The 19 best things to do in Düsseldorf right now
There is something quintessentially German about delightful Düsseldorf. This place is seven centuries old, and that history lurks around every corner, but the skyline is thoroughly modern, all dazzling contemporary architecture hosting excellent clubs and innovative restaurants. The city’s best attractions straddle the divide between the two, accentuating the benefits of a modern metropolis while doffing the proverbial cap in the direction of that long history. It all comes together to create something that represents the country while remaining defiantly unique all the while, a stunning combination of ancient and modern, classic and cutting-edge. Okay, we may have enjoyed a glass or three of malty Altbier, but that is pretty much a rite of passage here. These are the very best things to do in Düsseldorf right now. Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. You can also find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.
The best hotels in Düsseldorf
Be it a luxury property with riverfront views, a chic boutique stay in a neoclassical mansion or a funky design hotel with Harry Potter-themed rooms, Düsseldorf’s hotels cater to every type of traveler. Not only that, many of the city’s most saught-after properties have amazing restaurants on-site or are within a stone’s throw of Düsseldorf’s top attractions. No matter what type of trip you’re after, these 10 top Dusseldorf hotels offer a wide range of styles and price points to make your stay a memorable one.
48 Hours in Düsseldorf
With its world-class museums, futuristic architecture, sprawling gardens and rich historical center, this cosmopolitan city on the Rhine surprises with its wealth of attractions, things to do and sightseeing options. Toss in upscale shopping, Michelin-starred restaurants and a buzzing nightlife scene, and compact, easily walkable Düsseldorf will keep you plenty busy from morning ‘til night.
Where to stay in Düsseldorf
Cobblestone streets and cutting-edge architecture, traditional beer halls and trendy cocktail bars, cozy cafes and swanky Michelin-starred restaurants—Düsseldorf is an ideal mix of medieval and modern. From the bohemian scene of Flingern to the futuristic skyscrapers of the redeveloped harbor or the bustling sushi- and sake-filled Japan Quarter, the city’s neighborhoods are remarkably diverse, each with its own distinct vibe. Between all the worthwhile attractions, restaurants and things to do, you shouldn't limit yourself to just one neighborhood: Düsseldorf is remarkably compact—eminently walkable and with an excellent tram system—making it easy to explore them all.
The best attractions in Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf’s worldly appeal is nothing new. Napoleon himself fell for the charms of this city on the Rhine, dubbing it 'Little Paris'. Founded 730 years ago, the capital of the North-Rhine Westphalia state is certainly steeped in history, most evident in the narrow, cobbled streets of the picturesque medieval Old Town. But the city has a sophisticated modern edge, too. Gleaming new architecture has transformed the skyline, and the ever-expanding arts scene – 26 museums and 100-plus galleries – rivals that of much larger cities. Add to that stylish shopping, vibrant nightlife and great restaurants, and there are more than enough attractions in Düsseldorf to keep any visitor busy. Check out our selection of the best attractions in Düsseldorf.
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TV chef Tim Mälzer opened Hausmann’s in 2012, bringing a modern twist on traditional German cuisine to a rustic dining space in Altstadt. The Sunday brunch, served from 10am to 3pm, is particularly popular, with lots of regional specialties like breads and croissants from nearby bakery Bastians, homemade jam, an ever-changing selection of sausage (sourced from local purveyors), plus the restaurant’s famous Sunday roast. A glass of sekt (German sparkling wine) or beer is included in the 24.50 € price.
Salon des Amateurs
Tucked inside the Kunsthalle, a concrete Brutalist cube showcasing contemporary art, the legendary Salon des Amateurs mixes cool visuals and sophisticated beats in a small, unassuming space. A café by day and electro-lounge on Friday and Saturday nights, Salon des Amateurs attracts an arty crowd who come for cutting-edge local and international DJs. The music keeps spinning until 7 am; things get particularly buzzy around 3 am, when most pubs in the Altstadt have closed.
