Dusseldorf, a charming city in Germany, is well-known for being a prominent university town and a significant hub for art and fashion. In addition to having spacious streets lined with upscale stores, this former seat of government also has a bustling downtown centre that is encircled by a ring of parks & gardens.
Düsseldorf is a significant cultural hub with more than 100 art galleries and dozens of monuments. The latter includes everything from lesser-known installations in the city’s hip Königsallee neighbourhood to internationally renowned establishments like the magnificent Art Collection North Rhine-Westphalia.
Together with the city’s location just on the Rhine, its numerous spacious squares, and its beautiful riverbank pathways, these tourist attractions make it an especially delightful destination to visit.
The Größte Kirmes am Rhein, or “Largest Fair on the Rhine,” is held in Düsseldorf each July in addition to the city’s numerous other entertaining activities. More than 4 million individuals come to this enormous, seven-day fair each year. The well-known Karneval also features parades and vibrant costumes throughout November.
Check out our comprehensive list of Düsseldorf’s best attractions for more wonderful suggestions on where to go and what to do.
Things to do in Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is a global financial powerhouse with a well-off reputation supported by its upscale Königsallee shopping district and the revitalised harbour, which features structures designed by top architects. The city also offers a more rustic side, where locals and visitors alike let their hair down and sip the regional Altbier in the old Altstadt, which is home to hundreds of bars.
There are many things to do in Dusseldorf like seeing the street art, and contemporary art, visiting the city centre, Rhine tower, Rhine promenade, Rhine river, City hall, Museum kunstpalast, düsseldorf nightlife, Beer garden, etc.
The Kirmes fair, a large-scale public event that is only surpassed by Oktoberfest, explodes with joy and levity each July.
1. Follow Königsallee, while walking
Königsallee, Düsseldorf’s most attractive boulevard and literally “King’s Avenue” in English is referred to as the “Kö” by locals and is rumoured to be Germany’s poshest shopping district.
This extensive length of upscale real estate, which is comparable to the fashionable Avenue Montaigne in Paris, was constructed in 1802 & continues to draw crowds with its unique mix of upscale boutique shops, brand clothing stores, and opulent shopping arcades. Also, there is no shortage of eateries and cafés, as well as art galleries.
The Boulevard is lined with several good luxury hotels, some of which have wonderful rooftop terraces with views of the city and this busy street.
Königsallee runs for a length of one kilometre from Graf-Adolf-Platz in the south towards the Hofgarten in the north, extending on both sides of an old town moat, a 31-meter-wide, forest stretch of water which adds to the street’s impression of spaciousness. It concludes at the magnificent Triton Fountain. You must include visiting its entire length on foot in your trip plans to Düsseldorf.
2. Take a stroll along the Rhine Embankment Promenade’s Riverfront
The Rhine Embankment Promenade in Düsseldorf is one of the best places to take in the beauty of the city’s riverside. This lengthy pedestrian route, which was constructed in 1997 to conceal one of the city’s major streets (which is hidden beneath the promenade), lends the area a decidedly Mediterranean feel.
The 1.5-kilometre, tree-lined promenade, which connects the Old Town towards the state’s Parliament buildings and runs from the Oberkassel Bridge, includes bike and pedestrian lanes and provides a wealth of options for sightseeing and people-watching.
All year long, a friendly mix of visitors and residents enjoy it. One of the best things to do in Düsseldorf at night continues to be taking a stroll along this lovely pedestrian street.
3. Things to do in Dusseldorf- Visit Schloss Benrath by Car
Schloss Benrath (Benrath Palace), a magnificent Baroque house built between 1756 and 1773, is a short 10-kilometre trip from the city centre via public transportation or vehicle. The lavish interior of the palace and a tour through its expansive park and gardens are highlights.
The palace, which was initially constructed for Elector Carl Theodor, now houses three first-rate museums that explore various facets of life in the 18th century. The Musée Corps de Logis, which chronicles Benrath’s history and architecture, is located in the main palace building.
The equally fascinating Museum for European Gardens Art as well as the Museum of Natural History are also housed in the former location and are found in other park buildings. There are guided tours offered in English for all of the local museums. A visit to the lovely gardens in the Baroque style is strongly recommended.
4. Things to do in Dusseldorf- Examine Düsseldorf’s Old Town
The old town (Altstadt) of Düsseldorf is still surprisingly well preserved and ought to be on your list of must-visit places. The Marktplatz is the centre of the Old Town. Nearby you can discover the majestic Rathaus (Town Hall) and a sizable statue of Elector John William II mounted on a horse that was built in 1711.
