A picture of the Rheinturm from the Rheinpromenade in Düsseldorf.

A family city trip with the ICE train – our Düsseldorf food tips and favorite children’s activities

Düsseldorf isn’t a destination that would immediately pop into my mind when planning a family trip with a toddler and a baby.

How did we end up in Düsseldorf?

Our toddler was turning 3. We asked him, what he wanted for his birthday. He said that he wanted to travel with the ICE train. He loves trains. Then one morning he blurted out something that sounded like Düsseldorf and our fate was sealed. We spent a midweek in Düsseldorf with the four of us. I am so glad we did because Düsseldorf is awesome.

I will tell you about, what made our trip so enjoyable, our food tip’s in Düsseldorf, our favorite children’s activities in Düsseldorf and of course also our experiences with the ICE train.

Is Düsseldorf worth visiting?

My answer is YES! We had three full days in Düsseldorf and it was super easy to fill it with activities that were fun for the whole family.

What made our trip so enjoyable?

Foodie paradise Düsseldorf

If you are a foodie, Düsseldorf’s Little Tokyo is your place to be! Centered around the Immermannstraße, this slice of Japan boasts a captivating blend of Asian culture and culinary delights. Mouthwatering ramen, authentic sushi havens, yummy bubble teas and Asian sweets.

Grabbing a bite somewhere with two small children can be a challenge at the end of a busy day. We found solace in the quick service of ramen dishes and the family-friendly atmosphere of each restaurant we visited.

Our Düsseldorf food tips:

  • My Noodlehouse: this small, family-owned restaurant stands out with its tender gyozas that melt in your mouth and bowls of nourishing, delicious ramen. We originally wanted to get a takeaway, but our toddler convinced us to stay then had a mini-meltdown. The owner of the restaurant was so amazing about it! It is such a different experience to be out and about with kids in such atmosphere.
  • Bing Go – Summit of Asian Treats: yummy sweet or savory Taiyaki – a fish shaped pastry that reminds me of waffle, but imo it’s even better. The matcha soft ice was also really good.
  • Dauser – nestled within the vibrant market of Carlsplatz in the heart of Düsseldorf. It serves simple, but delicious local food that even the children loved. Relaxed atmosphere and quick service. My husband enjoyed the local Alt style Schumacher beer that kept coming – unless you put your coaster on your glass.
Restaurant Dauser at Carlsplatz. Delicious local food, quick service, child-friendly restaurant. Food tips Düsseldorf

Family-friendly Düsseldorf

We experienced Düsseldorf as an extremely child friendly city. We found good quality playgrounds in each park we came across what gave our boys a nice chance to ground and release some energy. Düsseldorf is a really cool place but it can get overwhelming for children. We were exploring Düsseldorf with both of our little ones in carriers. It made it easier for us to get around and it made quite a sight for whoever saw us. Locals often stopped us for a friendly chat. They were extremely helpful and welcoming, what was a lovely and refreshing experience. Düsseldorf is a home for many international companies (and a host to the Football European Cup in 2024) and that definitely left its mark on the city in a positive way. Everyone we came across spoke good English and seemed to be open and welcoming to other cultures.

Child friendly Düsseldorf. Playgrounds in every park - even next to the Rheinturm. List of our favorite children’s activities in Düsseldorf

Our favorite children’s activities in Düsseldorf:

  • Wildpark Grafenberger Wald – expansive green oasis home to many wild animals not far from the center of Düsseldorf. It can be easily reached by the U-Bahn (local underground). At the heart of the park stands a building housing a permanent exhibition, featuring preserved stuffed animals alongside some interactive games. Our boys also enjoyed the adjacent playground. There are dispensers offering animal foods for 1 euro coins all around the park. The rattle of the paper cup draws the animals closer. The park can be visited for free.
  • Classic Remise Düsseldorf – paradise for car lovers of all ages, including our enthusiastic 3-year-old toddler. Stunning array of cars, housed within a vintage building. The warm weather can make the interiors a bit muggy, but you can cool yourself with a nice iced lemonade (or whatever else you fancy) at the centrally located bar. There are nice playgrounds nearby in the Stadspark.
  • Mayersche Droste Bookstore on Königsallee: It’s the perfect place for children to unwind and have a little pause, while exploring the inner city of Düsseldorf. There is a great children’s section on the ground floor, showcasing a good selection of books and creative toys. What makes this spot special is the big winding slide that spirals down from the first floor.
Mayersche Droste Bookstore Königsallee - list of children’s activities in Düsseldorf. Big winding slide for children.

Excellent public transport network in Düsseldorf

For families traveling with children who share our son’s enthusiasm for vehicles, Düsseldorf’s public transport system is an adventure in its own right. Our toddler boy loved the trams and U-Bahns. As parents, we enjoyed the network’s efficiency and cleanliness. Even when exploring attractions beyond the central area, we rarely found ourselves spending more than 15 minutes on the underground. We found the local transport app – that is ironically called eezy – really quite difficult to use. Apple Maps gave us good, reliable and up-to-date public transport info.

Traveling with kids on the ICE train and Flixtrain

Overall, our journey on the ICE train was a positive one. The ICE train takes you from Aachen to Köln within half an hour. The travel time between Köln and Düsseldorf was similar. On the way there we booked a family coupé – what is basically 4 seats with a table. On some trains it is an actual separate coupé.

There is a family carriage reserved for families on every ICE train. It has not many special features other than lots of travel-tired, cranky children in one small space. The toilet does have a changing table for babies. The family carriage is always located next to the restaurant car what is quite handy and is surely worth a visit. Your little one can get a cute little ICE toy train there and a colorful ICE magazine – our little ICE fan very much enjoyed it.

Traveling with children on the ICE train. Pro’s and con’s of the ICE train.

Pros of the ICE train:

  • Clean
  • Fast
  • Child friendly
  • Staff on the ICE train was incredibly friendly, helpful and accommodating.

Cons of the ICE train:

  • It is difficult to get a stroller on it.
  • It can be difficult to find a good connection that you can surely catch with a stroller.
  • If you don’t book in advance it can get pricey.

On the way home there were some works on the tracks, our original booking was canceled and we couldn’t find a good connection back with the ICE train. We ended up taking the Flixtrain – never again! It is unreliable. Your ticket comes with an App that is supposed to give you updates. There was no information in it about the considerable delay or the constantly changing tracks. The trains are old. The doors are very narrow with high stairs to climb. It’s impossible to put a stroller on it without folding it up completely. It is poorly organized and there’s no one on the train, who could provide any information. If you still decide to travel with Flixtrain please don’t waste your money on buying special seats or extra luggage space. There is really no need for it.

On the plus side our toddler loved it and is still talking about the green train… Go figure…

Luckily I didn’t realize it until we were heading home that Düsseldorf is only 110km from Maastricht. Taking the bus from Maastricht to Aachen takes already 1 hour. Traveling with rucksacks like in our prime traveling times did bring back a sense of adventure. It was also fun to have a bit of minimalist travel with our kids instead of taking our whole house in the car as we normally do. Rationally speaking it’s a bit crazy to travel for 4-5 hours for 110 km. But hey, it’s about the journey and not the destination as they say. We even really liked the destination. So all is good!

Are we the only nutty family who would do something like this?

Much love,


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