09:00 Although the cafes and benches of the Rheinuferpromenade are best enjoyed in the summer months, the riverfront is still a good place to wander aimlessly and watch the world go by. Stay at Düsseldorf City Hostel (hihostels.com) on the riverbank; dorms start around £24pppn, including breakfast. Then take a morning saunter south along the river towards the Rheinturm (Stromstraße 20), a 240m-high tower offering fantastic panoramic views of the city and the harbour.
12:30 Düsseldorf is home to the largest Japanese population in Europe, so it would be a shame not to sample some authentic cuisine. The ever-present and consistently delicious Na Ni Wa (naniwa.de) is a great place to start. You might have to wait a while for a table, but with good reason. The prices are reasonable, the portions are huge and the noodles are mouthwatering. Across the road is the Na Ni Wa (naniwa.de) sushi restaurant if you fancy something lighter.
14:00 Visit St Lambertus Kirche (Stiftsplatz 7), a 14th-century church which has had various parts rebuilt after fires and World War II bombings. The result is a fascinating mix of styles, ranging from the Gothic and Baroque altars to the Renaissance tombs. The highlight is the unique twisted spire, built in the 19th century.
16:30 Königsallee is Düsseldorf’s answer to Milan, with boutiques aplenty and massive department stores for people with a few bob to spend. However, during the city’s carnival, known as the Fifth Season, it becomes a hive of revelry and activity, with stalls selling local beer and people dressing up in all manner of costumes. The carnival will run from November 11 until February 22 next year and climaxes with the Altweiberfastnacht. This traditionally involves the women of Düsseldorf taking over the city, starting at the town hall, and stealing sips of men’s beer and kisses along the way. It all ends with Düssledorf’s men dressing up in women’s clothing and competing in races.
20:00 You’ll no doubt be in the mood for fun times after all that, so be sure to make a beeline for the city’s buzzing and raucous Altstadt district. This area is just about the best place in Europe for a pub crawl – you can choose from hundreds of bars, all serving up a delectable selection of local beers and packed with fun-loving Düsseldorfers. Start your night the German way, with beer and bratwurst in Brauerei Im Füchschen (fuechschen.de), a traditionally loud and busy beer house, where you can share a table and a tipple with the locals. Their proximity to the Netherlands means Düssledorfers pride themselves on being the most open-minded and relaxed of their compatriots, apparently.
9:30 Nurse your hangover at Bistro Zicke (bistro-zicke.de). A favourite with local artsy types, it serves up a mean brunch in a mercifully quiet setting.
11:00 Düsseldorf has a number of museums to choose from, including K20 Kunst – Sammlung Am Grabbeplatz (kunstsammlung.de/en), with art from the likes of Picasso, Matisse and Paul Klee. For some cutting-edge contemporary works, head to the K21, set in a 19th-century parliament building. A combination ticket that permits entry to both these museums costs €13 (about £11) or €2 (£1.75) for students with valid ID.
13:30 Spend some time chilling in Hofgarten, a park dotted with statues of some of Germany’s greatest figures. Set in the heart of the city, it is Düsseldorf’s largest park. It was first laid out by the royal family in the 16th century but has been destroyed and redesigned a number of times since. The current landscaping was laid out during Napoleon’s occupation of the city.
16:00 If you haven’t had your fill of beer for the weekend, make time for a tour of the Zum Schluessel brewery (zumschluessel.de), which has existed in the city centre for more than 170 years. There is also a pub on site, where beer is served directly from wooden barrels on the counter. It only comes in quarter-litre measures in order to ensure it is as fresh as possible. The tour costs €8 (about £7) and, of course, includes two glasses of beer.
19:30 The old harbour area has undergone something of a renaissance and is now known as Medienhafen. World-famous architects, including Frank Gehry, who designed Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum, collaborated to turn a crumbling and decrepit quarter into one of Germany’s hippest areas. It is brimming with bars, restaurants and bold architectural marvels. Finally, it would be rude to leave Germany without trying a currywurst, and Medienhafen is the home of Curry (curry-deutschland.de), a traditional currywurst restaurant with modern style.