Düsseldorf’s hidden gems
As well as the well-known areas of Düsseldorf, I wanted to discover some of the up and coming trendy areas. So, in spring last year (2017) I spent the day wandering through Unterbilk, visiting the many independent shops and cafés. Unterbilk is close to the Rhine Tower and be easily reached by tram (708 or 709) from Graf-Adolf-Platz to Landtag/Kniebrücke or underground (U73 or U83) from Heinrich-Heine-Allee to Kirchplatz. On a nice day, you could take a walk along the river to reach this part of the city. Great streets to look out for are Lorettostraße, Bilker Allee, Vollmerswerther Straße, Friedenstraße and Bürgerstraße. I spent quite a long time on Lorettostraße chatting to some of the shop owners, who were all very friendly and welcoming.
If you have a passion for individual, creative clothes, unusual home accessories, exquisite jewellery and gifts – then have a look at my favourite places on Lorettostraße.
- Balooz: Claudia Schug offers a tasteful selection of contemporary fashion and accessories, home accessories and jewellery. I bought my light blue and grey camouflage scarf there, which is now my favourite.
- WWW – What women want: Beautiful and elegant selection of home accessories, fashion and accessories
- Modlord: If you miss the UK or you are a fan the British style, then Modlord is a must! I personally love it! The owners, Memo Torfilli and Tanja Göttler are very fond of Britain and therefore, offer a variety of typical British brands. If you love music, clothes, accessories or vintage stuff, this is definitely your shop! It’s also well worth having a browse through their very well-designed website! http://modlord.net/
- Greentrees – the juicery: Alex Greentree and Henrik van Bonn opened their second shop in Düsseldorf on 24th March 2017. The freshly-made smoothies have funny names like Apple Mint ‘N Sh°t or Rootful & Youthful. I tried both and they tasted really good. They also offer healthy superfood snacks. I enjoyed the Hail Halloumi sandwich with homemade pesto and halloumi cheese served on my favourite organic bread. I’ll definitely come back and I hope they’ll open more places!http://www.greentreesthejuicery.de/
- Chocolaterie bittersüß & edelweiß: This divine chocolaterie tempts you with its exquisite window display of chocolate creations. Kathrin Lohaus, the owner, creates beautiful and unusual chocolate products on-site, all offered in a warm and tastefully decorated shop. You can actually watch the professionals creating these wonderful pieces of chocolate art. I tried the chocolate with salty peanuts – delicious!
- Tuxedo: I liked the atmosphere in this shop with its friendly, cheerful shop assistant! I loved some of the unusual and tastefully designed clothes. I really fancied a pink embroidered Johnny Was tunic, but at 319€, it wasn’t really in my budget! But if you are looking for something different and you are lucky enough to have a few hundred quid to spend, then you should pop by and take a look at what this wonderful shop has to offer.
- Uwe van Afferden: I popped into this shop because it looked quite quirky, with a trendy, vintage sort of feel. When I entered the shop, I realised that it was a man’s shop with cool, stylish clothes, accessories and unusual presents. The owner is Uwe van Afferden, who is also the publisher of the lifestyle magazine, ‘The Heritage Post’. I can highly recommend a browse if you’re looking for a trendy new outfit or if you’d like to treat yourself to something different.
- The SommeLerie wine shop: I wanted to buy a German Riesling and decided to visit this wine shop on Bürgerstraße. Susanne Fischer, the owner, recommended a good Riesling from the Moselle Valley. The Riesling wine I tried was from the Kirsten vineyard, which grows the grapes on the steep hills of the River Moselle. I particularly liked it as it was wonderfully refreshing and not too acidic. sommelerie.de. If you’re interested in German wines, also have a look at www.bottlestops.com.
It’s also well worth taking a look at the Kirsten vineyard’s website. Even though the website isn’t in English, it gives you the opportunity to see some stunning photographs of this beautiful wine region. www.weingut-kirsten.de
- NULL:ZWO:ELF is a shop for anyone who loves Düsseldorf! Here, you can buy a great collection of clothes branded with the Rhine Tower logo or with Düsseldorf’s football club’s logo – F95. I particularly liked the quality of the hoodies and ended up treating the whole family to one! https://www.nullzwoelfshop.de/
Superb activities for stag and hen nights, birthdays, family and corporate events
For those who’d like to experience the city differently, why not join the Hot Rod city tour? I met Chris when I popped into the Hotrod Campus on Erkrather Straße, where all the Hotrod cars are stored and maintained. Prices start from 59€ for a 60-minute session but I’d personally recommend the 120-minute ‘Düsseldorf Rallye’ for 99€. This way you’ll get a chance to really take in the famous landmarks like the MediaHarbour, the Rhine embankment, Oberkassel and the Kniebrücke Bridge. If you love go-karting, then you’ll love this. I certainly did!
Another tour I did myself (and I can thoroughly recommend) is the Albier-Safarif beer tour. It’s a 2-hour tour of a number of Düsseldorf’s breweries located in the old town. It’s a fun, entertaining tour where you’ll not only learn about this traditional dark beer (Alt), you’ll also be able to sample it! The guide explains the history of brewing beer in Düsseldorf, the brewing process and also some interesting facts about Düsseldorf. It was great fun to go on the tour, which was mainly (surprise, surprise) full of men! Read more about my tour here.
MediaHarbour – Düsseldorf’s equivalent of the London Docklands
Close to one of Düsseldorf’s iconic landmarks, the Rhine Tower, you’ll find the MediaHarbour (Medienhafen) district. Located about a 45-minute walk away from the opulent Königsallee, the whole area underwent extensive redevelopment almost 20 years ago. It was transformed into the trendy area it is today, attracting many innovate and creative businesses like advertising agencies and TV production companies. In the evening, many people from the surrounding areas flock to the district to meet up with friends in the many bars, cafés, clubs and restaurants and to enjoy the beautiful view over the River Rhine.
The architect Frank O. Gehry gave the area its distinctive character, which has now generated both national and international awareness. His design is the perfect blend between old and new – with many of the listed buildings having been beautifully renovated. The steel and brickwork of the old warehouses attracted many companies to establish their offices in the MediaHarbour.
Where to stay in Düsseldorf
It’s always good to get a recommendation when it comes to where to stay. There’s nothing worse than turning up at your hotel, only to be left disappointed. I’d like to recommend some really good places to stay – whatever your budget. If I treat myself to a more luxurious hotel, I do have high expectations when it comes to quality and service. I also enjoy staying in B&Bs (Pension or Gasthof in German). Renting a house or an apartment is something I often do if I’m travelling with family or friends – as well as my dog of course!
Whenever I go on a city break, I like to check out if there are any individual hotels, which have more of an unusual appeal. It might be elegant or just a bit quirky – but it need to have that special ambience for me. I’ve been checking out what Düsseldorf has to offer that would suit all budgets. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many lovely hotels have appeared over the last few years.
Have a look at the places, I checked out and liked.
I’m planning to go back to Düsseldorf several times this year, so if you don’t want to miss any of my blogs, sign up here for my monthly newsletter.