Ready to re-discover the city? Here are 23 free things to do in Düsseldorf right now:
UPDATE: January 2019
Free entry is now offered every Sunday at these 7 Düsseldorf Museums – for the whole year!
Filmmuseum | Address: Schulstraße 4 | Museum Website
Goethe-Museum | Address: Jacobistraße 2 | Museum Website
Schifffahrt-Museum | Address: Burgplatz 30 | Museum Website
Stadtmuseum | Address: Berger Allee 2 | Museum Website
Heinrich-Heine-Institut | Address: Bilker Straße 12-14 | Museum Website
Hetjens – Deutsches Keramikmuseum | Address: Schulstraße 4 | Museum Website
Theatermuseum | Address: Jägerhofstraße 1 | Museum Website
In addition, other museums such as Kunsthalle Düsseldorf & KIT – Kunst im Tunnel offer free entry on select days/times. Keep reading for details.
Love live music? We’re big fans of Stadtklang (“city sound”), an organizer of small live concerts at cool bars and restaurants around the city. (For more free concerts, check out our monthly top event guides)
2. Street Food Thursday
Excellent local and regional food trucks gather to present a selection of tasty street food at Stahlwerk, a cool yet relaxed event venue. There is no admission fee for this event and the food is reasonably priced.
3. Visit the Market
Düsseldorf’s is home to numerous markets. At the beautiful and historic Carlsplatz Market, you’ll find an assortment of delicious food and unique products. In addition, be sure to check out the many flea markets and farmer’s markets throughout the city.
You may also like: The Best Workshops and Classes in Düsseldorf
Museums & Exhibits
Several museums take part in “Happy Hour” which provides you free entry to the museums during the last hour of their operating day (except on Mondays). Here are our top picks:
4. Heinrich Heine Institut
Learn more about Düsseldorf’s most famous resident at this museum located in beautiful and historic Carlstadt. Our next two picks are within walking distance once you’ve finished your tour. UPDATE: Now also free on Sundays!
5. Düsseldorf Stadtmuseum
Learn about the rich history of Düsseldorf at the official city museum.
Lights, camera, action! Step inside and discover the magic of the movies through fun, interactive exhibits, interesting displays and special effects.
Housed in the Schlossturm, the only remaining portion of the former city palace, this museum is packed with historic artifacts and interactive exhibits on the ecology of the Rhine, trade, and shipbuilding.
In addition, the following museums offer select free days/hours as well:
8. Cultural Evenings at K20 & K21
The free KPMG Cultural Evenings at the K20 and K21 museums offer a variety of events, from guided tours to artist talks, some of which are in English. The architecture of the buildings is worth the trip, but the special events make this a must-see. First Wednesday of the Month from 18:00-22:00.
9. KIT – Kunst im Tunnel
Head underground to see the newest exhibition at this unique art museum on the Rhine. Exhibitions are free every second Sunday of the month. Family Day is open to patrons from 11:00 – 18:00. After your visit, head up to KIT Café for a drink or snack.
10. Kunsthalle / Kunstverein
This pair of museums host various art exhibitions throughout the year. There are two ways to experience them for free: on Family day, which is every second Sunday of the month, or on the last Thursday of every month from 18:00-20:00 (presented by Stadtwerke Düsseldorf).
Parks & Gardens
You likely visited popular places like the Rheinuferpromenade and Volksgarten. But there are other less known but equally interesting places to see – for free. Even in the winter, these parks and gardens are worth a visit. Here are our insider tips:
11. Japanese Garden – Nordpark
Wander through the small, peaceful Japanese Garden at Nordpark. The park features trees trimmed in the traditional Japanese style, stone lanterns and a picture-perfect waterfall.
12. Botanical Garden
Discover over 5,000 plant species at this stunning 8 hectare (ca. 20 acre) garden located on the campus of Heinrich Heine University. Explore several greenhouses, an orangery and of course the iconic 60 foot tall geodesic dome, home to exotic and tropical plants from around the world.
This little pocket park is big on charm. Situated in a perfect spot directly overlooking the river, it has seating and plenty of colorful flowers during the warmer months.
14. Rheinpark Golzheim
The broad green meadows of Rheinpark Golzheim are a perfect place for picnics when the weather is nice and running or cycling along the river any time of the year. Tip: Visit at sunset for excellent views of the Rhine.
Want to get more insider tips, offers and event updates?
16. Labyrinth & Iris Garden
Nestled inside Südpark is a fun hedge labyrinth along with an iris garden, where you can walk over a small pond atop flat stepping stones.
Discover the ruins of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa’s former palace along the Rhine, dating from the 10th century. Then check out the historic streets of Kaiserswerth such as Kaiserswerther Markt & An St. Swidbert.
18. Rhein Beach
For something different, check out this small beach on the Rhine near the Medienhafen. While not an official park, this is a great spot to relax and enjoy a sunny day with a spectacular view of the city. Important: swimming is not recommended, see this link (German) for more info.
See Wildlife Up Close
Meet some furry friends at this park, home to native wildlife such as foxes and deer. This is a great place for families, and it’s just a 10-15 minute walk to the Grafenberger Wald hiking trails (#21) listed below.
20. Petting Zoo at Südpark
Check out the nice little petting zoo tucked away inside Südpark.
Work Out, Outside
When the weather is nice, take your workout outdoors at these perfect parks for an active day:
21. Grafenberger Wald
This forest has many hills which make your hike challenging and fun. Plus, there are outdoor workout stations. Once done, reward yourself by climbing to the top of the hill to the Schönen Aussicht, an overlook with a nice panoramic view of the city.
22. Freizeitpark Ulenbergstraße
Offers volleyball & beach volleyball, basketball, trampolines, boule court, football, handball, ping pong, bike & skatepark, playground, and more. Be sure to bring your own equipment.
23. Freizeitpark Niederheider Wäldchen
Offers a climbing wall, zip line, beach volleyball, table tennis, dodgeball, badminton and more. Be sure to bring your own equipment. TIP: Some equipment (eg., ping pong paddles, volleyballs, etc.) can be borrowed here, you’ll just need your ID card.
Looking for more things to do?
Check out what’s new in Düsseldorf for the latest openings, from restaurants and shops to experiences.
Not sure what to do on Sundays in Düsseldorf? We have some ideas for you!
Discover 10 Unique Spas and Saunas in Düsseldorf and North Rhine Westfalia.
Thanks for reading, and have a great time exploring the city!
Please note: The locations/attractions listed above may change their free days/hours from time to time. Double check individual websites to confirm information provided before making your plans.