The Top 10 Things To Do And See In Cologne

Eliza Marin

The largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne has been a spectacular and enthralling architectural, aesthetic and cultural hub in Western Europe for centuries. Let’s see some of the city’s unforgettable sites and activities…

Kölner Dom & Hohenzollern Bridge

1. Cologne Dome


Cologne Dome

A masterpiece of Gothic architecture and a symbol of the enduring character of European Christianity, the Dome in Cologne is a spectacular medieval cathedral that was built over six centuries. Exceptional for its architectural, aesthetic and spiritual values, construction on the site began in 1248 and was only completed at the end of the 1880s. The ground plan is shaped in the form of the Latin cross and the height is a majestic, monumental 144 meters – simply wondrous!

Cologne Dome, Domkloster 4, Cologne, Germany, +49 0221 17940555

Chocolate Fountain Chocolate fountain| © Noebse/WikkiCommons

2. Chocolate Museum


Covering over 4,000 square meters, the Lindt Chocolate Museum is an independent museum that showcases the finest in German choco manufacturing. Following the journey of the cocoa beans from tropical greenhouses to the factory floor, Hans Imhoff established this story in 1993 as a homage to centuries of the cult of chocolate in Cologne. Expect chocolate fountains and shelves of truffles galore.

3. Street food festival


Street food festival

An enticing culinary world right in the heart of Cologne, the Street Food Festival is an accumulation of cultures, fresh ingredients, authentic kitchens and people with a taste for the finer things. The dazzling food offering includes treats such as Zuzumi, a Japanese and European mix of cheese and meat, Aritochia, a Lebanese pita laden with various couscous recipes, Dehli and Desaner, macarons and cupcakes with rainbow like toppings, Saftladen, where smoothies come directly from forest berries, and countless, countless others!

Street food festival, Jack-in-the-Box-Hallen, Cologne, Germany, +49 0221 4600770

Photo Courtesy of Peter Rakoczy/MBBB, Ideas of the Future

4. Beer Garden at Aachener Weiher

Beer Garden at Aachener Weiher

One of the most popular beer gardens and a beloved outdoor space in Cologne, the Beer Garden at Aachener Weiher is a complex place that accommodates guests, joggers, cyclists and musicians all at once at its location in the Hiroshima Nagasaki Park. Spread over 1,000 benches covered with umbrellas, the beer garden offers a spectacular panorama of the green recreational space all around, while the food is delicious and includes local favorites such as roasted pork knuckle and frothy pils.

Bier Garten at Aachener Weiher, Richard-Wagner-Straße, Cologne, Germany, +49 0221 5000614

5. Lindenthaler Tierpark

Park, Zoo

Lindenthaler Tierpark

A recreational area of about 20 acres, Lindenthaler is a park that accommodates more than 500 species of animal from all around the world. Boasting free entrance, the park’s concept is a twist on the traditional zoo, as the areas where animals reside are larger and more spread out. The stars of the park are the tamed deer that can be fed and petted, as well as the presence of donkeys and ponies, peacocks, goats and many others.

Lindenthaler Tierpark, Kitschburger Str., Cologne, Germany, +49 0221 433496

District heating tunnelFernwärmetunnel | © Frank Spakowski/Flikr

6. District heating tunnel


District heating tunnel

One of the best-kept secrets in Cologne is the Fernwärmetunnel, the district heating tunnel, which is 100 steps underground and crosses the river Rhine, all the way to Breslauer Platz. 461 meters long and considered a pioneer project in its field, the spectacular tube is fascinating for any travelling engineers, as it showcases the ground-breaking heating network of Cologne. The entrance is located behind Hohenzollern Bridge, on the right bank.

District heating tunnel, Hohenzollern Bridge, Cologne, Germany

7. Lanxess Arena

Building, Museum

Lanxess Arena

Designed by the architecture firm Böhm, including Peter Böhm with Jürgen Flohre und Severin Heiermann, the Lanzess Arena is Germany’s largest multi-purpose hall and one of the world’s most visited arenas. Over 20,000 seats make for a huge capacity and cover an overall space of more than 83,000 square meters. The building itself also has a striking glassy exterior with an arc and vaulted ceilings.

Lanxess Arena, Willy-Brandt-Platz 3, Cologne, Germany, +49 0221 8021

Museum Ludwig Museum Ludwig| © m.a.r.c./ Flikr

8. Museum Ludwig


A spectacular contribution to the overall cityscape of Cologne, Museum Ludwig is 260,000 cubic meters founded in 1976 and designed by the architects Peter Busmann and Godfrid Haberer. The museum is composed of a metal-glass exterior which has spectacular irregular forms and a gradually elevated roof that gives the impression of a stepped construction. The collections inside contain the biggest pop-art array outside of the United States, featuring artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein or the surrealist Salvador Dali.

9. KölnTriangle



A veritable emblem of the cityscape, the Cologne Triangle is a modern architectural office building, located across from the Dome of Cologne, on the edge of the River Rhine in Cologne Deutz. The structure is composed of a triangle of three convex sides in conjunction with a circular core, all designed according to the environment – the glass tower has three segment facades aligned accordingly to the rise of the sun.

KölnTriangle, Ottopl. 1, Cologne, Germany, +49 0221 355004100

City Leaks Urban FestivalCity Leaks| © Martin Terber/Flickr

10. CityLeaks Urban Festival

CityLeaks Urban Festival

An urban artistic NGO, organized by cologne-based art association artrmx e.V., this urban art festival gathers over 40 artists from around the world every two years. The festival addresses artistic interventions in the urban fabric, with street artists from around the world featured including ARYZ, Axel Void, BLU, Boris Tellegen, Brad Downey, Franco Fasoli, Faith47, Herakut, Mark Jenkins, Maya Hayuk as well as the Willi Dorner Company (performance), Xenorama (new media/visuals), Labor Fou (sculpture/interactive projects). Educationally oriented, the event focusses on the creative endeavours of public art. It is also possible to book street art tours in Cologne.

CityLeaks, Hospeltstrasse 69, Cologne, Germany, +49 02 2129 49 69 59

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