Cologne’s trendy quarter is not so much about jaw-dropping sights but rather about the lifestyle it conveys. Locals love Ehrenfeld for its diverse nightlife, hip fashion boutiques, markets, artisan coffee places and international restaurants. Here’s a list of the top 10 things to do.
The beautiful spa and wellness centre in the heart of Ehrenfeld offers refuge from the hustle and bustle on Venloer Straße. Japanese-themed thermal saunas, baths and pools plus a hammam and long list of traditional spa treatments let you forget about any stress.
Cologne has become a serious competitor to Berlin when it comes to street art. And Ehrenfeld, in particular, is a hotspot for graffiti in the city. Large murals by international artists, installations, posters and stickers cover the Veedel’s house fronts, lampposts and brick walls. You can either join a guided tour of the highlights or explore the area on your own.
The shopping in Ehrenfeld is wide and varied. Besides markets and regular shops, the area is home to a multitude of Turkish shops selling everything from clothes, local foods and furniture. You’ll also find hip fashion boutiques, craft shops and interesting concept stores, such as Veedelskrämer – a zero-waste shop where you can buy daily groceries in bulk.
Ehrenfeld locals have a thing for artisan coffee and cute little cafés. Coffee fans can start the day with French toast for breakfast at the cosy Café Sehnsucht, spend mid-morning browsing the hundreds of books at Café Goldmund, enjoy lunch or delicious cake (vegan options available!) at Café Café and take home a freshly roasted coffee from the Van Dyk roastery.
Ehrenfeld’s nightlife is popular beyond the Veedel borders. Cologne’s hippest quarter offers a wild mix of heart-pounding techno parties (Art Theater and E-Feld), sophisticated cocktails (Bar Zwei), 80s and 90s hits (Live Music Hall), indie, rock and pop nights (Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld) and stylish bars with industrial charm and beer gardens (Bumann & Sohn and Stapel Bar).
You need 3D glasses to play minigolf at Glowing Rooms indoor court. The walls and ceilings of the dimly-lit rooms are covered in underwater and space motifs painted with fluorescent colours illuminated by blacklight. Once you put on the glasses, they seemingly pop out and create a whole new minigolf experience.
In the summer months, the Grüngürtel stretch between Subbelrather and Aachener Strasse is one of Cologne’s most popular green areas. BBQ aficionados and sun-worshippers gather underneath the Colonius tower. Pack up drinks and snacks and join the locals for a joyous day in the sun.
After years of construction, the Cologne Central mosque opened its doors earlier in 2017. The modern design of glass, wood and concrete elements is symbolic of a space for interfaith activities. Inside, the large domed hall is adorned with white and gold reliefs of Quran phrases, making it well worth a visit.
Ehrenfeld’s flea and antique markets are worth checking out of you’re on a bargain hunt. Every Friday, vendors sell fresh produce, antiques and design at Neptunplatz. Another good option is the monthly Kater & Mieze flea market in the halls of Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld and Yuca, as well as the Sunday Upmarket where you can pick up crafty things and unusual objects.
Melaten is to Cologne what the Père Lachaise Cemetery is to Paris. The beautiful and vast graveyard with impressive monuments and mausoleums is the final resting place for numerous famous people, including the inventor of the cologne Johann Maria Farina and the late German foreign secretary Guido Westerwelle.