Düsseldorf is a compact city in the Western part of Germany quite close to the Netherlands (it’s only a 90 minute drive from Arnhem). Düsseldorf is popular for its museums, Christmas market and shops. On this page I’m sharing the top sights and activities in Düsseldorf. This guide is especially practical if you only have 1 or 2 days to spend in Düsseldorf, so that you’re sure to see all the highlights. And all these spots are very Instagrammable too!
Altstadt, or old city, is the older part of Düsseldorf. It’s mostly pedestrian zone, which makes it nice to stroll around in. There are many cafes and restaurants int Altstadt as well as several shops. Altstadt should be your first port of call when visiting Düsseldorf.
Media Harbour, or Medien Hafen in German, is an area next to the Rhine south of the city center of Düsseldorf. This area is a paradise for architecture lovers as many of the buildings are designed by well-known architects from all over the world. The Gehry buildings, from American architect Frank O. Gehry, look almost more like sculptures than like buildings.
It’s a a very nice walk on the Embankment Promenade next to the Rhine river from Altstadt to Media Harbour. The HopOnHopOff bus also stops at Medien Hafen.
K21 and K20 Museums
Düsseldorf has quite a few musea. My favorite ones are K20 and K21. The K stands for Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen and both the museums specialize in modern art. From May 18 to September 1 2019 you can see the work of Beijing born artist Ai Wei-Wei in both of the musea.
This picture is taken at K21 where you can enter an art installation 25 meters above the ground floor. This ‘In Orbit’ from Tomás Saraceno is a work af art that is experienced rather than watched. You can enter the installation and walk on the net in between the bubbles as if you’re in space.
Park Hofgarten is a beautiful park that covers quite a big area in Düsseldorf. It’s Germany’s first and oldest public park. You can find Park Hofgarten North of Altstadt. In the park you’ll see beautiful fields, trees and plants and there’s quite a big chance you’ll see some squirrels. There are historic monuments and modern statues. It’s a great park for a picnic or just for a stroll.
The Johannes Kirche is quite an impressive church in the middle of the city center of Düsseldorf on the edge of Old Town. With 88 meters, it’s the highest protestant church in Düsseldorf. It was build in 1881 but badly damaged during World War II. Luckily it’s restored and now open to visit.
Düsseldorf has a relatively big Japanese neighborhood. It’s actually the largest Japanese area in Germany, and the 3rd biggest of Europe after London and Paris. The area is called Japan Quarter or Little Tokyo. In this area on and around the Immermannstraße, just East of Altstadt, you’ll find many Japanese shops and restaurants. From ramen to sushi, there’s all the Japanese food you can wish for. And there are also many shops selling Japanese items, like manga comics or kimonos.
Curious about Japan? Click here for my travel blog on Japan.
As I said, there are quite a few musea in Düsseldorf. And it really is a city of art, because there’s also a lot of street art. You can even do a guided city tour that lets you see the main street art spots in Düsseldorf. It’s called the Urban Art Walk and it takes place every Saturday at noon. During this 2 hour walk you’ll see all kinds of graffiti, sticker art and paste-ups. The tours are in German and English.
A great way to see any city when you’re short on time or when it’s raining is a HopOn HopOff bus, and Düsseldorf is no exception to this. The red double-decker bus in Düsseldorf makes 7 stops; Köningsallee, Altstadt, MedienHafen (Media Harbour), Ehrenhof, Aquazoo, Kunstakademie and Hauptbahnhof (Central Station). The bus leaves every 40 minutes from Sunday to Friday and every 30 minutes on Saturday. The best starting point is at the Köningsallee as it’ll have a 30 minute stop there. There’s a free explanation in 10 languages available via headphones. A 24 hour ticket costs 18,- euro and for each adult 2 children can travel for free. For only 6 euros more you get a 48 hour ticket and a free ticket to the panoramic boat tour with KD line. The boat departs 6 times a day, every day from April to October.