What is Dortmund famous for? Check out this guide, for the most amazing things to do in Dortmund, and its surroundings.
In Germany, there’s a great city known across the world for its marvelous tourist attractions. Dortmund is a travelers dream since it offers loads of things to do and see. Its foundation can be traced to the steel and coal industries, which have since closed down.
As a guest to this area, you’ll be delighted to know that you can explore on foot, which is a great way to appreciate the sights. Most of the area is woodland, and there are certainly many other things to do in Dortmund.
Other than its pleasing sights, the city is also famous because its home to the top football club, Borussia Dortmund. The game lovers understand this better.
Top Things to Do in Dortmund City
Below are 16 activities that will put you at ease as you contemplated on what to do in Dortmund.
1. Museum of Art and Cultural History
The first item on your list of things to do in Dortmund is to visit the Museum Fur Kunst und Kulturgeschichte. This impressive building traces its history back to 1883 and currently has exhibits from the middle and modern ages. Take it all in, including detailed accounts of the resistance against the Nazis.
Previously, the museum was in the same location but moved because of multiple incidences of razing as war raged on. Upon its return in 1983, it has become an icon for the city featuring works from top 19th century painters.
As you wonder what to see in Dortmund, there are paintings by Max Slevogt, Caspar David Friedrich, and Lovis Corinth in the museum. Additionally, there’s a part of the museum that will intrigue you more known as the “cabinet of curiosity.” Here there are different items from the age of Renaissance, plus a host of other captivating decorative art pieces.
2. The Zollern Colliery
Another of the top Dortmund tourist attractions is this former coal mine that is now a reclaimed piece of history for the city. The Zollern Colliery is under the Westphalian State Museum of Industrial Heritage due to its unique structure. It has some amazing architecture, with the main building’s red bricks sure to blow off your mind.
Perhaps the most enchanting place you want to visit while searching for things to do in Dortmund is the exhibit of coal mine workers. You’ll get a glimpse of what life was like working under extremely harsh conditions. Also, there are the different tools and machines the miners used that also form part of the wonder.
3. Westfalen Park
Every city has certain parts that you can’t afford to miss, like exemplary parks and walkways. As you think more about things to do in Dortmund, be sure to check out Westfalen Park. Nature comes alive here, igniting your soul with the joy of the great outdoors.
Choose an afternoon to spend time hereafter paying to enter this magnificent 70-hectare space with loads of attractions. For instance, did you know there is the Deutsches Rosarium that brings you face to face with over 3000 rose varieties? Imagine the beauty of such a place.
Additionally, a visit to this park isn’t complete without riding the chairlift. Since 1959 this attraction has carried visitors from the mountain to valley stations. The views along the way are something you have to see to believe.
4. Watch Borussia Dortmund Play
While there are plenty of sights and sounds in this city to keep you occupied for your whole trip, some soccer is the icing on the cake. As mentioned earlier, the football club calls this city home, and among the great stuff to do is catch a match at the Westfallenhale stadium.
Typically, the stadium brings fans together to cheer their favorite teams and can be an exhilarating experience. Not to mention, you might catch a glimpse of your favorite players and even get some signed merchandise.
5. German Beer and Sausages at Kruezviertel District
Another great reason tourists flock to Dortmund is to enjoy a cold glass of pure and authentic German beer. Few other places can serve you like this majestic city.
Not to mention every pint comes with a plate of some local delicacies like sausage. It makes up part of the list of things to do in Dortmund at night.
Head out to one of the many local pubs and ask for a pint of beer – you won’t be disappointed. Plus, the atmosphere is always buzzing with party goers having a good time. Many people frequent this area in the Kruezviertel District, where you can smell German sausages from a mile away!
6. Dortmund’s Botanical Gardens
On your travel guide, it’s known as the Botanischer Garten Rombergpark. These gardens are on 65 hectares and rank among the largest globally. Jot them down on your list of things to do in Dortmund as you plan your trip, and you won’t regret it.
Before 1822, the Romberg family owned the land and later turned it into a park. It remained privately owned until it was handed over to Dortmund city in the 1920s. Now, visitors from across the world get to marvel at the wide range of flora.
There’s everything from numerous trees, herbs, and even flowers that bring the park to life every summer. Added to that are four large greenhouses which you must visit and a whole host of old tall trees from the Romberg era.
Crowning it all are amazing scents from the over 400 species of herbs from across the world.
7. The Historic Alten Market
No city visit is complete without stepping foot in the local markets and sampling what the region offers. Among things to do in Dortmund is to visit the Alten market at the city’s heart where you can shop to your heart’s pleasure.
In German, the name Alten means old, which is what this market is. It traces its history back to the 12 century and remains the city’s busiest part to date. The market is on a square that retains its historical charm even though the surrounding buildings are a bit modern.