The Schlossturm near Burgplatz just on the banks of the Rhine is another noteworthy structure. The SchiffahrtsMuseum, one of Germany’s best (& oldest) maritime museums, is housed in the tower, the sole remaining portion of the once-dominant castle. The museum features fascinating displays on the past of shipbuilding as well as trade.
The Hetjens-Museum, which showcases more than 800 years of pottery, porcelain, and earthenware, is another worthwhile stop. It’s also worthwhile to see St. Lambertus Church, which is well-known for its peculiarly twisted spire.
5. Things to do in Dusseldorf- Visit Castle Benrath
A magnificent Rococo palace from the middle of the 18th century is located in Benrath, a little town southeast of Düsseldorf, and is encircled by gardens. Everything was built as a summer home for Elector Papilla Charles Theodor as well as his wife Elisabeth Auguste of Sulzbach.
The palace was thoughtfully designed to complement its gardens, with the Electress’ rooms facing a French formal garden, the Elector’s private room opening onto the English gardens, and the cooks being supplied by herb and potager gardens.
You can tour Nicolas de Pigage’s lavish Corps de Logis during a visit, but you’ll need to wear special slippers to protect the marble floors. A Natural History Museum, as well as a European History Museum, is located in the side wings. when summer concerts are held in that opulent park.
6. Things to do in Dusseldorf- Visit Hofgarten
In response to the destruction brought on by the Seven Years’ War, which lasted from 1756 to 1763, Germany’s first public park was created in 1769. On the east side, between Castle Jägerhof and the lovely “Jröner Jong” fountain, is where the oldest part is located.
Nicolas de Pigage, who was once again employed by Charles Theodore, was in charge of this section as well as the expansive grand boulevard connecting the two monuments.
The park’s current shape resulted from an expansion that took place at the beginning of the 19th century along the location of walls built during the Napoleonic Wars.
The plan would serve as a model for public parks in all of Germany. There are numerous works of art and historical sites to discover, such as the Ratinger Tor, an old city gate that was converted into a Neoclassical temple.
7. Things to do in Dusseldorf- Visit Burgplatz
Burgplatz, so named after the castle that stood adjacent to the Rhine till the end of the 19th century, is a place to meet up with friends and enjoy a beverage by the river. The Schlossturm is the final remaining piece of the castle.
This tower’s initial three stories date from the 1200s, its fourth from the 1500s, and it’s fifth, from 1845. There is a museum within that details the history of German inland commerce, the ecology of the Rhine, and Düsseldorf’s time as a port.
8. Things to do in Dusseldorf- See the city Erection Monument
An assortment of bronze statues created in 1988 to commemorate the 700th anniversary of Düsseldorf receiving city rights is tucked away in a corner of Burgplatz.
Bert Gerresheim, a Düsseldorf-based artist, created the monument, and each of the characters he portrayed conveys a different aspect of the founding of the city and its rivalry with Cologne.
A scene from the Battle of Worringen, among the biggest mediaeval engagements in Europe, is seen on the left. It was fought between Duke John I of Brabant and Archbishop Sigfried II of Cologne.
As shown in the moment of the paper being signed on the right, Düsseldorf would become a city as a result of Siegfried’s crushing defeat.
9. Things to do in Dusseldorf- Visit Kunstpalast Museum
The Kunstpalast is the centrepiece of the Ehrenhof cultural complex, located in front of the Rhine in a great location. The permanent collection spans the entire history of German & European art, from the Gothic era to the twentieth century.
The impressive list of artists also includes Franz Marc, Rubens, Andreas Achenbach, August Macke, and Lucas Cranach the Elder. Together with this, there are sizable exhibitions of applied arts and one of Europe’s largest collections of glass.
The museum is also brimming with graphic art, with works from all around Europe, Asia, as well as the Near East included in its collection. Notwithstanding all of this, the museum is renowned for its top-notch temporary exhibitions of works by Caravaggio, Warhol, Miró, and Dali.
10. Things to do in Dusseldorf- Marktplatz
The area at the front of the Altes Rathaus may be the most photogenic place in the Altstadt (Old Town Hall). The market that operated here from 1482 until the turn of the century, when it relocated to Carlsplatz, is where this trapezoidal plaza gets its name.
