15 Best Places And Things To Do In Essen, Germany

Essen is a vibrant city in the Ruhr region of Germany that boasts a rich industrial heritage, world-class museums, and a thriving cultural scene. From the iconic Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex to the lush Grugapark botanical garden, there is no shortage of things to see and do in Essen. In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 15 tours and activities that you should consider when visiting this fascinating city.

Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zollverein_Coal_Mine_Industrial_Complex

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex is a testament to Essen’s industrial past. The complex features a museum, exhibition space, and guided tours that take visitors through the mine’s various buildings and structures.

Villa Hügel

Image Source: https://www.visitessen.de/essentourismus_tourismusinformation/sehenswuerdigkeiten_1/sehenswuerdigkeit_158573.en.jsp

Once the home of the Krupp family, Villa Hügel is a magnificent mansion that sits atop a hill overlooking the city. Today, the villa serves as a museum and event space, offering visitors a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of the Krupp family.

Museum Folkwang

Image Source: https://www.museum-folkwang.de/en/about-us

One of Germany’s premier art museums, the Museum Folkwang boasts an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by Picasso, Matisse, and Warhol.


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Covering 70 hectares, Grugapark is a vast botanical garden that features a variety of plant species from around the world. The park also boasts several ponds, playgrounds, and a miniature golf course.

Zeche Carl

Image Source: https://www.zechecarl.de/vermietung

A former coal mine turned cultural center, Zeche Carl hosts concerts, theater performances, and other events throughout the year.

Red Dot Design Museum

Image Source: https://www.red-dot-design-museum.org/essen

Located in a former boiler house, the Red Dot Design Museum showcases award-winning designs from around the world.

Essen Cathedral

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essen_Minster

Dating back to the 9th century, Essen Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in the region. The cathedral’s architecture features a unique blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles.

Philharmonie Essen

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The city’s premier concert hall, the Philharmonie Essen hosts performances by both local and international musicians and orchestras.

Colosseum Theater

Image Source: https://www.caesars.com/caesars-palace/shows/the-colosseum

A popular venue for musicals and plays, the Colosseum Theater is a grand, neoclassical building that can seat up to 1,800 people.

Villa Hammerschmidt

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Once the summer residence of the German president, Villa Hammerschmidt is a beautiful mansion that is now used for official government business.

Old Synagogue

Image Source: https://fremantlechamber.com.au/directory-chamber_memb/listing/the-old-synagogue/

Built in the early 20th century, the Old Synagogue is a stunning example of Art Nouveau architecture. Today, it serves as a museum and cultural center, highlighting the Jewish history of the region.

Ruhr Museum

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Housed in the former coal washing plant of the Zollverein Coal Mine, the Ruhr Museum offers visitors an in-depth look at the history and culture of the Ruhr region.

Folkwang University of the Arts

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folkwang_University_of_the_Arts

Located in a beautiful historic building, the Folkwang University of the Arts is one of Germany’s top schools for music, theater, and dance.


Image Source: https://www.visitessen.de/essentourismus_tourismusinformation/sehenswuerdigkeiten_1/sehenswuerdigkeit_178804.en.jsp

A large lake located in the southern part of Essen, Baldeneysee is a popular spot for water sports, cycling, and picnicking.

Alte Synagoge

Image Source: https://www.triphobo.com/places/essen-germany/alte-synagoge

Built in the late 19th century, the Alte Synagoge is a beautiful example of neo-Romanesque architecture. Today, it serves as a cultural center, hosting concerts, lectures, and other events throughout the year.