Looking for things to do in Dusseldorf, Germany? Well look no further because we’ve got you covered with this epic guide on what to get up to in all the top spots in the city.
First up we’ll be covering all the best things in and around Altstadt, Dusseldorf Old Town. Then we’ll give you the lowdown on visiting the Flingern, Kaiserswerth, Oberkassel and Benrath areas. And also the latest on the best farmers markets and art exhibitions in the city.
Right at the end, there’s also a section where we’ve answered all the most FAQ’s about Dusseldorf tourism like ‘is Germany safe?‘ and ‘why do people wait for the green man?’, so be sure to check that out too.
One of the first things that’ll strike you about Dusseldorf, Germany is how much of an attractive city it is. Grand historic buildings sit in sync alongside new elaborate modern architecture. It’s a really beautiful contrast.
Another thing you’ll notice about Dusseldorf is how much of an outdoor city it is. The Rhinelanders just simply love being outside. They also love art and design. So you’ll find a strong creative current flowing through all parts of the city.
Then there’s the beer breweries churning out their delicious ‘altbier’ and no end of incredible Japanese restaurants credit to the huge Japanese community who live here.
It’s also a really great alternative to the more well known German cities such as Berlin, Hamburg or Cologne. Whetted your appetite enough? Okay, let’s get into the nitty gritty of the best things to do in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Things To Do in Dusseldorf
Dusseldorf Old Town and Around
Known locally as Altstadt, Dusseldorf Old Town sits right alongside the mighty River Rhine. It’s the heart of the city and makes up a big portion of the best things to see and do in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Dating back to as early as 1392, the Marketplatz is the main central square of the city. The Jan-Wellem equestrian monument stands at the centre, overlooked by the town hall.
These days the space is only occasionally used as an actual marketplace for seasonal events. There’s a cracking Christmas market here in December.
There’s lots of smaller pretty cobbled streets like Mühlengasse dotted around Altstadt. So be sure to get off the main passageways and put taking a wander down the back alleys on your list of what to see in Dusseldorf.
If you’re a beer fan, this will be high up on your list of what to do in Dusseldorf. Stretching along “the world’s longest bar”, more than 300 pubs and restaurants connect to create a buzzing atmosphere fuelled by the Köbes’ welding their trays of morish altbier.
And the best bit, they’ll just keep coming until you place your beermat on top of your glass as a signal to stop. How many you’ve had will be marked on your beermat as a tab. Such a cool system.
There’s also a few great brewery tours, if you’d prefer to have someone walk you through your beer tastings – try this one on for size.
St Lambertus Church
The twisted spire of this favourite Dusseldorf landmark is part of the oldest church in the city. The original twisted spire, likely a result of being built with damp timber, was destroyed by a lightning strike fire in 1815.
But popular legend has it that it was the devil who twisted it in a rage as he unsuccessfully tried to tear the church out of the ground. And so at the request of Rhinelanders, when it was rebuilt it was designed to retain its original twisted character.
Radschlägerbrunnen in Burgplatz
Otherwise known as the ‘Cartwheelers Fountains’, the Radschlägerbrunnen in Burgplatz is another popular Dusseldorf landmark. It’s unknown where it all started, but cartwheeling is one of Dusseldorfs oldest traditions and you’ll see symbols of it all over the city. Weird flex, but why not?
Visiting these two arguing men is another of the popular things to do in Dusseldorf, Germany. The ‘Dispute’ sculpture depicting a conflict between two different generations on their opinions of World War II can be found on Mittelstraße.
When you see it for the first time, it’s a common phenomenon for you to be drawn to side with one of the two men. Who will you stick up for?
If you’re looking for an alternative way to explore Dusseldorf other than on foot, this Segway Tour is a lot of fun and has great reviews.
Awash with ramen and sushi restaurants, if you’ve got a taste for Japanese food you’ll be in your element on this street and surrounding area. Created by the large Japanese community that call Dusseldorf home, this part of the city is like a mini Tokyo.
