Took the train to Dusseldorf – this is my guide to the city | Germany Holidays

DrThe people of üsseldorf call their home the “ten-minute city”, because it rarely takes longer than that to get anywhere you want to go. This is a big claim for a place of at least 50 stadtteile (small areas), but backed by a transit system of U-Bahns and S-Bahns that gets you around with ease. And herein lies Düsseldorf’s big attraction: a small city with a population of just over 600,000, with the infrastructure, cosmopolitan and sheer cultural weight of a much larger place. Add the fact that over 57% of its area is green space, and you can understand why a recent study ranked it the sixth best city in the world to live in.

Germany map

There is a lot of fortune at play here, much of it sprinkled along the tree-lined Königsallee and adjacent to the canal, one of Germany’s most popular shopping streets. As the post-war capital of North Rhine-Westphalia (founded in 1946), the country’s most populous state, Düsseldorf has become a hub of global business and finance, and stylishly dressed geeks frequent the kilometer of designer stores in the ‘ku’ has earned a reputation. in magnification.

This is only a small part of the story. Visit the Altstadt (old town) in one evening and you’ll find a vibrant to the hustle hub that’s more about good times than good taste, with over 300 pubs, breweries, restaurants and clubs so close together I like to call it ‘the longest bar in the world’. Established neighborhoods such as Bilk and Flingern – and emerging neighborhoods such as Derendorf and Pempelfort – have diverse populations, blending the elegance of the day with a lively nightlife. There is a bustling counterculture from the city’s art school, and Germany’s largest Japanese community can be found in Niederkassel and along Immermannstrasse (AKA Little Tokyo) where ramen can’t be beaten.

A canal divides the Königsallee shopping street. Photography: Miro Mai / El Alami

The majestic Rhine has long been the site of heavy shipping; Today it’s a place for a picnic or for a drink, skateboarding, and ice cream, thanks to the promenade that runs along its east bank. At its southern end is Maidenhavn, where the old harbor has been transformed into a vision of ultra-modernity. Since the arrival of Frank Gehry’s Three Curved Buildings at the end of the last millennium, a kind of Epcot architecture has emerged around it, in which the interplay of the many new structures is as charming as their individual designs, all overlooked by the Needle. Rhine Tower with panoramic viewing platform and revolving restaurant.

Sheep graze in the meadows of the Rhine near Oberkassel.
Sheep graze in the meadows of the Rhine near Oberkassel. Photography: Yochen Tak / Alami

Across the river lies Oberkassel, a somewhat exclusive area where sheep still graze in beautiful waterside meadows; They keep the view neat and tidy for the owners of the expensive Art Nouveau buildings they overlook. There are plenty of parks to choose from anywhere you find yourself in the city, however, from the spacious Hofgarten, home to the famous curves of the Schauspielhaus performing arts center, to the romantic ponds in front of the former state parliament building, the Ständehaus. There are also parks and allotments in the south of town, where you’ll find cafés, beer gardens, and even a petting zoo.

where do you eat

People hanging out in a café in Altstadt Dusseldorf.
People hanging out in a café in Altstadt. Photo: theendup / Alamy

There is a great variety of cuisine to enjoy, from authentic Italian at San Leo in Altstadt, to hot Nashville chicken served with lively wine at vibey Hitchcoq in Pempelfort. There’s also a strong trend for cross and mixed foods, whether it’s Asian-Mediterranean at Bar Olio or French-Rhenish at Fleher Hof or Waya Kitchen, where the “Asian-North American-Latin” soul food includes teriyaki chicken sliders and Korean schnitzels. You’ll find excellent Japanese food all over the city, not just in the tiny Tokyo strip, and Nagaya, in Stadtmitte, has been awarded a Michelin star.

The daily market at Carlsplatz is a great place to buy coffee and pastries or have lunch; And at Lorettostrasse in Unterbilk, independent boutique shops punctuate some of the city’s best casual eateries. Chef Murat Afcioglu at Noa cooks with vegetables he’s grown in his own garden, while at Rob’s Kitchen you can enjoy gourmet cooking at bistro prices.

