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Düsseldorf impresses with boundary-pushing architecture, zinging nightlife and an art scene to rival many higher-profile cities. It’s a posh and modern city that seems all buttoned-up business at first glance: banking, advertising, fashion and telecommunications are among the fields that have made North Rhine–Westphalia's capital one of Germany’s wealthiest cities. Yet all it takes is a few hours of bar-hopping around the Altstadt (the historical quarter along the Rhine) to realise that locals have no problem letting their hair down once they shed those Armani jackets.

The Altstadt claims fame as the ‘longest bar in the world’ but some focus has moved to Medienhafen, a redeveloped harbour area home to international avant-garde architecture. Older neighbourhoods are also evolving, including the now-hip Flingern and the vibrantly creative Unterbilk, especially along Lorettostrasse. And the new underground Wehrhahn line's six stations are an eye-catching blend of architecture, design and art.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Düsseldorf.