Where to Stay in Düsseldorf

SD › Best Places to Stay in Düsseldorf
Updated: January 26, 2023
By Santorini Dave

Our Favorite Düsseldorf Hotels

• 5-Star Hotel: Breidenbacher Hof
• Boutique Hotel: Hotel Orangerie
• Cheap Hotel: carathotel Düsseldorf City
• Family Hotel: The Wellem
• Best Indoor Pool: Breidenbacher Hof
• Best Outdoor Pool: Ashley’s Garden
• Near Train Station: Motel One
• Near Airport: Maritim

The Best Area to Stay in Düsseldorf

Sophisticated Düsseldorf, the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, tends to get short shrift when it comes to international tourism, though it’s one of Germany’s most fashionable, wealthy, cosmopolitan, and liveable cities. Though it lies close to the industrial Ruhr, it’s very different than its neighbors, with a pleasant riverfront promenade along the Rhine, a medieval old town and a series of landscaped parks, leafy promenades, and contemporary shopping malls. This was also the birthplace of Heinrich Heine, the beloved Romantic poet, and is still the home of a rich beer-making and beer hall culture. Though – like most large German cities – Dusseldorf was heavily bombed in World War II, much survived or was rebuilt, enhanced by a series of creative buildings that showcase the best in contemporary architecture. It’s a fun city to explore, and the (relative) lack of tourists only adds to its appeal.

The Altstadt (Old Town) and neighboring Carlstadt in the heart of the city have the most character and plenty of sights, earthy bars, and restaurants; though stately Königsallee is where you’ll find the chic boutiques of Germany’s fashion capital and some of its most exclusive hotels. The commercial heart of the city, Düsseldorf-Stadtmitte is where you’ll find a much larger range of accommodation, as well as the train station, the tranquil Hofgarten, and Little Tokyo – a lot of visitors end up staying here. To the north, Pempelfort and its neighboring districts tend to attract visitors heading to a trade show at Messe Düsseldorf or concert at the Tonhalle, while further south along the Rhine, the newly revamped docklands of MedienHafen contain stylish contemporary skyscrapers and posh hotels.

While it’s relatively easy to explore the Altstadt and Königsallee on foot, to reach the outer districts you’ll have to use the city’s excellent public transport system. The integrated bus, tram and U-Bahn network is cheap and easy to use, with most routes converging at the train station. It’s not a good idea to rent (or use) a car while here – the roads can be congested (and complicated to navigate), and parking is expensive.

Dusseldorf Travel Tips

  • Düsseldorf Airport is only about 4 miles (7km) north of the old town. As the fourth largest airport in Germany, it’s well connected to cities in Europe and the Middle East, though there are no non-stop flights to North America. From the airport you can take a taxi or just hop on the train to the main station (Hauptbahnhof) in town (5–10min). Most people visit the city by car or by train.
  • Though some staff at hotels and sights speak English (and most students seem to), most Düsseldorfers do not (especially older folks working in shops and restaurants). Try to learn a few words and numbers in German before you go.
  • The Düsseldorf Card (24hr €11.90, 48hr €17.90, 72hr €23.90) offers free or reduced entry to museums and attractions plus unlimited use of public transport in the city (buy it at the first museum you visit or station vending machines). Alternatively, the “Art:walk48” card gives free entry to the six main art museums in Düsseldorf for €25, for 48 hours – the Düsseldorf Card isn’t as good for these six, so plan carefully before you decide which card to buy. As always, both these cards are only good deals if you intend to see a lot of sights within the time allotted. Note that museums in Düsseldorf are closed on Mondays.
  • Düsseldorf is very bike friendly. It’s relatively flat, there are lots of bike lanes and trails, and it’s easy to rent; try the Radstation behind the train station.

