Dusseldorf, the capital of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, is generally not considered a huge tourist destination especially considering it’s only about 40 km from the historical city of Cologne. However, the original home of Altbier has a ton to offer to a traveler, such as interesting architecture, world class shopping that rivals the Champs-Élysées in Paris and Fifth Avenue in New York, and what’s known as the “longest bar in the world” in the Old Town with over 260 bars in one square kilometer
See & Do
- Königsallee: The main street of Dusseldorf contains many high-end luxury stores similar to what you would find in Paris, London, or New York. Contrary to what its name might imply, it is far from an alley–it’s a wide avenue split down the center by a canal. Rating: 4/5.
- Altstadt(Old Town): This area was destroyed by Allied forces during World War II and was painstakingly rebuilt to resemble its former glory. This is the home of Altbier, where in many of the bars and breweries in the area, you’ll be served by gruff but efficient waiters who will keep bringing you fresh glasses of Altbier as fast as you can drink them. The old town area is not as large as other European cities’, but it has its own unique charm that can only truly be appreciated by aimlessly wandering around all the small pedestrian streets. Rating: 4/5
- Schneider Wibbel Gasse: A small street in the old town, this contains a whole host of Spanish and Central/South American restaurants and bars. What can’t be missed on this street is the Wibbel sculpture. Rating: 4/5
- Promenade Along Rhine River: A long, uninterrupted pedestrian stretch of road that goes along the Rhine River from the Burgplatz in the old town all the way down to the Media Harbor/Rhine Park. If the weather is warm enough, there will be tons of cafes set up along the waterfront, and lots of people out relaxing on the grass with some food and a bottle of wine. You can then cross the Rhine Bridge and relax even more in the North Park on the opposite bank of the Rhine river, with full view of the city’s skyline. Rating: 4/5.
- Media Harbor: This is a new/modern area containing buildings with interesting architecture. The main showcase of the area is architecture by the famous Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. Rating 5/5.
- Rhine Tower: This is the tallest structure in Dusseldorf at 172.5m and gives a nice view of the Rhine River and surrounding downtown area. There’s a cafe and bar up here (they claim it’s highest bar in Germany, though I find that a little dubious as any bar in a German mountain town would be much higher up), plus couches and chairs strewn around to relax for a while. We visited around sunset time, and it was surprisingly not crowded at all. €4 per person for admission. Around €3 per pastry. Rating 5/5.
Eat & Drink
- Frankenheimer Restaurant: Serves local specialties as well as altbier(see below for description). This is right next to the plaza before the promenade, great place to sit and people watch. Around €2 per altbier and €10 per plate. Rating 4/5.
- Friet Box: This pairs well with any sort of beer. You can pick from 20 different sauces from the menu. Around €5 depending on the toppings. Rating 4/5.
- Lupo Pizzeria: This seems the go-to place for pizza made from scratch. Although it is no competitor to New York’s slice pizza, it has its own unique taste. This is a good place to stop by after a few drinks at the bar. For €4, you get a good-sized personal pizza. Rating 5/5.
- Astore: Italian restaurant that serves freshly made pasta. Around €10 per pasta dish. Rating 3/5.
- Altbier: A dark beer that was originally brewed right here in Dusseldorf, this is by default assumed to be what you will be drinking when you sit down at a brewery. Served in small 0.25L cups for around 1.70-1.90 per glass, the waiters will be very efficient in ensuring you always have enough to drink in front of you whether you ordered more or not. Whatever you do, do not order Kolsch beer unless you want to be mocked by the wait staff. The price varies from bars to bars but it is around €1.70 to €2 for one small glass. Rating 4/5.
- A&O Hostel: This was our first experience with a hostel, and while it was arguably not a bad experience at all, we decided it wasn’t quite for us in the end. This place was really clean and had a pristine bathroom available in every room (ours was a 4 person room). However, there wasn’t much of a community atmosphere, and while our roommates were nice enough it ended up more or less being just a place to sleep, clean up, and get going early the next morning. Rating 3/5.