24 hours in…DUSSELDORF

It was not really surprising that on my way to Japan, I had a stopover in Düsseldorf. After all, it’s Germany’s third-largest airport – after Frankfurt and Munich. Also, Düsseldorf has the largest Japanese community in all of Germany.

The Greek god Triton at the northern end of the city moat in Düsseldorf.

The Greek god Triton at the northern end of the city moat. The sculpture was made in 1902 by Friedrich Coubillier.

The international airport is located only about 9 kilometers respectively 6 miles from the city center, so that it can be easily reached by public transport.


Düsseldorf is the capital of  Germany’s Federal Country North Rhine-Westphalia and has about 600,000 inhabitants. Since in Düsseldorf’s old town alone are about 260 bars and restaurants – the city is the self-proclaimed “longest bar of the world”.


Father Rhine sculpture at Düsseldorf, Germany

Father Rhine and His Daughters – living on a fountain in front of the Ständehaus that houses the K21 gallery for temporary art.

If you are on a stopover, you probably won’t have time for a serious pub-crawl. However, if your layover is at least six hours long, you can make the most of it by taking a quick ride by commuter train into the city center. This guide will lead you to the most interesting and iconic places – whether rain or shine.

If your layover is too short to squeeze in a day trip downtown – no problem, just come back for a city break like e. g. a weekend trip – you’ll find an extended Düsseldorf-guide here.


Local Currency:


Euro (EUR) / 1 EUR = 1.12 US$ (January 2020) / current rate


Emergency Hotline:


Police 110
Fire Department 112


National Airline:


Lufthansa, whereby Düsseldorf is the most important hub for the German low-cost airline Eurowings as well as Lufthansa’s touristy subsidiary Condor.




Düsseldorf Airport / IATA-Code DUS


Tourist Info online and onsite:


Tourist-Information am Hauptbahnhof (Main Station) 
Immermannstraße 65 b
40210 Düsseldorf
Phone: + 49 – 211 – 17 20 2-844
Email: info@duesseldorf-tourismus.de

Open Monday to Friday 9 a. m. to 6 p. m., Saturday 9:30 a. m. to 5 p. m.


Getting Downtown and Back


Located only about 9 kilometers respectively 6 miles from the city, the center can be easily and quickly reached by public transport. There are two train stations: Bahnhof Düsseldorf Flughafen and Bahnhof Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal. Latter is right in the Airport, the other one is connected by Sky Train.
The ride from the airport to the city center takes a bit over ten minutes and costs only 2,90 €uro.

If you have luggage, you can store it at the lockers at the main station – whereby, the hotel I’m recommending if you spend the nights is a mere five minutes walk away.

However, at least for the rainy day itinerary, I strongly recommend getting a DüsseldorfCard for 24 hours. This way, not only all your rides on public transportation are covered, but you also get discounts at museums and other perks.

On a sunny day, you’ll be able to walk most of the time since the city center is not that big, therefore the card might not pay off.


Morning Activities


Although Düsseldorf is only a medium-sized city, it has surprisingly much to offer – on sunny as well as on rainy days.


The city moat that divides the posh shopping boulevard Königsallee in Düsseldorf.

The city moat that divides the posh shopping boulevard Königsallee.

Being a city famous for fashion and some glamour, especially the Königsallee aka ‘Kö’ is one of the most prestigious and expensive shopping boulevards in the world and one of Düsseldorf’s landmarks. Here, you can do some shopping – or just window shopping – hang out at one of the many cafés and watch the rich and the wannabes passing by. A canal is dividing this classicist esplanade and a stroll under the many beautiful chestnut trees is just so pleasant.
Oh, to get here from the train station, you can either walk or you take one of the subways (U74, U75, U76, or U79) to Steinstraße/Königsallee; anyway, it’s only two stops.


Once you get to the northern end of the city moat, you can decide between walking further north across the sumptuous greeneries of the Hofgarten, the former court garden. Here, you’ll also find a tiny part of the Düssel river, namely the Nördliche Düssel, one of the river’s four streams.


