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Cologne is situated on the river Rhein in North Rhine-Westphalia and is the fourth largest city in Germany with around one million residents. It is one of the nation's media, tourism and business hotspots, and is considered one of the most liberal cities in Germany. Cologne has a rich history reaching as far back as the times of the ancient Roman Empire, when it was founded and remained a constantly inhabited important regional centre since then. Compared to other German and European cities, the ancient and medieval Cologne was relatively large, covering most of the modern-day city centre, and therefore a wealth of architectural heritage can be found across the city ranging from pre-Christian times to strikingly modern buildings, with a high concentration of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, culminating with the magnificent Cathedral (Dom). Cologne is, however, not only a tourist destination, but on an equal note a major economic centre, a globally important trade fair location, a culture and media hotspot and a major transportation hub. This equal mix of roles and functions is permeable throughout the city and provides it with a constant inflow of various visitors, as well as a very diverse population mix. This all culminates during the traditional Karneval, and makes Cologne one of the most-visited destinations in Germany. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Cologne
- Kölner Dom (Cathedral) (U-Bahn: Dom / Hbf). M-Su 06:00-19:30. Protected by UNESCO. It took over 630 years to complete this monumental cathedral. In 1880 the cathedral was finally consecrated. Cologne's Dom is the first sight you will notice when taking the main exit from the central station. (If you don't see it, you've taken the back exit.) If you are in good shape, take the 509 stairs to the top of the south tower. It takes about an hour, so wear comfortable shoes, but it's worth the hike. Touring the Cathedral is forbidden during Mass. Entry into the cathedral is free but you will be asked for a donation. Admission to the tower costs: €3, reduced: €1.50, family: €6. Admission to the treasury costs: €5, reduced: €2.50, family: €10 however, a combined ticket granting you admission to the treasury and tower can be purchased for (regular/reduced/family): €6/€3/€15.
- 12 Romanesque Churches - Between 1150 and 1250 saw the construction of numerous churches in the Romanesque style.
- St. Kunibert. with wonderful stained glass windows
- St. Severin, Im Ferkelum 29 (Tram Clodwigplatz). – it is the oldest Christian foundation in Cologne
- St. Maria Lyskirchen.
- St. Andreas.
- St. Aposteln.
- St. Gereon, Gereonsdriesch 2. The originality of this church lie in its elliptic floor plan and the addition, in 1220, of a decagon between its towers
- St. Ursula.
- St. Pantaleon, Am Panteleonsberg 2.
- St. Maria im Kapitol, Marienplatz 19.
- Groß-St. Martin (Great Saint Martin Church), An Groß St. Martin 9 (U-Bahn Rathaus).
- St. Georg.
- St. Cäcilien, Cäcilienstraße 29. today Museum Schnütgen
- Die Kölner Synagoge, Roonstraße 50 (U-Bahn: Zülpicher Platz), ☎ +49 221 921-5600, fax: +49 221/921560-9. The synagogue is notable for its architecture that looks, well, right out of Gotham City. The Torah within the synagogue was rescued by a Catholic priest from another synagogue as it was being burned during Nazi rule. In August 2005 Pope Benedict XVI visited the synagogue, becoming the second pope to ever visit a synagogue.
- Historisches Rathaus (Historic Town Hall) (U-Bahn Rathaus).
- Praetorium. An accessible archaeological site with the ruins of the ancient Roman Praetorium of Colonia.
- Gürzenich dance hall (U-Bahn/Tram Heumarkt). The Gürzenich is a municipal concert hall and multi-purpose festival hall
Remains of city walls and fortifications
- ruins of Roman city walls and two towers.
- Nordtor (ruins of Roman city wall gate) (Dom, Trankgasse).
- Ruins of Middle Ages city walls and towers
- Eigelsteintorburg (U-Bahn Ebertplatz).
- Hahnentorburg (Rudolfplatz).
- Urlepforte (Sachsenring, Stadtbahn Urlepforte).
- Severinstorburg (Stadtbahn Clodwigplatz).
- Bayenturm (Stadtbahn Ubierring).
- Ruins of a small gate.
- Malakoffturm (Rheinauhafen, bus 233 stop Schokoladenmuseum).
Veedel - City Quarters
Cologne is well known for its "Veedel" or traditional neighbourhoods.
- Agnesviertel – Here, most notably in the bohemian Agnesviertel, you can find independent designers, bookshops, bars, and art galleries. There are also historical monuments, such as the North City Gate or Eigelsteintorburg in the Agnesviertel, very near to Fort X, built to protect the city from French attacks, and Agneskirche, a late neo-gothic church on the boulevardesque Neusserstraße. Neusserstraße also has a yoga school, an Aikido school, a Japanese restaurant, a well-stocked bookshop, and a range of pubs. Nearby you will find the Alte Feuerwache, where there are regular exhibitions on political topics and a surreal flea market every four weeks in summer. Opposite Alte Feuerwache is the Artclub, with regular exhibitions of contemporary art, and on Ebertplatz there is a cinema (Metropolis) which shows films in the original (mostly English, but sometimes also French or Spanish). On nearby Lübeckerstrasse, you will find the uncompromisingly Arty Filmpalette cinema. To round off a trip to the Agnesviertel, you might like a kölsch in the Lapidarium (right beside the North City Gate) or a coffee in Cafe Schmitz, Cologne's grooviest poser hangout (they also do a great breakfast.) All of these great places are within a short walk of Ebertplatz U-Bahn.
