This blog post was updated on April 19, 2022.
My guide in Dusseldorf asks a group of travelers what they want to find in Dusseldorf. While the question might seem unanswerable for a first timer to the city, I could understand her point. Dusseldorf was a stranger to me, as it can be for other travelers. At times outshined by the other big cities in Germany, I knew very little about the multifaceted capital of the North Rhine Westphalia. However once the airberlin flight touched down in Dusseldorf, I began finding Dusseldorf, all in a day’s work. Whether you have a long layover in the city or merely only have a day to visit, here are four activities that lend a taste of what the city on the Rhine is all about.
Take in the Views on Top of Rhein Turm
It might not be Dusseldorf’s prettiest piece of architecture, but the Rhein Turm certainly lends postcard worthy views. Also known as the Rhine Tower, this telecommunications tower in the city is stuck in the 1980s for it was built at that time. Measuring a total of 240 meters, visitors can experience the leaping of stomachs as the tower’s elevator shoots you up to the Panorama deck at 168 meters above Dusseldorf. The Rhine River and the city are in full view from this vantage point. Those with a bit of daredevil running through their veins can lie flat on the observatory windows. If the swaying sensation of being at 168 meters above Dusseldorf isn’t getting to you now, you can head a few floors up to 172 meters to the revolving restaurant on site for more city spins. Rhein Turm sits along the Rhine Promenade.
Meet the Modern at MedienHafen
Dusseldorf’s reconstructed and revived old Rhine industrial port area is now a hotbed for activity, specifically of the architecture variety. Travelers will want their cameras in hand to capture the creative scene unfolding. Known as the Media Harbor for its great deal of television, radio, ad and media agencies, this section of Dusseldorf is all about hi-tech engineering and creative interior design. The posh MedienHafen features restaurants, bars and hotels, but its most notable buildings are the almost waving Gehry buildings. The three complexes in MedienHafen are the work of the esteemed Frank O. Gehry. If you have fallen in love with the weird, wacky and inventive architecture of the area, you might want to spend the night at the Hyatt Regency Dusseldorf in Media Harbor. Designed by FG Stijl, it too boasts an eye-gazing exterior and interior with the theme of water carried throughout from the carpets and chandeliers to the very ship-shape of the building.
Day Trip to the Pretty in Pink Schloss Benrath
Colored a bubble gum pink, Schloss Benrath just outside of Dusseldorf showcases the power of Elector Carl Theodor. He built the baroque complex to serve as a pleasure and hunting palace. While the majority of the furniture in the palace was lost, tours take visitors through several rooms, highlighting the blending of the outdoors with the indoors. This peach palace bursts with scandalous tales of Carl Theodor, most notably the fact that he only visited the palace one afternoon. Its existence merely displayed his wealth and power in the area. Benrath Palace also features 60 hectares of gardens, open to the public to roam.
Spend the Evening at the Opera
You can almost hear the works of Schumann and Mendelssohn while wandering through Dusseldorf. The city on the Rhine has a history for good ears. One the best ways to appreciate Dusseldorf’s gift for music and song comes at the opera. Deutsche Oper am Rhein resides on the edge of the historic center. It boasts having one the largest singer ensembles in the world. Performances vary but shows cover the classics like Hazel and Gretel and La Bohéme. Aside from catching the latest opera on stage, you can also tour the opera house. Tour goers can head into the basement of the building to comb through 50,000 costumes.
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Photo: Suzy Guese