Birthplace of the electro group Kraftwerk, Düsseldorf is a city full of first class cultural institutions, all on the banks of the Rhine and its green spaces. Discover it during an arty and offbeat city-break.
What to do with 48 hours in Düsseldorf ?
It's not the first city-break that one would grant oneself across the Rhine, and yet. South of the Ruhr, Düsseldorf is a rich, creative city, proud of its past, crossed in a wide meander by the Rhine. Germany's seventh largest city has world-class museums and a cultural life still inspired by its great figures such as Joseph Beuys, Paul Klee, the film director Wim Wenders or the electro group Kraftwerk. Often raw, we discover it by pieces to better appreciate its art of living, its culinary traditions, its parks and its cultural institutions.
DAY 1 - Arrival in Düsseldorf
Putting your bags at The Wellem - The Unbound Collection by Hyatt
Opened in 2017 in Düsseldorf's former courthouse, a grand monument that is entered via a grand staircase, The Wellem is ideally located two minutes from the city center and next to the K20 museum. With 102 rooms and suites, including five large apartments with terraces, the address was named after Prince-Elector Jan Wellem, who transformed Düsseldorf into an artistic center in the 18th century. Heir to this tradition, the hotel exhibits works by Jeff Koons, Tony Kreg or Stefan Koenig in the common areas and rooms, and also has an Art Concierge and its own gallery. Steakhouse, Italian restaurant, bar with jazz session, café or refined bistro complete the offer.
Or staying at Ruby Luna Hotel
Between the boutiques of the Königsallee and the Carlsplatz market, the third hotel of the Munich-based Ruby chain deploys its "relaxed luxury" on the 13 floors of a former bank. Self check-in under a model of a rocket, a very cozy lounge-bar open 24 hours a day, the Observatory Bar on the 13th floor, it is the space conquest of the 1950s and 1960s that accompanies visitors, with the mismatched vintage furniture that goes with the era. Of the 206 pristine white rooms, those on the upper floors have the best views, especially those on corners like 917. Small but functional (most of them no more than 20 m2), with a transparent shower cubicle on the room, they evoke a space capsule, from which one would watch the lights of Düsseldorf at night. Discover Ruby Luna Hotel
11:00 a.m. - Stroll through the downtown area
To walk through the Altstadt - Düsseldorf's old town - is to walk through the city's history, from the Middle Ages to the present day. The Protestant Neander Church in the center of the city, named after the pastor and poet Joachim Neander, reminds us that one of man's ancestors was discovered a few kilometers from Düsseldorf in the Neander Valley (Neandertal in German) where the poet used to retreat to seek his inspiration.
We also cross the small river Düssel which gives its name to the city, and we pass in front of the birth house of Heinrich Heine, the last of the great romantic poets, as well as in front of the Academy of Fine Arts, where Joseph Beuys studied and where Paul Klee taught.
1pm - Lunch at the Carlsplatz market
It is impossible to miss this open-air market, open every day except Sunday. This is where locals come to stock up on fresh produce or have lunch on a corner table, tasting food from around the world. The local address? Dauser, where you can enjoy a thick soup with green cabbage, lentils or peas, hot borscht, all accompanied by sausages and other meatballs and potatoes. The ideal place to meet people and to blend in with the locals.
3pm - Immerse yourself in 20th century art at K20
Behind its curved black façade, the Düsseldorf Museum of 20th Century Art houses a rich collection from the beginning of the century - Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism - to the post-war period, including the Bauhaus and the most important representatives of art in Düsseldorf. Not to be missed: the installation Palazzo Regale by Joseph Beuys, a student at the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts, as well as 92 paintings and drawings by Paul Klee, who was a professor there. Other artistic figures of the city: Imi Knoebel, Gerhard Richter, Tony Cragg and Katharina Fritsch, alongside more famous painters such as Pierre Soulages, Kandinsky, Otto Dix or Jackson Pollock. An astonishing wealth, completed by temporary exhibitions.
8pm - Browse the downtown breweries
Long before the microbrewery craze, Düsseldorf brewers served their home-brewed beer in the back room, the famous Altbier. A great rival to Cologne's Kölsch, Altbier has a coppery color, a caramelized and slightly bitter taste and only 4.5 to 5% alcohol. It can still be tasted at Uerige Obergäriges Hausbrauerei with its warm wooded rooms, Brauerei Im Füchschen, or under the vaults of Hausbrauerei zum Schlüssel. Beware, the waiters serve the customers until they put their cardboard coasters on their mugs! It's time for the bill, and if it's crowded you'll be asked to leave. And if the waiters are not known for their friendliness, it is part of the folklore. One of the breweries is called Zum Uerige, "the grumbler", and has existed since 1658.
