As many of you know from my posts in our Forum, most of my family is from the Düsseldorf area, and having grown up spending almost every summer in Germany and Düsseldorf, I’ve developed a bit of a fond affection for the city – (and its beer; as you can tell by my forum username, “AltBier”!). From walking down the Rheinterasse in the summer, to visiting the “Grosste Kirmus am Rhein”, to strolling through the Alt Stadt or shopping in the Schadow Arkaden, it’s just a beautiful and fun city.
Perhaps what I like most about it is that when I get the opportunity to visit; I’m living and hanging out amongst Germans. I would say that is very different than visiting some of the other more tourist-oriented cities (including Munich and Berlin). Let’s face it – Düsseldorf isn’t a town that people from other countries go out of their way to visit – and that’s kind of a shame, because it truly is a gem of a town.
Walking along the Rhein
My family is from Lohausen, about 5 minutes away from downtown and the Altstadt, and right around the corner from the airport. My Aunt’s house is within walking distance from the Rhein. One of the things I do often in the USA (especially in the warmer weather) is go jogging outdoors. If you are into jogging (or even walking or bike riding), then jogging along the Rhein is a very scenic route. From my Aunt’s house, it’s easy to go as little or as long as I’d like. I used to run a nice loop from her house, up to the Rhein, through the parking lots at the Messe, and back again. Make sure you go from the Rheindamm down to the actual river’s edge!
The Rheinufer, near the Altstadt, is another beautiful area of the Rhein. While definitely more crowded than the more rural areas of the Rhein, its hustle and bustle has its own charm. I’d definitely recommend going for a nice Spaziergang anywhere along the Rhein!
Visiting the Kirmes
A great thing about visiting Düsseldorf in the summer is the Kirmes – dubbed “Größte Kirmes am Rhein” (largest carnival along the Rhein); a fair that has its roots back to the 15th century. It’s truly a spectacular carnival; and what is really amazing about it is they literally build an entire amusement park for only a single week in July (normally the 3rd week).
It’s incredible to walk along the Rhein in the weeks leading up to the Kirmes and see only flat land one day and a towering Ferris wheel the next. Each year, the Kirmes usually sees over 4 million visitors from all across Germany and Europe. The culmination of the Kirmes is an extravagant fireworks display (Feuerwerk).
Drinking Alt Bier in the Altstadt
Of course, my all-time favorite activity is simply going to the Altstadt and enjoying some Alt Bier from one of the many breweries in town. The Altstadt is affectionately known as the längste Theke der Welt (Longest Bar in the World) and has over 300 pubs and clubs. Being in the Altstadt on a Saturday night is really fun – people are hanging out outdoors, drinking and enjoying the evening, walking along the Rhein with an ice cream, and just enjoying the atmosphere. I recommend stopping at Uerige, Füchsen, and Schumacher Brauerei for some great Alt bier, and definitely walk along Bolkerstraße, where all the action is.
I’m also a fan of the thin-made German pizza, and Pizzeria Lupo in the Altstadt is my favorite. It’s on Bolkerstraße near Heinrich-Heine Allee. I’ve always been a fan of the Tunfischpizza (Tuna Pizza - or Pizza Tonno in Italien!).
Other Things to Do
There are lots of other things to do as well. I put together a Google Map list of things to do in Düsseldorf. While not everything on the list is super exciting, it shows some of the things that occupied my time when I used to visit.
One thing not on my original list that was an ad-hoc decision this past summer was taking a boat trip on the Weisse Flotte. They have a bunch of charters, but the boat ride we did was a 1-hour long putter up and down the Rhein. You get some great views of the Altstadt from the water, including some of the architecture to the south like the Gehry Buildings, as well as great views of the Rheinturm and the various bridges, including the Theodor-Heuss Brücke. Also, you get unlimited beer during the trip. Yup, that was all we had to know; we were on that boat! And to top it off, the price was very reasonable – if I recall correctly I think it was around 20 Euros per person.
Some other things you can do include going to the top of the Rheinturm. I have not yet done this (surprisingly.. having been to Düsseldorf probably 15 or more times!), but I have heard great things and would certainly recommend it if you have the time!
If you are into shopping, Düsseldorf is a shopping mecca- from Koenigsallee (affectionately called the Ko) with all the famous makers (Gucci, Burberry, etc.) to the Schadow Arkaden – an indoor mall walking distance from the Altstadt – there is a lot to spend your hard-earned Euros on.
There are also several museums, although I haven’t visited any except for the Kunstsammlung NRW, and to be honest I don’t really recall if I enjoyed it there or not!
Have you been to Dusseldorf? What are your favorite parts to visit and see? Visit our Forum to talk with other ImGerman.com members about it!