DORTMUND CITY GUIDE
One of the positive things that COVID has brought us is the switch from traveling to the far away tropics to planning trips nearby our own habitat. But if ‘Costa Balconia’, ‘Gardenesia’ or ‘Bad Meingarten’ bores you a little, there are plenty of destinations just around the corner. Take the German Ruhr region for example.
We jumped into the car to discover Dortmund in two days. Challenge accepted!
The Ruhr area in a nutshell
Welcome to Germany. Known for their juicy bratwurst, amazing Oktoberfest, world class football, lovely nature and the Ruhr district. Let’s zoom in on that last one. High chance you haven’t marked this area on your travel list. Probably because of their heavy industrial scene. Yes, the Ruhr region was once known for its enormous coal mines and belching steelworks. In contrast with the past, it’s a vibrant area nowadays, which attracts so-called ‘industrial tourism.’
Both Dortmund and Bochum are two of the biggest cities of the Ruhr region. Don’t they say: ‘the magic is outside your comfort zone?’ This claim certainly applies to this urban pair. Two cities with loads of surprises. Ready to discover ‘m?
Dortmund in a Nutshell
With the expectation mode on ‘zero’ we kicked-off the city trip in Dortmund. Say hi to the largest city in the whole Ruhr area. It’s made name and fame through their leading role in coal, steel and…beer. As said, the first two belong to the past. These days, high-tech industries have taken their place. Even though a lot has changed, the beer branch is the only steady factor. Or rather the X-factor. All breweries are making overtime to pamper the craves of all beer lovers, worldwide. And no worries, they leave more than enough brews for the locals and tourists. Lucky you!
What to do in Dortmund
To be honest, it was one of my first thoughts when I heard about visiting Dortmund. ‘What can we do in Dortmund?’ After two full days of sightseeing I can tell you there are loads of things to do. High-caliber museums, relaxed parks, many shops and state-of-the-art restaurants. They have the whole shebang. The shortlisted faves:
If you thought a former industrial city has no trendy quarters, think twice! In fact, the most charming neighbourhood of Dortmund is Kreuzviertel, undoubtedly. Although this city hasn’t a bunch of authentic buildings (because of WWII), it has its own, contemporary charm. An area which invites you to discover what’s happening in the next street, and the one after that, and…well you get the point. Just walk around, shop till you drop in trendy shops or have a shot of caffeine. Whatever you’re up for, Kreuzviertel has got you covered.
- Dortmunder U
Ready for some culture sniffing? Then this gigantic building with the enormous golden ‘U’ is the one to visit. Once it was used as the place for beer storage, nowadays it’s a protected landmark. A eye catcher which is filled with an immense variety of artworks from 20th and 21st centuries. Thereby, the center develops innovative concepts of cultural education in the digital age and initiates partnerships between art and science. An a-typical center which is a feast for your eyes. dortmunder-u.de
Little sidenote: in case museums aren’t ‘your thing’, it’s still recommended to visit. Why? You can go to the rooftop (for free) and enjoy the nice city view.
- Stadium tour Signal Iduna Par
Next up: a stadium tour. Soccer fans, this one is for you. Borussia Dortmund is one of Germany’s most popular and successful Bundesliga teams. So, when in town, just drop by for a little glimpse or a (guided) tour. Too bad there’s COVID19 so there’s isn’t a lot of hustle and bustle, but hey you can still sniff around in the changing rooms and sit on the trainer’s chair.
Other tips to visit in Dortmund
- Zeche Zollern, the one and only mine museum. It’s just a twenty-five minutes ride from Dortmund. Expect an art nouveau machine hall, an exhibition which shows the harsh reality of miners and a beautiful scenery. On the lookout for some adrenaline? Climb one of the mining towers and enjoy the view. Both interesting for adults and kiddos.
- Unionviertel, another neighborhood. Some love it, some just think it isn’t worth visiting. Find out yourself.
- Brauerei-Museum, the perfect place to get to know all ins and outs about that golden boy.
- Churches like the Reinoldikirche, Marienkirche and Petrikirche.
- Are you done with the cultural part? Go for a shop break at Unterhaltung Lieblingsstücke. Clothing, accessories, post cards, soaps, plants. A concept store that would certainly fit in Amsterdam.
Where to eat in Dortmund
Dortmund is bustling with restaurants and cafes. Yes, of course the traditional ones with the German schnitzels and sausages. But what about the vega(n)s? Trust me, this city wants to be a culinary friend for everybody. A selection of the must-try hotspots:
Feel welcome in this living room-like restaurant. Please, reserve in advance otherwise there’s a good chance you won’t have a table. Another nice-to-know is the fact that the Labsal crew only work with local, fresh ingredients. Even the veggies that don’t meet the beauty ideal. Thumbs up for this battle against the unnecessary food waste. Big 9+!
Tip: Skip your hotel breakfast and pop in at omaRosa. A super symptomatic team is ready to pamper you with healthy treats (e.g. toasts and yoghurt bowls) and guilty pleasures. They’re well-known by their cakes. Cheesecake, triple chocolate cake. You name it, they have it. Keep in mind the majority of restaurants open from 10:00, so no early bird breakfast sessions.
- Bergmann Kiosk
Sit back, relax and enjoy your Bergmann beer. A hotspot that reminds of hip and happening Berlin. Cheers!
Extra culinary tips
- Kieztörtchen. Looking for a breakfast place for your second morning in Dortmund? Keep this one in mind. Delicious kickstart of your day guaranteed.
- Sissikingkong. A stylish, simplistic ambiance with appetising dishes: from Käsespäzle till risotto and polenta. No bullsh*t, au naturel it is.
- Doppeltsolecker. Must-try for the vega(n)s, they say.
- Herr Liebig Kaffeehaus, the perfect spot for a sweet pitstop.
- Mongo’s, the place to be if you’re in for the Mongolian (BBQ) cuisine. Choose for all you can eat or à la carte. (reopening beginning of 2021).
How to travel from A to B
Dortmund has a very smooth metro system. For 24 hours you pay around the 6 euros. Please, be aware of the fact that the ticket machines don’t accept cards. Cash it is. Preferably no underground for you? Lots of German cities have parked rental bikes, e-scooters and steps (with the Lime app) all over town. So cool!
Where to stay
Generally speaking, we don’t have a specific hotel, Airbnb or apartment in mind, but we do have a tip. Because all sights are quite far from each other, it’s a big plus if you find a sleeping spot in the middle of the city. Around the Dortmunder U is an absolute A-location.
Have fun exploring!
*This press trip was organised in collaboration with Germany Tourism.