Dusseldorf Old Town (Altstadt)
Though it’s less than a quarter of a square mile (half of a square kilometer) in size, Dusseldorf’s Old Town punches above its weight when it comes to culture, history, and nightlife. Established some 700 years ago, the picturesque neighborhood is rich in winding alleyways, historical buildings, and major landmarks. Highlights of a sightseeing tour include the city’s Town Hall (Rathaus), St. Lambertus Basilica, Burgplatz tower, and the Market Square (Marktplatz), with its equestrian statue of Jan Wellem. After dark, the district dons an entirely new guise, when locals and visitors alike flock to its more than 300 bars and pubs to enjoy beers, hearty local dishes, and to let loose.
Dusseldorf’s Old Town is the perfect place to begin your exploration of the charming, riverside city, and there are plenty of ways to discover it. Learn insider stories and secrets about the district’s long history on a walking tour, follow a local to its top restaurants on a food crawl, or, if you’re pressed for time, explore on a Segway. Alternatively, admire its soaring towers from the water’s edge on a Rhine river cruise.
Things to know before you go
- During your trip to the Old Town’s bars, be sure to try Altbier, or “Old Beer”: the classic, malty German beer style is native to Dusseldorf.
- Indulge in a classic Altstadt tradition: if you discover the statue of Wibbel the Tailor embedded in the wall of a historic building, rub it for good luck.
- Head to the Flingerstrasse and the Mittelstrasse: the two are considered the Altstadt’s top shopping streets.
- For some of the best views overlooking the Rhine, stroll along the Rhine Embankment Promenade, camera in hand.
How to get there
The Dusseldorf Altstadt is located on the east banks of the Rhine. The district is served by several U-Bahn stations, including Tonhalle/Ehrenhof, Heinrich-Heine-Allee, and Benrather Straße, as well as local buses. Upon arrival, its narrow streets and public squares are best explored on foot or by bike.
When to get there
Dusseldorf’s Old Town is one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods: by day, sightseers come to tour and take photos of its architectural and historical highlights; by night, its bars and pubs come to life. The district is at its busiest during annual events like the Dusseldorf Carnival in February, the Largest Fair on the Rhine in July, and during the lead-up to Christmas every year, when its Marktplatz hosts a lively Christmas market.
The Museums of the Old Town
Dusseldorf’s Altstadt is packed with art galleries and museums, and is a popular choice for culturally minded visitors. During a neighborhood tour, you can head to the K20, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (a modern and contemporary art museum); the Maritime Museum, the Filmmuseum Dusseldorf, the Kunsthalle Dusseldorf (another art museum), and the Hetjens-Museum (dedicated to pottery and ceramics). Don’t forget to admire the famous Kunstakademie (Art Academy), where Gerhard Richter was once a student, and where Paul Klee Joseph Beuys once taught.
- Dusseldorf Old Town Hall (Rathaus Dusseldorf)
- St. Lambertus Cathedral
- King's Alley (Konigsallee)
- Rhine River Promenade (Rheinuferpromenade)
- North Rhine-Westphalian State Parliament (Landtag)
- Museum Kunstpalast
- Rhine Tower (Rheinturm)
- Media Harbor (MedienHafen)
- Benrath Palace (Schloss Benrath)
- Alpenpark Neuss
- Hombroich Museum Island (Museum Insel Hombroich)
- LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Oberhausen
- SEA LIFE® Oberhausen