The Best Free Things to do in Düsseldorf

Ruins of Kaiserpfalz in Dusseldorf
Ruins of Kaiserpfalz in Dusseldorf | © Mikhail Markovskiy/Shutterstock
Photo of Anwesha Ray
1 July 2018

If you are visiting Düsseldorf on a budget, no sweat. Düsseldorf promises a whole lot of culture, fun, nature and entertainment at zero expense. It goes without saying that fairs and festivals, carnivals, holiday markets, farmers’ markets and playgrounds offer free entry. Additionally, several wonderful locations in town welcome you to enjoy and explore without reaching for your wallet even once.

Stroll the Rhine promenade

The Rhine promenade is easily the most picturesque part of Düsseldorf and the beating heart of the town, and confirms the saying that the best things in life are free! Take a pleasant stroll or simply laze as you watch the ships go by. You will also see noteworthy landmarks like the Rheinturm, Schlossturm, St. Lambertus Church and the Theodor Heuss Bridge, without even leaving your spot on the broad steps or one of the many benches.

Rhine Embankment | © MichaelGaida/Pixabay

Bond with nature

Düsseldorf has ample greenery, and all the parks in town are free to explore. Nordpark delights with its broad walkways and biking lanes, waterways, themed gardens (especially the Japanese Garden) and playgrounds. On the other hand, Hofgarten, Düsseldorf‘s oldest public park, is a wonderful contrast of untamed nature and immaculately landscaped gardens, trees that go back several hundred years to flower-beds that are a riot of colors. Another sprawling stretch of green is Südpark, which houses a petting zoo (no admission fee), vast meadows, tree-lined paths, and a unique field of clocks, steel sculptures and more.

Nordpark | © MichaelGaida/Pixabay

Marvel at the Benrath Park

The beautiful ornate Baroque Benrath Palace is among the top attractions in Düsseldorf. While you need a ticket to visit the palace museums, you can access its vast gardens for free. The palace garden covers a massive area of 61 hectares and is a protected nature reserve. Though significantly redesigned in the 19th century by gifted artist Maximilian Friedrich Weyhe, the garden still retains some of its medieval elements. You can easily spend a few hours strolling the tree-shaded avenues and admiring the beautiful setting, punctuated by a herb garden, ponds, fountains, flower-beds, and of course, the stunning facade of the palace itself.

Benrath Park | © ADD / Pixabay

Have a family day out in Grafenberger Wald

Grafenberger Wald is a forested parkland that locals love to visit with family. Over 100 animals call Grafenberger Wald their home, though the deer are hands-down the star attraction. They timidly follow you around and eat right of your hands, invariably drawing excited squeals from little guests. This is also the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or a long walk and has a nice playground that is sure to keep the kids happy.

Walk down history at Kaiserpfalz

The Kaiserpfalz castle ruin, perched on the bank of the Rhine, dates back to the 10th century. Though most of it is today in ruins, the thick walls and arches of the castle are still standing to tell tales of glorious history as well as tumultuous periods of wars and conquests. The castle offers interesting nooks to explore and looks out to the river. Being located in the greenest, leafiest part of town, undoubtedly adds to its charm.

Ruins of Kaiserpfalz in Dusseldorf | © Mikhail Markovskiy/Shutterstock

Sign up for a City Hall tour

Düsseldorf City Hall is an ensemble of three buildings, all belonging to a different period in history – the old city hall, the Wilhelminischer Bau (period of the Emperor Wilhem II) and the Grupello house. Guided tours of the City Hall are free, and take visitors through the plenary hall and the reception room of the Lord Mayor.

Visit exciting museums

Düsseldorf boasts a series of great museums, appealing to varied interests. The city believes that museums should be affordable for everyone, so many of these museums offer free entry one hour before closing time. This way, you can check out the exhibitions at the Heinrich Heine Institut, Stadtmuseum (City Museum) and Film Museum for free. Additionally, on the first Wednesday of every month, admission is free at the Kunstsammlung (the best art museum in town). Entry to the automobile museum Classic Remise is free, though you pay for guided tours.

Classic Remise | © Klaus Pagel/Flickr

Explore a slice of Japan

Eko Haus is a little piece of Japan in Germany, marking the huge Japanese presence in Düsseldorf. While you need to pay a few euros to visit the Japanese temple and house, exploring the pristine, traditionally Japanese grounds is free. With walkways, manicured bushes, a pond and adorable bridges, this spot promises a few quiet hours and plenty of photo opportunities.

Eko Haus | ©MichaelGaida/Pixabay

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