- Eigelstein – around the Eigelsteintorburg, U-Bahn "Ebertplatz"
- Martinsviertel / Altstadt – Old town between Rhine, Heumarkt, Alter Markt and Dom, (Cologne Cathedral), U-Bahn "Rathaus" or "Heumarkt"
- Severinsviertel and Südstadt – around the Severinstorburg, U-Bahn "Clodwigplatz"
- Kwartier Latäng – Quartier students Stadtbahn "Zülpicher Platz"
- Belgisches Viertel – Stadtbahn "Moltkestraße"
- Ehrenfeld – U-Bahn "Körnerstraße"
- Hohenzollern Bridge. Also called the Locking Bridge. If you walk to the back of the Kölner Dom along a straight path, there is a bridge on the Rhine to your right that is covered in padlocks. The locks are placed there by couples to show their loyalty to each other. Couples often have their names and a significant date inscribed on the locks. There are other places across the world that have "love padlocks".
- Rheinauhafen. This completely rebuilt area combines modern extravagant architecture with historical harbour buildings. The old Rheinauhafen opened in 1898 and became necessary due to increasing amount of freight traffic. The new Rheinauhafen is a mix of office buildings and appartement buildings and gastronomy. Directly located on a peninsula of the Rhine (1 km southern of Heumarkt) it is an invitation for a beautiful walk along the river or for having lunch or dinner. Also see the separate itinerary article for a walking tour.
- Parks: Cologne has 2 park areas (Grüngürtel) encircling the city (immediately outside the medieval city limits) and nearly the entire town, respectively, which were set aside as public recreation areas after World War I. The inner Grüngürtel is probably more easy to reach for tourists who only stay a few days. Most notably are Volksgarten, Rheinpark, Hiroshima-Nagasaki- (colloquially known as Aachener-Weiher-) and Stadtgarten parks where thousands of people come together to enjoy the sun, play and barbecue when the weather is fine. All these parks have an associated beer garden. Be aware to dispose any packaging, charcoal etc. into the waste bins (which are unfortunately few and far between), as the city has begun to employ anti-littering patrols that will levy a stiff fine on anyone seen littering. Metro: Eifelplatz for Volksgarten, Universitätsstraße for Hiroshima-Nagasaki-Park, Hans-Böckler-Platz/Bahnhof West for Stadtgarten, Bahnhof Deutz for Rheinpark.
- Flora and Botanical Garden (Near Zoo, Tram Zoo/Flora). Admission free.
- Zoo (Near Seilbahn, Tram Zoo/Flora). Adult: 17.50 €.
- Skulpturenpark, Riehler Straße (Near Seilbahn, Tram Zoo/Flora). Admission free.
Museums and Galleries
Cologne has one of the world's best collections of museums and galleries for a city of its size. As well as world class museums of art and archaeology, Cologne boasts two museums of ecclesiastical art, both housed in architecturally stunning buildings. There is also an ethnographic museum, a chocolate museum, the German Sport Museum and an abundance of Roman remains.
One can purchase a MuseumsCard from one of the municipal museums (such as the first five listed below). The single card cost €15, the family card, which costs €28, entitles 2 adults and 2 children (under 18) free admission to each of the municipal museums during two consecutive opening days. On its first day of validity, it can also be used as a ticket on all buses and trams on the cologne transportation system VRS.
- Museum Ludwig, Bischofsgartenstraße 1 (U-Bahn: Dom/Hbf, behind the dom), ☎ +49 221 26165, fax: +49 221-24114, e-mail: email@example.com. Tue – Sun: 10am – 6pm. A museum of modern art, near the central railway station and the Cathedral hosts a worthy regular exhibition, as well as temporary exhibitions. Admission: € 11, concessions: € 7.50, families: € 22.
- Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Art), An der Rechtschule (U-Bahn: Dom/Hauptbahnhof), ☎ +49 221 23860, fax: +49 221-23885, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 11:00–17:00. The Museum of Applied Art has a collection of popular design items, as well as temporary exhibitions. Admission: regular: €6.00, reduced: €3.50, permanent and special exhibitions: € 9, reduced: € 6..
- Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Martinstraße 39 (U-Bahn: Dom/Hauptbahnhof, then 10 minutes walk, U-Bahn: Rathaus, Tram Heumarkt, Bus Rathaus or Gürzenich), ☎ +49 221 27694, fax: +49 221-22629, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00, Every Th until 21:00. The Wallraf-Richartz Museum is an art gallery with a collection of fine art from the medieval period through to the early twentieth century. Admission: (permanent collection and special exhibition) € 8 - 12, reduced € 4.50 - 8.
- Römisch-Germanisches Museum (Roman-Germanic Museum), Roncalliplatz 4 (Adjacent to the Cathedral's right side from its main façade.), ☎ +49 221 22304, fax: +49 221-24030, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. Römisch-Germanisches Museum explores the history of Roman history in Cologne and the surrounding area. The museum's tour guides are exceptionally dull and can make any visit seem like it lasted just as long as the Roman empire. If you can, wander around the museum by yourself. Admission: € 8.00 (€9.50 including admission to the Praetorium (an excavation of various buildings)), reduced: € 4.00 / €5.
- Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum für Völkerkunde (Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum – World Cultures), Cäcilienstraße 29-33 (U-Bahn: Neumarkt), ☎ +49 221 23620, fax: +49/(0)221/3369410, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00, Th 10:00-20:00. North Rhine-Westphalia's only ethnological museum, it has a fine collection of Amerindian and Austro-Polynesian artefacts. Admission: Regular: €7, reduced: €4.50..
- Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst (Museum of East Asian Art).
- Kolumba (Diocesan museum), Kolumbastraße 4. A Christian art museum. An architectural wonder designed by Peter Zumthor and a feast for the senses; this museum, built in concordance with the ancient foundations of the shrine of Mary in the rubble contains a selection of historical and contemporary religious art. Worth visiting just to explore the spiritually inspiring spaces and the beautiful walkway through the ruins of the past.
- Schokoladenmuseum Köln (Museum of Chocolates), Am Schokoladenmuseum 1a. Opening hours: Tu-F 10:00-18:00, Sa Su and holidays 11:00-19:00, closed on Mondays. Last admittance one hour before closing. Chocolate Museum in Cologne. It's a short visit but very interesting exhibits. Admission: €8.50, concessions: €6, Family pass: €24.
- Overstolzenhaus. One of the oldest extant houses in Cologne, built between 1220 and 1225, with an impressive romaneque façade. Built as a residence for a local patrician, today it houses the Academy of Media Arts.
- Kunsthaus Lempertz. The famous German art merchants and auctioneers, founded in 1845 (although the building itself is from 1952, reconstructed after the Second World War).
- Postamt (Bürgerhaus Stollwerck), Dreikönigenstraße 23. The former post office built from red brick in 1906 is now used as a theatre.
- Wasserturm. The former water tower built in 1868-1872 is now used as a luxury boutique hotel. The 11th floor (at 35 metres) houses a terrace and glass covered dining/meeting room, which can be rented out for private functions (the Michelin-starred restaurant that used to be hosted there is no longer in operation as of May 2013).
- Wolkenburg. The baroque estate was built in 1734 for a benedictine convent, but is used today by the 190-strong man choir Kölner Männer-Gesang-Verein Cäcilia Wolkenburg. It is also an event centre.
- Severinsbrücke. Completed in 1959, the cable-stayed bridge provided a relief for the Deutzer Brücke. Although not outstanding visually as such, it provides a nice view of both banks of the Rhine if you care to walk it.
Churches and other religious buildings
- Kartäuserkirche (Charterhouse church). The church belonged to the local charterhouse (a monastery of the Carthusian order) until 1794, when the monastery was closed and the church was used variously as a warehouse or a military hospital until the 1920s, when it was restored to its religious function by a local protestant community, whom it serves as a church until today. After reconstruction, it features an impressive pipe organ array with glockenspiel.
- Dreikönigenpförtchen. One of the best-hidden gems of Cologne, the small yet ornate gothic gate once led to an "immunity" belonging to the convent based at the St. Maria im Kapitol.
- St. Gregorius im Elend. Neobaroque church from the early 19th century
- St. Johann Baptist. This catholic church is one of the oldest in Cologne, predating even the famous romanesque churches, as it was founded in 948. It has seen many additions and reconstructions throughout the centuries, and was almost totally destroyed during the Second World War. Its current form is an eclectic reconstruction finished in the early 1960s.
- Former franciscan convent with St. Marien church. Nested inconspiciously between contemporary residential buildings is this impressive complex with gothic-inspired decorations
- St. Peter church, Leonhard-Tietz-Strasse 6. The lesser-known next-door neighbour of St. Cäcilien
- St. Maria vom Frieden church and convent (corner of Schnurgasse and Vor den Siebenburgen). Baroque convent complex from the 17th century
- Trinitatiskirche, Filzengraben 6. This 19th-century evangelical church provides both regular religious services and serves as a venue for various cultural, especially musical, events.
Dominated by two very utilitarian land uses, the fairgrounds in the north and the actually functional freight harbour of Cologne in the south, Deutz is not without long history and much heritage and charm in its built environment as well. While the left Rhine bank is clearly the dominant one in Cologne, Deutz is where you can get the best views of it across the Rhine, and this is a reason alone to cross the river and get there, but by far not the only one.
- Köln-Triangle (LVR-Turm), Ottoplatz 1, ☎ +49 2234 9921-555, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 1 May–30 Sep Mo–Fr 11:00–22:00, weekends and public holidays 10:00–22:00; 1 Oct–30 Apr Mo–Fr 12:00–18:00, weekends and public holidays 10:00–18:00; The viewing terrace is closed during bad weather (like storm or hail). The Köln-Triangle is a high rise building in Deutz, immediately by the waterfront. It is a part of a building complex fronted by the Rhine-facing Hyatt hotel and is hard to miss due to its prominence and quite easily accessible from both Deutz and the left bank of the Rhine (simply cross the Hochenzollern bridge from the Altstadt). On its 29th floor, it has a viewing terrace called Panorama, which is publicly accessible via a lift for a relatively reasonable fee. The terrace has glass all around it for both safety purposes and for exhibiting the names of various landmarks you can see from it. If you want to take really good photos, you may want to have a piece of cloth with you to clean the glass of fingerprints and such. Admission is €3 for a single person, every additional member of the same party pays €2 only..
