If you want to go to a place where you can slow down and take time to enjoy the local beer and traditional German food or have an extra day or two in your Europe trip, then you may want to stop by Düsseldorf. Here’s what to do in Düsseldorf based on my weekend trip there!
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How to Get to Düsseldorf
There are probably cheap flights to Düsseldorf International Airport from other European cities, but most likely you’ll be flying in and out of a more major international airport like Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to save money so you’ll want to take a train to and from this city instead.
It’s easy to get here by train as there are many cities that are only a couple of hours away. For example, if you want to travel from Düsseldorf to Amsterdam or vice versa, it only takes 2 hours and 20 minutes. I booked an ICE train through NSinternational.nl, my go-to site for booking train travel in Europe.
Pro Tip: I recommend booking a seat for an extra €4 because seats fill up quickly, but if you opt not to, then you can tell if a seat is empty by looking at the markers next to the seat number instead of waiting for the train to depart and people to sit in their seats. The electronic markers next to the seat numbers show the route of that passengers (i.e. Amsterdam to Düsseldorf). If it is empty, then that seat is all yours!
Where to Stay in Düsseldorf
Taken with a Sony A6000
Hotel Friends is the best place to stay in Düsseldorf, Germany because of the price, design, comfort, fun, and proximity to the train station and tourist sites.
The lobby doubles as an adult playground with all its games and fun, the rooms are designed to make your jaw drop as you enter (it did for me), and the breakfast is on-point.
How to Get Around Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is a very manageable city to get around. You can walk to most places, but there’s also a great public bus, tram and metro system. If you plan on using the public transportation system a lot, I would recommend looking into an unlimited day ticket or getting a Düsseldorf tourism card, which includes transportation and free access and discounts to many sites.
What to Do in Düsseldorf
Street Art at Kiefernstrasse
Taken with a Sony A6000
For street art lovers, Kiefernstrasse is a truly wowing place when it comes to the enormity and design of the graffiti as well as the deep history of this street. It is a must when deciding where to go in Düsseldorf.
In the 1980s, squatters occupied these buildings in order to prevent these houses from being destroyed and becoming commercial property when there was such a shortage of housing available at the time. The squatters never left though.
Instead, they’ve grown up, had kids, and made sweet homey memories in these buildings. They were supposed to leave in 2008, but the city has been undecided what to do with these buildings so the residents remain rooted in this iconic part of the city until further notice. If you only do one thing in Düsseldorf, this is it!
The Altbier Safari was my favorite daytime activity. For over two hours, we hopped around from microbrewery to microbrewery and tasted a variety of altbiers. We also learned about the origination of altbier and the modern drinking culture that stemmed from it.
What actually really interested me was taking the information that the tour guide said and seeing how Düsseldorf’s love for beer became so engrained in the culture that men and women in their 70s-80s are out being social and drinking beer all day! This is not something you see in the US or even in Amsterdam.
Rheinturm (Rhine Tower)
View of the Parliament Building From Above
Out of all Düsseldorf tourist attractions, The Rheinturm is the best one to go to for a view. It is a 790ft (240.5m) tall concrete telecommunications tower that sits on the Rhine River in Düsseldorf.
It’s always cool to see a city from a different vantage point, and Düsseldorf is no exception. The Rheinturm offers a 360 degree view of the city that’ll help you get the know the city better!
Pro Tip: Come here before 11AM because you get a discount and will beat the crowd.
Walk Around Flingern
For some of the places to see in Düsseldorf, Germany for a local neighborhood feel, check out Flingern, which has recently been experiencing gentrification (slowly compared to other cities) but still has a great mix of people. There are wonderful little mom-and-pop concept stores and galleries.
I’m not one to hop into galleries, but I found this street art gallery, Take a Butcher’s, that I loved! How often do you see a street art gallery?
Where to Eat in Düsseldorf
While you’re ticking off every item from your ‘what to do in Düsseldorf’ list, you’ll surely be hungry for local delicacies. Here’s a few spots that might hit the spot!
Taken with a Sony A6000
Hüftgold in German refers to that extra layer of
cushion gold on your hips. I love that word! Makes it so much nicer than calling it hip fat or muffin top. Anyways, after sharing two slices of cake with a local tour guide, I very much understand why they named their cute cafe after this phrase. Their delicious cakes are the type to go right to your hips.
Regardless, I recommend coming here to not only get a taste of their rich desserts but to also experience a local neighborhood of Düsseldorf. Cafe Hüftgold is located in the neighborhood, Flingern, the neighborhood I recommended above!
Cafe Hüftgold’s Website
Address: Ackerstraße 113
Düsseldorf has a substantial Japanese population with about 7,000 people. There is a whole Japanese neighborhood with ramen, book stores, froyo, sushi, and other Japanese goodness. If you like ramen, grab a bowl at Takumi Ramen. There maybe a line, but it goes pretty quickly ‘cause people are slurping up their ramen so quickly.
Takumi’s Facebook Page
Address: Immermannstraße 28
Brauerei Zum Schiffchen
Of course, you can’t go to Düsseldorf without trying traditional German food in a traditional German setting— can’t get more German than that! I recommend getting oxtail soup to start and the schnitzel for dinner, but watch out, it’s pretty heavy food so you’ll be in a traditional food coma after.
Brauerei Zum Chiffchen’s Website
Address: Hafenstraße 5
Where to Drink
I was in Düsseldorf from Friday to Sunday. On Friday night, I didn’t venture out far. Actually I didn’t leave my hotel, Hotel Friends, at all! That’s because there was an in-house DJ making it a hot spot for locals. Their bar is full of local beer so despite being at a hotel, it’s got a truly local feel.
For Saturday night, I went to Pechmarie, which is a small and cozy cocktail bar that plays chill electronic music to complement the environment. I got a Moscow Mule, which is my go-to drink drink when I want something light and refreshing.
What to Pack
Luckily, since Düsseldorf is so laid back, you don’t need to pack much fashion wise, but you’ll want to bring these items I usually travel around Europe with.
Reusable, Foldable Bag (See 8 Reasons Why Here)
I can’t leave off without sharing that Düsseldorf is a very popular place for bachelor (stag) and bachelorette (hen) parties. Don’t be surprised if about 50% of the tourists you see in Old Town are probably part of a wedding party! On that note, enjoy your time in Düsseldorf.
Thanks for stopping by! xo.
Hope this guide helps you with your travels to Dusseldorf! Please comment below with any questions.