If you’re unsure what to try, head to Takumi Tonkotsu, order yourself a bowl of Takumi Black Tonkotsu ramen and prepare for your world to be rocked. The address is Oststraße 51.
Okay, time to take our list of things to do in Dusseldorf, Germany upmarket. Known simply as ‘Ko’, this lavish shopping street is where those with cash come to splash it.
Chocobloc with luxury brands, if you’re not shopping, take a seat at one of the cafes and watch the fashion show unfold. You’ll notice that the seats at all the outdoor tables face the same way, resembling a real life catwalk.
But it’s not just all about the shops, the elaborate water features and ornate bridges running the length of Königsallee are really special. And at the top end of the street you also have the gorgeous Corneliusplatz and the striking black and white Kö-Bogen buildings.
Depending on the time of day, you’ll likely notice the bright green parakeets chirping overhead. At dusk they settle in the trees lining the wide boulevard and by day you’ll find them swooping around nearby Hofgarten Park.
The lungs of Dusseldorf, Germany. Wandering around the formal flower gardens and peaceful wild meadows with 200 year old trees is rightly so one of the best things to do in Dusseldorf.
Towards the east of Hofgarten public park, you’ll find Schloss Jägerhof or Jägerhof Castle in English. Built between 1752 to 1763 and once stationed at the entrance gate to the city, this stunner of a building now houses a museum.
The Goethe Museum has a cultural and historical collection devoted to the great German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Where the Rhine Embankment now stands was once a main road, running alongside the river. But a huge project, completed in 1993, created the Rheinuferstraße. The road was buried in the underground tunnel, reconnecting Dusseldorf city with the River Rhine.
You can take a tranquil walk or cycle all along the Rhine Embankment under the leafy canopies to the futuristic Medienhafen in the south, or head north to the green of Nordpark and beyond. Great if you’re looking for relaxing things to do in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The section with the Rhine Terrace Steps on Burgplatz is one of the best places in Dusseldorf to enjoy sunset. Usually with a beer in hand, people head down there at the end of the day to catch up with friends. There’s often street performers.
The atmosphere is vibrant and full of life, matching the ‘Rivertime’ art work that you’ll find there too. Also known as the ‘Kuhna Wall’ after the artist Hermann-Josef Kuhna, brightly coloured shards decorate this part of the Rhine embankment. Your instagram will love it.
Just a little further north along the Rhine Embankment is another popular spot called Fortuna Büdchen Kiosk. It first gained popularity with football fans cycling along the Rhine on their way to a Fortuna match stopping to grab a quick beer.
But these days it’s become a bit of an institution for all, with people coming down to grab a cold one and sit on the wall overlooking the Rhine. It’s open until 10pm and also serves some fast food options.
Rhine River Cruise
Another solid recommendation for those looking for ‘what to do in Dusseldorf’, is to take a cruise along the river Rhine. It’s a really relaxing way to take in a different view of Dusseldorf, Germany.
Take a look at more of the details here.
A regenerated former wasteland, the Dusseldorf Harbour is an architecture lover’s paradise. Showcasing work by creatives such as Helmet Jahn, David Chipperfield and Renzo Piano, this diverse area of Dusseldorf is seriously visually appealing.
Despite the area being almost completely modernised and feeling rather chic, the old port cranes and obsolete rail tracks act as a reminder of it’s tougher, rougher days gone by.
The stars of the show are, however, probably the eccentric Gehry buildings, or Neue Zollof to give them their official name. With not a single straight line in sight, the white, silver and red buildings look as though they are swaying in the wind.
The American architect Frank Owen Gehry who designed them also created the impressive Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
It’s definitely not the prettiest, but the Rheintrum (or Rhine Tower in English) is the tallest building in the city. From the revolving restaurant and observation deck at the top you have unrivalled views out over Dusseldorf city and the river Rhine.