- Alt St. Heribert.
- Neu St. Heribert.
- Jewish Cemetery.
- Lanxess Arena.
- Koelnmesse (southern entrance marked on the map - exit from the Koeln Deutz/Messe railway station in the direction of the Messe and follow the signs).
- Messeturm Köln.
- Bahnhof Köln-Deutz. The historic building of the station now know as Köln Messe/Deutz is an interesting piece of architectural heritage many visitors to Cologne miss as they exit the station on the fairgrounds side.
- St. Johannes church.
- Düxer Bock.
- Cuirassier Monument.
- Deutzer Drehbrücke.
- ESSO Station An der Kölnarena. You may wonder what's so special about a gas station, but you will understand once you see its 1950s architecture with the unique structured roof and learn that it is the oldest gas station in Cologne in continuous operation.
- Deutzer Freiheit. The main shopping street of Deutz, with not only retail opportunities but also many historic buildings along the way.
Cologne is one of the oldest cities in Germany. It has a traditional, strong rivalry with the neighbouring city of Düsseldorf, the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, although this is mostly manifested by a number of jocular references made to one another in both cities and constant bickering as to whose local beer is best (in Cologne, it is obviously the Kölsch).
The climate of North Western Germany is changeable, with seasonal changes and day-to-day weather often comparable to that of the England or Northern France. Travellers to Cologne can expect the hottest time of the year to be July (in July 2010 the temperatures were above 30 degrees Celsius for several days), the coldest is January (temperature hovering around the freezing mark) and the month with the most rainfall is June.
Cologne's strong side is its cultural life. For latest information on what is happening around in town, get the StadtRevue for €2, Kölner for €2 or Live for free.
- Karneval The biggest festivity in Cologne is the Winter carnival (or Fastelovend) in February. According to the official Cologne tourism website, "Its highlight is the street carnival taking place from Weiberfastnacht (the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, traditionally the day on which women take control of the city) to Karnevalsdienstag (Shrove Tuesday). On Rosenmontag (Shrove Monday) more than one and a half million people line Cologne's streets to watch the parade with the mad triad – the prince, farmer, and virgin – every year."
- Cologne Gay Pride (Christopher Street Day). – Cologne Pride is a large gay pride festival held in Cologne annually on the Heumarkt square. The event showcases music, a candle light vigil remembering those with HIV/AIDS, and on the final day of the festival a large parade is held. Recently, up to a million people have attended the events.
- Kölner Lichter (Cologne Lights). – light up the sky in flames between the Hohenzollern and Zoo bridges. Coming Events: 19 Jul 2014.
- Kölner Seilbahn, ☎ +49 221 547-4183. Apr-Oct 10:00-18:00. Riehler Straße 180; Take a ride with the Aerial tramway across Rhine river, Germany's only cablecar crossing a river! Adults: One way €4.50, Return €6.50, Children (aged 4–12): One way €2.50, Return €3.70..
- Kölner Zoo (Cologne Zoo), Riehler Straße 173, e-mail: email@example.com. Summer: 09:00-18:00, Winter: 09:00-17:00, Aquarium: 09:00-18:00. €17.50, Teenagers and students: €12, Children (aged 4–12): €8.50 (2013).
- Phantasialand. 9 AM - 6 PM, Rides open at 10 AM, Ticket office closes at 4 PM. Berggeiststr. 31-41 in the town of Brühl; Phantasialand is a fun place for children and has some fun rides for adults too. Even the Colorado Adventure roller coaster was sponsored by Michael Jackson. Admission: Children: (Up to one meter in height) - Free, Children: (Between one meter and 1.45 meters) € 18, Adults: € 39.50, Senior citizens: € 18.50. Two day passes available (€68.50 / €30.50) (2013).
- Claudius Therme, Sachsenbergstraße 1, ☎ 0221 981440. 09.00-24.00. Just below the Kölner Seilbahn is the Claudius Therme. Spend a very relaxing few hours unwinding in both indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, cold plunge pools, etc. Several areas are naturist (not clothing optional). Towels are available to rent and food and drink is served on-site. One nice option is to take the Kölner Seilbahn to the Therme and return by bus (directly in front of entrance) to Köln Deutz Station where you can catch U-Bahn back to the City Centre.
- Metropolis Cinema, Ebertplatz 19, ☎ Telefon: 0221 722436. 15.00-24.00. If you want to go to the movies while visiting Cologne and you don't know German, this is the cinema for you. In the evenings it shows movies in their native language, but mostly English.
- Fishing at the rhine
- KD Rhine River Cruise, ☎ +49 221 208 83 18. Frankenwerft 35; Departure times: Daily: 10:30 AM, 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM; Köln-Düsseldorf offers cruises of the Rhine river around the Cologne area with an explanation of landmarks. €6.80
- Stattreisen e.V., ☎ +49 221 7325113. this non-profit organization offers excellent tours of Cologne, led by volunteers. The prices are moderate and there is a huge list of tours, including (besides the more regular tours) Koelsch tours (for testing the breweries) or language lessons in the local dialect (again, in a brewery). Ask for English tours, some guides are willing to conduct a normally German tour in English.
