Straight-laced and industrious
Dusseldorf is right at the heart of one of Europe’s most densely populated industrial zones, but that doesn’t mean it’s all work and no play. This Rhineland city is ranked Number 1 in Germany for quality of life, and is home to a thriving and enduring experimental arts and cultural scene (most notable for Kraftwerk, among others). Not to mention an all-encompassing Carnival season that officially starts in November and seems to last all year long.
The Altstadt area is home to a range of pint-sized boutiques selling everything from kitsch souvenirs to designer bargains, but Düsseldorf’s retail scene is largely dominated by modern malls and department stores. The most famous is KÖ-Galerie (Königsallee 60), a cultural forum and temple of commerce that houses over 130 different shops. Sevens (Prinz-Georg-Strasse 83) and Stilwerk (Grünstrasse 15) are both themed multi-floor stores that stock both international and local brands. Designer label devotees should also check out upmarket mall Schadow Arkaden (Schadowstrasse 11). Weekend antique fairs and flea markets run throughout the year, with the majority taking place in the area around Schützenplatz.
Food & Drink
Düsseldorf is one of the most multicultural cities in Germany, and its restaurants are as culturally diverse as its population. Traditional Rhenish cuisine and beer can still be had at breweries such as Brauerei im Füchschen (Ratinger Strasse 28), but these are increasingly the preserve of tourists. Locals prefer to eat at sizzling Spanish restaurant Las Tapas (Schneider-Wibbel-Gasse 4), cosy Italian trattoria La Castagnas (Rossstrasse 9) or Japanese eatery Monkey’s East (Graf-Adolf-Platz 15). Düsseldorf also has a fine selection of Michelin-star restaurants, including starkly traditional Victorian (Königstrasse 3a) and the wonderful Nagaya (Klosterstrasse 42), which blends European and Japanese cuisine and offers a locally famous sushi buffet.
Düsseldorfer Jazz Rally
One of Europe’s biggest jazz events, the Düsseldorfer Jazz Rally draws around 300,000 visitors every year for a weekend of concerts and impromptu performances. With more than 500 musicians, 35 stages and a blend of musical genres that encompasses funk, soul, blues and rock, this is a must-do for music fans of all ages.
Open Source Festival
Set against the leafy backdrop of the Grafenberg forest racecourse, this big summer festival is a celebration of clubbing and pop culture. It attracts an international crowd and features both high-profile musicians and up-and-coming acts.
Stadtsparkasse Cartwheeling Tournament
Dating back to 1937, this eccentric event sees children competing in a light-hearted sporting championship, racing one another over distances of between 15m and 20m.
Grösste Kirmes am Rhein
This big summer fun fair draws more than four million visitors every year and counts as one of the biggest fairs in Germany. It features amusement park rides, beer tents and food stalls, as well as a packed calendar of workshops, events and activities.
New Fall Festival
Based across two of Düsseldorf’s most beautiful concert halls, this festival of the arts is based on the premise that the venue matters just as much as the music. Performances by a small but select number of musicians take place throughout the five-day festival.
A modern mishmash of avant-garde architecture and soaring glass skyscrapers, Düsseldorf is at the forefront of both economic and artistic progress in Germany. An elite group of centrally located five-star hotels compete for custom – big names such as Hilton (Georg-Glock-Strasse 20), Hyatt (Speditionstrasse 19) and InterContinental (Königsallee 59) all have branches here, but Steigenberger Parkhotel (Königsallee 1a), with its sauna suite, rainforest shower and classical-style rooms, perhaps has the edge on the others when it comes to luxury. Hotel Stadt München (Pionierstrasse 6) is more affordable but still has a fitness suite and spa for the use of guests. Budget travellers will find stylish accommodation at B&B Hotel (Kettwiger Strasse 6).