When you travel often, you get asked a lot of questions as you bounce from one city to the next. One of the most asked questions is what’s your favorite city? Without a doubt in my mind, Düsseldorf, Germany is my favorite city! As my long time stomping grounds and favorite place to spend the summer, Düsseldorf is an international city located in western Germany. The modern cityscape has been built upon an empire of abundant history, art, and varieties of cultures since the 13th century. Düsseldorf is now known for its impeccable fashion industry and revolutionary art scene. This lovely city is one of a kind. It is divided by the Rhine River, with its Altstadt (Old Town) on the east bank and its modern commercial areas to the west.
Growing up between here and California for half of my life, there has never been a dull moment. From the Grafenberger Wald to the Altstadt, to the quaint countryside around Kaiserswerth, there are endless opportunities and so many things to do and see. Düsseldorf has a special place in my heart, and I want to share it with you, virtually! The following post will take you on a virtual vacation to my favorite city, as I share with you my favorite tips, stops, shops, and places to be in this wonderful city. I hope that you too can visit one day or just enjoy a virtual excursion to my home!
Grafenberg & Wild Park Grafenberger Wald
Beginning, in my neck of the woods, is the residential and business district of Grafenberg. Grafenberg is a green, urban borough of Düsseldorf. It borders Gerresheim, Ludenberg, Flingern, and Düsseltal, all individual districts of Düsseldorf. Within Grafenberg is the encapsulating Grafenberger Wald, north of the inner city. Located within the woods, is the Wild Park, Grafenberger Wald. This is the place to be! With walking trails scattered amongst the woods, here protected wildlife run free amongst visitors and you are able to feed the deers and pigs apples, and carrots. But make sure you arrive early before they get too full! This place, for any age, was such a natural escape for me and a way to get in touch with nature while still being inside a huge city
My favorite restaurant in Düsseldorf would definitely be Rika! A Japanese fusion restaurant whose owners have watched me grow. when Rika first opened I was as tall as her. Now I've doubled her size in height! Rika has the best food and friendliest service in Grafenberg. My favorite dish here is the Teriyaki Lachs. Nothing can compare to this warm, delicious, fresh meal. Give it a try and let me know if you love it too! Click the link in the picture to learn more or order takeout today!
If you know me you know I am a huge brunch girl! From coffee to Kuchen, to brunch, lunch, and now dinner and cocktails, Dritan Alsela has it all! Dritan Alsela is said to have the best coffee in Düsseldorf. The restaurant/cafe has incredibly friendly service and is romantically lit, glowing with the warm orange lights of coffee machines from every era. The head barista has been a pioneer of coffee for more than 18 years and is truly one cool, ambitious yet down-to-earth guy. Dritan is also almost always there and will greet you personally upon arrival at his place.
Dritan himself offers barista classes right across the street from the cafe at the Dritan Alsela School. This is the place, where coffee workshops and training are conducted. Whether you are an individual seeking to deepen your coffee knowledge, or a company looking for a team-building event – you are more than welcome to dive into the world of coffee. You can find more information about his coffee, shop, and school on the web page linked to the pictures above.
Rheinuferpromenade & Steps
Now to the Rhein! The Rhein is the expansive river that divides Düsseldorf and its banks are a gorgeous place to sightsee no matter what time of day. In summer we often picnic here or watch soccer games in the fall. There are beaches, beach clubs, bars, restaurants, and expanses of greenery where sheep graze as they please. The Rhein is alive and always hopping. My favorite place to sit is either on the Spanish Steps at the Rhein Promenade to watch the sunset or on a patch of grass to enjoy the view of the water and the Rhine Tower at night, of course! It is the tallest building in Düsseldorf and is on the east side of the Medien Hafen, climbing to 240 meters. Unsurprisingly, the panoramas are glorious, and the entry fee is €9 at the peak times for adults.
At the southern end of the Rheinuferpromenade are Düsseldorf’s docks, which were built at the end of the 19th century and played a part in the city’s post-war boom. Since the 1990s the harbor has been transformed into a contemporary office district for fashion brands and media firms, with restaurants, bars, cinemas, and the Hilton. On Tuesday nights the Hilton is the spot! They host a weekly After Work party on Tuesday evenings, so if you're in the area stop on by for some great drinks, atmosphere, and tech house music. This area is like a forest of futuristic architecture woven into the historical docks, and is one of my favorite places to take a walk or a new Instagram picture!
