Düsseldorf likes living it glam. The city’s prime boulevard Königsallee, or simply Kö, runs on both sides of a tree-lined waterway and attracts swarms of fashion lovers to its designer boutiques and Art Nouveau-style malls. Take a seat in one of the cafés in between to watch the show from the pavement. Shadowstrasse, around the corner, caters to shoppers after the latest street fashion.
The narrow streets of Düsseldorf’s lively Altstadt district, just next to the river Rhine, are lined with rustic pubs, all-night bars and snug restaurants. Wood-panelled brewery taverns like Uerige serve Alt, the city’s top-fermenting dark beer, straight from the barrel. It goes nicely with the hearty sausage platters on offer, or a portion of marinated braised beef, known as Rhenish Sauerbraten.
A stroll along the Rhine embankment takes visitors from the southern MediaHarbour, a glitzy office wonderland designed by star architect Frank Gehry, to the old castle tower that dominates the Burgplatz square, near Altstadt. The lush Hofgarten park, dotted by lakes and ornate sculptures, runs through Düsseldorf’s centre.
Düsseldorf’s art trail starts on Grabbeplatz, where Matisse and Picasso share the walls of the K20 gallery with an extensive collection of Paul Klee’s works. His fellow Düsseldorf native, the highly influential 20th-century artist Joseph Beuys, used to teach at the Academy of Arts, just up the road. The K20’s younger sister, the K21 in the southern Friedrichstadt district, is Düsseldorf’s home for experimental contemporary art.