What to do in Düsseldorf at Christmas Time!
The period running up to Christmas is a wonderful time to be visiting this cosmpolitan city. From late November, the Christmas decorations come out, millions of lights sparkle throughout the city and the aromas of brewing Glühwein are hard to miss. Soak up the seasonal atmosphere, allow your senses to absorb the scents and smells of the Christmas market: the heady aromas wafting through the air from the drinks huts – cinnamon, clove, star anise and zesty citrus – to the more robust flavours of Waffeln, Reibekuchen and Würstchen.
Should you be lucky enough to be visiting Düsseldorf at Christmas, be sure to check out my list of tips below and immerse yourself in memories of Christmas’ past.
1. Christmas Markets
* Christmas Market on Marktplatz, by the Town Hall.
The Christmas Market nestled in the heart of the old town, on the city’s Marktplatz, offers both a traditional and magical setting. With traditional red, wooden huts and golden fairy lights, which mimic the colours of the town hall itself, this market certainly gets you in the festive spirit. With everything from metal smiths to candle makers, as well as nativity scenes, carol singers and a splendid Christmas tree there is more than enough to please each and every visitor. Among the many crafts-men’s and women’s stalls, are a number offering food and drink – a great place to stop for some Glühwein (mulled wine) or a traditional Flammkuchen.
* The Engelchenmarkt on Heinrich-Heine-Platz
The Engelchenmarkt (Little Angels Market) has a unique Art-Nouveau setting and a combination of the thousands of little fairy lights twisted around the trees, the Christmas music and intricate detail on the angel heads above each stall, creates a truly heavenly atmosphere. The music pavilion in the centre is also decorated with a canopy of lights canopy of lights which sparkle from above lighting up the sky above and adding to that sense of marvel and enchantment
* Sternchenmarkt on Stadtbrückchen Square
Just through the archway and into the courtyard of the Wilhelm-Marx-House is the equally atmospheric Sternchenmarkt (Little Stars Market) which is somewhat a hidden gem, as many tourists do not venture this far. Sparkling stars glisten on the walls of the sky-blue stalls and the canopy above is strewn with a number of giant crystals. Around the central water fountain this pretty winter wonderland offers fresh waffles, Dutch poffertjes (small, fluffy pancakes) and of course the statutory Bratwursts! These latter offerings can be served with a portion of Sauerkraut or red cabbage. Perfect on a cold night!
* Flingerstrasse Christmas Market
The Christmas Market on Flingerstrasse is most visited for its windmill Glühwein stall. The market stretches along the length of the shopping street offering visitors a chance to shop at the christmas stalls, as well as the neighbouring high street shops. Perfect for all kinds of Christmas shopping!
I would particularly recommend checking out the window displays in the city’s department stores, particularly Kaufhof on the Kö, which always fill their windows with wintery scenes full of goodies. Don’t forget the windows of luxus store Breuninger, Karstadt and of course the big-name designer outlets along Königsallee!
3. Take A Stroll Along Königsallee
Enjoy the lights along impressive Königsallee and make sure you don’t miss the various arcades leading off from the main street, including the fancy Kö Arcade and Sevens. The Schadowstrasse Arcade is also decorated beautifully and is worth a look!
4. Feast Your Eyes on the delicacies displayed in the Heinemann cafe windows
Heinemann always delivers a great window display, whatever the season but come Christmas time it is particular lush. I always enjoy marveling at the beautiful chocolates, carefully sculptured marzipan figures, spiced biscuits and Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and almost always come away with a craving for the festive stollen cake. Heinemann also has a cafe and restaurant upstairs, where you can sit back at relax whilst enjoying a delicious slice of cake. It is Christmas after all, so why not!
5. Ride the Riesenrad on Burgplatz and enjoy the stunning views!
The Riesenrad is open daily from 11am to 9pm (different opening times on Public Holidays – see website for more information). The admission price is € 7,- for adults and for children under 1.40m there is a reduced admission price of € 4,-
6. Ice skate in front of the Schauspielhaus
The outdoor ice rink at Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz offers great fun for kids and adults alike. The 450 m² rink is the centre piece of the Christmas market located on the edge of Schadowstrasse in front of the rather modern Schauspielhaus (theatre). Skating is free of charge for those with their own skates and there is a small fee for those needing to rent a pair.
7. Have Yourself a Glass of Glühwein
Nothing can beat a glass of Glühwein or Hot Chocolate at the end of an evening at the Markets. Not only does it taste delicious but it helps to keep your hands toasty! Throughout Germany, the drinks are served in cute mugs such as those below – do be aware that you pay a small deposit on the mug which is refundable on its return.
8. Join the locals on Uerige corner
If this gives you an appetite for further liquid refreshment, you might want to taste traditional Düsseldorfer Alt in Uerige (always an occasion) or alternatively, visit the smallest ‘pub’ in the city and hop across the street to the Killepitschstube. Here you can sample a small glass of the heart warming herbal liquor reputed to contain a mixture of over 90 fruits, herbs and spices.
Staying longer in Düsseldorf? You might also be interested in the following posts:
Or check out My Düsseldorf Diaries