If you’re feeling brave you can even lie on the tilted glass surfaces for an extra adrenaline rush. But the Rheintrum wasn’t just built for its panoramic views, it’s also Dusseldorf city’s biggest timepiece. That’s right, those flashing red lights you’ll see at night are actually a decimal clock.
Behind the giant silver UFO shaped Hyatt hotel you’ll find a gem of a spot for enjoying a relaxing drink overlooking the Rhine. Pebbles Terrace is great at any time of the day but the views are at their best at sunset. Beers are around €5 and cocktails €10.
What To Do In Dusseldorf, Germany
Kiefernstraße in Flingern
What used to be squat houses in the 1980’s have been transformed into an open air gallery of political street art. It started with just a handful of houses when a lot of student creatives moved to the Flingern neighbourhood in the early 2000’s seeking affordable rents.
But Kiefernstraße is not the only reason tourists rate visiting this area of the city as one of the best things to do in Dusseldorf, Germany. The influx of creative and entrepreneurial minds has also created a well loved alternative and bohemian vibe in general.
Shedding the dodgy reputation it once had, there’s now plenty of trendy cafes and boutique shops opened up. Head to Ackerstraße, Hermannplatz and Birkenstraße for the best. This is also the part of the city to visit if you like your pubs and bars to come with live music.
One word of warning though with regards to Kiefernstraße. Do remember it is a residential area and the houses are private property. So be respectful because the residents can quite rightly get annoyed with you posing for extended photoshoots on their doorsteps.
The nearest tram stops are Oberbilker Market/Warschauer Straße on the U74/77/79 or 706, or Kettwiger Straße on the U75 or 706.
Kaiserpfalz in Kaiserswerth
One of Dusseldorfs northern neighbourhoods, Kaiserswerth is older than Dusseldorf city itself. It’s a great addition for things to do in Dusseldorf, Germany because its historic feel is in complete contrast with the modern city centre.
It’s quiet, peaceful, very posh and the 17th century baroque style houses are stunning. Then there’s the impressive Kaiserpfalz ruins. Dating back to the middle ages, the imperial palace was once surrounded by 4m thick walls.
You can explore the ruins for free from 9am and 6pm between April and October.
The nearby riverside restaurant, Alte Rheinfähre, is rumoured to have the best strawberry cake around. But beware, in keeping with the upmarket area, the prices are rather steep.
If you’re in the Kaiserswerth neighbourhood later in the day and fancy a beer, the Galerie Burghof beer garden along the river is a good spot for sunset views over the Rhine.
There’s a few different ways to get to Kaiserswerth. The quickest way is by tram. You’ll need to take the U79 and jump off at Klemensplatz. Taking the cycle path along the river is way more beautiful. Or alternatively, from March to October arrive via river cruise from Altstadt.
Also in the north of Dusseldorf, Germany and worth a stop off if you are heading up to Kaiserswerth is Nordpark. It’s the largest green space in the city and is great for running if you’re staying nearby.
It’s huge and you’ll likely need to take a look at a map to find your way around. The expansive fountains, colorful flower beds and themed manicured gardens make for a very pleasant stroll. The Japanese garden was our favourite.
You can walk or cycle to Nordpark down the Rhine Embankment from Altstadt. Or if you are getting around by public transport, take the U78 or U79 tram and jump off at the Nordpark.
Schloss Benrath in Benrath
The pretty architectural gem that is Schloss Benrath, or Benrath Palace in English, dates back to 1755. It is one of the most well preserved buildings in the whole of Europe from the Baroque period.
English tours run at 3pm, the entrance is €14 and you’ll have to put on felt slippers to protect the floors. The surrounding gardens with elegant ancient courtyards are open to the public and are equally impressive.
There’s a Museum of Natural History and a cafe in the palace too. To get there you need to take the U83 or U71 tram and get off at the Schloss Benrath stop. It’s also worth going to the town of Benrath at the end of the line to have a look around too if you have time.
Oberkassel and Niederkassel
On the opposite side of the river to the Dusseldorf Old Town area of Altstadt you’ll find the neighbourhood of Oberkassel and bordering it, the Japanese neighbourhood of Niederkassel.