A walk in this park is not only relaxing, but also inspiring since you can pay interesting museums such as the Theatermuseum and the Goethe Museum an informative visit.


Cute pedestrian streets are found all over Düsseldorf's historic old town.

Cute pedestrian streets are found all over Düsseldorf’s historic old town.

But maybe you prefer exploring the famous Altstadt, Düsseldorf’s Old Town with its charming cobblestone alleys, squares, small shops…and, of course, the many breweries.
Looking for a yummy souvenir? The city is famous for mustard and the Löwensenf’s flagship store is right in the heart of the city center.

As you stroll through the city center, you will certainly notice the incredible number of bars and eateries that are open already from morning till late at night.  They are said to be about 260 bars and restaurants – hence, this is how the city earned the title to be the “longest bar of the world”.

Seeing all these eateries on your way through the Altstadt will certainly make you feel very hungry – and since one of the most quaint restaurants is right in the middle of this jolly quarter – no problem, come on, let’s stuff face.


Morning Activities


It’s raining?  When visiting Düsseldorf, no problem at all. Like I pointed out, the city has a lot to offer and is not only famous for the fashion industry but also for one of Germany’s greatest art scenes. There are 26 fantastic museums and about 100 galleries.


In Orbit by Tomas Saraceno at Düsseldorf, Germany

In Orbit – a steady installation by Tomás Saraceno. A steel net – inspired by spider webs – suspended four storeys high over the entrance hall. Up to ten people can climb on it at the same time.

My favorite is the Kunstsammlung K21, located south of the city center. They have great temporary exhibitions, small but excellent exhibits from their own collection and on top it this – literally – the phenomenal installation by Argentinian artist Tomas Saraceno: A net spanning underneath the main hall’s ceiling that can be climbed by visitors. If I’ve done it? No way! I’m afraid of heights and have therefore only taken pictures of all those brave people up there.

Since the venue is a bit off the beaten path, the good people of the Kunstsammlung offer a free shuttle service from here to the affiliated venue K20, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westphalen.

K21 Ständehaus
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen
Ständehausstraße 1
40217 Düsseldorf
Phone: + 49 – 211 – 83 81-204
Email: service@kunstsammlung.de 

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m. (Saturday and Sunday from 11 a. m.)

The rather austere building housing the Kunsthalle to the left and next to it the St. Andreas Church in Düsseldorf

The rather austere building housing the Kunsthalle to the left and next to it the St. Andreas Church.

If these two galleries aren’t enough for you art-buff, there is the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf right across the street from the K20. The Kunsthalle is a small yet exquisite gallery for modern art.

While the building is not exactly spectacular, the shows are most of the time.

Kunsthalle Düsseldorf
Grabbeplatz 4
40213 Düsseldorf
Phone: + 49 – 211 – 8996243
Email: mail@kunsthalle-duesseldorf.de 

Open Tuesday to Sunday from  11 a. m. to 6 p. m.


I assume that after you have appeased your hunger for art and beauty, you are now hungry for food.
The restaurant I’m recommending for lunch is about five minutes walk from the Grabbeplatz where the art museums are located.

In case it is raining too hard, you can just drop in at Klee’s Restaurant which is located within the K20’s building complex.




Food tasting at the Uerige in Düsseldorf, Germany

No worries, this was just a fun snack on a local food tour – by the way, a great activity if you have more time. However, for lunch and dinner, the Uerige serves “real” food.

Yes, Düsseldorf is famous for fashion and glitz and glamour, for ad agencies and art galleries. But it’s also known for keeping up its culinary traditions and maintaining its art of brewing. Düsseldorf’s top-fermented dark beer is tasty and palatable. And the food that comes with it heartily, indeed.

The perfect place for a Rhenish feast is the traditional beer bar and restaurant Uerige in the heart of the old town.

At lunchtime, they have a daily special at a good price – but, of course, you can also choose something else from their regional menu.

Uerige Hausbrauerei
Berger Straße 1
40213 Düsseldorf
Phone: + 49 – 211 – 866990
Email: info@uerige.de

They are open daily from 10 a. m. till midnight.


