It’s June, and that means, it’s almost summer! That’s why Spotted by Locals selected 10 spots to enjoy the sun. This time we are taking you through Cologne, Germany. Explore Japanese, Chinese and Korean art at The Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst (MOK), head to Off Broadway for some independent cinema and have a drink in their beer garden or refresh yourself at Stadionbad. More than enough to explore in Cologne this spring. So grab your sunglasses and your swimsuit and let’s have a great time in Cologne!
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Bumann & Sohn – The spot for everything
In the evening it’s a nice bar; at night, it’s a crazy club; in the summer, it’s a relaxed outdoor area; in winter, it’s a Christmas market and during the day it’s a spot where markets, flea markets or food festivals take place. As you can see, Bumann & Sohn is a great spot for everything!
This is the perfect place to start a relaxed evening with some nice drinks and snacks and it will turn into a great party at night (Friday and Saturday)! People from all over the world and of all ages are around and party together. On the weekend, you should be there before 11 pm to make sure to get in and don’t have to wait in line for hours. Bumann & Sohn is the perfect spot to spend your spring or summer days because it’s one of the rare spots in this area where you can be outside in the sun, have good drinks and music, as well as a great atmosphere at the same time.
Lindenthaler Kanäle – Sunday stroll at the canal
If you want to go on a quick walk without leaving the centre of the city of Cologne, the Lindenthal canals are your go-to spot! The first canal has beautiful old trees on both sides and is simply nice to walk along. At the end of it, you’ll find the Christ resurrection church that throws you back to the 1960s: a Catholic church with very unusual and interesting Brutalist architecture. To get to the second canal, turn left in front of the church. You´ll get to a nice little basin with a fountain and two sculptures. If you continue down the canal, you can see some of the most expensive homes in Cologne. In spring and summer, the canal is home to a family of swans and lots of cute ducklings. They even have a wooden house on the water!
MOK – For lovers of art and architecture
The Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst (MOK) overlooking the Aachener Weiher is one of the most beautiful places in Cologne! The museum has a permanent collection of Japanese, Chinese and Korean art and regularly hosts interesting special exhibitions. Other than that the serene, modest and yet breathtaking architecture of the building by the Japanese architect Kunio Maekawa, a pupil of Le Corbusier can be pretty fascinating. Enjoy the view over the Japanese landscape garden on the patio or sit on the terrace watching the ducks and geese on the pond!
Waldfreibad Dünnwald – Summer days beneath pines
Inbetween the pine trees in Dünnwald you feel far away from the big city buzz, even if it is only for a couple of hours. That is why the Waldfreibad is the perfect place for a hot summer’s day in Cologne. The “forest swimming pool”, as the literal translation goes, offers one large (heated) pool for swimming, two smaller pools and a big water slide, all surrounded by trees. In general, the place is very family-friendly, but you will always find a quiet place for yourself to read a book underneath the pines. If you’re an active summer person, there is also a beach volleyball field.
Waldfreibad Dünnwald can also be a great weekend escape, there’s a camping ground next to the pool. Open-air concerts are hosted during summer, so it might be worth it to check the website.
Off Broadway – Lovely backyard cinema
A small passageway between the row of buildings on Zülpicher Straße leads to you this little gem. Off Broadway is a really good cinema, but also much more.
First, the cinema: There are only two movie halls and both of them are rather small. If you’re looking for 3D technology and the newest sound systems, you might not appreciate this place as much as someone who likes a more intimate, homey atmosphere for watching movies. The movies at Off Broadway are mostly independent cinema and German movies, but they can also be French or anything – the choice of films is not dependent on whether a movie is a blockbuster or not, the choice is made according to quality. Most movies are shown in the original language with German subtitles, thus it is one of the few cinemas in Cologne that offers movies for non-German speakers.
Second, the cafe and beer garden: If you have enough time ahead of the movie, come earlier for a coffee or beer and find fellow movie lovers to talk to. This is what makes Off Broadway special: you spend the time waiting for the movie in a very nice environment. In summer, the pretty backyard offers tables, in winter, you can sit inside. Off Broadway is definitely the cosiest cinema in town!
Köski – Τhe “royal” Büdchen
Our kiosks in Cologne are traditionally places of encounter and short friendly chats. They provide you with an encouraging coffee in the morning or the last Kölsch (typical beer) of the day. Recently, some of the old kiosks have experienced a revival. But the prettiest one is the Köski Royal, located in the neighbourhood of Braunsfeld.
Charlotte, the charming owner, has turned the old Büdchen into a real gem. Step in and have a look around the beautiful green hut with the golden “royal” letters! The product range is very ambitious: lovely gift articles from small manufactories, fine food and drinks, ice cream and excellent coffee.
PS: If you are a Cologne visitor or park lover, I highly recommend a walk in the nearby Stadtwald – a pretty park with a small lake, geese and ducks.
Wahner Heide – Hiking where tanks used to roll
You probably wouldn’t expect the biggest natural reserve close to Cologne right at the Cologne/Bonn airport – but there it is! Just as surprising as the location of this place is the atmosphere it brings with it. The natural reserve Wahner Heide hosts the biggest number of different bird species. Other than that you might meet some cute donkeys and sheep along the way. There are different trails of different lengths, so you can decide how much time you want to spend here.
RheinBoulevard – Some steps, a view and a sundowner
The Rheinboulevard offers you the perfect mixture of the view, the mood and the people. Make an appointment with your friends ‘at the steps’, on the way to it grab some cold beer from the kiosk and chill here any time during the day. And while sitting there and having a chat, watch the freighters, big and small boats or even rowers, passing by. The Steps themselves are like an outdoor pub, where all kinds of people come together: families, small groups, just two friends or colleagues meeting after work… But the best part, for sure, is the view: on the opposite side, you have a perfect panorama view of the old city and the Dom. And don’t miss it when the sun goes down!
Meet & Eat – Food heaven every Thursday
Meet and Eat is the perfect after-work spot in Cologne. Why? It’s full of chatting and laughing people, great wine and delicious food in a relaxing atmosphere… That is just what you need after a stressful day of work. The best part is: the market is held every week. So you have the chance to try the food from all the food trucks: churros, burgers, steaks, tacos or dumplings… There’s food from all over the world sold here, so there is something for everyone.
But it’s not just a street food festival. It’s also a farmer’s market where you can buy high-quality local food. Here you can get fresh meat, homemade pasta, cheese or fresh bread to take home. A perfect mix of street food and delicacies. Especially in spring and summer, it’s a great place to meet your friends, have a glass of wine and just enjoy.
Stadionbad – Cologne’s largest outdoor pool
If you’re visiting Cologne during the summer months, you should definitely pay a visit to Stadionbad and find some refreshments! The swimming pool is part of a vast sports grounds. Here you will find Cologne’s soccer stadium (Rheinenergie-Stadion), the German Sports Academy (Sporthochschule) and other competition venues. The whole area was planned and realized in the 1920s by the landscape architect Fritz Encke, to whom Cologne owes almost all its municipal parks. The character of the old-fashioned outdoor pool has been carefully preserved. In winter times, there is a smaller indoor swimming hall and a sauna. So you can enjoy the swimming pool all year round.