Some of the best restaurants in the city are over here. And if you like Japanese Gardens, there’s an exceptionally pretty one called Eko Haus. The entrance fee is €3.50 each.
Although the majority of buildings in Dusseldorf were badly damaged or destroyed during World War II air raids, the bombing was concentrated to the east of the Rhine, leaving this area along the west bank relatively intact.
This is why there are so many art deco houses in Oberkassel compared to the opposite side of the river Rhine.
The expansive Rheinwiesen meadows, which are used for all kinds of festivals and recreational activities, run along this side of the river. The meadows are so huge that from Spring to Autumn, sheep are usually brought into the city to graze and keep them under control.
More Dusseldorf Attractions
Popular amongst both tourists and residents, visiting a farmers market is another thing that should be on your itinerary of what to do in Dusseldorf. And you have plenty to choose from. We’re just listing our favourites here but there are many more.
This is the big one that you can’t miss. Centrally located in Altstadt, there are over sixty stalls peddling everything from fresh flowers to currywurst.
It’s open 8am – 6pm Monday to Friday, 8am – 4pm Saturday, closed Sunday.
Found on Linienstraße, just on the edge of the Oberbilk neighbourhood, this Dusseldorf farmer market is renowned for its unusual and exotic breads and meats.
Opening times are 7:30am – 7pm Monday to Friday and 7:30am – 6pm Saturday. It’s closed on Sunday.
Rhenish Farmers Market
Situated on Friedensplätzchen in the trendy neighbourhood of Unterbilk, this Dusseldorf farmers market is much more of a local affair. Fantastically, all the products sold come from within an 80km radius.
It’s not everyday, just Tuesday 8am – 1pm, and Friday 10am – 6pm.
If you’re into your food and want to make sure you experience the best local experience while in Dusseldorf, this food tour is a great option.
We won’t name them all here, just the best and most unusual, because believe it or not, Düsseldorf actually has more than 100 art galleries.
If you love your art and museums, a great time to visit Dusseldorf is over the annual ‘Nacht der Museen’ (Night of Museums) when around 40 museums are open late into the night.
Probably the most well loved modern art museum in the whole of the city, if you’re a fan of the creative stuff, a trip to Kunstsammlung has to be on your things to do in Dusseldorf itinerary.
Interestingly, the museum is made up of two separate buildings in different locations; K20 And K21. There’s a free shuttle bus in between. Or you can just cycle if you’ve arrived by bike.
The highlight inside K21 Ständehaus is an installation called ‘in Orbit’ by Tomás Saraceno. The 3 layered 2,500 metre square area of transparent steel nets, which you can climb on, behaves like a giant spider web on which you can feel the vibrations of others.
One of the most popular exhibitions at K20 Grabbeplatz is actually on a wall outside (you don’t need to pay to see it). The wall length mosaic of glazed coloured tiles called ‘Hornet’ was created by British artist Sarah Morris.
Just opposite K20 Kunstsammlung, you’ll find an ugly prefabricated concrete building. But don’t be put off by the exterior, the contemporary art exhibitions in this Dusseldorf museum are excellent. Especially the open air art by Joseph Beuys.
Another popular art space for things to do in Dusseldorf is the Kunstpalast inside the Ehrenhof building. The ‘Fish Flies on Sky’ exhibition by Nam June Paik is the main draw. It’s displayed on the ceiling so is best enjoyed laying down. But don’t worry, there’s a huge comfy sofa to spare your back.
Kunst im Tunnel (KIT)
Alternatively known as Kunstbunker, KIT is an underground museum created in a space leftover from the Rheinuferstraße project. The 140m tunnel houses superb temporary contemporary art exhibitions. And the cafe above has beautiful views over the Rhine if you fancy a coffee after.
Keeping with the theme of unusually located art, in the new Wehrhahn line of Dusseldorfs underground tram system art fans will find a treat. And if you’re after usual things to do in Dusseldorf, this is a great option.
