Cologne has plenty of beer gardens and outdoor drinking locations, but my favourite one remains the Rathenau square. Built in 1910 and named after Weimar Republic politician and writer Walther Rathenau, the leafy park is now surrounded by residential buildings on three sides and faces the impressive Cologne synagogue from 1899.
It is mainly used as neighbourhood park and meeting point, and that is what I like about it most: even when it gets crowded in summer (it’s a popular public viewing spot for international football events), it never feels hectic or unpleasant. The main reason for this is that the local community looks after the park itself. They operate the local beer garden (there’s plenty of benches and grass to sit down with your own drinks too), installed a public book-swap bookshelf and even built a boule area. There’s also plenty of snack bars, restaurants and corner stores around the park – so just bring your own.