10 Things to Do in Dortmund in a Day

What is Dortmund Most Famous For?

Dortmund is mostly famous for its football team, beer culture, and rich industrial heritage. Entirely rebuilt after WWII, Dortmund has become an innovative city oriented to the future. Described as a ‘green metropolis’ and voted one of the most sustainable cities in Germany, it converted many of its bygone industrial sites into museums and leisure facilities.

Featuring large parks such as Westfalenpark, museums like Binarium Dortmund and the German Football Museum, Dortmund is a city full of surprises for its visitors. The festive nature of German people can be seen in most of the brewery taverns that dot the city centre, as well as during the festive season, when Dortmund hosts one of Germany's finest Christmas markets.

1

Start the day on Alten Markt

Get ready for shopping in the heart of Dortmund

Alten Markt means Old Market in German. Established since the 12th century, this lively square is the historical centre of Dortmund. Today, surrounded by modern shopping centres and restaurants, the historical aspect of the square can only be spotted in its northeast corner in which sits the Adler Apotheke, a pharmacy that opened at this location in 1392 (it’s now a museum). On clear days, you can take in the mood of the city while enjoying a coffee on the terrace of a restaurant like Cotton’s or Maximilian. 

Location: Markt 3, 44137 Dortmund, Germany

  • Shoppers
  • History
  • Photo
  • Food

photo by Lucas Kaufmann (CC BY-SA 3.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred

2

Visit the German Football Museum

Have a kickabout at this interactive museum

Located near Dortmund Railway Station, the German Football Museum relates the history of the world’s most popular sport in Germany. This modern and interactive museum is so well done that even if you’re not a fan of the German team, you’ll fully enjoy the visit and learn a lot about football. The Fan Bistro and N11 Bar & Restaurant make the museum very inviting. You even can have a kickabout in the Fan Garden on clear days.

Location: Platz der Deutschen Einheit 1, 44137 Dortmund, Germany

Open: Tuesday – Sunday from 10am to 6pm, closed on Mondays

  • History
  • Photo

photo by Lucas Kaufmann (CC BY-SA 4.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred

3

Go shopping on Westenhellweg

Take a stroll in one of the busiest shopping streets in Germany

Westenhellweg is a 750-metre-long street located in the heart of Dortmund. It’s rated as one of the busiest shopping streets in Germany. Framed by 5-storey buildings, Westenhellweg is like a semi-pedestrian corridor lined with boutiques selling almost everything from jewellery to fashion clothes to sportswear and more. World-famous brands such as H&M, Esprit and Rolex, as well as popular German department stores, can be found along this lively strip.

Location: Westenhellweg, 44137 Dortmund, Germany

  • Shoppers

photo by Joehawkins (CC BY-SA 4.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred

4

Have fun at Binarium Dortmund

Enjoy yourself at the Digital Adventure Centre

Binarium Dortmund is a geek’s dream come true. Located in the northwest of the city, this museum is dedicated to video game culture and history. Settled in a large, austere red-brick building, Binarium Dortmund showcases most of the video games created since ‘Pong’, way back in the 1970s. Nintendo and Sega, Playstation and Xbox – you’ll find all the consoles that kept many of us glued to the screen during our teen years.

Location: Hülshof 28, 44369 Dortmund, Germany

Open: Tuesday – Sunday from 10am to 5pm, closed on Mondays

  • History
5

Sample Salzkuchen and Stößchen

Lunch like a local in Dortmund

Dortmund has a long tradition of brewing beer. The best way to sample locally brewed beers, without taking the risk to roll under the table too soon, is to order a Stößchen (pronounced stoess-chen). It’s a small glass of beer (equivalent to about 125 ml) that can be ordered in any tavern or bar. You can accompany your beer with a Salzkuchen mit Mett, a local circular sandwich that looks a bit like a bagel. It’s coated with caraway seeds and salt and filled with minced pork and onions. 

  • Food

photo by Lucas Kaufmann (CC BY-SA 4.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred

6

Stroll in Westfalenpark

Take a breath of fresh air in a beautiful park

Westfalenpark is the largest green area in Dortmund. Located in the south part of the city, the park covers an area of almost 500,000 sq m filled with a great range of attractions for adults and children. Flower gardens, animal park, kids’ playgrounds, children’s museum, cafés and restaurants, can be found between large lawn spaces interspersed with wooden areas and small lakes. Do not miss the ride in the small train around the park.

Location: An der Buschmühle 3, 44139 Dortmund, Germany

Open: Daily from 10am to 10pm

  • Couples
  • Families

photo by Raenmaen (CC BY 3.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred

7

Must-See: LWL Industrial Museum Zollern

Discover a major spot on the European Route of Industrial Heritage

Also known as the Zollern Colliery, LWL Industrial Museum Zollern is a vast industrial complex converted into a museum. Located 10 km west of the city centre, it boasts a splendid early 20th-century Art Nouveau architecture made of iron framework and red bricks. Here, you’ll discover the arduous life and working conditions of the colliers and their family. An underground space named the Kids’ Cellar allows children to play at being miners. 

Location: Grubenweg 5, 44388 Dortmund, Germany

Open: Tuesday – Sunday from 10am to 5.30pm, closed on Mondays

  • Families
  • History
  • Photo
8

Get into the festive spirit at Dortmund Christmas Market

Treat yourself at one of the most popular Christmas Markets in Germany

Every year in December, the festive spirit takes over the industrial atmosphere of Dortmund with one of the most impressive Christmas Market in Germany. Over 300 stalls occupy the Old Market square on which a 45-metre Christmas tree is raised. Chocolate drops, gingerbread, hot mulled wine, and many other delicacies are on offer while you meander through the stalls selling handcrafted gifts and Christmas decorations. Fair rides and horse riding tours can also be enjoyed for the great pleasure of the children.

Location: Markt 3, 44137 Dortmund, Germany

  • Couples
  • Families
  • Shoppers
  • Photo
  • Food
9

Watch Borussia Dortmund play at Westfalenhalle

Take the opportunity to watch one of the best German teams play

Fully named Ballspielverein Borussia 09 e.V. Dortmund, Borussia Dortmund is a major football team in the German league, the Bundesliga. You should not miss the chance to go and see them play at Westfalenhalle, the city’s stadium, while you are in Dortmund. The stadium is great and the atmosphere vibrant. Dortmund’s supporters behave like gentlemen and you will really enjoy the show, even if you’re not a football fan.

Location: Strobelallee 50, 44139 Dortmund, Germany

10

End the day experiencing Dortmund’s beer culture

Sample the best local beers in Dortmund

Most of Dortmund’s nightlife revolves around the beer culture of the city. We selected a few of the favourite taverns and bars at which you could sample freshly brewed local ale. Start on the Old Market Square at Wenkers am Markt. This is a genuine brewery pub at which you can taste 3 beers brewed on site. Just on the other side of the square, you’ll find Pfefferkorn's No.1 Am Markt. This stylish brewery pub features 2 locally brewed draught beers. Further away, in Thier-Galerie, a shopping mall located on the west side of the city centre, you’ll find another popular tavern named Hövels Hausbrauerei. It’s a traditional German tavern that brews their own beers for you to sample.

  • Nightlife
Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveller

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