You see, the 3.4km metro route runs through 6 uniquely designed underground stations, each with an elaborate and distinctive style. You really have to see the designs to fully appreciate them and you should read this article before you visit.
The six underground art stations are located on lines U71, U72 and U73 between the end of line Wehrhahn and Bilk stops:
- Benrather Straße
Another one for the unusually located art enthusiasts, this Dusseldorf art museum is located in an abandoned underground toilet. That’s right amongst the hanging art exhibition you’ll find urinals. But don’t worry it’s clean, in fact the name actually means ‘cleanroom’.
Created by homegrown Dusseldorf artist Christopher Pöggeler, there are 10 of these scattered around the city. Always standing on top of advertising pillars, each statue exemplifies various modern day societal characters.
Trying to find them all has become one of the well loved things to do in Dusseldorf. How many will you find? We only managed 7.
Day Trips From Dusseldorf
Cologne is known worldwide for its awe-inspiring medieval cathedral. And being so close, is usually high on most tourists’ list of things to do in Dusseldorf, Germany. You won’t find any altbier in Cologne though – in fact don’t even mention it! It’s all about the Kölsch in this city.
A power struggle of old, there’s a fierce, albeit nowadays mostly jokey, rivalry between the two cities that filters into everything. It literally goes back centuries, with residents of each city claiming that it’s the best.
See which you prefer if you take a day trip to Cologne!
The journey from Dusseldorf to Cologne takes just 30 minutes and a return ticket shouldn’t set you back more than €30. Check prices and book in advance here.
If you like hiking and are after a bit of nature during your stay, you won’t get any better than a day trip to Neanderlandsteig. This is a great option for what to do in Dusseldorf, Germany if you’ve planned a longer stay.
A 235 kilometers circular trail, the route takes you right around the district of Mettman so it’s way more than a one day adventure. But it’s made up of 17 stages, so you can just pick a section. The 14.3km Ratingen to Ratingen-Homberg stage is the closest and is really nice.
There’s some moderate hills but it’s rated easy in hiking difficulty levels and should only take you around 4 to 4.5 hours. You need to take the 752 or 754 bus to Nösenberg and then on the way back the 748 from Grever Mühle.
You can find all the information for each stage here, but it is only in German so you’ll need to translate it. The tourism office in Dusseldorf will be able to give information in English.
Dusseldorf Tourism FAQs
Best way to get from Dusseldorf airport?
Dusseldorf airport (DUS) is just 7km north of the city. You can just jump on the S11 train from the Flughafen Terminal. There’s one every 30 minutes and it’ll take around 15 minutes to get into Dusseldorf station. But, and this is a big BUT, double check the airport codes.
Because most budget airlines actually fly into an airport that is nowhere near Dusseldorf city. It’s actually called Weeze or Niederrhein airport (NRN) and is about 80km away. Lots of people that get caught out by this.
There is a train, but not direct from the airport. You’ll need to first take a bus or taxi to the local station in Weeze. The easiest and cheapest option is to use the Flibco airport shuttle bus service. And if you book enough in advance you can get tickets for as little as €5.
The journey takes around two hours, which depending on where you are flying from is often longer than the flight. But it’s an easy journey and there are some seriously cheap flights into Weeze airport so it’s often worth the extra travel time.
How to get around Dusseldorf?
Dusseldorf is a very cycle friendly city, there’s cycle paths everywhere. So renting a bike is your first great option for how to get around Dusseldorf. If that’s not your bag, the tram system is fast and efficient.
Particularly with the lines and stations denoted by the letter ‘U’ for underground, it took us a while to get our heads around whether the system was actually a tram or a metro. Turns out it’s both. With some lines and stations being underground and some being above.
Grab a network map from one of the tourism offices. There’s also a bus network and handily tickets work on all public transport – trains, trams and buses. To cover you for all the Dusseldorf attractions mentioned here (except the day trips), you will need a zone A3 ticket.
