Rent a boat
Rowing and paddle boats are available for rent at several lakes across the city. Decksteiner Weiher is an often overlooked spot and features a restaurant, mini-golf course, walking paths through forested areas and a picturesque artificial lake with a paddle boat rental shop.
Have a riverside picnic
On a sunny day, the east bank of the Rhine River offers several fantastic picnic spots with views of Cologne’s old town. From the city centre, take a stroll over Love Locks Bridge and follow the promenade. You can choose between the newly developed Rheinboulevard, the nearby park or the pebbled beaches, which are a bit farther.
Shop for a bargain
Take your date for a stroll and rummage through kitsch and antiques at one of Cologne’s flea markets. Every Saturday, locals get their unused items from their basements and attics and head to the Stadtflohmarkt in Cologne’s student district. The market will give you lots of opportunities to dig up some curiosities and gems.
Stadtflohmarkt, Luxemburger Straße 124, Cologne, Germany, +49 221 955645441
Watch the sunset
Head to the right side of the river and up to the Köln Triangle tower for epic sunset views of Cologne’s skyline. The viewing platform on the 29th floor is a great spot to watch the sun disappear between the cathedral. It’s open until 11 pm between May and September and until 8 pm the rest of the year.
Köln Triangle, Ottoplatz 1, Cologne, Germany, +49 221 355004100
Enjoy exotic cocktails
Little Link is an award-winning cocktail bar in Cologne’s Belgian quarter. Its stylish décor, dimmed lights, and subtle music make for an atmosphere that’s both elegant and casual. On the menu are some all-time favourites and a whole bunch of creative cocktails that go by names such as ‘Bavarian Zombie’, ‘Witches Brew’ and ‘Currywurst Cocktail’.
Little Link, Maastrichter Straße 20, Cologne, Germany, +49 162 7833366
Look at the stars
The local observatory gives you and your date the opportunity to look out into the universe. Tours and workshops explain star constellations and their formation and provide an insight into the history of astronomy. On a cloudy day, the night’s sky is projected onto the domed ceiling.
Planetarium, Blücherstraße 15, Cologne, Germany, +49 221 71661429
Go on a brewery tour
Beer is an essential part of Cologne’s cultural identity, and brewhouses have a long-standing tradition. The old town provides the perfect setup for a Kölsch tour. Most of the breweries are scattered around the Heumarkt area, and you can hop from one to the next within minutes. And while you’re at it, you can sample some of Cologne’s culinary specialities. The Malzmühle – the home of the popular Mühlen Kölsch – is an excellent place to start.
Malzmühle, Heumarkt 6, Cologne, Germany, +49 221 92160613
Head to the Glowing Rooms
If you want to impress your date with your mini-golf skills, the trendy quarter Ehrenfeld holds the right place for you. Glowing Rooms is an indoor mini-golf course that spices up the game with 3D effects. Floors, walls and ceilings are painted in bright neon colours all lit up by black lights. You’ll be handed 3D glasses at the entrance, which will let the underwater world, universe and Maya temple motifs come to life.
Glowing Rooms, Venloer Straße, Cologne, Germany, +49 221 58983385
Watch a film at the drive-in cinema
The drive-in theatre in Cologne Porz is an excellent way to uplevel a cinema date – given that you have a car. It’s open year-round and screens a selection of the latest films. The on-site snack bar supplies you with burgers, hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream and drinks, and you can rent portable heaters for the colder months.
Take a stroll around the botanical gardens
Cologne’s botanical gardens are one of the most romantic spots in the city. More than 10,000 species of plants are on display in the greenhouses and gardens. Beautifully arranged flower beds, intricately cut hedges, an English garden landscape and more surround the grand Flora building, which dates back to 1864 and hosts weddings, anniversaries and other events throughout the year.
Go to the beach
Even though swimming in the Rhine River is advised against, and in some places also prohibited, the riverbanks offer some beaches. You’ll find the prettiest spots in Rodenkirchen, where trees dot the sandy riverside, casting shadows on a hot day.