Free Things to do in Dusseldorf at Christmas time. Travel tips and inspiration.

7 Free Things To Do In Dusseldorf At Christmas Time

Christmas Is All Around Us

Yes, it is true! It is Christmas time already. You can see and feel it everywhere. The streets are lit up, Christmas Music sounds out of the shops, and you can get Christmas specialties as biscuits or mulled wine. If you are around Germany, you are lucky because all over the country Christmas markets open up at this time. Even all over Europe, you can find them. In Paris, in Budapest or Bratislava, you can see them everywhere.

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Dusseldorf is not an exception. There are at least seven of them in the city center each of them with its very own theme. But all of them are just beautiful, and each of them has its specialties, e.g., an ice rink, a pyramid, an apple-quince-punch, etc. But in this post, I will not write about the different Christmas markets now. I believe there will be another post about those soon. This article is about a few but very nice things to do if you do not want to spend a bunch of money. This article is about the hidden or visible FREE things to do in Dusseldorf at Christmas time.

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Free Things to do in Dusseldorf at Christmas time. Travel tips and inspiration.

Free Things To Do In Dusseldorf At Christmas Time

I have to admit that Dusseldorf can be very expensive. I originally was born in the GDR and grew up in the Eastern part of Germany. When I  moved to Dusseldorf about ten years ago, I got shocked by the prices here. No word about the rent I had to pay for my private room in a six-person shared apartment which was not very comfortable, or cute, or extravagant. I did not complain as I needed a place to stay very urgently, and it was more than luck to find one in that short time. The real shock I had on our very first night out on the town with my very first Cocktail in Dusseldorf. The glass was half as big as the one I used to and twice as expensive. My thought: “Wow, that is everything but inexpensive!”

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After ages living here, I still am not entirely used to it. The same experience I have when I visit the Christmas Markets. I love to look at all the things you can buy or taste or enjoy. However, it is still not the cheapest way of spending your money. Because of that, I am more than happy that there are a few things you can enjoy without paying anything. The following list contains a few free things to do in Dusseldorf* at Christmas time. As it is not the end of the season yet and I believe there will be a lot more years to come, I will update this list as soon as I find more free things to do. For now, please enjoy finding what you would love to see and visit in this season.

1. Christmas Tree Light Show at Schadow-Arkaden

The first of the free things to do is one of my favorites. Just magnificent. It is a huge Christmas tree with 33.000 LED lamps that can dance to the music. You can find it in the middle of the Schadow-Arkaden, a shopping mall located in the city center of the Schadow-Square.

The tree is 12.50 meters high and starts its show on the point of each hour. For almost three minutes the atrium of the mall is full of Christmas scents, jingle bells and childhood memories.

Free Things to do in Dusseldorf at Christmas time. Travel tips and inspiration.

2. Dancing Stuffed Animals At Galeria Kaufhof

Each year the staff of the shopping center Galeria Kaufhof at Heinrich-Heine-Allee decorate the shop windows with a whole world of stuffed animals. For Christmas 2017, the topic was the Circus Roncalli. There are approx. Five hundred small and big stuffed animals in five shop-windows. Monkeys in a circus trailer drinking tea and another one stands in front of a mirror and takes on its clown pants. A bear sits outside on a pit latrine and reads the newspapers. You can barely see him, but the toilet paper with a unicorn motif protrudes out of it in the snow. All of them are moving and act differently, while music comes out of the speakers. There are so many details, and in each of the five windows, you can explore other features. Children put their noses at the windows, and also grown-ups wonder about this circus world. It is just magnificent.

Free Things to do in Dusseldorf at Christmas time. Travel tips and inspiration.

3. (Window) Shopping at Königsallee

(Window) Shopping at Königsallee is, of course, a year-round activity. But at Christmas season with all the, with lights decorated, trees and other lights it is more than beautiful. It is almost magical. Also to watch the shops, the shop windows and look at the displayed goods. By the way, why is Königsallee that special? It is the most expensive street in the entire Dusseldorf. Brands like Prada, Louis Vuitton, Karl Lagerfeld, and others have their shops on these streets. Shop as much as you can or enjoy the decorations, watch people and maybe dream of having enough money to spend it here.

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4. Live Music At Jan-Wellem-Square

A new attraction since 2017 is the “Magic Sky” at Jan-Wellem-Square. Sixteen artists play Christmas music on 32 nights from 7 – 8 p.m. Each night the musicians play songs from different genres like Gospel, Jazz, and traditional Christmas Songs while the Magic Sky appears like a sky full of stars.


Free Things to do in Dusseldorf at Christmas time. Travel tips and inspiration.


5. Children Tent At Schadow-Square

The Children´s tent at the Schadow-Square is about 75 sqm, and there are two shows instead of only one. Each afternoon children can do some handicraft works or be part of the children´s theater.

Moreover, the Christmas Market at the Schadow-Square is part of one Children´s activity. The roofs of the huts are out of scenes from fairytales.