- Rickshaws: environmentally friendly city tours. Rickshaws are exotic and environmentally friendly tricycles, that bring slowly and safely their passengers to their destination. By Rickshaw you will discover Cologne’s points of interest in a comfortable way.
Spa and Massage
Beauty and spa treatments are popular in Cologne.
Just be aware that in typical German style, all sauna areas (referred to as Saunalandschaften, i.e. Sauna landscapes) are mixed (apart from the odd Damentag) and that bathing costumes are banned from them for hygienic reasons. Yup. Starkers, everybody. Do take a bathrobe (to keep you from the cold outside the saunas) and a large towel (to put under you in the saunas, no sweating on the wood, please) with you, though. Do not draw hasty conclusions either: mixed nudity does not make those places dens of sin, quite the contrary. Nudity is considered as the only appropriate outfit in saunas, and it all happens in a disciplined, wholesome, safe and respectful atmosphere. Possibly one of the highest forms of German civilisation one can experience. Gawkers and bathing costume-wearers will be expelled by the staff without qualms, so don't even think you can get away with playing the tourist who didn't know, it won't make a difference. That very matter-of factly, unerotic approach to mixed nudity may well turn out to be a revelation to many visitors open-minded enough to give it a try and go with the flow. You've been warned!
- Claudius Therme. Large spa with pool and lots of different saunas (indoors and outdoors) next to the Rhine, north of Deutz.
- Mauritius Therme. Decent Saunalanschaft in an hotel south of Neumarkt.
- Mediterana. 11 saunas and a huge pool, in Bergisch Gladbach, East of Cologne.
- monte mare Bedburg. Large Spa in West of Cologne.
- Neptunbad. Located in the popular area of Ehrenfeld in an old renovated bath, to which an attractive "sauna landscape" in Japanese style on two levels has been added. Also a comprehensive fitness center.
- Saunas in public swimming pools. Some of the public swimming pools managed by the Cologne city council, notably Agrippabad, do have small Saunalandschaften too, all featuring a Damentag (ladies only day).
- Ananda. Tantra massage, an open minded and liberal attitude essential because the massages include sexually sensitive body parts, however, no sexual services are given by the employees.
- Sukon - Thai Art Of Massage. Traditional Thai Massage - Institute, located in the city center. Thai native Massage- Therapists practise in the 160m² thai-styled studio original Royal Massage, Aromaoilmassage and Footmassage. This place does NOT offer any erotic massages.
Cologne has a wide variety of restaurants, both German and otherwise, as a glance in the colored pages of the local telephone book will illustrate.
One can eat pretty well in most traditional-style Kölsch restaurants, and in fact as a visitor, you should try some of the local food, which is quite rustic, but tasty, hearty fare.
The brewery taps (Früh, Sion, Pfaffen, Malzmühle etc. in the old town south of the Dom) are worth taking note of to that respect, although they tend to be expensive for what you get.
Places out of the way such as Schreckenskammer and Max Stark  (north of the train station, the former being within crawling distance of the Station Backpackers Hostel), Päffgen (Friesenstrasse) and both of Cologne independent brewpubs (Hellers Brauhaus  on Roonstrasse and Braustelle  in Ehrenfeld) offer cheaper, better food that the old town tourist traps. Besides, most of these places have tons of atmosphere, which doesn't hurt ! You may also experience the deadly dry wit of the Köbes (traditional name of the blue-clad waiters) in most of those places. If it happens to you, don't get upset, just enter the game, send the Köbes packing with a dig and a smile and you'll be all right.
You'll mostly find typical Rheinland dishes in those traditional Kneipen. Classics include :
- Halver Hahn : nice big slab of Dutch gouda with a rye roll (Röggelchen)
- Himmel und Äd mit Flönz : fried black pudding with mashed potatoes ("earth"), apple sauce ("heaven") and fried onions.
- Soorbrode / Sauerbraten : joint marinated in vinegar with raisins, usually served with red cabbage and a kloss (potato dumpling). The joint may be beef or horsemeat, so you may want to ask first...
- Dicke Bunne mit Speck : boiled white beans with hefty boiled bacon slices on top.
- Schweinshaxe (grilled); Hämchen (cooked): pig's leg, usually a bit of a monster (ranges from 600 to 1400 g, including the bone)
- Rievekoochen / Reibekuchen : flat fried potato cakes usually on offer once a week, and served with a variety of sweet or savoury toppings, which may include apple sauce, Rübenkraut (the beet-sourced equivalent to black treacle) or smoked salmon with horseradish cream.
If you are looking for a snack, you can either head for one of the Middle-Eastern or Asian places, or you can make use of the traditional fast food places like Mc Donalds, Burger King etc. Italian restaurants in Cologne seem to attempt to aim for a higher quality than in the UK, though it is debatable whether they achieve it, and whether their prices (often 150-200% of UK prices) are justified. There are several Indian restaurants across the city, which serve a fair fare, though the visiting Brit may be slightly disappointed to find that German 'curry culture' is rather akin to that of the UK in the 1960s: menus are neither large and varied, nor regionalised and specialist, and although ingredients are fresh, the food without exception appears to be tamed-down for the conservative German palate and the cooks are rather hesitant to spice it up even if you ask for it. "Clay Oven" (Luxemburger Straße near Südbahnhof) and "Bombay" (near Eifelstraße tram station) do make a vindaloo that will satisfy the most hardy customer, though. More recently, Japanese and Thai restaurants have become more common; both are quite expensive.
