When you first think of a vacation in Germany, Media Harbor Düsseldorf is probably not your first thought. However, Dusseldorf on the banks of the Rhine River in western Germany is a contemporary, lively, and booming destination. Dusseldorf is an international city for shopping, dining, art, and people watching. When Dusseldorf decided to renovate its old harbor, filled with abandoned warehouses and buildings, they went modern, welcoming architects with unique thoughts and plans to submit designs. The outcome is amazing, for here ultra-modern blends with old. Media Harbor Düsseldorf is a place for young and old alike to spend their leisure time. Here are five reasons why you too should spend your next holiday visiting Media Harbor Düsseldorf.
First, Get to Know the Harbor
Media Harbor is beautiful, relaxing and hip all at the same time. At the end of the 19th century, at the southern end of the Rheinuferpromenade (Rhine Promenade) are the Dusseldorf’s docks. They played a part in the city’s boom until the end of WWII. In the 1990s Dusseldorf began to revitalize the harbor area. It is now a contemporary office district for fashion brands and media firms but also populated with great restaurants, bars, and a cinema.
We Recommend a Walking Tour
We recommend a walking tour of Media Harbor. We took a great tour with Anja Kuhner. She is so knowledgeable and passionate about Dusseldorf. She feels it is one of the most underrated cities in the world. We sat on the edge of the wharf before our tour began and listened as she gave us an impressive overview of what we were about to see. During the tour, we felt as if we were her out of town friends, and she was giving us a tour of her hometown.
Most Importantly, Media Harbor is home to the Gehry buildings, collectively considered Düsseldorf’s new landmark. Three contrasting building complexes appears like a gigantic sculpture along the riverfront. This newest landmark of Dusseldorf designed by Frank O. Gehry, USA, will entice architecture lovers and those who appreciate beauty. The three twisted constructions by Gehry, stretch, and spiral towards the sky in his iconic style, symbolizing the modernist ambitions of the harbor.
Dusseldorf was not unlike other harbor towns in the world that had seen better days. In fact, Dusseldorf may have been worse than most as they were bombed heavily during WWII. Dusseldorf’s economy, like many other western cities of the world, shifted from manufacturing and transport to information and finance. After a fantastic visit to the Dusseldorf harbor, all we can say is “thankfully Dusseldorf had visionaries who could see its potential.”
Hyatt Regency Dusseldorf
We recommend staying at the Hyatt Regency Dusseldorf. The Hyatt is another focal point of the Media Harbor. This modern designed hotel overlooks the Rhine and the city’s skyline. From our luxurious room, we had magnificent views of the Rhine.
One of the things that Keith and I look for when choosing a hotel to stay at is if they have a restaurant and a bar? Of course, we love to check out the top rated or any plant-based restaurants in town but sometimes, time plays a factor. So we want to make sure that the hotel has a good restaurant should we need or want to eat there. Next is a bar. Neither Keith or me are big drinkers, but we like, no we love hotel bars. Nice hotel bars can be very cozy and are a great place to hang out and enjoy some downtime or work while staying at a hotel. The Hyatt Regency excelled at having both of these including the Pebble’s Terrace restaurant that sits on the tip of the Media Harbor peninsula providing panoramic views of the Rhine.
Next Visit the Rheinturm for a Panoramic View of Dusseldorf
The Rheinturm or Rhine Tower is a telecommunications tower. As the tallest building in the city by a long shot, its bright neon lights can be seen all across Dusseldorf in the evenings. The observation deck is open daily to the public. It stands on the edge of the southern city center, at the entrance to Media Harbor. The concrete shaft of the tower also features a series of lights or dots that act as the world’s largest digital clock. There is a glass-fronted restaurant, 566 feet in the sky, that rotates once an hour, changing direction midday. From the viewing platform, you get a breathtaking view of the Rhine metropolis including the Media Harbor, the Altstadt, the Hofgarten, Königsallee and of course the Rhine with its bridges. While visiting the tower, try laying against the slanted glass walls to feel like you are floating above Dusseldorf.
The Beautiful District of Unterbilk
Just a short walk from Media Harbor and you are in Unterbilk. In fact, you are in the center of Unterbilk when visiting the Rhine Tower. Here in Unterbilk, you will find narrow streets lined with wonderful trees and lovingly restored old buildings. Unterbilk is full of creative workshops, great shopping, and charming cafes. Unterbilk is more of a local neighborhood so you will find fewer tourists here. Loretto Strasse is a chic corner of Unterbilk with beautiful one-of-a-kind shops and tasty eats. Unterbilk is a district that brings together the old and the modern making it exciting, colorful and always worth a visit.
