Dusseldorf boasts one of Europe’s highest living standards. A booming tech culture, affordable living, a multicultural foodie scene and lazy cruises on the Rhine all make it a great place to call home.
The city’s most elegant street is Konigsallee – known as ‘Ko’ to locals. This opulent boulevard is lined with premium designer brands and luxury hotels.
1. It’s a world-class shopping destination
The city’s shopping scene is second to none in Europe. The exclusive Konigsallee, endearingly known as “Ko”, is renowned for setting fashion trends, and the list of designers with flagship stores here reads like a who’s who in the business.
Despite its small size, Dusseldorf is also home to several large malls and specialty retailers. A shopper’s paradise, the Schadow-Arkaden is one of them, featuring shops and restaurants inside a massive granite building with a free-floating glass cylinder above its entrance.
Tourist souvenirs are available everywhere in the city, from classic Black Forest cuckoo clocks to ornately decorated beer steins that are a symbol of the local tipple, Altbier. The quaint boutiques in the Altstadt, on the other hand, specialize in high-fashion and new trends.
2. It’s a family-friendly city
Dusseldorf’s high standard of living (as rated by Mercer) is a big draw for families, with a wide variety of kindergartens, playgroups and international schools, plus a good German health system. There’s also a huge choice of kid-friendly activities and attractions, from the Grafenberger Wildpark and Phantasialand theme park to museums and theaters offering special guided tours for kids.
Dusseldorf is famous for its carnival and events, especially the annual Karneval, which is so popular that many local companies (trivago included) give their staff the day off to attend! There are also regular festivals and trade fairs that run throughout the year, ranging from arts and culture to food and travel.
The city’s main shopping area is Konigsallee, lined with designer shops and boutiques that will make your credit card squeal. Then there’s Schadowstrasse for a range of mid-range and department stores, the Altstadt for specialized jewellery, fashion and home furnishing shops, and the Flingern district with its artisanal stalls.
3. It’s a cultural hub
With 20+ museums and 100+ galleries, Dusseldorf’s art scene is world class. But it’s also a major commercial centre and is home to many of Germany’s leading companies, including Henkel (branded consumer goods), E.on and ThyssenKrupp. Its many annual trade fairs are a big draw, too.
The old town is a delight to explore, with the 13th-century Lambertus Church whose crooked tower has become the city symbol, and Jagerhof Castle, the seat of the electors palatine until it burned down in 1872. But the modern city is equally impressive. The tree-lined Konigsallee shopping district has a reputation as a European Champs-lysees, with upscale jewellery and designer shops.
And there’s a relaxed, neighbourly feel to the city as well. In cafes located on the ground floor of apartment blocks, creative types tap away at laptops as they enjoy a bottle of Altbier – the dark ale-like beer for which the region is famous.
4. It’s a foodie destination
When you think of Germany, hearty plates like sauerbraten and wiener schnitzel may come to mind. But Dusseldorf has a lot more up its sleeve than that when it comes to culinary offerings. The city’s cosmopolitan culture is reflected in its range of international restaurants. You can tuck into Georgian, Ghanian and Brazilian cuisine alongside traditional German fare.
Dusseldorf is also getting a reputation for its Japanese food, thanks to its sizeable community. Head to Little Tokyo — the enclave around Immermannstrasse — and you’ll find authentic sushi restaurants, soba joints and bookshops stacked with manga comics.
If you want to experience the city’s gastronomic side, check out Carlsplatz market when in the old town (Altstadt). Sample olive oils, wines and cheese from stallholders, or grab some pickled eggs for breakfast. Then, finish your meal with a cup of Altbier. This dark beer is served in small glasses, and it’s a favorite with locals. Some of the best breweries include Uerige, Fuchschen and Kurzer.