A friendly and vibrant city bursting with art, culture, and natural beauty, it’s no surprise that Dusseldorf is a popular city with both locals and tourists. Whether you’re a long-time resident or plan on visiting the city for the first time, here are 10 of Dusseldorf’s best hidden gems to explore.
The Hinkel Bakery
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Reputed to be one of the best bakeries in the world, the Hinkel Bakery has been a Dusseldorf institution since it first opened its doors in 1891. Fourth generation family members of the Hinkel family now run the business, carrying on the tradition of selling an unbelievable selection of freshly baked goods.
From the shelves to the display cases, everything that you see in the store has been baked on-site. The bakery has an almost cult-like following, which you will easily understand once you have tasted their bread.
What are the must-try breads at the Hinkel Bakery?
The bakery does a variety of cookies and pastries, along with their rustic breads and rolls. Some of the items you need to try are:
- The Vollkornschwarzbrot (an intensely flavored, dense rye bread)
- The Hinkel Dinkel (a crusty spelt bread)
- The cheese rolls (grated gouda mixed through a wholewheat dough)
- The bread twists (which are stuffed with either spinach or bacon)
- The Mambolito (a bun with onions, sun dried tomatoes and paprika)
The bakery also makes a gluten-free buckwheat bread that they sell on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Planning a visit?
One thing to note is that you will likely have to queue outside the store. This has been going on long before Covid-19, and is simply due to the popularity of the bakery among locals.
The Sunflower Fields of Himmelgeist
Himmelgeist is a suburb that sits by the river Rhine. It’s a very old part of Dusseldorf, which used to be mainly dominated by agriculture. While not much of its past remains today, its sunflower fields still stand strong, with those yellow blooms continuing to wave their cheery faces each year.
When are the best months to visit?
The sunflowers start blooming from late spring through the summer, so plan your visit for then.
Since this is a self-picking sunflower field, knives are provided at the front box. Simply cut off the ones you want and then place your payment for them in the box provided at the entrance gate, with the price displayed on a sign there.
The Königsallee Canal
The Königsallee is an urban boulevard famous for its brand-name luxury stores and fashion showrooms.
However, if you need a break from the buzzing energy of the high life, take a stroll along the Königsallee Canal. You will find it tucked away between the elegant boutiques, offering a calming pocket of nature whenever you need a time-out.
What else is there to do in the area?
Chances are, if you visit the Königsallee Canal, you’re also going to spend some time exploring the Königsallee itself. Stretching out for a mile long, some of the most exclusive fashion brands in the world have stores here, making this the perfect place to go for some retail therapy.
If you want to treat your skin, as well as your wardrobe, make your way over to the OROGOLD Dusseldorf store, which happens to be the only OROGOLD store in Germany. From VIP facials to product demonstrations, this is the store that will help you to achieve the complexion of your dreams.
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Not only is Squarebar at the forefront of Dusseldorf’s cocktail scene, but it also considered by many to be one of the best bars in the world.
This may lead you to think…
If Squarebar is so popular, how can it be considered a “secret spot”?
The answer is simple – the large majority still don’t know about Squarebar.
Because the company has a policy to never advertise themselves in a way that traditional bars do, instead relying on word-of-mouth to organically increase their clientele.
The bar is also pretty small, measuring just 300 square feet. Although it has a small outdoor terrace too, both fill up pretty quickly every evening after the bar opens at 7pm, so make sure that you get there early!
What makes Squarebar so great?
In addition to their exquisitely stylish vintage decor, Squarebar’s legendary reputation is down to the small group of mixologists that run the bar. Their passion can be seen in each and every recipe, where they creatively re-imagine the classics.
What are some of the must-try cocktails?
You probably won’t be able to stop at one when visiting Squarebar – their menu is just too tempting! Here are a few cocktails that you definitely shouldn’t leave without trying:
- The Muse and Grace (vanilla oolong, Junmai sake, fresh grapefruit, bergamot essence)
- The Meadows of Erkelborough (plantain-infused gin, honey clover syrup, lime, bitters)
- The Clash (Bourbon infused with Ceylon orange tea, French liqueur, Buddha’s Hand cordial)
KIT – Kunst im Tunnel
Just underneath the Rhine Promenade, in an underground spot tucked between two major road tunnels, lies KIT, also known as Kunst Im Tunnel. Once you understand that it’s name translates to Art in the Tunnel, you can probably guess what it is…
Yes, KIT is a secret, underground art museum that hosts an ever-revolving schedule of modern art exhibitions. There are usually around four to six exhibitions held here each year, with up-and-coming artists featuring contemporary pieces in a range of disciplines, from painting and photography to sculpture and video art.
How do you get to the museum?
Wondering how you get to KIT if it’s located underground?
Look for the glass pavilion entrance to the KIT Cafe, which is located directly on the promenade itself. From here, you can take the elevator or stairs 140 meters down to the gallery space.