The opening ceremony for Düsseldorf’s wild carnival, known as “Erwachen,” takes place in front of the town hall on November 11. All around the area, which is dominated by one of Germany’s most celebrated equestrian sculptures, are rows of structures that are designated monuments.
The ceremonial monument, which was crafted in 1711 by Flemish artist Gabriel Grupello, depicts Elector Johann Wilhelm riding a horse.
11. Things to do in Dusseldorf- Kaiserswerth
Take the U-Bahn to one of Düsseldorf’s historic neighbourhoods and go along the River. In Kaiserswerth, elegant Baroque homes from the 17th & 18th-century line the streets. The Kaiserpfalz, an imperial castle expanded in the 11th century by Frederick Barbarossa and nearly destroyed by a bombardment at the start of the War of the Spanish Succession, is perhaps the most attractive location directly on the water’s edge.
Along the citrus Burgweg avenue, you can see the walls. You may also spend some time strolling around Kaiserswerth’s cobblestone streets and stopping for refreshments at adorable cafes and biergartens.
12. Saint Suitbert
A 200-year-old beech woodland contains an animal park east of Düsseldorf’s city centre. The Wildpark focuses on native German species, and a three-kilometre walking track connects all of the open areas.
Take apples and oats with you so you may feed the animals. The park is available all year long and is free to enter. The overall number of creatures is around 100, and they include multiple deer types (roe, red, and fallow), as well as mouflons, wild boars, pheasants, and wildcats. In the park’s apiary, a beekeeper will do live demonstrations.
13. See the Japanese Garden at Nordpark
A stroll through a tranquil Japanese garden is one of Düsseldorf’s more unique activities. The 90-acre Nordpark, one of Düsseldorf’s most well-liked and largest parks, is crisscrossed by wide roads across its open lawns & themed gardens, such as the exquisite Lily Garden.
The Düsseldorf Japanese community gifted the city with the expansive Japanese Garden, which features an astounding range of landscapes.
Additional features of Nordpark include the Horse-Tamers statue as well as the Aquazoo Löbbecke Museum, which is a fantastic destination for children of all ages because of its top-notch natural history exhibits, sizable aquarium, and insectarium.
14. Enjoy Your Green Thumb at the Düsseldorf Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden in Düsseldorf will appeal to anyone with a green thumb. The gardens feature flora from all over the world and are situated on the grounds of University Düsseldorf, which is just south of the city centre and include charming apothecary and Alpine gardens, a dome-shaped hot house, a wildflower field, beehives, and more.
15. Traverse the Hofgarten
The Hofgarten, a sizable park designed in 1770 and located to the north of Düsseldorf’s city centre, spans from the Old Town through Königsallee towards the banks of the River Rhine. This gorgeous 68-acre location was created in the English landscape design and has a large number of meadows, forested areas, streams, and ponds.
Castle Jägerhof, a historic hunting lodge constructed in the Rococo style in 1763 and inhabited, albeit briefly, by Napoleon, is also worth a visit. The Goethe Museum, with its extensive collection of objects and displays related to Germany’s greatest writer & poet, is now housed in the structure.
Together with historical monuments and memorials, the park is also home to several intriguing contemporary sculptures, such as the Henry Moore sculpture and the Märchenbrunnen, which feature figures from fairy tales.
16. Fast Cars: Düsseldorf’s Historic Remise
Vintage Remise Düsseldorf, a hub for everything related to antique vehicles, is housed in an old roundhouse used for locomotives. It is a hybrid showroom, repair shop, and haven for automotive enthusiasts. The amount of glass storage “boxes” wherein owners can safely store cars while keeping them visible to enthusiasts is a particularly remarkable feature. The building also serves as a location for events.
17. Visit the Neanderthal Museum to Meet the Family
If you have time on your Germany travel schedule, visit the intriguing Neanderthal Museum, which is only a 25-minute drive (or 40 minutes on public transportation) from Dusseldorf. The first Neanderthal man was discovered right here in the Neandertal Valley.
The museum, which first opened its doors in 1996, offers the chance to have your picture taken next to amazingly lifelike waxworks of Neanderthals and other members of our immediate line of human predecessors. Other noteworthy elements include an archaeological park to explore, A replica of a Stone Age workplace, as well as pieces of art depicting human evolution.
The museum is situated along a 243-kilometre network of trails; if you can manage the walk (an hour each way), you can visit Mettmann’s charming downtown area from here.