The Best Places to Stay in Düsseldorf

Best Neighborhoods in Düsseldorf for…

  • Best Neighborhoods to Stay for First Timers/Sightseeing: Altstadt, Carlstadt, or Königsallee
    You’ll get the best impression of Düsseldorf by staying in the city center – basically the three adjacent neighborhoods of Altstadt, Carlstadt, or Königsallee. This is where most of the city’s museums and attractions are located, as well as the best shops, bars, and restaurants – and what’s left of its medieval old town. (You’ll be able to walk to most places whichever of these three neighborhoods you stay in). Altstadt is better for nightlife and the Old Town, but can be a bit noisy at night, especially at the weekends – Carlstadt is quieter. The city’s most luxurious hotels are on or around Königsallee, the most convenient location for shopping. All three districts also put you within walking distance of the Rhine promenade, a bar-lined riverside that’s extremely pleasant in spring and summer. You’ll likely get better bargains in Düsseldorf-Stadtmitte, the city’s main commercial area, but this lacks character and you’ll be a lot more reliant on taxis or public transport.
  • Most Romantic Neighborhood: Kaiserswerth
    The historic Kaiserswerth district in the north of Düsseldorf (easy to reach by train) features charming medieval streets and cobblestone lanes, with old churches, cozy beer gardens, boat trips down the Rhine, and the Kaiserpfalz, a 12th-century castle that overlooks the river. It’s also home to Im Schiffchen, a Düsseldorf fine dining institution, perfect for a romantic date. Kaiserswerth’s other claim to fame is that Florence Nightingale spent four months here in 1850 training to be a nurse at Kaiserswerther Diakonie, a Lutheran deaconess training institute (the local hospital is named after Nightingale). Our favorite hotels here are the Hotel Kaiserswerth, Hotel Mutterhaus, and Hotel Villa Falkenberg.
  • Best Neighborhoods for Nightlife: Altstadt (Old Town) and MedienHafen
    Conveniently, Altstadt is the city’s premier nightlife district – there are allegedly over 260 pubs and bars in a relatively compact area, depending on how you count them, with locals as likely to frequent them as visitors and students. Düsseldorf beer culture is especially rich, with the local “Altbier” drunk with pride and a cluster of atmospheric, historic pubs acting as breweries, beer gardens, and traditional restaurants. Have at least one beer in Uerige, which has been brewing since 1862; Schumacher Alt has been around since 1838, while Brauerei Kürzer is a relative newcomer.

    Bolkerstrasse is the hub for raucous bars dripping with character, such as oldie Zum Schlüssel and newer spots like Engel Rockbar and Auberge Rock Pub. To the north, RatingerStrasse is a little more alternative, home to popular beer halls like Füchschen Alt, schnapps specialist KreuzherrenEcke, where artist Joseph Beuys and writer Günter Grass used to drink, and the cocktails at Cubanitos Bar. There’s also a decent live music scene here – Düsseldorf was the home of electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk, and the legendary Ratinger Hof still holds concerts.

    The scene over in MedienHafen is more contemporary and upscale. Start at QOMO Restaurant & Bar in the Rheinturm, Germany’s highest cocktail bar. Other highlights include the Rudas Studios Club, the Au Quai by ArabesQ cocktail bar on the water, and The VIEW Skylounge & Bar.

    • Düsseldorfers are very proud of the local Altbier, of which there are six different types brewed in the city. Never ask for kölsch, the beer from rival Rhine city Cologne (Köln). Instead, wash down your Altbier with a traditional Düsseldorf pickled egg (peel the shell and add salt).

    • Düsseldorf’s local liqueur is Killepitsch, a herby concoction that’s a bit of an acquired taste.Try it at Killepitsch specialist Et Kabüffke.

  • Best Neighborhood for Food and Restaurants: Little Tokyo and MedienHafen
    Great restaurants are plentiful across Düsseldorf, which is extremely underrated internationally as a foodie destination. One of our favorite neighborhoods for eating is Little Tokyo (in Düsseldorf-Stadtmitte), as much for the novelty of authentic East Asian food in northern Europe as anything else. Düsseldorf is said to have the largest Japanese community in Europe (over 8,000), with Little Tokyo a relatively small section of Immermannstrasse and Klosterstrasse between the Old Town and the train station. Highlights include high-end Japanese restaurant Nagaya, ramen specialist Takumi, and local institution NaNiWa, serving up noodles, sushi, and soups. Hotels nearby include me and all, Clayton, Max Brown Midtown, Moxy, and the cheap but adequate Hotel Weidenhof.

    MedienHafen features a roster of stylish restaurants from up-and-coming chefs, housed in the contemporary, waterside buildings that characterize this renewed docklands area. Top picks include posh Italian Da Clà, vegan favorite Sattgrün Hafen, the popular outpost of burger chain Bob & Mary, and plush Dox.

