15 Things to do in Dusseldorf, Germany

15 Things to do in Dusseldorf, Germany

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Heading to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You’ve come to the right place, my fun travel-loving friend!

I had the pleasure of visiting a few popular destinations in Germany during my 2016 summer in Europe, and absolutely fell in love with both Munich and Berlin.  The charming little town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber on the Romantic Road won my heart over, and I ate more bratwurst in a few weeks than in my entire life. #noregrets

Alas, my time in Germany came to an end (off to Greece it was!), and I unfortunately missed out on a handful of places on my big bad German bucket list, Dusseldorf being one of them! Thankfully, I have my friend Christine from Tapped out Travellers here to share her favorite things to do in Dusseldorf for anyone planning a weekend in Dusseldorf any time soon! Enjoy! :)

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

As the capital of North Rhine Westphalia, Dusseldorf is the 7th largest city in Germany. It also happens to be home to a myriad of cultures as it hosts countless expats from numerous countries; did you know that Dusseldorf holds the largest number of Japanese people outside of Japan and that Turkish also makes up the largest non-German nationality in Dusseldorf?! Talk about culturally diverse!

Before I get into the best things to do in Dusseldorf, let me share a bit of information about traveling in the city.

Pre-Travel Guide to Dusseldorf

How to get around Dusseldorf

The best way to get around Dusseldorf, also referred to as D’dorf by some (not by me, don’t worry), is public transit. The train, tram, and bus system is so properly integrated into the German way of life, that many do not even own a car. The Ubahn will get you to most places and the bus can get you from the train station to everywhere else you want to do. Simply download the Rheinbahn app and make your ticket purchase that way – to be billed to your account in a month or so – or use any of the many machines at the train stations, inside the tram, or ask the bus driver.

Make sure to tell the machines, or the driver, where you want to end up, because your fare is based on distance and time in transit, not a flat rate… unless you buy the day pass.

On the other hand, there are also half a million people living in the city, plus those traveling in from out of town for work, so if you do happen to be driving, be prepared for traffic.

Important things to pack

Like any German city, the weather changes from hot and dry, to cold and wet, sometimes in the same day – if not the same hour. Be sure to pack plenty of waterproof or quick drying layers, a sturdy umbrella for those strong winds, and a scarf. Germans like their scarves and Dusseldorf is the centre of fashion so you best come prepared!

As a Western European city, there isn’t much that is taboo in terms of clothing. Come March when the temperature finally reaches 15celsius and my family is in shorts and a tshirt, the locals are still in their jackets and long shorts. We stand out like a sore thumb; we are “that” Canadian family. There are so many different types of people, from so many places, don’t worry about standing out.

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

When to go

It’s always a great time to visit the city, although some months are just better than others depending on the things you want to do in Dusseldorf. For example, November will host a series of St Martin Parades with children walking down the streets singing with their homemade lanterns. December hosts the famous Christmas Markets, and February is Carnival. However, the end of July/beginning of August is that horrible sweet spot where the air is hot, dry, and temperatures hover around 30C (90F). This is not a good time to visit, and most locals will have run away to a beach in the Netherlands.

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

Dusseldorf, like the rest of Germany, does not allow Sunday shopping and does require the day to be respected as a rest/family day. No manual labour, no loud noises, just quiet and peaceful. This is a good day to arrive and settle into your hotel, and spend the afternoon at a park.

Important phrases to know

Thank you. – Danke.
Thank you very much. – Vielen Dank.
You’re welcome. – Bitteschön.
Please. – Bitte.
Yes. – Ja.
No. – Nein.
Pardon me. Entschuldigung.

Important things to remember

1. There is no Sunday shopping.
2. English is not an official language, and therefore no one is required to serve you in it.
3. Signs that say WC mean public toilets – they range from 50c to 1euro. They are never free. Watch out for the ones that are.

15+ Things to do in Dusseldorf

1 | Alstadt

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

Alstadt literally translates into Old Town so the down town area is filled with historic buildings, old shops and home to the Rathaus – city hall. Definitely one of the top things to do in Dusseldorf – aka, don’t miss out! If you’re looking for a combo tour of the Old Town and some beer tasting, sign up for a tour in advance!

Segway lovers, you’re in luck! This Segway Tour takes you to all the best spots in the city, including Alstadt, the Old Town!