Free Things to do in Dusseldorf at Christmas time. Travel tips and inspiration.

A scavenger hunt takes place each Friday from 2-4 p.m. The kids have to find specific fairytales and have to solve riddles. In the end, they get a “Fairytale”-coin as a prize which they can exchange for a hot chocolate or other sweets from one of the businesses.

At the highest hut, Santa Clause himself or the Christmas angel read a fairytale and the children can listen to the stories around 4 and 6 p.m. The readings start at 2 p.m. on weekends.

6. Strolling The Christmas Markets

Of course, you can walk over all the Christmas Markets without buying, eating or drinking anything. It is at least as enjoyable to look at the lights, inhale the different scents of roasted almonds, cinnamon or mulled wine. To see the lights and the decorations of the various Markets. The crystal and stars like decoration at the “Sternchenmarkt,” the angel at the “Engelchenmarkt,” or the Fairytales at the “Märchenmarkt.” There are seven different Christmas Markets in the city center. Enough food for your senses and no need to spend anything. Of course, if you are hungry, thirsty and want to buy a souvenir or a gift for your loves you can do so. I only say so; you do not need to?

Free Things to do in Dusseldorf at Christmas time. Travel tips and inspiration. Free Things to do in Dusseldorf at Christmas time. Travel tips and inspiration. Free Things to do in Dusseldorf at Christmas time. Travel tips and inspiration. Free Things to do in Dusseldorf at Christmas time. Travel tips and inspiration.

7. Free Organ Concerts

The Organ concerts are also for me new. I did not know that there are concerts and that they are for free. I found two possibilities to listen to organ music. There is a free Lunchtime organ music at the Johannes Church at Martin-Luther-Square. During the week, at 12.30 p.m. you can listen to organ music for half an hour.  You could also bring your lunch. Although it is not a Christmas offer only, I think, it has an exceptional atmosphere and mood if you listen to organ music this season.

Another possibility to listen to professional organ music is the organ concerts at the church of St. Lambertus located in the historic old town. One show from an international artist each month and all for free, although some donations are welcome and appreciated.

Pin me nowFree Things to do in Dusseldorf at Christmas time. Travel tips and inspiration.

I am sure that these are not the only free things to do in Dusseldorf*, but I think these are the best of them. Especially when you are around the city center, you can get quickly to all of them. All these free things to do are within walking distance. Therefore, if you are around and want to spend too much money, then make sure to enjoy the one or the other.

Do you need a break from Christmas? Try one of these most beautiful cafés in Düsseldorf, relax, recharge, repeat! 

And now, it is your turn. Tell me about your favorite free things to do at Christmas time. Are there any specials in your home base? Or do you prepare your special events like biscuit-baking-sessions or anything like that? I would love to read your ideas, experiences, or suggestions in the comments below.

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17 thoughts on “7 Free Things To Do In Dusseldorf At Christmas Time”

  1. The Christmas Market looks spectacular and the tree lighting is gorgeous and I don’t think I’ve seen a Christmas tree so tall before! But what I’d really be interested in is the fairytale scavenger hunt that the kids get to do! Im mot one nor do i have any but I love a scavanger hunt!!

  2. Never been to Dusseldorf but it sounds dreamy at Christmas. Totally would check out the live music at Jan-Wellem-Square. And there are three Christmas Markets? So cool!

  3. Dusseldorf looks magical at Christmas time! I love that there are so many free things to do for the holiday season. I love window shopping at Christmas time, especially if the stores go all out with their decorations and displays!

  4. How lovely! I’ve always wanted to go somewhere in Germany for Christmas, but Dusseldorf has never been on my radar. It looks quite fun and beautiful from your photos. Great list!

  5. I loved reading this! During Christmas time people usually have extra expenses and it could be nice to be able to do free or cheap activities to save money. These are very interesting things to do, I would love to see Düsseldorf during the festive season 🙂 lovely
    photos you have, it seems very magical place!

    1. Oh yes, visiting all those Christmas markets, buying Christmas presents, and other things can be pretty expensive, therefore it´s a nice option to spend an awesome time and save money at the same time!

  6. I’ve always wanted to check out Europe during Christmas time for their oh so famous Christmas markets! I’ve heard so many good things, and the pictures are incredible! It’s also great to see though, that Düsseldorf offers free options to enjoy during the season. I love seeing Christmas lights, so I would definitely be at that tree lighting!

    In the area that I live, you can check out Christmas lights – but other than that, I’m not entirely sure of free options. I’ll have to look into that!

  7. This is on my bucket list! I’ve always wanted to see the Christmas markets in Germany. Hopefully one year I’ll be able to go!

    1. Oh yes, there are a lot of marvelous Christmas Markets in Germany. I believe everyone should have experienced at least one of them. Have you visited a Christmas Market in other countries?

    1. Sanne, I totally feel you! I also don´t like the weather especially the darkness. But for Christmas and the whole season, it is necessary. Christmas markets are best when it is dark and cold. And ideally, a bit of snow would be nice.

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