Where sweat once dripped off dockland workers’ foreheads, creative minds now forge ad campaigns and newspaper headlines. The Medienhafen (Media Harbour) is Düsseldorf’s most spectacular urban revitalisation project, an old commercial harbour transformed by such architectural heavyweights as Richard Meier, Helmut Jahn and Claude Vasconi into a tableau of avant-garde buildings. Top billing goes to Frank Gehry’s Neuer Zollhof, a trio of sculptural high-rises sheathed in stainless steel, red brick and white plaster, respectively.

Moored nearby is Claude Vasconi’s Grand Bateau, built to resemble an ocean liner. A pedestrian bridge links to another quay dominated by William Alsop’s Colorium, easily recognised by its kaleidoscopic glass facade.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Düsseldorf attractions

1. Rheinturm

0.31 MILES

Spearing the sky at the southern end of the Rheinuferpromenade, the Rheinturm, which is brilliantly lit at night, and has an observation deck at the 164m…

2. KIT

0.47 MILES

Young artists – many from the local art academy – get the nod in this underground exhibition space housed in a spectacularly adapted tunnel below the…

3. K21 Ständehaus


A stately 19th-century parliament building forms a fabulously dichotomous setting for the cutting-edge art of the K21 – a collection only showcasing works…

4. Heinrich Heine Institut

0.77 MILES

For a literary kick, swing by the Heinrich Heine Institut, where the 'Romanticism & Revolution' exhibit uses letters, portraits, first editions and…

5. Filmmuseum

0.78 MILES

This small musuem trains the spotlight on the technology, history and mystery of movie-making. Its Black Box art-house cinema presents retrospectives,…

6. Hetjens Museum

0.78 MILES

A short detour off the Rheinuferpromenade takes you to the Hetjens Museum, famous for its comprehensive survey of 8000 years of ceramic art from around…

7. Rheinuferpromenade

0.87 MILES

Burgplatz marks the northern end of the Rheinuferpromenade, where cafes and benches fill with people in fine weather, creating an almost Mediterranean…

8. Marktplatz

0.91 MILES

The historical Marktplatz is framed by the Renaissance Rathaus (1573) and accented by a bronze equestrian statue of Jan Wellem. The art-loving 17th…