The 5 best day trips from Düsseldorf
In the heart of western Europe, Düsseldorf is a great jumping-off point for exploring huge swathes of the continent. In two hours by train you can be in Brussels; in three, Amsterdam. The world really is on Düsseldorf’s doorstep. But there are also incredible options closer to home. Düsseldorf boasts day excursions that’ll have you admiring the arts or getting a feel for that uniquely German notion of waldeinsamkeit—being alone in the woods. The happening arts scene of Cologne and political hub of Bonn are just a short southbound train away. Cross the border west and you’ve got Eindhoven, the Netherlands’ eastern design capital, and up north you’ve got the Ruhr Metropol – the three cities that comprise the Ruhrgebiet’s cultural capital. No matter which trip you choose, there’s plenty to see and do just outside the city. RECOMMENDED:📍 The 10 best attractions in Düsseldorf🏛 The 19 best things to do in Düsseldorf
Travel tips every first time Düsseldorf visitor needs to know
Hitting up Düsseldorf for the first time? We’ve got some tips for you. Over the last century or so, Düsseldorf has developed from a collection of disparate villages into one of the most exciting cities in Germany, a hub of innovation and culture that attracts visitors, entrepreneurs and adventurers in equal measure. The ‘traditional yet modern’ cliche is alive and well here, with a community vibe that juxtaposes that glittering skyline and business-friendly mentality of the city. Our collection of travel tips for first-time visitors to Düsseldorf will help you navigate the city and make the most of this marvellous place, with its impressive range of restaurants and exciting attractions. RECOMMENDED: The 19 best things to do in Düsseldorf
The best cheap hotels in Düsseldorf
Don’t let the chic facade fool you. Dusseldorf may look ritzy to newcomers, but the city has a wealth of cheap hotels to meet everyone’s standards. Catering to the business traveler, Dusseldorf has a lot of good value options for overnighting in larger, chain hotels like the Radisson Blu Scandinavia or one of the three NH Hotels in town. When there’s a popular convention on, however, those chain hotels book out early and prices can double with market demand. Budget travelers might find a more suitable option at a hostel, but if you’re looking for the best value for your money, you’re better off getting a place a bit further from the Altstadt, like the Hotel Sir & Lady Astor. Hotel Indigo at Victoriaplatz is perfectly located for the fashion-forward in town to get their shop on. And thanks to the city’s reputation as an arts and culture center, you can also find well-appointed design hotels like the Steigenberger Parkhotel that meet even the most finicky standards without breaking the bank.
The most-Instagrammable places in Düsseldorf
The contrasts in Düsseldorf make it the perfect place to liven up your Insta-grid. From the stellar street art on beautiful buildings and skateboard pipes lining Kiefernstrasse to the glittery new architecture of the Media Harbor, the city has something to inspire every Instagrammer. Inside the K20 and K21 museums, you can capture the contemporary art scene with ease; or head to Nord Park or the Schloss Benrath to add a bit of the natural world to your camera roll. Even if you’re only in town to shop, you won’t come away empty-handed: the canals along Königsallee and nearby Kö-Bogen retail complex are some favorite backdrops, and a great place to empty your wallet. Kiefernstrasse A post shared by Teresa Low (@teresalowart) on Mar 21, 2018 at 2:13am PDT Street art amid industrial history If you like street art, you’ll love Kiefernstrasse on the border of the south Flingern neighborhood and Oberbilk. Originally conceived of as workers’ housing when opened in 1902, the buildings along Kiefernstrasse are smack dab in the middle of an abandoned industrial district. The street has a storied history, with many homes used as squats, then refugee housing; there was even an infamous arrest of a member of the RAF here in 1986, which led to the area being designated by a politician as “the center of terrorism” in Germany. Today that designation is laughable, but the squat-like, freestyle community atmosphere lives on. Turn-of-the-century façades are covered in colorful mural
The 10 most beautiful buildings in Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is one of Germany’s most architecturally significant cities—just be sure to check your stereotypes of what’s “typically German” at the border. With a name that literally means the Village on the Düssel River, Düsseldorf only grew into a major metropolis after World War II. Allied bombings had ravaged nearby Cologne and in the rush to get a functioning center of government up and running in the west, Düsseldorf was appointed capital of North Rhine-Westphalia—much to the chagrin of the larger Cologne, with which the city shares a friendly rivalry. The devastation of the war means that much of Düsseldorf is either reconstructed or employs modern architectural styles, making the traditional timber-framed houses many associate with Germany a rarity. Instead, the city’s reputation as a hotbed of industry has led to magnificent steel-and-glass buildings, like the Stadttor, going up around the skyline. It has drawn contemporary architects like Frank Gehry to the Media Harbor, where he modernized structures aesthetically while repurposing them from their original use as warehouses and port structures. Even those buildings which remained standing after the war, like the former parliamentary building now housing the K21 art museum has a modern touch, with a glass-domed roof.