However, you’ll be delighted to know that not all shops are new in this area. How about visiting a pharmacy that first opened its doors back in 1392? That’s the historic Adler Apotheke which is currently a museum.
8. Solebad Wischlingen
Now not every trip means walking around or trying to visit as many surrounding areas as possible. At times you want to relax, and the place to do so in Dortmund is at the Solebad Wischlingen. It’s a spa that offers visitors an oasis for relaxation and tranquility away from the busy city streets’ hustle and bustle.
Ensure you include it among things to do in Dortmund and surroundings. It’s easily accessible by train and only takes 5 minutes to get some quiet time. The good news is this facility accommodates all people, including children, and has warm indoor and outdoor pools where you can all chill.
Additionally, there’s a sauna area, Jacuzzi, and private rooms where you can sit and relax alone. After that, take a dip at the plunge pool or head to the café for some refreshment.
9. Kletterhalle Bergwerk
How about some rock climbing to make the visit even more memorable as you think of other Dortmund tourist attractions? At the Kletterhalle Bergwerk indoor climbing facility, the whole family gets a chance to scale the walls.
It’s a great place to get some exercise while on holiday and have lots of fun. The facility is a great place for the whole family and comes with instructors to assist with the gear. Be ready to use lots of muscle power to get to the top ahead of everyone else.
10. Dortmund Zoo
Kids love animals, and heading to the Dortmund zoo is one way to spend a nice afternoon. It’s a smaller zoo that you can enjoy watching different animals. Normally, the most notable species are from South America, like the tamandua, giant anteater, and otter.
The city of Dortmund is in charge of the zoo, and you will pay a small fee to access it. You can even host events here and enjoy guided tours. Other cool animals you can expect are the Angolan giraffe, Sumatran tiger, and white rhino.
11. St. Reinold’s Church
One way to marvel at the history and architectural design of any city in Europe is to visit the churches. So, on your list of things to do in Dortmund, include the St. Reinold’s church that is hard to miss once you visit the city.
Though the church’s construction started sometime in the late 13th century, it didn’t complete until 1454. Its name is in honor of the patron saint of Dortmund, St. Reinold, and is smack in the middle of the market square.
Visitors get guided tours through the magnificent building and can also climb the tower to marvel at the beautiful views. It has two large bells added as the church went through renovation after the 2nd world war. Each weighs about 20 tons.
12. St. Peter zu Syburg
Here is a church that sends you back in time to the era where the Romans ruled over Europe and built amazing churches. The St. Peter zu Syburg goes as far back as the 8th century but only took shape in the 10th century.
A great part of this church to include in your things to do in Dortmund is the old graveyards with numerous hedge stones. Two gravestones date as far back as the 8th and 9th centuries, and another is inside the church.
One other piece of history you must view here is the white Carrara marble cross from 1580.
13. Hohensyburg Castle
It’s not a visit to Dortmund if you don’t head to the Hohensyburg Castle to learn more about this area’s history. The castle is an Old Saxon fort on a hill that overlooks the Rhur River. These ruins tell a tale of conflict during the Saxon wars, and it later fell into the Franks’ arms in 772.
Today, only ruins remain in the place of this structure, but they’re definitely worth the visit. Remember to bring your camera and make this part of your things to see in Dortmund.
See related: 13 Things to Do in Stuttgart, Germany
14. Port Authority Building and Museum
One amazing area to add to what to see in Dortmund is the Port Authority Building and Museum. It’s characterized by red bricks and a clock tower at the entrance.
The fact that Dortmund is close to the river Rhur and river Emscher made the city a great hub for people and goods transportation. It led to a canal construction in 1899 that’s 269km that leads to the sea.
Though the canal doesn’t play a major role in transportation anymore, sites like the Old Port building remain intact. Inside is a great museum that showcases the history of water transportation in the region. It’s a great place to tick on things to do in Dortmund.
15. DASA (Arbeitswelt Ausstellung)
During the German expo in 2000, DASA was created to showcase different workstations across the world. How people work makes up for a large percentage of life, and it was important to display the numerous environments. Here, you can take note of the evolution of computers from the earliest ones.
Additionally, there are different typewriters on display and manual printers that were the beginning of printing. A contrast to these early days is the modern office with the latest tech, including robotic technology.
Since Dortmund was an industrial city, get to learn more about the start and how this affected the area. Everything from the old coal mining technology to steam engines, is here for all to view. You can appreciate how far the city has come, and it even inspires young people interested in engineering and computers.
16. Dortmund Christmas Market
Imagine a market in Dortmund where you can enjoy everything from Christmas lights to holiday delicacies. That’s what the Weihnachtsmarkt has to offer visitors who decide to head here in December.
Among the top things to do in Dortmund is to check out the over 300 stalls only open for a few days in the year, to celebrate this holiday season. Here you find the best of Dortmund attractions, which is the tallest Christmas tree in Germany. It’s 45m tall and has over 45,000 lights that light up the whole market.