If you’re planning a night out, the Düsseldorf Altstadt thas more nightspots than you could ever hope to visit. Packed into just a few streets there are over 300 brewpubs, bars, and nightclubs, that the area is called the “Längste Theke der Welt”, “The longest bar in the world”. The brewpubs in the quarter serve traditional Altbier and at the atmospheric Et Kabüffke bar, you order an ice-cold shot of the famed local liqueur Killepitsch through a small glass window. Similar to Jagermeister but with a ruby-red color and sweeter, spicier flavor, Killepitsch is a very acquired taste. Some of my other favorite spots to grab drinks are Beuys Bar, 25 Hours, Zum Ureige, Bar Alexander, Elephant Bar, and for a dinner with drinks, Muggle across the river, in Oberkassel.
Like a mini central park, Hofgarten is like a sanctuary in the inner city bustle and hustle. The views are breathtaking, and it's full of real nature, trees birds, and water. The main strip entering the park is a sandy floor with a strip of benches that light up the way. In summers I enjoy biking through the park to get to the Altstadt, and with the great lighting from the benches, you can do it any time of day! If you visit Dusseldorf you should visit this place.
Markt Platz, Karls Platz Market, Hinkel & Lauras Deli
One of the most photogenic squares in the inner city is Markt Platz. The historical Marktplatz is framed by the Renaissance Rathaus (1573) and accented by a bronze equestrian statue of Jan Wellem. Prince Jan Wellem himself was an excellent diplomat and under his leadership, Düsseldorf underwent impressive growth. During his government, many fascinating buildings were built, which survived the Second World War and managed to keep their initial appearance. It is the oldest statue in Düsseldorf and its fame is due to its being one of the most relevant Baroque statues in Europe, created in 1711 by the sculptor Gabriel de Grupello. Markt Platz is a wonderful place to meet with friends, grab a coffee nearby, and is home to the Christmas markets in the winter!
Diverging off the inner Altstadt is one of the many lovely squares in Düsseldorf that is home to a daily market, der Markt am Karlsplatz! On your way to the Markt auf dem Karlsplatz, be sure to stop at either Hinkel Bakery or Lauras Deli, my two favorite stops. Hinkel, which has been around since 1891 and is now run by the fourth generation of the Hinkel family. Varieties of rustic bread, pastries, brotchens, and cookies fill the shop windows from bottom to top, casting a warm glowing light out of its windows. Everything you see is baked on-site, with special varieties reserved for different days of the week. I love the pretzels from here! Laura's Deli is maybe the restaurant I identify most with in the Altstadt. Its menu is filled with fusion, healthy, trendy foods. From my favorite acai bowl to salmon caper toast, to my absolute obsession right now; energy balls, Laura's deli is made with local, fresh, and all-natural ingredients, where most of their dishes are vegan. Click the link in the picture to learn more or order takeout today! The Markt am Karlsplatz is one of the most photo-friendly locations in the Altstadt. With market stands full of fresh produce, trendy coffee shops, bakeries, boutiques, this is a great spot to meet up with friends or grab an amazing flower bouquet.
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen & Museums
As Dusseldorf is known for its fashion and art presence in the world, there is always a new, interesting exhibit or art show to go and see. My favorite museums include the K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Kunst Palace, K21 in the Staendehaus, and of course, the Kunstakademie where all the art students show their works. Each of these museums offers a variety of traditional masterpieces but also a lot of modern, contemporary, and young artists' works. Not far from the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen is Schloss Benrath, a Baroque-style mansion with important architectural works of art.
Now it is time to catch the U-Bahn up the Rhine to one of the oldest neighborhoods in Düsseldorf. Growing up I would often go there to visit my best friend or to partake in the pony hofs riding lessons! The streets of Kaiserswerth are flanked by fine Baroque mansions from the 17th and 18th centuries. Kaiserswerths most photogenic spot is right on the water’s edge at the ruins of the Kaiserpfalz, the imperial castle enlarged in the 11th century by Friedrich Barbarossa and almost obliterated by a bombardment during the War of the Spanish Succession at the beginning of the 18th century. Kaiserswerth is a relaxed riverside suburb with a village feel. This quaint little area, beholds rolling greens, ancient ruins, amazing Rhine river views, and hopping beer gardens. My favorite one here is Wunderhaus! Another deliciously, healthy, and fresh food stop, with local owners.
The Essence of Dusseldorf
Having been raised 1/2 of my life in SF and the other half in Düsseldorf my view of the world is that of a truly global citizen with an open heart and acceptance of people from all over. I am so grateful for all the friends, family, and opportunities Duesseldorf has to offer me. I am thankful to call it home and can't wait to make it my permanent home this year! I hope you enjoyed taking a virtual vacation with me to some of my favorite spots. If you need more recommendations or have some of your own leave a comment, and I will get back to you.
Thanks for visiting Gorgeousandglobal.com and see you in my next post!