Afternoon Activities


I presume you ate some pretty heavy stuff that you need to walk off? You’re in the perfect spot: Just a two minutes walk from the mighty river Rhine that divides the city between the Old Town on the east bank and modern commercial areas to the west.


The mighty river Rhine at Düsseldorf

The mighty river Rhine.

After you’ve seen Düsseldorf’s traditional, cozy side in the morning, it’s time to check out the relatively newly remodeled neighborhood Medienhafen, south of the city center. Actually, getting there by foot is a very pleasant walk of about 2 kilometers or 1.3 miles along the river.

You’ll pass the City Museum, the Federal Parliament, and the Rheinturm, the Rhine Tower, a telecommunications tower and with a height of over 240 meters – which would be 789 feet – the city’s highest building. We’ll get to this beauty later.

Right behind the tower starts the hyper-modern MedienHafen, a newly constructed media quarter that has been erected on the former docklands which consisted mainly of warehouses.


Glittering buildings by Mr. Frank Gehry at the Medienhafen in Düsseldorf.

Glittering buildings by Mr. Frank Gehry.

Like in many other cities all over the world, these docklands gradually decayed, hence, something had to be done. Düsseldorf did the best they possibly could: They let the job to internationally acclaimed architects like Frank O. Gehry, David Chipperfield, Joe Coenen, Steven Holl, and Claude Vasconi. As anticipated, this league of fine gentlemen did a marvelous job.

Today, their outstanding edifices are housing media companies, advertising and PR agencies, first-class restaurants and lounge bars and on the tip of a peninsula a very exclusive Hyatt Regency hotel.

You can spend hours in this district just admiring the buildings from the outside – or from the inside by paying one of the galleries or trendy coffee bars a visit.


Afternoon Activities


As already mentioned above, there are many fantastic museums in Düsseldorf with good permanent collections but often mindblowing changing exhibitions.


View of the Tonhalle from the Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf

View of the Tonhalle from the Kunstpalast.

A very interesting art complex is the Ehrenhof, which translates to court of honor. This expressionist architectural and garden complex was completed in 1926. The Ehrenhof complex was built on the occasion of the GeSoLei, an exhibition on healthcare, social security, and physical exercise.
About 7,5 million visitors attended this convention spread over 400,000 m² respectively 478,000 yd². It was the biggest fair taking place during the Weimar Republic.

To get there, you take one of the subways U74 or U75 or U76 at Heinrich-Heine-Allee towards Krefeld and get off at the next stop which is Tonhalle/Ehrenhof.


The subway station is located at the southern end of the complex where you’ll spot a round building, the Tonhalle, initially designed to become a planetarium, but today serving as a concert hall.


Bending by Yue Minjun, exhibited in front of the NRW-Forum on the occasion of the mega-exhibition China 8 in 2015.

Bending by Yue Minjun, exhibited in front of the NRW-Forum on the occasion of the mega-exhibition China 8 in 2015.

From the Tonhalle stretches a manicured garden, adorned also with some sculptures by expressionist artists such as Wilhelm Lehmbruck.

On the left side towards the river Rhine is a long, flat building housing the NRW-Forum, a modern gallery and cultural center where they present changing exhibitions of contemporary art – often film, photography and new media.

NRW-Forum Düsseldorf 
Ehrenhof 2
40479 Düsseldorf
Phone: + 49 – 211 – 892 66 90

Open Tuesday to Thursday 11 a. m. to 6 p. m., Friday 11 a. m. to 9 p. m., Saturday 10 a. m. to 9 p. m., and Sunday 10 a. m. to 6 p. m.


The art museum complex at the Ehrenhof in Düsseldorf, Germany

The art museum complex at the Ehrenhof.

At the opposite end of the Ehrenhof is a large building complex, housing on the right side the art museum Kunstpalast and in the opposite wing the Glas Museum Hentrich.

The Kunstpalast has a permanent collection of paintings, but also antiques, furniture, and decoration on display.
In addition, they curate the most exquisite themed temporary exhibitions.