    • If you’re staying in the Altstadt (Old Town), don’t worry – it’s loaded with places to eat, from the ubiquitous sausage stalls and Belgian fries shops, to lauded gourmet restaurants such as The Duchy, schnitzel specialist Münstermann Kontor, old-school German restaurant Weinhaus Tante Anna, and artisanal coffee roaster Rösterei VIER Marktplatz. There’s also a good variety of food stalls in the Carlsplatz market.

    • Make sure you visit Bäckerei Hinkel in the Altstadt, founded in 1891 by Jean Hinkel and still knocking out amazing breads and Viennoiseries today. For a modern take on cupcakes, hit Homemade We Eat Fine.

    • Foodies should note that some of Düsseldorf’s top-rated restaurants can be found in Pempelfort district: Rubens, Restaurant Le Flair, Oktopussy, and Fleckenstein’s.

    • Düsseldorf mustard is very famous in Germany – buy some at the Gewürzhaus Altstadt, or Düsseldorf Senfladen which sells Löwensenf mustard, founded in 1903.

  • Best Neighborhood for Shopping: Königsallee/Düsseldorf-Stadtmitte
    Düsseldorf is Germany’s fashion capital, and it’s hard to beat the mass of shopping opportunities on or around the Königsallee (aka “Kö”). All the big international designer labels are here – Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel, Dior, and the like – even Tiffany of New York. Among the upscale shopping malls here are KÖ Galerie, Kö-Bogen, Schadow-Arkaden, and stilwerk Düsseldorf. You’ll find more down-to-earth brands along Schadowstrasse, which branches off Königsallee at the northern end; Uniqlo, Zara, Peek & Cloppenburg, and H&M are all here.

    Alternatives include the busy Nordstrasse in the Pempelfort neighborhood, where you’ll find indie boutiques as well as large department stores that line its main street – there’s also a farmers’ market that takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Ackerstrasse in the Flingern neighborhood is another good bet for concept stores, secondhand vintage stores, and antiques. Highlights include jeweler Moritz Wenz, graphic and interior design at Rikiki, and candy at Lakritz-Boutique.

  • Best Neighborhood for Local Vibe: Unterbilk and Flingern
    Though it’s best known for the riverside MedienHafen district, inland Unterbilkis a hip enclave of small local cafes, restaurants, parks and shops, especially along Bilker Allee and Lorettostrasse – you’ll definitely lose the tourists down here. Favorite spots include breakfast deli-café Bernstein & Inbar at Lorettostrasse 16, artsy Café Modigliani at Wissmannstrasse 6, bar Seifen Horst, and Wandel-Antik Vintage. We also love the coffee at Caffè MA and the cocktails at Bar Alexander. The best hotels for Unterbilk are Hotel Moon and the serviced apartments at Living Hotel.

    Flingern lies east of the city center and the train station but is another hip neighborhood where you’ll get a sense of real daily life in Düsseldorf. This former blue-collar district has been gentrified to a point in recent years, with old factories and warehouses turned into art galleries, studios, boutiques, vintage stores, and laid-back bars and cafes. Aim for Ackerstrasse, the main drag, where Café Hüftgold is the place for coffee and cakes. Other favorites around here include the Café Lotte pub, trendy fashion store Plup (“Planet Upcycling”), and Sammlung Philara art gallery. Plush Hotel Villa Achenbach lies on the northern edge of Flingern, with Hotel Friends making a cheaper alternative at the western end of Ackerstrasse.

  • Safety in Düsseldorf
    Central Düsseldorf is generally quite safe, though the usual precautions should be taken at night – it’s a big city after all. Generally, the neighborhoods in the far south of the city tend to post the highest crime rates, but you are highly unlikely to end up down here (Benrath is fine, but avoid the train station at night). It’s probably a good idea to avoid the area around the main train station, in Düsseldorf-Stadtmitte, at night also, and to take care late at night in the Altstadt, which can get rowdy with partying drinkers. The northern districts of Pempelfort and Golzheim tend to be the safest neighborhoods.

