Dusseldorf is one of Germany's economic hubs, with a densely populated city centre housing about 600,000 people. The city is lively, with a love of music and culture that is hard to resist. Dusseldorf is famous for its trade and fashion fairs and attracts visitors from all over the world to these big and exciting events. Streets like Bolkerstraße, Ratinger Straße and Kurze Straße are alive with entertainment in the evenings. Those looking for an authentic drink can sample the locally-produced Altbier (meaning old-style beer) for which Dusseldorf is known.
Much of Dusseldorf was destroyed in World War II. The city is therefore not as scenic as others in Germany despite its ancient history, the first mention of which dates back to 1135. Modern architecture enthusiasts will find plenty to enjoy, however, in Frank Gehry buildings and the colourful Colorium, all clustered in the harbour district.
There are several pedestrian malls to stroll through and plenty of museums and parks to enjoy. Visitors will be hard-pressed to find a cleaner and more elegant city in Germany, even if there are fewer historic buildings than may be expected. There is a long-standing rivalry between Dusseldorf and Cologne but both cities are gems for visitors - just order the right beer in the right city!
Dusseldorf is located within easy distance of Bonn and Cologne, and due to its proximity to the border also makes a good base for weekend trips to Amsterdam, Paris, or Brussels.
Dusseldorf has a temperate oceanic climate, and is among the warmest cities in Germany thanks to the strong breezes blowing in from the nearby North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Average temperatures in the spring, summer and autumn are warm and pleasant, ranging from 57°F (14°C) in May and October to around 66°F (19°C) at summer's peak in July and August. Winters are cold but not bitterly so, with average low temperatures hovering around 32°F (0°C). Rain is fairly steady throughout the year, although the long days of summer offer more sunshine hours than winter. The best time to visit Dusseldorf is between May and September, although visitors should prepare for sudden rain showers, especially in June and July.
Getting around in Dusseldorf is relatively simple using public transport. The bus, tramway and subway network are interconnected, and tickets are sold at stops or from vending machines. Instructions are usually only in German. It is often worth buying a Day Pass (Tagesticket), which is valid until 3am the following morning. Dusseldorf is fairly flat and compact, however, and many visitors choose to walk between attractions in the city centre. Those that can't be reached on foot are accessible by taxis, which are easily hailed on the street. Renting a car in Dusseldorf is also a good option but not really necessary unless travelling outside of the city centre.