- Hauptbahnhof - The ground floor of the central train station has a good number of cheap eateries, which include Pizza Hut to kiosks selling sausages.
- Falafel Habibi located on Zülpicher Straße. They have two stores, which serve the same food (though sweetmeats may vary).
- There is an abundance of Döner Kebab and similar takeaways around the town. Generally a lot of Turkish snack bar-style places can be found just north of the main station at Eigelstein, around Zülpicher Platz and in the Belgisches Viertel, with some excellent Lebanese and Persian takeaways further down Zülpicher Straße towards Südbahnhof. Probably best now (though expensive) is Oruc Döner on Kyffhäuserstraße (near Barbarossaplatz); while the kebab is quite good though not outstanding, their freshly baked pide bread is famous all over town. There are lots of Turkish restaurants and takeaways within Kalk, Mülheim and (mainly restaurants) in the Belgisches Viertel.
- Borsalino, an Italian-style restaurant located on Zülpicher Straße close to Zülpicher Platz. Very affordable prices.
- Don Camillo, Hildeboldplatz 1a, ☎ +49 221-138551. a small Italian tabula calde style restaurant. Coming from Hohenzollenring, head into Breite Straße/Ehrenstraße and take the first road to the left.
- Mama Mia, Alte Gasse 26, ☎ +49 221-11347. Italian food not too hungry person 10-15 Euro/ person.
- Ellopia, Carmerstraße 106, ☎ +49 221-14198. German food, you get served for 5-10 Euro/ person.
- El Inca. Görresstrasse 2, near Rathenauplatz. Latin-American restaurant, open 1800-2400.
- Johnny Turista, Rathenauplatz. Easy-going pub/restaurant offering snacks, hot dishes and a daily changing selection of tapas; prices are lower than in most tapas bars.
- Selam. Ehrenfeldgürtel 91 (tram station Venloer Straße/Gürtel) Ethiopian restaurant, opens 5 PM Tu-Fr and from 4 PM on weekends, closed on Mondays. Good selection of mild and spicy Ethiopian dishes served on the traditional plate of injera bread.
- Farmer's. Steakhouses with several branches on the Ring (near Friesenplatz), Wallrafplatz (near the Dom, off Hohe Straße), Kreuzgasse (off Schildergasse shopping street). At Lunchtime they usually have a special, that will give you a square meal for 6-7 Euro.
- pepe, Antwerpener Straße 63 (near Stadtgarten and west of Friesenplatz). open 1800-0200. Spanish style food, tapas and cocktails. Cool crowd, usually booked out after 1900, make a reservation by phone or e-mail the day before.
- Unsichtbar, Im Stavenhof 5-7 (near Hansaring and Ebertplatz). open 1800-0000. "Unsichtbar" is a play of words. Literally it means "invisible", but the suffix "bar" also refers to being a bar. You will get your private butler, who is a blind person, and you eat in total darkness. You can choose your meal in a showroom and then your personal blind butler will lead you to the dark room where you have to smell, feel, maybe touch and of course eat your meal, but you won't see it. You'll have to refer to your butler about everything, whether going to the bathroom or refilling your glass. You are not allowed to smoke, use a cellphone or do anything else that could lighten up the room. The food on your plate is explained to you by using a clock-like system (e.g. "beans are on three o'clock"). It's an excursion into the world of blind people, who are supported this way, and a really good restaurant, too. For weekends you have to book around 13 weeks in advance, but during the week you'll get a free table (with a little luck).
- Landhaus Kuckuck, Olympiaweg 2 (near Müngersdorfer Stadion (Aachener Straße)). open Tuesday - Saturday 1200-2300 - Sunday 1200-1800. Exquisite German, but also international meals.
- Fischers Weingenuss & Tafelfreuden, Hohenstaufenring 53 (between Zülpicher Platz and Rudolfplatz). Exquisite French-like and modern food, great arrangements of wine and cheese. After noon you can get (quite) cheap 2-way dishes of the day including water or a glass of wine. You have to book (quite early) in advance and a menu will be created on your wishes.
Typical Cologne beer is called "Kölsch" and served in bars around town in small glasses, called "Stangen", of 0.2l. That way the beer is always fresh and cold. Don't worry, waiters will be fast to bring you a new one once your old one is (almost) finished. In more traditional bars and especially the breweries, the waiter (called "Köbes" in local language) will even hand you a fresh Kölsch without being asked, so it is easy to lose track of how much you drank. He will put a pencil line on your coaster for each beer that you drank, this will be the basis for your bill, so do not lose it! To stop the beer from coming, leave your glass almost half full until you have asked for the bill or put your coaster on top of your empty glass.
If you buy bottled Kölsch, take either "Reissdorf", "Früh", "Gaffel" or "Mühlen", which are rated highest by Cologne citizens. Those looking for a beer with a little more bitterness might like to try Küppers (there are about 30 more brands).