Elector Charles Theodore established Carlstadt, a minor city borough, on a grid layout in the 18th century, just south of the Altstadt. In an affluent neighbourhood with galleries, boutiques, and antique stores, the majority of the homes still preserve their Baroque & Neoclassical facades.
To top off an indulgent afternoon, take a breather at a trendy cafe or restaurant after browsing the boutiques on Bilker Straße or Hohe Straße. The musical power couple of the 19th century, Robert and Clara Schumann, briefly resided at Bilker Straße in the 1850s, so you’ll be walking in some very high company.
19. A market at Carlsplatz
You can also visit Düsseldorf’s oldest market at Casselstadt. The market moved here in 1910 from Marktplatz, except for a brief pause during World War II. The sellers now maintain stationary stands that are covered by a canopy. What was once a market for basic supplies is now more of a gourmet culinary destination, fitting the neighbourhood.
There is a diverse selection of meals to go, including bratwurst, kebabs, potato pancakes, and crêpes, if you drop by for lunch. Additionally, you can still call in to order various items from the counters at the delicatessens that sell fruit, vegetables, cheese, seafood, and speciality foods.
20. Forum NRW
If you enjoy pop culture and modern art, one of your top priorities should be to learn what events are taking place at this exhibition centre. The NRW Forum hosts exhibitions of modern art, design, clothing, photography, and digital culture
The photography exhibition “Ladies on Street” by Peter Lindbergh and Garry Winogrand (posthumous) was on display at the time this article was written in 2017.
21. Museum of Neanderthals
To get to the Neander Valley in the east, take the S-Bahn (Neandertal). If you are familiar with the name, it is because the earliest Neanderthal Man was found here in 1856. The museum opened its doors inside galleries in 1996, and it also has an archaeological park that allows visitors to observe.
You can interact with Neanderthal models based on actual fossils at the museum and learn about their behaviour as well as the huge migration that carried them from eastern grasslands to western Europe.
Also, there is an exhibition that explores the various branches of human evolution as well as a collection of castings that show how early hominids evolved. The English audioguide simplifies the vast amount of material in the museum.
You must visit the Altstadt for a drink of Altbier as part of one of your rituals. The drink has a deep scarlet hue and is referred to as “old” since it uses high yeast. While this beer ferments at a moderate temperature, it matures at a somewhat chilly one, giving it a crispness and flavour more akin to a lager than an ordinary ale.
There are five craft breweries in the Altstadt if you want to sample the subtle variations in flavours, and the city’s tourism office also offers guided tours. If you want to live it up in Düsseldorf, get your Altbier with a side of fries and grilled pig knuckles.
23. Tour via Rhine Boat
Get onto a boat in the summer to view Düsseldorf’s skyline from the River. Weisse Flotte and KD are two cruise companies that provide hour-long journeys with complimentary drinks as well as a running commentary spoken over loudspeakers in both German & English.
The Medienhafen is one neighbourhood that is best appreciated from the water; cruises leave from the Rheinuferpromenade directly for this region. Instead of stopping in the quarter, the boats will navigate their way around the canals to get a better look at the contemporary buildings, including Gehry’s Neuer Zollhof.
When it was finished in 1957, the Theodor Heuss Bridge became Germany’s first cable-stayed bridge.
The “Largest Fair on the Rhine” is held on the left bank of the river between the second & third weekend in July.
The fair draws more than four million revellers annually and is the third-largest event in Germany after the Oktoberfest and the Canstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart. Being a religious celebration honouring the 15th-century sanctification of Sankt Lambertus Basilica and the patron saint of Ravenna, Apollinaris, Kirmes has a long history.
Nowadays, the concept is less religiously focused, and visitors go to the carnival for classic rides like roller coasters and carousels as well as an enormous Ferris wheel.
25. Café Hüftgold serves up coffee and Dessert
Similar to British afternoon tea, late-afternoon Kaffee & kuchen (coffee and cake) is a popular German treats. On weekdays, cafés throughout the city fill up at about 4 or 5 p.m. for the time-honoured custom of a leisurely cup of coffee and a slice of cake. Café Hüftgold is one of the best places to indulge. Comes in the Best thing to do Dusseldorf.
You can select from eight to ten freshly made cakes in this open, contemporary setting; in the summer, search for fruity varieties; in the cooler months, look for spiced varieties. The bakery also offers cakes devoid of milk, flour, or both, which are ideal for people with dietary restrictions.