Max Brown Hotel Midtown
An inviting lobby outfitted with botanical wallpaper, tin ceilings, vintage furnishings, board games and a billiard table sets the stage for this hip hotel stay. The whimsical retro theme continues into its 65 rooms with designer furniture, industrial lighting, cool graphic posters and Crosley record players, plus a cheeky basketball net with a ball-shaped pillow in some rooms. Petite white-subway-tiled bathrooms have showers, hair dryers and Dutch-brand Dead Clean products. Though the square footage is limited—even the “Large” rooms are relatively cozy—high-quality box-spring beds with Max Brown signature mattresses and linens give a plush feel. The lobby snack stand—which resembles an old-fashioned candy store—stocks local drinks and bites, which makes up for the lack of a minibar in the rooms. Neighborhood: Home to the largest Japanese community in Germany, vibrant “Little Tokyo” is filled with ramen shops, sushi bars and Japanese bakeries, plus Asian supermarkets and bookstores. Excellent designer shopping is close by on Königsallee. Nearby:Königsallee: For luxury designer shopping on the city’s poshest street Altstadt: For drinking and partying in the bar- and pub-filled streets Takumi: For the best ramen in town, with a long queue of fans Time Out tip: There are happy hour specials in the lobby bar on Mondays and Thursdays, and for local goings-on, check out the “Explore Dusseldorf” list next to the elevator
me and all hotel düsseldorf
Sliding wood walls, paper lanterns and waving cat figurines add an Asian-inspired touch to the 177 rooms of this hotel—a nod to its location in the heart of the Japan Quarter. Bamboo-patterned glass panels decorate walk-in rainforest showers in the generously sized bathrooms, which feature large windows overlooking the city. The Far East theme continues throughout the hotel, from the anime murals in the lobby and courtyard to the deep-red walls and oriental lamps gracing the sleek 11th-floor lounge and restaurant. In addition to the nicely kitted-out gym, the stairwell features a “vertical parcours” fitness route up 11 flights of stairs. Neighborhood: The lively Japan Quarter is packed with great restaurants—ramen shops, sushi bars and Japanese bakeries—as well as Asian supermarkets and bookstores. It’s within walking distance of Altstadt and the posh shopping street Königsallee. Nearby: Kikaku: For excellent sushi in a simple, no-frills space that’s been around for more than 40 years Altstadt: For drinking and partying in the bar- and pub-filled streetsHofgarten: For a peaceful stroll in the city’s answer to Central Park Time Out tip: The lounge hosts regular live concerts on Saturdays and every Thursday, a DJ spins during “after work” drinks, starting at 6 pm.
The Fritz Hotel
This urban charmer offers 31 minimalist-chic rooms outfitted in cool grays and crisp whites, enlivened with subtle patterns and playful graphic elements. Modern bathrooms are small but well-designed, with rainforest showers and luxe amenities from CODAGE Paris. Frosted glass panels separate the bathroom from the sleeping area, which may be a privacy concern for some. High-quality bedding—including all-natural Swiss mattress toppers and bamboo duvets—give it an edge over other three-star design hotels. The free minibar stocked with refreshments (including bottles of Veltins Pilsner) is a nice touch. Amenities are few—there’s no gym or sauna—but it does boast the Michelin-starred Fritz’s Frau Franzi, where you can feast on beautifully composed seasonal mix-and-match plates in a stylish setting. Neighborhood: While the immediate surroundings aren’t particularly inviting—mostly nondescript office buildings and chain stores—it’s a short walk to the main shopping boulevard Königsallee and the tranquil ponds and green space of Ständehauspark. The U-Bahn station at Graf-Adolf-Platz is just a block away. Nearby:K21 museum: For cutting-edge contemporary German and international art Nachtresidenz Dusseldorf: For dancing the night away in a century-old theaterEllington: For classy cocktails in an elegant, speakeasy-style setting Time Out tip: Feeling a little rumpled upon arrival? The hotel offers free ironing service upon request.
