Cologne Neighborhoods, Locations and Districts
(Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)
With the Rhine River cutting through the city, Cologne's two halves are connected by four bridges. Many of the best attractions in Cologne lie on the west bank, near to the Hauptbahnhof Koln, where you will also find the vast majority of the city's hotels.
However, Cologne's suburbs have much to offer too, with both the northern and southern districts of the city providing enclaves of bars and entertainment venues. The most tourist-friendly districts within the city are shown below.
Belgische Viertel District
Focusing on Rudolfplatz, the Belgian Quarter of Cologne is characterised by its historical buildings and flash apartment blocks. You will find the bars and restaurants here attract an older crowd rather than student-types, but there are still a few nightclubs that offer top DJs and a definite younger vibe of today.
This recently revived district is an up-and-coming area that is home to many of the city's students. The inexpensive prices here add to its appeal, with abundant cafés and coffee shops to choose from. Venloer Strasse is one of its hubs of activity, stretching the length of Cologne's Ehrenfeld district. In the evening, the cinemas here get busy and the bars and music venues turn up the volume. There is also a small selection of theatres and some good art shops. Ehrenfeld is located to the west of the city centre, not far from Bahnhof Koln West.
Boasting a trendier character than Uni-Viertel, this part of Cologne is where the working crowd and artsy types hang-out. With a plentiful supply of bars to choose from, you may have trouble deciding where to drink, but the higher prices here may mean you can't go as wild as in other areas of the city. However, if it is sophistication and elegance you are looking for, you've come to the right place. Friesenstrasse is the hub of the Friesenviertel district.
If you want to get off the main tourist trail, Nippes is a good district to head to. A little out of the central district, this area offers the chance to get in tune with Cologne lifestyle while sipping on a glass of Riesling. This district is situated to the north of the city centre, on the west bank of the river.
While Nordstadt is not devoid of good bars and places to relax, the focus here is not on drinking. This district is however an excellent spot to come to catch a film, with several excellent cinemas having made their home here.
Stretching from Chlodwigplatz to Ebertplatz, this area is enclosed by the old city walls. Semi-circular in shape, this district lies at the heart of Cologne and is a hub of entertainment and activity. The Hohenzollernring area, in particular, is a popular place to go out drinking with its numerous bars, bistros and restaurants. There are also many hotels here, including upscale establishments such as the Sheraton and Meridian.
With Chlodwigplatz as its centrepiece, the Südstadt district attracts visitors with its many entertainment venues, such as theatres and bars. The network of narrow lanes come alive at night with live music, and is also home to many of Cologne's gay-friendly establishments. Taking on a relaxed atmosphere for most of the year, the Südstadt transforms during the carnival period (Kölner Karneval) to become a party-zone.
Cologne's student hang-out is abuzz with activity day and night, and its cafés and bars are normally busy with youngsters. Barbarossaplatz, Rathenauplatz and Zülpicher Platz are popular places to watch the world go by, with its plentiful bars and pubs ensuring you are spoilt for choice and never far away from the next stop on a bar crawl. At night, the district's main nightclubs get going, and continue into the early hours.