Flingern-Süd is a borough that didn’t used to have a great reputation…
Back in the 1980’s, it was known for being a squatter’s corner and a gang hideout, making it a place that many would avoid. However, just like in so many other cities around the world, things have changed for the better, with Flingern-Süd now being famous for its creative, awe-inspiring street art.
Where in Flingern-Süd will you find the best street art?
The place to go is Kiefernstrasse. The entire street is lit up with artistic murals and intricate building exteriors, with vibrant color just about everywhere you look.
What else is there to do nearby?
If you’re into punk rock, you’re in luck. Even if you’re not, AK 47, the last remaining punk rock club in Dusseldorf, is still a great way to immerse yourself in the city’s history. The club has been around since 1983, and is still a thriving nightlife spot.
With Dusseldorf being home to one of Europe’s largest Japanese communities, it only makes sense that the city has really embraced Japanese culture over time. One of the ways in which the city has done this is by opening EKŌ Haus in 1993 – a cultural center that introduces people to Japan’s way of life.
What is there to do at EKŌ Haus?
- Exploring the Buddhist temple
- Wandering through the Japanese garden, complete with stone lanterns, ponds, and waterfalls. This is also where you will find the city’s best cherry blossoms, which bloom in March/April
- Taking part in a traditional tea ceremony at the Japanese-style house
- Watching a musical or theatrical performance
- Attending one of the Buddhist festivals
The center also offers introductory courses in various Japanese arts, such as:
- Instrumental music
- Brush painting
What is there to do nearby?
Once you’re done with EKŌ Haus, take a short walk across the Rhine to Japanviertel, also known as the Japanese quarter. The shops here sell a lively selection of Japanese goods, while the Japanese restaurants and supermarkets, along with the sushi bars, always provide delicious offerings.
The Zoo Park
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Back in the city’s earlier years, the site that Zoo Park sits on used to be a zoo. Sadly, the zoo was destroyed by bombs in the second World War, reducing it to a pile of rubble.
Although a new zoo was never rebuilt in this location, the name stuck around, leading to the site’s reconstructed park taking it on.
For those looking for a tranquil oasis of green in the middle of the city, the Zoo Park has all of that and more. Most tourists tend to skip this one out of their itinerary, but those who do visit quickly become regulars.
What is there to do at the Zoo Park?
The Zoo Park consists of lush green meadows that you can explore by strolling along their criss-crossing walkways. The landscapes transform with each season, from the bright cherry blossoms of spring to the fiery hues of fall.
While there may not be any caged animals living here now, the park’s pond is home to hundreds of geese and ducks. Surprisingly, they are pretty tame, and many visitors have now taken to hand-feeding them.
If you feel like getting active, some of the facilities available at the Zoo Park include:
- Table tennis
- Playgrounds for children
St. Lambertus Church
If you love exploring historical landmarks, then this one’s for you. St. Lambertus Church dates all the way back to 1206, although it was enlarged a century later. It sits in Dusseldorf’s Old Town, and while the area may be home to several churches, this one is, without a doubt, the most stunning.
Its beauty is thanks to its uniquely twisted spire, which tells the story of a lightning strike that took place in 1815.
Both the interior and exterior of the church are dark and elegant, with a golden glowing light casting a mystical ambience. The church boasts some fascinating features, such as the Duke Wilhelm V Renaissance memorial.
What else is there to do nearby?
If you’re looking for a way to let your hair down after your church tour, head on over to the nearby Holy Craft Beer Bar. Dusseldorf is famous for its Altbier, but, if you’re craving something different, this is the place to go.
Craft beer is the bar’s specialty, with 12 kegs from German craft breweries, along with a great selection of both German and import bottles. The decor is urban and comfortable, making it a fun place to spend a couple of hours.
The Mustard Museum
The Mustard Museum is actually a mustard shop, but, yes, it does also have a museum at the back!
Those who aren’t familiar with German culture may not understand the passion for mustard at first, but this is Germany’s most-loved condiment, making perfect sense for entire stores to be dedicated to it.
Before choosing some mustards to purchase for yourself, head on over to the back of the store to learn a little more about this pungent condiment. The museum features historical photos, displays of old mustard-making equipment, and details on how to make mustard.
Then, browse to your heart’s content! The mustard selection here is truly impressive, from the classics to the quirky, including honey and dill, coconut curry, and sherry. Seasonal specials are also sold, such as the mulled Christmas mustard.
Even if you don’t enjoy mustard yourself, this intriguing little store is fun to explore, and is also a great place to pick up some gifts for friends and family.
While the Rhine Tower, the Altstadt, Schloss Benrath, and other such locations may be on the must-see list for most tourists, these 10 locations offer an experience that’s a little different. Whether you enjoy unusual foods and cocktails, or historic monuments, Dusseldorf has it all, along with so much more!