The 6 Best Neighborhoods in Düsseldorf for Tourists

1 Altstadt (Old Town)

Düsseldorf’s Altstadt (Old Town) was bombed to rubble in World War II, and while it lacks the character of Germany’s better preserved city centers, enough history remains along its rebuilt lanes and cobblestone streets to make an enjoyable day or two of exploration.

Not much is left of the medieval castle of the Counts of Berg – just the stumpy Schlossturm on the riverside Burgplatz, which today houses the Schifffahrts Museum, a mildly interesting museum on Rhine maritime history. Nearby St Lambertus, with its famous twisted spire, is the oldest church in the city.

To the east of Burgplatz lies canary-colored Andreaskirche, a Baroque masterpiece with the tomb of Düsseldorf’s favorite Elector, Jan Wellem (1658–1716) inside. A little further east is the hangar-like Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, a modern and contemporary art museum with a roster of high-quality traveling exhibitions through the year. One block north, the K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen is another stylish modern art museum with an outstanding collection of works by Paul Klee, Joseph Beuys, Braque, Picasso, and many others.

Back in the heart of the Old Town, south of Burgplatz, the main square, Marktplatz, features an equestrian statue of Jan Wellem and the Rathaus, the grand 16th-century town hall. To the east, along busy Bolkerstrass, the Müller & Böhm bookshop occupies the house where poet Heinrich Heine was born in 1797.

The pleasant Rhein promenade along the river west of the Old Town is lined with bars and restaurants, ideal pit stops on a hot summer day, while at the southern end of the district, Carlsplatz is an excellent food market, open Monday to Saturday. Also at the southern fringe of the neighborhood are two museums: the Hetjens-German Ceramics Museum, housed in the beautiful Palais Nesselrode, contains a vast collection going back 8,000 years, while the Filmmuseum chronicles the history of movies, with special attention to German directors such as Werner Herzog.

• Altstadt has great nightlife, revolving around its historic breweries and beer gardens – it’s known as the “longest bar in the world” (längste Theke der Welt).

2. Carlstadt

Something of an extension of the Old Town, south along the Rhine, Carlstadt has more of a residential feel, its neat street grid bordered by the Königsallee to the east and the Rhine and Spee’scher Grabenpark to the west. One of its handsome 19th-century houses contains the Heinrich-Heine-Institut, a museum commemorating the poet. The neighborhood’s main attraction is the modern Stadtmuseum Düsseldorf, an enlightening museum charting the city’s complex history. Nearby is the Haus der Geschichte Nordrhein-Westfalen, which does the same thing for North Rhine-Westphalia state, and the Kunst im Tunnel, an underground museum of contemporary art. Finally, the K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen at the southern end of the district’s chain of lakes focuses on German and international art since 1980. It occupies the grand Kaiserteich, the former Rhineland parliament building.

• Though there’s not a lot of choice when it comes to accommodation in Carlstadt, you’ll find a cluster of cheap hotels to the south in the Unterbilkand Friedrichstad neighborhoods.

  • The Best Hotels in Carlstadt
    Hotel Orangerie • Hotel phone: +49 211 866800
    Ruby Luna • Hotel phone: +49 211 302 0848
  • Best Hostel
    Backpackers • Hotel phone: +1 415 771 7277

3. Königsallee

Marking the boundary between the Old Town and the modern commercial districts to the east, Königsallee (“Kö” to the locals) is a wide, leafy north-south boulevard, with a long canal running along its center. Though it’s primarily known as a posh shopping promenade of boutiques and designer labels, it’s also just a pleasant place for a stroll, lined with some striking buildings and ending at the attractive Hofgarten at its northern end. Also up here, the massive Galeria Kaufhof, a copper-roofed Jugendstil-style department store completed in 1909, and Kö-Bogen, a futuristic mall designed by architect Daniel Libeskind in 2014. Nearby KÖ Bogen II (2020) by ingenhoven architects features Europe’s largest green facade, comprising hornbeam hedges.

• Some of Düsseldorf’s best (and most expensive) luxury and boutique hotels are on and around Königsallee.