And you can either buy single tickets, a 4 journey ticket or 24 or 48 hour tickets. With the 24 and 48 hour tickets you can also buy group ones for up to 5 persons. There is also a ‘K’ ticket (Kurzstrecke) that covers you for a short trip of up to 3 stops.
There’s an app you can download, but we found it easiest to just buy the tickets at the ticket machines which are at each tram station. It’s possible to pay by card too.
Then you need to date stamp your ticket in one of the little red machines. You can’t miss them, they have them at the entrances and on all the trams. Don’t forget to do this otherwise your ticket won’t be valid.
Alternatively there are lots of ‘Tier’ electric scooters around the city that you can use. Just download the app, fill out a quick profile, pop your card details in & away you go.
Top tip: have a quick search online for discount codes. We found one (Start) in a reddit forum for 2 free 15 minute rides which worked a treat.
What’s the Dusseldorf card & should I get one?
If you’re planning on visiting some museums and are buying a 24/48 hour transport ticket, this may well save you a few quid. It includes entry to a few free museums, discounts at lots more and covers you on public transport for the duration of the ticket.
You can buy 24/48/72 or 96 hour Dusseldorf cards and single or group ones. The group ones cover a family of 2 adults and 2 kids upto 14 or a group of 3 adults. You can find prices, more information and buy online here. Or pick them up at the tourism offices when you arrive.
Which is the best area in Dusseldorf?
If you are close to a tram stop, there isn’t really a bad place to stay in Dusseldorf, Germany. It’s an extremely safe city and very easily navigable on public transport or bicycle. However there are a few areas that are abit more happening and have more things going on.
Of course there’s Altstadt, Dusseldorf Old Town, right smack bang in the city centre. But the trendier areas of Flingern and Unterbilk would be our choice. If you’re after something more upmarket, there’s lots of fancy-pants hotels in Medienhafen.
How long to spend in Dusseldorf?
You can see the best of Dusseldorf in 2 or 3 days depending on how quickly you like to move around. Add a day for visiting Cologne too if you’re planning on going there. But you could easily spend a week and not be bored.
What’s the weather like in Dusseldorf?
Temperature and sunshine wise Dusseldorf’s most pleasant months are June, July and August. However there is also more chance of rain during that period, with July being the wettest month of the year.
The driest month is April which is a good time if you don’t mind cooler temperatures. January is the coldest month of the year when temperatures can be literally freezing.
Why do people wait for the green man?
Because jaywalking (i.e. crossing without the green man) is illegal in Germany. It seems crazy if you are from a country that doesn’t have this law. Like people are just literally wasting minutes of their life waiting to cross a road with no traffic. But it’s serious business here.
Not only will you get lots of disapproving stares for crossing the road on red, but you could also be landed with a fine of up to €50 if a copper spots you. So watch your step, so to speak.
Should I tip in Dusseldorf, Germany?
Service charges are usually included in the menu price in restaurants and bars so it’s not expected that you tip. However, it is usual to ‘round up’ to a round figure or full euro.
Where’s the tourism office?
There’s two. One in the central station on Immermannstraße which is open 9am-6pm Monday to Friday and 9:30am-5pm Saturday. Then another in Altstadt, Dusseldorf Old Town, on the corner of Marketstraße and Rheinstraße. That’s open 10am-6pm everyday.
If you have any more questions about planning your trip to to Dusseldorf, hit us up in the comments and we’ll do our best to help.
Dusseldorf Travel Insurance
Dusseldorf and Germany in general is one of the safest places in Europe. However, as with any trip abroad, you never know when accidents or incidents may happen so make sure you have a good quality travel insurance in place.
Our go to travel insurance provider is World Nomads.
They have a no bullshit approach to policy wording & are perfect for adventurous travellers like us. Get a no obligation quote here:
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Yorkshire born & bred, Sarah is a professional blogger who loves to travel. Pushing her boundaries with new adventures is her jam, so you likely won’t find her in one place for too long. Also a serious Marmite addict.