26. Investigate the city’s U-Bahn System
In six U-Bahn stations, there are remarkable interactive & digital artworks on exhibit. Take the subway to see them. Throughout a two-mile section of the Wehrhahn Line, local artists have contributed an amazing assortment of video, light, and sound installations to the Pempelforter Strasse, Schadowstrasse, Benrather Strasse, Graf-Adolf-Platz, and Kirchplatz stations.
The popular ones are the 3D planet and star animations by Thomas Sticker that are projected all around Benrather Strasse station and create the impression that you are on board a spacecraft.
This gourmet haven, which takes up a whole plaza just south of the Old Town, draws both locals and visitors. Vendors peddle regional fruit, meats & cheeses, freshly baked goodies, and more varieties of potatoes than you ever thought existed beneath a glass canopy.
Also, you can eat a variety of ethnic foods like currywurst, daal, or crepes. Gourmet souvenirs like dried beans by Inka & Mehl, spices from Kräuterhexe, and locally roasted coffee from KaffeeReich are also available at the market. Oh, and the Fischhaus Obst booth has a wait for its excellent fish soup, so be sure to get in line.
27. Without leaving Germany, visit Japan
One of the biggest Japanese populations in Europe (about 7,000 people) may be found in Düsseldorf, also referred to as Little Tokyo on the Rhine. Around Immermannstraße, the bustling business district known as Japanviertel (the Japan quarter) is crowded with stores selling vibrant kimonos & waving cats, sushi & Japanese (and Korean) restaurants, and Asian groceries.
Cross the Rhine and go to the Niederkassel neighbourhood, a neighbourhood favoured by Japanese expatriates, for a more serene experience. EK-Haus, a Buddhist temple, the traditional Japanese home, a Japanese garden, and a tea room are all located here. Alternately, stroll through Nordpark’s tranquil Japanese garden, which is surrounded by Japanese maple trees, stone lanterns, waterfalls, and a pond. Hungry?
The line that forms outside Takumi in the Japan district at Immermannstrasse 28 every day at noon is proof that it’s one of the top ramen restaurants in the city.
28. In a fourth-generation family bakery, fill up on Carbs
The Hinkel Bakery, which has been in business since 1891 and is currently run by the 4th generation of the Hinkel family, has a line out the door for its baked delicacies.
Everything you see is made on-site, with different varieties set aside for different days of the week, and the shop windows, display cases, and shelves are filled with an astounding variety of artisanal bread, rolls, pastries, and cookies. The cheese rolls (whole wheat combined with grated gouda) as well as the bread twists loaded with cheese receive the highest marks in the savoury category.
If you have a sweet tooth, the Berliners and the airy brioche prepared with dried apricots, raisins, and almonds (only available on Thursdays) are both winners. At Easter and Christmas, interesting speciality bread is also offered. Buckwheat bread from the bakery is offered on Tuesdays & Thursdays and is gluten-free.
29. Free exhibitions of top-notch artwork at the Julia Stoschek Collection
See the Julia Stoschek Collection, a grand modern art gallery with a concentration on video, multimedia, and internet-based works, by crossing the Oberkasseler Bridge to the left bank of the Rhine. The building, which is housed in a former factory from the early 20th century, is impressive in and of itself, with a glass-walled rooftop or terrace providing breathtaking views of the river.
Annually changing exhibitions have featured works by Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price and other notable figures from the art world like Trisha Donnelly. Only Saturdays are allowed access to the collection.
While you’re there, go around the affluent Oberkassel neighbourhood, one of the most opulent and picturesque residential regions in the city. Its stunning original Art Nouveau architecture, much of which is focused all around Kaiser-Friedrich-Ring and Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring, is still intact since it was comparatively spared from the Second World War bombardment that largely wrecked the rest of Düsseldorf.
There is also so much culture that you might not know where to start: In addition to ancient homes and parks created by Imperial Electors, the city boasts mediaeval churches, art museums from various times, and cultural centres.
Pleasant Düsseldorf has a distinctively German feel to it. Even though this location has a seven-century history and that history can be found around every turn, the skyline is completely modern, with dazzling modern buildings housing superb clubs and cutting-edge eateries.
The best attractions in the city sit on the cusp of the two, highlighting the advantages of a modern metropolis while tipping a metaphorical hat to that rich past. It all joins together to produce something that embodies the nation while resolutely remaining distinctive, a magnificent fusion of the ancient and modern, the traditional and the avant-garde.