Halfway through our day, we stopped at the Currywurst Bistro to have an iconic fast food dish called Currywurst. Currywurst is a steamed, then fried pork sausage (bratwurst) that is served with fries and a curry spiced ketchup. It was quick and delicious.
A Museum Visit
Dusseldorf is full of museums, rich in art and lively in culture. There are so many great museums that choosing which to visit will be difficult. We recommend that you visit the Kunstsammlung. The Kunstsammlung is a museum of modern art divided into two separate museum buildings, the K20, and K21.
The area around the museum is quite lovely. The museum housed in the former Ständehaus (Parliament building) has a spectacular location. It sits facing a tranquil pond inhabited by geese. The Neo-renaissance style Parliament building converted into a functional and outstanding museum includes a large, open interior courtyard set beneath an enormous glass cupola. We recommend the K21 Museum focusing on the 21st century and international contemporary art.
On our visit to the K21 Museum, we took part in the Tomas Saraceno, IN ORBIT exhibit. The In Orbit exhibit suspended more than 82 feet above the piazza of K21 is interactive. When you arrive at the exhibit, you will be given shoes and overalls so you can become a part of the exhibit. The exhibit, constructed of virtually transparent steel mesh that interlaces three levels spans the massive glass dome area. To access the exhibit, you climb a couple of flights of stairs. Visitors are invited to enter the installation and explore it by climbing.
I was so excited to explore this exhibit. Because there are several people in the structure simultaneously the exhibit is in constant motion. It was like being in a vibrating spider’s web. Because of the vibrations of others, it takes every muscle in your body to keep your balance and move through the exhibit.
Looking at museum visitors down below, wandering in the piazza was a thrill as they seemed so small. In Orbit is one exhibit you will fear or desire!
Enjoy the Waterway
Lastly, when you visit Media Harbor Dusseldorf, you just have to enjoy the beauty of the Rhine River and its bridges. The Rhine river is 820 miles long making it one of the longest rivers and one of the most important waterways in Europe. It begins its path up in the Swiss Alps. Today the Rhine is an important shipping waterway in Europe. It’s at the very heart of the city of Dusseldorf and gives it life.
Enjoy boat cruises and tours which will take you on a journey on the Rhine where you can take in the sights along the banks of the river. Or, you can soak up the sun and walk in the sand at this beach along the Rhine. From the shore, you’ll have a great view of the river, the city skyline, and the Rhine Tower. To get there, cross the pedestrian bridge from Media Harbor. Lastly, you can do as we did and take a casual stroll along the banks of the Rhine admiring the numerous different architectural buildings present in the area.
The Bridges of the Rhine
You don’t need to be an architect to admire the beauty of the bridges that span the river. Take the Flehe Bridge for example. It is a cable-stayed bridge with only a single pylon giving it the feel of asymmetrical art. Then there is the Knie Bridge which is another beautiful cable-stayed asymmetric bridge crossing the Rhine. Theodor Heuss Bridge is one of the earliest cable-stayed bridges in the world and still in use. Unlike the previous bridges, the Theodor Heuss Bridge has two cable-planes, so it is symmetric in design.
Lastly, you have to take a stroll on the Rheinknie Bridge. It is a pedestrian bridge that connects the area of the Hyatt Hotel to the Rhein Promenade and with the trendy district of the Media Harbour. You get spectacular views of the Gehry buildings, the Rhine Tower and the old harbor atmosphere that still reigns in this modern area.
Visit Media Harbor Dusseldorf
So why do we think you should plan to visit the Media Harbor of Dusseldorf? Today the harbor district has building complexes designed by internationally renowned architects that are sights to see in and of themselves. Yet, it is not all new; the special charm of the harbor is its mix of old and new. To get the most of the area a guided tour should be on your list of things to do.
A short walk and you are in Unterbilk where you can visit the Rhine Tower for an overview of all of Dusseldorf. There are also modern art museums to visit nearby. After sightseeing, Media Harbour also offers plenty of trendy places to enjoy international cuisine or have a relaxing drink. If relaxing is not what you are looking for, Media Harbour buzzes after sunset with stylish bars and clubs. So if you are into stylish contemporary architecture, extraordinary modern art, and tasty, trendy restaurants, Media Harbor Dusseldorf is for you.
To see more things to do in Dusseldorf check out our Dusseldorf Germany 7 Things post