While the bland exterior doesn’t impress, behind lies one of the city’s coolest stays: 40 individually designed rooms with themes as varied as James Bond, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes and the rock-n-roll Musik room, lined with cassette-tape wallpaper, vintage music posters and including, of course, a turntable. Four categories range from single-stay #Smallfriends rooms to the two-bedroom family room and all feature modern bathrooms with showers and Rituals products. The groovy ‘70s vibe of the common spaces attracts hipster locals, who come for cocktails at the vintage-style Klassentreffen bar and to play foosball and watch sports on the flat-screen TV in the Sporthalle lounge. In place of a full restaurant, there’s a generous breakfast spread and a 24-hour snack bar, which also stocks essentials like razors and toothbrushes as well as retro gifts like candy cigarettes and water pistols. Neighborhood: Trendy Flingern—several miles west of the city center—abounds with cool indie boutiques and galleries by day, and come evening, the hipster nightlife scene takes over, with dozens of clubs, bars and funky, affordable restaurants. Nearby:Philara Collection: For edgy contemporary art in a former glass factoryCafé Hüftgold: For excellent homemade cakes and coffee Wunderwerk: For sustainable organic clothing and eco-friendly denim Time Out tip: The lower level gallery space hosts exhibitions of contemporary local artists.
Adjoining the Atelier Kino cinema and Savoy Theatre—which hosts top music, comedy and theater acts—this artsy boutique hotel stays true to its theatrical roots, naming the 27 rooms and suites after famous German actors and performers. Black-and-white striped and floral patterns, accented with big black-and-white celebrity photos, decorate the art deco-style rooms, which range from cozy to sprawling. Sleek black- or white-tiled bathrooms are generously sized and feature rainforest showers. The split-level suites have separate living and sleeping areas, and if you choose the top-end Stage 47 suite, you’ll even get a balcony. The moodily-lit Backstage Bar offers a glamorous atmosphere for cocktails. Neighborhood: At the border of Friedrichstadt and Stadtmitte, on the busy Adolf-Graf Straße, the hotel is steps away from the famous shopping boulevard Königsallee and a seven-minute walk to the main train station. Nearby:Königsallee: For luxury designer shopping on the city’s poshest streetK21: For fans of cutting-edge contemporary art, with a gigantic suspended steel-wire net you can climb onEllington: For classy cocktails in an upscale, speakeasy-style setting Time Out tip: If you book through the hotel’s website, soft drinks from the minibar are free of charge.
Hyatt Regency Düsseldorf
One of only a handful of five-star hotels in the city, the Hyatt Regency stands out for its stunning architecture and location—inside one of two complementary glassy cube-like towers set on the tip of a peninsula overlooking the Rhine. The 303 contemporary rooms maximize the spectacular views through floor-to-ceiling windows, but the open concept might not be to everyone’s taste, with entry doors opening directly into the bathroom. All categories feature separate showers and bathtubs, separated by glass from the sleeping area (which can create privacy issues). A 24-hour gym boasts excellent Rhine views, and the Rive spa, with its large treatment rooms, uses all-natural Organic Pharmacy and SkinCeuticals products. There’s no pool, but a large whirlpool and wet and dry saunas offer plenty of space for relaxing. Other amenities include a top-notch restaurant, DOX, and two bars Neighborhood: The formerly grungy industrial harbor Medienhafen has gotten a futuristic makeover, with shiny glass and stainless-steel buildings designed by starchitects like Frank Gehry and David Chipperfield. Swanky restaurants and bars line the river and nearby is the Rhine Promenade, a pedestrian thoroughfare that stretches for nearly a mile to the Old Town. Nearby: Rheinturm: For the best city views, an observation deck and rotating restaurant occupies the top level of Dusseldorf’s tallest building The View Skylounge: For drinks with a view, plus a fashionable local crowd and evening DJs Curry: For a
Innside by Meliá Düsseldorf Hafen