4. Düsseldorf-Stadtmitte

Most of the commercial city center is contained within the Düsseldorf-Stadtmitte district, which stretches from the main train station (Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof) west to the Königsallee and the Old Town. It’s primarily a business district (the stock exchange and most banks are here), but there’s also Schadowstrasse (which runs northeast from Königsallee), one of the city’s main shopping streets, and Little Tokyo, halfway to the train station, a tiny enclave which is a great place to eat Japanese food and all sorts of Asian cuisine. The northern part of the district includes the Hofgarten, the city’s enchanting, lake-studded park, the Schauspielhaus performing arts center, and the Theatermuseum, which sheds light on the history of German theater. Also up here is the Goethe-Museum Düsseldorf in the handsome Schloss Jägerhof, a fascinating museum devoted to Germany’s greatest literary figure, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). Goethe never lived in Düsseldorf, but the collection of Goethe-related manuscripts, books, and arts and crafts is extensive.

• There’s a huge range of accommodation in Düsseldorf-Stadtmitte, with especially cheap hotels clustered near the train station. Staying here lacks a bit of character (the architecture is mostly modern and fairly dull), but is convenient for transport, and isn’t far by foot from the Old Town, Königsallee, and Carlstadt.

5. Pempelfort

Just north of the Old Town, Pempelfort is a primarily residential district with most places of interest located along the Rhine riverside. This is where the Bezirksregierung (government district) and the Oberlandesgericht (High Court of Düsseldorf) are located, as well as a couple of worthwhile museums. The Kunstpalast is yet another excellent art museum known for its wide-ranging collection of paintings from the 15th to 20th century – also glassware, sculpture, prints and drawings, and a major photography section. Nearby, the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf hosts well-curated temporary exhibitions of contemporary art and design, housed in the 1920 Ehrenhof industrial complex. Next door is the Tonhalle, the city’s premier concert hall.

Keeping heading north along the Rhine and you’ll reach Golzheimand Stockum, home of the gigantic Messe DüsseldorfAquazoo Löbbecke Museum, a combination zoo, aquarium, and natural history museum.

• While the hotels in Pempelfort itself can make for a tranquil stay within walking distance of the Old Town and Hofgarten (and concerts at the Tonhalle), the main reason most people stay further north is to attend the trade shows and conferences at Messe Düsseldorf.

6. MedienHafen

You can stroll the laid-back Rheinufer promenade south along the Rhine River from the Old Town all the way to MedienHafen, a revamped docklands neighborhood that’s become home to the city’s most creative modern buildings. Beyond the Rheinkniebrücke (suspension bridge), the Rheinturm (Rhine TV Tower) has become a city icon since it went up in 1981 (it’s still the tallest building in Düsseldorf). Today you can zip 558ft (168 meters) up to the observation deck above the river, or check out its revolving restaurant and cocktail bar. From here the old docks have been turned into a showcase for contemporary architects: the “crooked” 1998 Neuer Zollhof apartment towers by Frank Gehry; the “Float” Building by Renzo Piano (2018); the curving trivago headquarters (2018); Kaistrasse Studios by David Chipperfield (1997); the Maki Solitaire building (2001) by Fumihiko Maki; Sign Düsseldorf(2010) by Helmut Jahn; the nearby Stadttor, a steel-and-glass gate-like complex completed in 1998; a series of creative, high-end business hotels, waterside restaurants, and the “Alte Mälzerei”, the old malting house built in 1897 and now completely redeveloped.

• You’ll find the most stylish and contemporary hotels in the city here – assuming you like the dockland renewal aesthetic, and it’s pleasant to be so close to the water, but MedienHafen is a bit of hike to the rest of the city (it’s arounda 10-minute walk to the closest tram station). MedienHafen also still lacks some amenities, especially in terms of shops.

Other Dusseldorf Neighborhoods

We’ve covered our favorite neighborhoods to visit and stay in more detail above, but with more time Benrath, southwest of the city center, is also worth checking out. It’s best known for the elegant, pink confection of Schloss Benrath, an 18th-century palace built for the Elector Carl Theodor. The two service wings contain the Museum für Gartenkunst (Museum of Garden Design) and Museum für Naturkunde (Museum of Natural History). Our favorite hotels here are the Zum neuen Rathaus and Hotel Restaurant Pigage.

There’s not much point in staying near Düsseldorf Airport in the northern part of the city unless you have an early flight, but if you do need to stay here, the best hotels are the in-airport Sheraton, Maritim (walkable to the terminal), GästeHaus am Flughafen, and the cheaper ibis Düsseldorf Airport.

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