It is easy to navigate with the east side of the old town lined by the famous shopping boulevard Koenigsalle while the west side is bordered by the river Rhine. Start at the central square, Burgplatz, close to the Rhine. The cobble-stoned square was once the site of a baroque palace, which burned down in 1872. All that remains of the palace is the tower, which now houses the Navigation Museum.
From here, you can see Dusseldorf’s largest church, St. Lambertus Basilica on Stiftsplatz which was built in 1206 and is famous for its twisted spire. Other noteworthy churches in the old town are Neander Church which displays a truly unique pipe organ from the 1960s, and St. Andrew’s Church.
Another must-see is Düsseldorf's marktplatz (market square) where you find the landmark of the city, the statue of Elector Jan Wellem. Sitting high on his horse, the elector is right in front of the rathaus (city hall) which was built between 1570-1573.
If you are looking for a typical souvenir, make your way to the old-fashioned Gewürzhaus (spice house) on Mertensgasse 25. Here you can buy the local mustard, ABB, in lovely hand-decorated ceramic jars. It’s a wonderfully old-fashioned family store with hundreds of spice jars lining the wall.
Need more than a condiment for lunch? Bolkerstrasse has been called the longest bar in the world as this pedestrian street is lined on both sides with bars and restaurants that offer everything from Rhenish local specialties to Lebanese, Spanish, Italian, and American fare. For some local cuisine and rustic atmosphere, check out our favorite gastropubs in Düsseldorf's old town.
Düsseldorf: Day One - Afternoon
A great way to walk off your lunch is by taking a stroll along the Rhine river promenade at the edge of Düsseldorf's Old Town. From Burgplatz you can also take a boat tour (90 minutes) to enjoy the city from the water.
Head south on the promenade towards Rheinturm (Rhine Tower). On your way, you’ll pass the interesting Kunst im Tunnel (KIT) gallery where exhibitions by young artists are staged underground in a former tunnel (Mannesmannufer 1b). Once you reach Rheinturm (Stromstraße 20) you can enjoy a fantastic view from the upper platform or have a piece of cake in the revolving restaurant one floor up.
Look towards your next destination, the Medien Hafen (media harbor), with its dynamic and modern architecture. The eclectic mix of post-modern buildings and charming elements of the old harbor make this a fascinating area to explore. One of the best examples is the Dancing Houses designed by legendary architect Frank Gehry.
End your day in one of the many hip restaurants or bars at the Media Harbor which offers outdoor seating by the water.
Düsseldorf: Day Two - Morning
The morning of your second day in Düsseldorf should be dedicated to shopping. Düsseldorf is famous for its fashion and hosts some of the most important fashion fairs in the world.
Start at lovely Carlsplatz and its open-air farmer’s market (Monday through Saturday) before walking down the cobble-stoned streets Hohe Strasse and Bilkstrasse where you find many specialty shops, bookstores, galleries, and local designers. Don’t forget to duck into the overgrown courtyards of the classicist buildings where you can discover more cafes and stores.
For some serious retail therapy, head back to luxurious Koenigsallee. It runs parallel to a canal and you’ll find everything from Prada to Gucci here. For more international fashion stores, head to Schadowstrasse or the beautiful Carsch Haus department store (Heinrich Heine Platz 1) which was designed in Art Nouveau style by the architect Otto Engler.
Hungry again? Visit the area around Ratingerstrasse which is very popular among locals. The restaurant Zum Goldenen Einhorn is especially popular and they are famous for their generous slices of German cake.
Düsseldorf: Day Two - Afternoon
If you are interested in modern art, head to the museum K20 (Grabbeplatz 5), which focuses on art of the 20th century and is located at the edge of the old town. The collection includes German Expressionists and masterworks by Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, and Jackson Pollock, as well as installations by Joseph Beuys and Nam June Paik.
Another great museum is the Museum Kunstpalast (Ehrenhof 4-5) on the river. It showcases fine arts from classical antiquity to present day and one of Europe's largest glass collections.