There are so many bars and pubs to choose from that you could spend most of the night going from one bar to the next. A really great bar is the Irish Pub, Flanagan's, in Altstadt located down below a building. Almost everybody speaks English in there if that's what you are looking for, and they have a really great Karaoke night on Sundays. The clientele is very friendly. For a comprehensive list, see , bars listed on the right.
- For traditional breweries, head to the Altstadt around the Dom, where the "Früh Kölsch" brewery is the most famous, both with visitors and locals. You will find a younger crowd at "Hellers Brauhaus" on Roonstraße, near metro station Zülpicher Platz or "Brauhaus Pütz" on Engelbertstraße close to Rudolfplatz. Furthermore the "Päffgen", on the all-bar street Friesenstraße close to the Friesenplatz, and the "Mühlen" near Heumarkt are traditional brewery pubs but less touristy than the "Früh". Also recommended is "Sion", which is a lesser known brand, but hailed to be very good, although some beer enthusiasts have found it lacking character from 2007 on. Most Altstadt pubs are somewhat scorned as "tourist traps" by locals, however: prices here are usually higher than e.g. on Zülpicher Straße.
- There are a lot of modern bars and lounges all around town. More mainstream ones are on Zülpicher Straße. For something more independent and funky on this street, try Umbruch (funky) or Stiefel (punky). The Low Budget on Aachener Straße next to Moltkestraße metro is a nice, unassuming, punky bar which features a fine selection of drinks and often hosts concerts, poetry or cabaret sessions.
- A lot of stylish places are in the so-called Belgian quarter between Aachener Straße and the Ring, e.g. famous M20 or the Hallmackenreuther.
- A secret Tip are the Bars of the alternative Szene in Cologne. Those you may find the most in Ehrenfeld, like the "Underground", or the "Sonic Ballroom", and in the Südstadt, for instance the "Tsunami Club" and the little pub "Lotta", but also in the famous Kwartier Lateng, which is near the University of Cologne, around the Barbarossaplatz, at the Zülpicher Straße and the Kyffhäuser Straße. If you are searching for something more rough, you may find some nice places to rock and roll, on the Schäl Sick in the cityparts Kalk, east from the Kölnarena, like the little Trash Chic bar in the Wiersbergstreet, and in Mülheim, north from the Kölner Messe the little St. Pauli fanszene pub called "Limes", at the Mülheimer Freiheit street, near the Wiener Platz. But, this places are better to be known visited by the younger and not so rich people. So take care of your pockets.
- Cafe Oscar (Oscar Bar & Cafe), Hohenstaufenring 25 (at the Zulpicher Platz S-Bahn stop). Awesome Italian restaurant that has a long running special of cheap cocktails after 5PM most nights, and pizza / pasta dishes for €3-4 daily before 6PM. Great place for lunch or an early dinner, and also a good base to kick off a night out. Staff are very friendly and generally speak English, and the food is excellent, as are the cocktails.
- Früh am Dom, Am Hof 12 – 14 (Just south of the cathedral, behind the Domhotel), ☎ +49 221 2613- 211. Früh am Dom is a great place to try the local Kölsch brew.
- Brauhaus Gaffel, Alter Markt 20-22, ☎ +49 221 257 7692. 11 AM - 1 AM.
- Brauhaus Sion, Unter Taschenmacher 5 (Altstadt), ☎ +49 221 - 257 85 40.
- Brauerei Päffgen, Friesenstraße 64-66.
- Brauerei Malzmühle, Heumarkt 6. 10 AM - 10 PM. visited by Bill Clinton
- Lommerzheim, Siegesstrasse 18 (in Köln-Deutz (across the railway bridge)).
- Ausschank Pfaffen Brauerei Max Päffgen, Heumarkt 62.
- "Bar Orange" - on Sudermannplatz, near Ebertplatz. Great atmosphere and great cocktails, or just a beer and a lively chat with Milan, the resident philosopher, or Rainer and Arash, experts on local goings on.
- Blue Lounge Party. Every third Saturday, at the Bürgerhaus Stollwerck in Dreikönigenstrasse 23. Starts at 2200, tickets 5 €. Percussion-, Brazil-, balearic- and deep house, techno, trance. A must for people who like this kind of music.
- #TAUSEND Bar. Aachener Strasse 57 (Moltkestraße metro): various events & music, nice bar styled by design students from the Köln International School of Design (KISD).
- Bodycheck Party. Every second Saturday at the Filmhaus Köln on Maybachstrasse 111, metro station Hansaring. House, techno, always very good video projections.
- 3Klang. On Ehrenfeldgürtel 127, metro station Venloer Str./Gürtel. Every third Friday, 2200-0500.
- Blue Lounge Bar. On Mathiasstrasse, lesbian bar. Off-shoot of the very successful party mentioned above.
- Basswerk Session, bi-monthly, the second Saturday at GEBÄUDE 9, Deutz-Mülheimer Strasse 127-129 (tram 3 or 4, stop at KölnMesse/Osthallen), 2300–0500. Long-running and popular drum 'n' bass party in a defunct funky factory hall. Resident DJs often invite renowned guest DJs from the international d'n'b fringe. Alternates bi-monthly with the similar "Phonogenic" party in the same venue.