DAY 2 - Enjoying Düsseldorf
9am - Walking in the footsteps of the electro pioneers
Kraftwerk, Neu!, DAF, La Düsseldorf... In the 1970s and 1980s, the city asserted itself as a zone of intense creativity in electronic music. Pioneers were the famous band Kraftwerk and their studio Kling Klang, but also Neu! who received a visit from David Bowie and whose 1975 song Hero, which tells the story of a man's lonely walk through the streets of Düsseldorf, inspired the English pop star for his 1977 song Heroes. One of many anecdotes that Sven-André Dreyer and Michael Wenzel, who are passionate about electro music and their city, distilled during a musical walk accompanied by their speaker. The link between Kraftwerk and the Russian painter El Lissitky? The location of the Creamcheese club where Claudia Schieffer danced? The Sound of Düsseldorf" is a must-see for all electro enthusiasts.
11 am - Visit the Electro. exhibition at the Kunstpalatz
Conceived in collaboration with the Philharmonie de Paris, the exhibition "Electro. From Kraftwerk to Electro" presents the beginnings of electronic music up to the era of rave parties and Berlin clubs. It couldn't miss the emblematic Düsseldorf electro band Kraftwerk, who founded their studio Kling Klang in 1970 (the studio still exists, in an undisclosed location). Installations, 3D videos, loaned objects and Laurent Garnier's playlist in the background plunge us into the group's universe, influenced by the avant-gardes of the 1960s and 1970s and the concept of the total work of art. We discover their humorous and poetic vision of modernity and post-war Europe, and their fascination for the robot and the man-machine, embodied by the bicycle in the video clip of their song Tour de France.
1:00 pm - Enjoying a ramen
The largest Japanese community in Germany - and the third largest in Europe - is in Düsseldorf. Between the train station and the old town, a Little Tokyo has taken place along Immermannstrasse and Klosterstrasse. Here you can find the ramen restaurant Takumi, which offers various types of noodle soups directly from the island of Hokkaido. Miso broth, tonkatsu or shoyu, you can also choose gyozas, chicken karaage and takoyaki.
We complete this immersion in the Rising Sun with a melon bread at the Japanese pastry shop Bakery My heart, before a detour to the Takagi bookstore or the Kyoto - Japan Art Deco decoration objects cave. A beautiful Japanese garden is also located in the north of the city, in the Nordpark.
3pm - Introduction to the tea ceremony
Motoko Dobashi and Anna Friedel opened this tea room and art gallery and share their common passion for tea. Textiles, cups, teapots, tea ceremony instruments, and artworks can be found in the serene atmosphere of the space, proving that art and tea ceremony are intimately connected. Motoko introduces her clients to the Sencha-do tea ceremony, learned during her youth in Japan, and each ceremony is tailor-made according to the interests of the individual.
4:30 pm - Strolling from gallery to gallery in Flingern
Head east on Birkenstraße, where galleries line up in the cosmopolitan Flingern district. We start with the spaces of Kadel Willborn, then Linn Lühn and Petra Rinck, before reaching the Philara collection, hidden at the back of a courtyard. The collection of Gil Bronner, a Düsseldorf entrepreneur, is now housed in a former glass factory in several spaces, performance halls, a café and a roof terrace where sculptures are exhibited. With more than 1,000 works, the contemporary collection focuses on promoting emerging local artists, most of whom are students of the city's Academy of Fine Arts. Further on, the Konrad Fischer Gallery, founded in 1967 in a large brick building, specializes in minimal, conceptual and arte povera art.
8pm - Dinner at WILLIAMS Bar & Kitchen
With its subdued lighting, solid wood tables and large bar with designer leather chairs, Williams is halfway between a London club and a trendy restaurant. In the trendy Unterblik district, it mixes inventive cocktails or shakes to taste with a modern cuisine that looks to southern Europe and Asia: tataki flank steak with basil gremolata and truffled mashed potatoes, beet risotto with taleggio, radicchio and walnuts, or grilled octopus with peppers, artichoke and harissa.
To end the evening, we go to a biergarten on the Rhine in summer to enjoy the long evenings in a relaxed atmosphere. One address? Three Little Birds, near the Nordpark. In winter, we prefer the Paradise Now in the MedienHafen, to find a festive atmosphere in a decor that transports us to Ibiza.
VISION Destinations | January 2022
Handpicked luxury hotels & villas collection
VISION Destinations is your source for discovering the world's best luxury hotels & villas.
A unique source of travel inspiration
A travel blog made by luxury travel experts for solo travelers, traveling families and business travelers !
Join the family
Get your daily travel inspiration and follow us on :