Perhaps you’ve already heard about Düsseldorf, Germany, you’ve seen it on the map next to Amsterdam or you’ve hopped off a train and onto the next to head to Berlin, but have you really taken the time to explore the city for it’s unique culture and flavour?

I’m not here to tell you all about the top 10 places to visit while you spend your long weekend in Düsseldorf. I’m actually here to tell you why after visiting more than 45 countries across the world, I spent two months in Düsseldorf, absolutely hated it and then completely fell in love and moved there. 

Whether you like it or not, social media, books, your friends and the television paint pictures of destinations in your mind. However, when you’re hearing the stories from others and not embracing it on your own terms, that’s when you lose that sense of where you are, you’re simply letting others paint that picture for you.

When I came to visit Düsseldorf, Germany, I did some research online. I was told that the Königs Allee was the hottest spot to shop for my next Gucci purse and that behind every street lies a new work of art that will take my breath away.

I hate shopping and I’m not going to lie, I’m no art fanatic either.

I had also heard that with art and fashion comes wealth and ignorance. I was warned that Düsseldorf can be quite (for lack of a better term) a ‘snobby’ city and that the people are not very welcoming.

Well, put all that aside and let me tell you how this mental image I had of Düsseldorf drastically changed within a matter of a couple months.

Königs Allee - Photo by Frank Friedrichs

I started off exploring all the hottest art collections and window shopping past the stores I’d never enter in my life. Why? Because I was told that was the best thing to do in the city. I started giving up on exploring the city and falling in love with a Netflix series which would keep me pre-occupied while I was in transition.

One day I had hit my road block and realized that I was never going to enjoy a place if I listened to others. I had to explore the city the way I wanted to and open my arms to new experiences. Here’s what I learned after a few short weeks:

The Flea Markets are Amazing (and cheap)

Düsseldorf, hands down, has some of the world’s coolest flea markets. They’re huge, they’re cheap and the quality is fantastic. When people started telling me about how high class the city of Düsseldorf was, I started thinking about how awesome it would be to buy their stuff second hand.

I rented my first German apartment and filled the entire place with flea market finds for much cheaper than I’d get anywhere else. 

I also love that their food trucks aren’t skyrocketed in price, but you can pick up a oven potato or a fresh slice of pie for less than a couple Euro.

If I’ve inspired you enough already, be sure to take a look as some of the monthly markets such as Trödelmarkt Aachener Platz (1), P1 Flohmarkt (2) and Grossmarkt (3).

The International Scene is Incredible

All I had to do was hop online, search around Facebook and for half an hour or so and find all the groups that interest me.

Düsseldorf isn’t just a home for internationals, it’s a home for passionate people interested in many different things. I joined yoga groups, painting classes, drawing and drinking classes, sports groups, entrepreneurship clubs and started exploring the city with other English (and German) speakers who share the same interests as myself. 

While Düsseldorf may still not be on the map as the hottest city in Germany, it is quite a popular place for English speaking companies to settle. This means there are more and more internationals coming to live here every single day!

People are Inspirational

Did you know that Düsseldorf, Germany is one of the best places for startups in Germany? I kid you not.

I’m a travel writer so I am constantly coming up with new ideas and new ways to explore and share my stories. It’s be an amazing experience linking up not only with writers, but other professionals who share this same glow for life and energy to work together.

There are more than a handful of groups around the city that welcome both English and German speakers an opportunity to pitch their ideas, meet investors and break out of their shells. 

I’m constantly inspired while I’m on the road, but I’m so proud to be able to say that my new basecamp Düsseldorf, Germany gives me the greatest opportunities to expand in my career.

There’s Nature in the City

It’s a city of more than 600,000 people but they’ve somehow managed to become one of the country’s greenest cities.

Along the Rhine River there are sycamore trees (4) that line the river’s edge. This pedestrian lane is an awesome spot to stroll and was actually once a road filled with noise pollution and traffic. There’s also quite a few spots in the area to go Strawberry picking and cool spots to pick your own bouquet of flowers.

A short tram ride away is the Grafenberger Wald (5), a forest with plenty of hiking trails and opportunity to kick back and relax in the nature. There’s also tons of green city parks like Flora Park (6), Zoo Park (7) and Nord Park (8) which have recently hosted some of the summer’s coolest live music and regional food truck events.

The Beer is Delicious

If you haven’t tried Alt Bier before, you must come to Düsseldorf. Brewed right here in the city, there are more than a handful of breweries cooking up delicious and refreshing amber beers unique only to the region. Be sure to check out Uerige (9), Zum Schlüssel (10) or Kürzer (11) which are located along the cobblestone streets of the old city.

I love beer, but I love beer even more so when it comes in a small ice cold glass and the brewery serves you while you’re hanging out on the cobblestone streets of the city looking outward onto the Rhine River. Now that’s an experience.

I wake up everyday now excited for my next adventure and when I’m at home catching up on travel writing, I also know that I can spend my Saturday relaxing at the flea market or hiking in the forest, only to end my day along the river with a refreshing Alt Bier in hand. I couldn’t have picked a better place to live and I’m so thrilled to be able to call Düsseldorf, Germany my new home.

(1) Ulenbergstraße 10, 40223 Düsseldorf
(2) Arena-Strasse 1, 40474 Düsseldorf
(3) Ulmenstrasse 275, 40468 Düsseldorf
(4) Rheinufertunnel, 40219, Düsseldorf
(5) Rennbahnstraße 60, 40629 Düsseldorf
(6) Palmenstraße 1, 40217 Düsseldorf
(7) Brehmpl. 1, 40239 Düsseldorf
(8) Kaiserswerther Str. 365, 40474 Düsseldorf
(9) Berger Str. 1, 40213 Düsseldorf
(10) Bolkerstraße 43, 40213 Düsseldorf
(11) Kurze Str. 20, 40213 Düsseldorf

Jenna Davis