- Art Of House Party. Once a month, the second or third Saturday at Stadtgarten in Venloer Strasse 40 (Hans-Böckler Platz metro): nice and really crowded house Party, guests around 25.
- Funky Chicken Club. Every Friday at Opernterassen next to the opera (Appellhofplatz metro): Cologne House Party since 16 years in a beautiful venue, always crowded, good House and Electronic Music.
- Apropo. *, good Partys on Fridays and Saturdays with Soul, Funk, Disco and Hip Hop in a cosy venue located in Im Dau 17 (Ulrepforte or Severinstrasse metro) easy guests from 20 years on.
- Sixpack* The place to be in 2011! Located in the vibrant Belgisches Viertel (Aachener Strasse 33 - next to Rudolfplatz) you should be aware to wait long or even get rejected especially at a late hour. Mixed music from Electro to Indie with a huge variety of bottled beer.
- Subway. *, various parties from Hip Hop, Electro to Indie music with a hip but laid back audience (Moltkestrasse metro - next to Rudolfplatz).
- Underground. * on Vogelsanger Str. 200, metro station Venloer Str./Gürtel. Famous for concerts and partys with Rock, Metal, Punk and alternative music. Guests vary between 15 and 45.
- Alter Wartesaal. * nifty bar and disco right beside the central station: various events & exclusive Parties
- Die Werkstatt. * Houses clubs and concerts in an industrial area in Ehrenfeld.
- Agenda Suicide Club. * Monthly club, moves around a lot. Plays acid, electro, indie and much more.
The main shopping street of Cologne is the Schildergasse, extending from the Neumarkt. Both the Schildergasse and Neumarkt, as well as pedestrianized side streets extending from them (in particular the Hohe Strasse leading towards the Dom), feature numerous department stores, boutiques and other high-profile (and, often, high-price) retail establishments.
- Galeria Kaufhof. Germany's largest department store chain and direct descendant of the mighty Leonhard Tietz AG has its flagship store in Cologne, where it is headquartered (although the headquarter offices have now moved to a different, modern building in Altstadt-Sued). The original 19th century Tietz department store on the Schildergasse has been expanded with a modern part, including a multi-storey parking, facing the Caecilienstrasse and now fills the entire huge block. You can find everything there, from apparel to groceries.
- Karstadt. Kaufhof's main competitor situated themselves in a modern shopping centre north of Neumarkt, over the Zeppelinstrasse.
- Peek & Cloppenburg. The department store chain specializing in upscale apparel is known for their architecturally unique buildings, and the glass-façade Zeppelin over the Nord-Sued-Fahrt is one of them.
Although it is Duesseldorf that brands itself as the German capital of fashion, Cologne's Altstadt also features a wide range of high-end fashion stores with a selection of top German and global brands.
- Franz Sauer, Minoritenstraße 13, 50667 Köln.
- Apropos, Mittelstraße 3, 50672 Köln. Features a Gucci brand store
- La Belle Modehaus, Mittelstraße 20, 50672 Köln.
- Modehaus Elscheidt, Benesisstrasse 36.
- Boutique 69, Pfeilstraße 31-35, 50672 Köln.
There is an abundance of record stores in Cologne, but most are hidden in non-tourist quarters.
- For a mainstream record store, go to Saturn, which hosts the "world's largest CD collection", as they quote on their store windows. It's huge, and to pre-listen a record, you just have to hold it under one of the many scanners spread throughout the shop. Always worth a visit. Subway and Regional Train from central station: Hansaring. Does not take credit cards.
- Independent record stores are spread around Saturn: Cross the street for 2nd hand and punk, follow the "Ring" (boulevard) north, and you will find Jazz, Electro and HipHop at Schallschock record store. Famous alternative music-store Normal is south of Saturn, as well as Underdog Record Store (specialized in Alternative Rock, Emo, Garage and related matters) Subway and Regional Train from central station: Hansaring
- For electronic music, get off at Friesenplatz, and go to groove attack in Maastrichter street. Also famous is Kompakt record store. Both are connected to a label sharing the name, and putting out fine German electronic music. Subway: Friesenplatz
- "Mayersche" and "Thalia" at Neumarkt are the biggest bookstores, you will find anything you want, but mostly in German.
- On "Ehrenstraße", you will find cheap and arty books, take a look at "Buchhandlung König" at the eastern end, buy art books at well known "Taschen" at the corner of Ehrenstraße and the Ring.
- Travel books are bought best at "Gleumes", between Zülpicher Platz and Rudolfplatz. They have only maps and travel books, but these from around the world.
- Books in English - "English Books and Tea", Auf dem Rothenberg 9a, in the old town, stocks a wide range of new and secondhand books in English. It also offers a choice of teas and conversation and invaluable tourist orientation - all in English.
- Honorable mention: "Cafe Goldmund" in Ehrenfeld. A very cozy corner-café with all walls lined with bookshelves. You can buy every (second hand) book after you finnished flipping through it while you enjoyed your drinks for a small tip. Also hosts small music and poetry events. Glasstraße 2, right next to the S-Bahn station "Ehrenfeld".
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Cologne on Wikivoyage.