Public transportation in Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is one of the easiest cities to get around without a car; it may be easier for visitors to the city to do without one, as parking and traffic can take a lot of fun out of your time in the city. If you’re in need of wheels and are keen to rent a small car by the minute, there’s a car-sharing service, Car2Go, with vehicles scattered around the city which you can access via an app. Still, traveling by car means you’ll miss out on some of the city’s prettiest sights, like the Rhine River Promenade, built atop the tunnel where the B1 (a busy thoroughfare) runs along the river’s embankment. Perhaps the most convenient way to take it all in is by bike—a favorite means of transportation here, even in rain and snow. If you’re going further afield, Düsseldorf has an extensive network of trains, trams and buses that are all run by the Rhein Bahn, making it inexpensive and convenient to get wherever you’re going in the city. Grab a Düsseldorf Card on your first day and enjoy unlimited travel on the buses, trams and trains run by Rhein Bahn within the city limits. To get to the city from the international airport, you can take a high-speed ICE train run by the Deutsche Bahn one stop or the slower regional S-Bahn S11, both of which will get you to the main train station in minutes.
The best time to visit Düsseldorf
People from all over the world come to Düsseldorf for the atmospheric Christmas markets and Carnival celebrations in winter. Though to get a real feel for the city and its residents, a visit in spring is ideal—especially if you can time your trip with the annual Japan Day festival, a cultural highlight in the region. Summertime has a slowed-down vibe as many leave for the beach and you can feel like you have the city all to yourself—until you head to one of the many outdoor concerts or nearby festivals, where crowds congregate. Fall kicks off with Chinafest in mid-September and as the days get shorter and streets darker, residents tend to huddle inside more; as a result, there are more concerts, book readings and theater evenings than at other times of the year, which makes fall the perfect time to explore the city’s cultural options.
How to eat like a local in Düsseldorf
It’s often been said that butter and salt are the German cook’s go-to spices. In Düsseldorf, add a dollop of the city’s infamous spicy mustard and you’re well on your way to understanding local taste. While there’s plenty of traditional German fare to be found on the menu at breweries, where meat-heavy meals like the Rheinischer Sauerbraten are washed down with an Altbier, Düsseldorf has a rich immigrant history that has helped fancy up the German palate a bit. You can find some of the best sushi and ramen here, thanks to a large community of Japanese immigrants. At Christmas, grab a fried potato pancake with applesauce, known as a Reibekuchen, and a mug of mulled wine (Glühwein) at an outdoor market and call it a meal. Although German food can be quite heavy, vegetarian dishes are increasingly lightening up local menus; if you do have dietary restrictions, though, be sure to ask if those potatoes or pumpkin soup have speck (pig fat) in them.
Listings and reviews (15)
Hausbrauerei Zum Schlüssel
Hausbrauerei Zum Schlussel is one of several brewhouses in the Altstadt serving up standard German pub food. What’s unique here is the breadth of options—including Sauerbraten (marinated beef roast) soaked with raisins and almonds and served with red cabbage, potato dumplings and applesauce. If you opt for the spicy mustard version, you’ll get something that looks more like a steak, served with salad and fried potatoes. Either way, the beef is not a dish to be missed. Time Out tip: Although it’s in the tourist district, the brewery is a favorite with locals and the long communal tables will get you chatting with your neighbors in no time.