The glass museum is actually part of the Kunstpalast and the visit is included in your ticket.

Museum Kunstpalast 
Ehrenhof 4-5
40479 Düsseldorf
Phone: + 49 – 211 – 56642100
Email: info@smkp.de

Open Tuesday to Sunday 11 a. m. to 6 p. m. (Thursday to 9 p. m.)


installation by Swiss artists Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger. They assembled with twigs and roots and cords and wires and many tiny objects a model of the vegetative nerve system.

At the museum café, you are sitting amidst a piece of art.

Do yourself a favor and don’t leave before you’ve taken a break at the lovely café at the entrance hall: It is decorated with a spectacular installation by Swiss artists Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger. They assembled with twigs and roots and cords and wires and many tiny objects a model of the vegetative nerve system.

After you’ve spent the day admiring Düsseldorf’s cultural treasures, at the end of the day, you should have the chance to admire the city itself. For a spectacular view, let’s go to the city’s highest building, the Rheinturm, the Rhine Tower.

To get there, walk from the Kunstpalast east to the stop Sternstraße and take the tram #706 towards Hamm and get off at the stop Stadttor. From there, you just cross the greenery Bürgerpark and you’re there. Anyway, since the Rhine Tower is Düsseldorfs highest building, you’re not prone to miss it.




The TV tower of Düsseldorf and underneath Marlis, one protagonist of artist Christoph Pöggeler's project Säulenheilige, Stylites.

The tower and underneath Marlis, one protagonist of artist Christoph Pöggeler’s project Säulenheilige, Stylites.

Remember that in the sunny-day-section I’ve promised you to get back to the Rhine Tower?
Well, since there is not only a regular observation deck, this might be the perfect place for a dinner with a view: At the height of 172 meters – or 564 feet – they installed a revolving restaurant where you can enjoy a lovely dinner while you are watching the sun go down over the city.

Rheinturm Düsseldorf 
Stromstraße 20
40221 Düsseldorf
Phone: +49 – 211 – 863 20 00

Open daily from 10 a. m. till midnight (Friday and Saturday till 1 a. m.)

By the way: If your bill at the restaurant is over 30 €uro, you get a 50% discount on the entrance ticket for the observation deck.




Rhine Tower and the three different building complexes designed by Frank O. Gehry.

Nightcap with a view – of the Rhine Tower and the three different building complexes designed by Frank O. Gehry.

There’s probably a no better place for a drink than the bar of the Hyatt Regency; and I’m not talking about some dull indoor place. No, you grab a drink and then sit outside on the spacious concrete stairs – covered with some soft cushions, of course – and enjoy a nocturnal view of the architectonic masterpieces from across the water.

To get to the Mercure Hotel, you just cross the bridge and go straight to the stop Erftstraße/Grand Bateau where you catch bus #732 towards Vennhauser Allee. Get off after eight stops at Mintropplatz in front of the main station. The hotel is only a five minutes walk away.




Mercure Hotel Düsseldorf Zentrum

The palm trees give the hotel’s location a nice touch.

Especially if you are on a layover and need to get back to the airport in the early morning, staying close to the main station is crucial. Other than in most other German cities, the neighborhood around the train station in Düsseldorf is not sketchy, and the Mercure Hotel Düsseldorf City Center offers a good standard, a very trendy design, and a laid-back atmosphere for around 100 €uro per night.

Mercure Hotel Düsseldorf City Center
Am Stresemannplatz 1
40210 Düsseldorf

Here you can check their rates and availability.*

Map – sunny day itinerary

Map – rainy day itinerary

Need assistance planning this or other trips? Check my service pages



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Disclaimer: * This article contains affiliate links. By purchasing items through my affiliate links or booking hotel rooms at no extra cost to you, I will receive a small commission that helps to run this site.

I was very lucky to have been invited to stay at the Mercure Hotel Duesseldorf City Center. The Düsseldorf Tourismus GmbH supported my blogger trip by supplying me with information and some free tickets. However, all opinions on these services are mine and weren’t by any means influenced by my cooperation partners.

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