget. You can even stop by the museum’s café for a quick break and take in the stunning view of the Rhine.
Standing at the Rhine steps, which are right in front of the castle tower, you can grab a cold beer from one of the local kiosks called Büdchen and join the locals on the steps to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the river. You might even catch someone playing music or witness a street performance while you’re there.
If you take a left turn from the Rhine steps, you will find yourself at the Kasematten. These days, the shafts that used to collect the floodwaters of the Rhine have been transformed into a lively gastronomy area.
The name “Kasematten” was retained, and tables, chairs, and umbrellas were placed in the area in front of the shafts to create a beautiful promenade along the river. You can choose from a variety of restaurants and bars, including a cocktail bar, seafood restaurant, and brewery bar.
For a unique culinary experience, we recommend stopping by the Key at the Kasematten, where you can enjoy their famous Key old beer and delicious tarte flambée. The creation of the casemates was a bit more complicated than just placing tables and chairs in front of the shafts, but the end result is truly stunning.
Across the river from the Kasematten, on the Rhine meadows, the Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes takes place every year in July. It’s the biggest fair on the Rhine, and you can spend the entire day enjoying the different attractions, including carousels, cotton candy, tarte flambée, and brewery tents.
Since public transportation to the fair is often crowded, taking the ferry from the casemates is a great alternative, and it offers a unique perspective of the city from the river.
8. The most beautiful market: around Carlsplatz
A visit to the market at Carlsplatz should definitely be on your itinerary when in Düsseldorf. It’s not just your average fruit and vegetable market, but also known for its wide variety of specialty and delicacy stalls.
As you stroll along the market, you’ll be tempted to stop and try some of the mouth-watering treats on offer. You can sip on some wine at one of the stalls, taste some delicious cheese or indulge in a Rievkooche, a traditional potato pancake.
If you take a few steps further along Berger Straße, you will find the mustard shop on the left-hand side. With a huge mustard barrel in front of the door, it’s hard to miss. Here you can find the famous Düsseldorf ABB mustard in classic stoneware pots, as well as several other different types of mustard to try.
For a delicious breakfast option, you should check out Bistro Zicke, located on Bäckerstraße between Carlsplatz and the Rhine. Their large breakfast portion is easily enough for two people, and includes coffee, juice and a sparkling wine to kickstart your day in Düsseldorf.
In addition to the culinary delights on offer, the market at Carlsplatz is also a great place to experience local culture and traditions.
It’s a bustling hub where locals come to shop for fresh produce and catch up with friends over a coffee or snack. So take your time to soak up the vibrant atmosphere, try some new foods and maybe even strike up a conversation with a friendly local.
9. Luxury shopping and architecture: Königsallee & Kö-Bogen
If you’re looking for a luxurious shopping experience, then Königsallee is a must-visit destination in Düsseldorf. Once a moat, this street has been transformed into a green mile, offering a blend of high-end fashion boutiques, as well as more affordable stores like Zara, H&M, COS, and Saturn.
The shopping experience is further enhanced by the presence of numerous cafes, where you can take a break from shopping, relax with a cup of coffee and a slice of cake, and watch people go by.
But even if you’re not in the mood for shopping, a stroll along Königsallee is still highly recommended. It’s an integral part of any visit to Düsseldorf, offering a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else.
As you walk along the street, keep an eye out for the flocks of parrots that can often be seen here, adding a touch of wildness to the otherwise refined setting. You might be surprised to learn that there are now around 1,500 of these colorful birds living in Düsseldorf.
At the northern end of Königsallee lies the Kö-Bogen, a relatively new addition to the city’s architecture. This modern complex boasts a variety of shopping options, as well as a striking design created by New York architect Daniel Libeskind.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the Kö-Bogen and the old town, we recommend taking the architecture tour, which takes place every Sunday. This is a great way to gain insight into the stories behind these impressive structures, and to appreciate the beauty of Düsseldorf’s urban landscape.
10. The best view: The Rhine Tower
If you want to admire Düsseldorf from a bird’s eye view, the Rheinturm is undoubtedly the best place to do so. This impressive tower is not only a telecommunications tower, but also a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.
It boasts a viewing platform and a bar at 168 meters above sea level, accessible by an elevator ride. To visit the tower, you need to purchase a ticket, which you can either buy directly at the bottom of the tower or in advance online.
A helpful tip for visitors is that tickets are much cheaper in the morning when the tower opens and in the evening after 10 p.m. So, if you’re looking to save some money, these times are definitely worth considering. In fact, visiting the Rheinturm in the evening is particularly spectacular, as the view of the city’s illuminated skyline is simply breathtaking.
If you want to elevate your experience even further, consider dining at the Qomo restaurant, located one floor above the viewing platform. What makes this restaurant unique is that it slowly spins in circles, completing a full revolution every 72 minutes. This means that during your meal, you’ll get to enjoy panoramic views of the city from every direction.
The Qomo restaurant serves Japanese fusion cuisine, which includes many of their own wacky and delicious sushi creations. This makes it an ideal choice if you’re looking for a sophisticated and elegant dining experience.
However, it’s essential to make a reservation in advance through the website to secure your table. Main courses with side dishes start from around 30 euros. But if you do book a table at the restaurant, you won’t need to purchase an entrance ticket to the Rheinturm.
On Sundays, the restaurant offers brunch between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., giving you the chance to enjoy a leisurely meal with a stunning view of the city. With all of these options, the Rheinturm is truly an experience not to be missed when visiting Düsseldorf.