Brauerei zum Schiffchen
A quieter, more familiar atmosphere for a brewhouse, Brauerei zum Schiffchen is a hit with tourists wanting authentic local cuisine without the rowdiness of a thousand drunken revelers. Lighter-wood furnishings and yellow walls give the restaurant a friendly air. And the menu covers everything—from the standard schnitzel to a cup of tomato soup to the heavier Himmel & Ädh, there’s a greater variety to choose from than at most breweries. Time Out tip: Though its central location draws a lot of tourists, Brauerei zum Schiffchen closes its kitchen from 3pm to 5pm every afternoon. To taste Himmel & Ädh for yourself, head there before 5pm to grab a table and order as soon as the kitchen reopens; there will be no wait, and fewer guests.
Laura’s Deli on Carlsplatz is the be-all end-all of the green smoothie biz in Düsseldorf. Only open until 6pm and closed on Sundays, the café and deli has a light menu similar to what you’d find at a brunch joint: pancakes and eggs alongside several varieties of granola and salads. Grab a green drink to go or arrive early to nab a rare free table. Time Out tip: There may not be much room to sit, but Laura’s Deli is a community gathering place for the local fashion and art students. It’s a great place to meet new people or to sit on the stoop and watch the world go by.
Giovanni L. Gelato De Luxe
Grab a scoop or three of the dozens of ice cream flavors on offer at Giovanni L. Gelato de Luxe. Every neighborhood has their own favorite ice cream dealer and the Altstadt’s go-to gelaterie has new homemade flavors every week—from rhubarb in season to lime basil, or just plain vanilla, if that’s your thing. Time Out tip: Ice cream is a fickle business that only sells when the sun is shining, and Giovanni’s knows that. Like most gelateries in Düsseldorf, they take a short vacation in winter so be sure to check in if you’re there in January to make sure they haven’t headed to Italy!
A quick dish made with a miso soup base and curly noodles, ramen has become a go-to for locals looking for something fast, hearty and delicious; and the piping hot dishes served at Na Ni Wa or around the corner at Takumi can be made-to-order, with pork slices, chicken teriyaki or even hard-boiled eggs to accompany the vegetables. Grab some octopus or gyoza while you wait for the main dish; the busy atmosphere will have you feeling like you’ve escaped to Japan while out to lunch. Time Out tip: Set up like a fast food counter, Takumi often has a line stretching out the door. Don’t worry—it moves fast, though you may have to remind the others standing on line of your place in it. If you’re in a hurry, though, aim to get there right when they open at 11:30.
Knowing full well that no one likes soggy fries and that French fries are a beloved late night snack, the Dutchmen behind Fritten Piet opened two shops in areas with a strong nightlife crowd. There’s no room to sit inside, but these fast and easy meals are meant to be taken away. Time Out tip: Sauces cost extra so make sure you get your order right—specifying red or white for ketchup or mayo—or go all out and get their special curry ketchup.
At adorable cafe Oma Erika in Düsseldorf, you’ll often find a moist carrot cake on offer alongside a berry tartlet or the only-in-Germany Black Forest Cake made with cherry liqueur. In spring and summer, try the decadent honey-filled creme cake known as a Bee’s Sting—the Bienenstich. In fall and winter, go for an apple tart. Time Out tip: A popular joint for a late breakfast and catch-up with friends, the cafe has cozy window seats to curl up in. It’s small but the patrons are friendly so if it gets full, you can always wait for your own table—or ask to join in if there’s an empty seat.
Derag Livinghotel De Medici
A former monastery in the heart of the Altstadt, the De Medici is a one-of-a-kind overnight experience. With a private art collection, the renovated apartments are uniquely luxurious, with only the masonry left reminiscent of the building’s once-barebones history. The decadent decor is a reminder of the value you get for your money in a place which has everything you need, from an in-room kitchenette to the fitness studio to the spa and massage area. Wrapping a city block and adjoined to a church, the hotel feels private while remaining in the midst of things. Neighborhood: It doesn’t get more central than this. Lined with bars and restaurants, the walking streets of the Altstadt are packed with visitors from the world over eager to get a glimpse of old-fashioned European aesthetics. It’s especially charming in December, when the Christmas markets set up shop and the lights twinkle in the snow. Nearby: Rhine Promenade: For a casual stroll or fun run, hit this scenic riverside path. Im Schiffchen: For Michelin-starred meals. Zum Uerige: For a proper beer hall experience. Time Out tip: Come here at Christmas time for an especially cheery, magical atmosphere.