Hitchcock in Bimblefort.
Hitchcock in Bimblefort

It’s hard to leave Düsseldorf without seeing – or tasting – the altar that the Rhineland is so proud of. There are five brewing pubs making this “highly fermented” beer, mostly in the Altstadt, where customers accompany their drink with traditional dishes like sausage, potato salad and huge pork joints. For historic surroundings, try Uerige’s cavernous bar rooms – or for a more modern look, microbrewery Brauerei Kürzer is the real kid of the bunch, at just 12 years old.


Art by Clara Dorothy is displayed at K21.
Art by Clara Dorothy is displayed at K21. Photo: Dpa Picture Alliance / Alamy

The Kunstakademie Academy had a profound influence on the city’s arts and public outlook. In the 19th century, this school of fine arts became famous for landscape painters. in the twentieth century, for its depiction, and for the education of sculptor and activist Joseph Beuys. Today it continues to excite a heady mix of mainstream and subterranean culture, and the sheer amount of contemporary art collections and galleries means that Dusseldorf far outstrips its weight on the international stage. At Grabbeplatz you can walk straight from the three-storey Kunstsammlung K20, with its Kirchners, Klees and Klimts, and into the contemporary exhibition space of Kuntshalle, while on the K21 (Kunstsammlung’s second location) you can climb around inside the glass ceiling of the former parliament building on a spiderweb Spacious, as part of a long-acting installation by Tomás Saraceno.

The music scene has always been exciting and innovative: Düsseldorf was the birthplace of influential bands like Kraftwerk and Neu! and La Düsseldorf, Rheingold and DAF, and bars and clubs remain a leading space for all kinds of electronica. There is usually plenty of action in the Altstadt, especially on the weekends, and one of the best places to start is the cozy Salon des Amateurs, which functions as a Kunsthalle café by day, and at night becomes a great hangout for art-buffs. Spilled on the stairs outside. New project Lucy’s Sky hosts club nights in an elegant setting on Flinger Strasse; You have to ring the doorbell hidden between two storefronts to enter his colorful underground world.


Flingern is one of Düsseldorf's liveliest districts, with a community spirit and a history of rebellion.
Flingern is one of Düsseldorf’s liveliest districts, with a community spirit and a history of rebellion. Photography: Yochen Tak / Alami

Of all Düsseldorf’s neighborhoods, Flingern makes for a particularly great day out. In fact, it consists of two separate parts stadtteile, each has its own distinct character, from the sleepy urban village of Flingern-Nord to the sinister attitude of Flingern-Süd. In the 1980s, the last Kiefernstrasse was a notorious squatter, home to anarchist gangs. Its homes today are the liveliest in the city, their facades covered in colorful artwork hand-picked by the residents, who have built a lively alternative community here. The upscale and hardcore punk club, AK47, lives in sloppy glory, while not far from the hot new restaurant opening 5P Style serves up artisanal burgers with fries.

A 15-minute walk north, you’ll reach Birkenstrasse and Ackerstraße, the two roads that lie at the epicenter of Flingern’s northern district of leafy squares and independent cafés. Artists’ workshops and galleries punctuate the chain of vintage boutiques and recycling shops; It’s the kind of place where you can pick up a classy hat on one side of the street and get a tattoo on the other. Among the many delightful restaurants, Bulle Bistro stands out, with its sister wine bar and cousin bakery, while the exquisite cakes at Cafe Hüftgold deserve the claim to being ‘world-famous in Flingern’.

where to stay

Ruby Luna.
Ruby Luna opened in 2021

There hasn’t always been much love for architecture in post-war Dusseldorf, which was quickly built to restore a city largely destroyed by bombing in World War II. But Ruby Luna (doubles from £85 bed and breakfast), which opened in May 2021, found plenty to celebrate in the 1950s at the Altstadt site. The open-plan lounge and restaurant are an elegant homage to mid-century space-age design, and the rooftop bar offers a truly great view of the city (if you don’t already have one by your window). There’s a head of hat as well for the city’s love of rock, with a Marshall subwoofer in every room and a ready-to-use guitar at reception.

Travel permit provided by Interrail; Prices start from €185 (for four-day travel within a month). Flight saved By Düsseldorf Tourismus

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