Sixteen stories of candy-colored windows and a bright red roof jutting out over the harbor make the Colorium building one of the city’s most striking new architectural monuments. Inside is this slick 134-key hotel, operated by the Spanish chain Melia, which boasts seriously jaw-dropping views of the Rhine, the TV tower and surrounding contemporary architecture. The large, modern, light-filled rooms feature open bathrooms with rainforest showers, free minibars and shades that close over the floor-to-ceiling windows at the touch of a button. Spring for a suite, which occupy the higher floors, and you’ll get separate living and sleeping areas plus a bathtub. The aptly named top-floor bar and restaurant The View Skylounge is a hotspot for after-work drinks, especially among the fashionable crowd. There’s also a Finnish sauna and fully equipped gym. Neighborhood: A former run-down commercial port area along the Rhine has seen an explosion of exciting new architecture by the likes of Frank Gehry and David Chipperfield. Swanky restaurants and bars line the harbor, catering to the nearby fashion, media and creative industries. The harbor links to the Rhine Promenade, a pedestrian thoroughfare that stretches up to the Old Town. Nearby: Rheinturm: For the best city views, an observation deck and rotating restaurant occupies the top level of Dusseldorf’s tallest buildingK21 museum: For cutting-edge contemporary art from Germany and beyond Curry: For a taste of Germany’s national dish,
InterContinental - Düsseldorf
This large corporate hotel is one of the city’s top properties, with 287 spacious, modern rooms outfitted with all the essentials—soundproofed windows, flat-screen TVs, desks, coffee- and tea-makers and marble bathrooms with heated floors. The Club level rooms include turn-down service and Agraria-branded products, plus access to the lounge, which features free snacks, drinks and a nightly open bar. What the hotel lacks in character, it more than makes up for with top-notch service and stellar amenities, including free access to the adjacent Holmes Place Health Club, with an indoor pool, gym, sauna and spa. Along with a solid restaurant, PÉGA, the hotel draws plenty of well-heeled locals to its Königsallee-fronting Bar Fifty Nine. Neighborhood: The posh Königsallee, known as Kö, is a nearly mile-long avenue packed with luxury boutiques and chichi cafes. A leafy, bridge-laced canal bisects the boulevard, providing a respite to weary shoppers. The Altstadt is a short stroll away. Nearby:Museum Kunstpalast: For lovers of art, especially German Expressionism Altstadt: For drinking and partying in the bar- and pub-filled streetsCarlsplatz Market: For gourmet food shoppers, an open-air market dating back to the 13th century Time Out tip: The InterContinental has an excellent concierge service, but if you’d like to navigate the city on your own, you can download the hotel’s Pocket Guide app for tips, walking guides and more.
Order an ice-cold shot of the famed local liqueur Killepitsch at the uber-atmospheric Et Kabüffke bar. This potent aperitif is like Jagermeister, but its ruby-red color and sweet, herby-spicy flavor make it (slightly) more appealing. Even if Killepitsch isn’t to your taste, a visit to the petite, dimly lit, chandeliered Et Kabüffke is a must. Everyone from the well-heeled to the working-class, young and old, drink elbow to elbow at the long, curved bar of this Altstadt establishment. A narrow spiral staircase leads to an intimate upper level with just a handful of tables—great for people-watching below. Insiders know to order from outside the bar, through the tiny square window, and sip their Killepitsch standing at one of the al fresco tables. If you develop an appreciation for this Düsseldorf specialty, next door the Haus zum Helm store sells bottles in all sizes. A tip: Though Killepitsch is served in a shot glass, it’s not meant to be downed like a shot; do as the locals do and sip it slowly.
Bar & Lounge M 168
You can drink at great heights while soaking up amazing views of the city from one of the many sky-high bars in the MedienHafen (Media Harbor). The best-known (and most popular with tourists) is Bar & Lounge M 168 in the Rheinturm, Düsseldorf’s iconic needle-shaped telecommunications tower. The sleekly designed M 168—so named because it rises 168 meters (or around 550 feet) above the city—offers a 40-cocktail-strong menu that’s relatively affordable considering the stellar panoramic views (drinks average around 12 euro).