Hotel Indigo - Dusseldorf - Victoriaplatz
Color-filled and hung with images of fashion icons, each floor dedicated to the style of a decade past, Hotel Indigo is a chain hotel with a one-of-a-kind look. The vibe is vibrant and trendy, cheap though it doesn’t look it. It’s in a young, happening neighborhood with bars and pubs around the corner so you’ll get good use out of the 24-hour gym on-site, replete with sauna. Neighborhood: Victoriaplatz is in the most fashionable neighborhood in Germany’s most fashionable city. Though just a five-minute subway ride to hit the shops at Königsallee, Pemplefort has so many charming pre-war buildings filled with kitschy boutiques and brunch cafes, you may not want to leave. It’s where all the students from the Art Academy and Fashion Institute go when they grow up. Nearby:Beuys Bar: For art-inspired cocktails.Hofgarten: For a breath of fresh air, head to the city’s green lungs.Tonhalle: For a classical musical interlude. Time Out tip: Ask for a top-floor room with a balcony to the garden and catch some rays on sunny days.
Hotel Sir & Lady Astor
The “Sir” in the name says all you need to know about this hotel. Decorated with tartan plaid and blooming roses wallpaper, the interior looks inspired by both Scotland and South Africa. It feels a bit formal, but you can’t do any better for a cheap deal in the center of the city. Neighborhood: Just a short walk from the train station but far enough away to avoid the noise of the night trains. The central station brings a lot of foot traffic to the surrounding streets, with a lot of bodegas and late-night convenience stores. Walk further away from the station and you’ll head into the outskirts of the Japanese Quarter and the city’s renowned sushi and ramen shops. Nearby:Ellington: For unforgettable cocktails in an unlikely area. Streetart in Flingern: For Instagrammable graffiti.Na Ni Wa: For the best ramen outside of Japan. Time Out tip: A superior single will give you the best bang for your buck.
The Red Apartments
You can’t beat this apartment hotel, both for its location and for its accommodations. The fully serviced apartments, with kitchenette and elevator in a historic building, are just steps away from the Rhine River and TV Tower and a short walk to the Altstadt. A better deal for those staying longer than a week, the apartments all have a kitchenette and sitting area, making The Red feel less like a hotel and more like a temporary home. Neighborhood: Ideally situated right on the Rhine in the Bilk neighborhood, The Red is a short walking distance to just about everything, from the Media Harbor to the shopping district of Königsallee. Close to the Rheinknie Bridge, the area has more offices than residential homes and can feel quiet at night. Nearby:DOX: For fresh sushi and amazing views of the Media Harbor. MedienHafen: For impressive architecture and a cool waterfront feel. Bar & Lounge M 168: For heavenly cocktails inside the TV tower. Time Out tip: Conscious of their guests’ privacy, The Red caters to the well-heeled in town for a brief stay on a budget. Just try not to stare should you run into a celeb or two in the elevator.
Carathotel Düsseldorf City
Housed in a renovated department store, the kid-friendly chain hotel has a hyper-modern decor that jazzes up the square layout. Box-spring beds are a standard—not the norm in Germany. The hotel fits the tagline of Germany’s favorite chocolates well: square, practical, good. And it’s got centralized heating and air conditioning to boot, a rarity in these parts. Neighborhood: Down a side street amid Dusseldorf’s notorious shopping district, the Kö, the hotel is in the heart of the action. A stroll along the chestnut-tree-lined canals is a must-do, especially on Sundays when the high-end stores are closed and the streets no longer filled with Porsches and Bentleys. Nearby:Bob & Mary’s: For sky-high burgers with all the toppings.Carlsplatz Market: For a farmer’s market feel with local goods and fresh food.Bar Alexander: For adventurous nights on the town. Time Out tip: This place is so popular, they’re opening a second hotel in town—so if there’s no room at the inn, ask if you can get in at their partner hotel.