2 | Klemensvertel

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

A quiet little square in northern Dusseldorf. There are markets on Thursday mornings, amazing bakeries and an authentic Italian pizzeria. There is ice cream available in this square, Eis Café, but I would suggest crossing the street and purchasing from Schuster’s instead.

3 | Rhine River cruise

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

After visiting Klemensvertel, full of ice cream, beirgartens and baked goods, keep going down the road and you will end up at the Rhine River. Take a short cruise up the river from Kaiserwerth to the Alstadt, or all the way to Koln.

4 | Schloss Kaiserswerth

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

The castle is to the left of the cruise launch. It is the old castle to Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa’s. It was taken down and reassembled to rebuild the city many times since its construction in 1174 and now stands in ruins.

5 | Duisburg zoo

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

Technically in the next town over (but the neighboring towns support each other this way), the U79 will take you from Dusseldorf HBF to Duisburg HBF then catch a quick bus or tram to the zoo. It’s all connected.

6 | Aquazoo

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

Finally, the Aquazoo is opening. Starting September 2017, the Aquazoo will reopen after being closed for renovations for nearly 3 years. I, for one, plan on being there for its grand opening.

7 | Neanderthal Museum

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

Just outside of town is the incredible Neanderthal Museum. Of all the things to do in Dusseldorf, this is one of my favorites. It is located near the original site of the first discovery of the Neanderthal skull. There is a Bison Wildpark down the street of the museum and the trails are a few km long.

8 | Wildpark Dusseldorf

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

Where can you walk beside deer, play in the park and have a picnic at the same time? Wildpark Dusseldorf. Fun for the whole family! Just for the record, the deer do get rather close, so if you have any little ones, you may want to keep them close, especially if they’re scared!

9 | Schloss Benrath

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

Another amazing Schloss in Dusseldorf. While it is not a castle in the classic sense, it is still a great site to see and the grounds are amazing. The gardens are not to be missed. Bring a picnic, it’s going to be a long afternoon.

10 | Classic Remise

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

Classic car enthusiast will love Classic Remise. Cars everywhere, and most if not all are for sale. Entrance is free to the public and there is a café on site if you need a break.

11 | Konigsalle

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

A beautiful area where high fashion meets high prices. The streets are lined with fashion boutiques and signature cafes. Set in historic buildings, it is fun just to people watch and walk around.

12 | Rheinufepromenade

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

The promenade just next to the alstadt, along the Rhine River. In the winter months, it hosts Christmas markets and a ferris wheel. In the summer, the promenade has waterfront popup restaurants, festivals and numerous events. There is always something to see here.

13 | Eat Bratwurst mit Brochen

Bratwurst Dusseldorf

You can’t leave Germany without eating a Bratwurst mit brochen. If you are feeling adventurous, add some curry-ketchup for that extra kick. Pommes on the side with pommessauce or mayo. It’s the German way.

14 | Visit a biergarten

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

Beirgartens are another great German invention that need to be experienced in Dusseldorf. They are literally popup trailers surrounded by tables and chairs. Grab a beer and converse with a stranger, because seats are limited and there is no such thing as personal space when it comes to good beer.

Alt is the beer of choice in Dusseldorf, Konigpilsner is the Duisburg beer. Be sure to known where you are before ordering, you may find yourself on the wrong side of the waiters good-graces. Beer rivalries are a real thing.

Craving to try a quite a few and learn some info along the way?  Sign up for a craft beer tasting and you’ll be enjoying the beer (all 5 of them!) straight from the barrel!

15 | Christmas Markets

DUSSELDORF CITY GUIDE! >> Headed to Germany soon and looking for things to do in Dusseldorf? You're in the right place! Click through for a full travel guide to Dusseldorf.

My ultimate, most favorite thing to do in Dusseldorf…. Visit the Christmas markets. There are so many in town, it is hard to visit them all, but it is a must. Each one has their own signature mug, filled with wonderful gluhwein (hot spiced wine). Some markets host custom home-made items while others sell more factory-made pieces. All are amazing, all are unique to Germany, and all will drive a steep hole in your wallet. Cash is the main form of payment in almost all market stalls, biergartens, and small shops in general. Unfortunately, banks and ATM machines aren’t as prevalent as you would hope, so be sure to carry lots of cash, in small denominations.

Read Next: Top Tips for Visiting Christmas Markets

Have you been to Germany before? What were your favorite things to do in Dusseldorf?!

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