Things to do in Cologne

As a guest of SMARTY Cologne City Center, you will enjoy unmatched access to the most popular sightseeing attractions and things to do in Cologne, Germany. Perfectly situated in the city centre, our hotel is only a walk away from the famous Cologne Cathedral, Old Town, the Rhine River and more. Our convenient location near the “Rudolfplatz” central train station means that tourist sites and business locations like the Trade Fair Exhibition Centre Koelnmesse, Lanxess Arena and Rheinenergie Stadium can be accessed in minutes.

When wondering what to do and see in Cologne, allow our friendly staff to provide sightseeing recommendations and assistance with day trips, tours and transportation.

Bike rentalBike rental at SMARTY Cologne City Center

Along the Rhine river and through leafy green parks: Explore the city by bike! SMARTY Cologne City Center rents out bikes from 8 euros a day – quite a bit cheaper than the bike hire shop round the corner.


Cologne Cathedral and Old TownCologne Cathedral SMARTY Cologne City Center

The Old Town of Cologne with its shops, restaurants and world-famous Cologne Cathedral are just a short 400m walk from the hotel. The Cologne Cathedral is a world heritage building and one of the most famous sights in the city. This UNESCO World Heritage site is the centre and hallmark of this city on the Rhine. The cornerstone of this Gothic cathedral was laid on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary on 15 August 1248. The previous building was apparently no longer deemed impressive enough to house the remains of the Three Wise Men, which were brought to Cologne in 1164. Because of these relics, the cathedral became one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Europe. The cathedral covers almost 8,000 square metres of floor space and can hold more than 20,000 people.


City sign Schildergasse shopping street in CologneFrom the hotel, the vibrant Schildergasse and Hohe Straße shopping streets can be reached after a few minutes walk. Guests who like trendy boutiques should also visit Ehrenstrasse or the Mittelstrasse. A tour through the cosy avenues of neighbourhoods like the Belgian Quarter takes visitors away from the bustle of the main shopping boulevards to find a relaxing, laid back network of shops and restaurants.

Cologne Zoo

Primate with baby at Cologne ZooFounded in 1860 Cologne Zoo is one of the oldest – yet also one of the most modern – zoological gardens. Famous for its primate collection the zoo also includes an elephant park covering 20,000 m² and the Hippodom, a unique recreation of an African river valley landscape with hippos, Nile crocodiles and antelopes.


Chocolate MuseumChocolate Museum in Cologne

Like a ship of glass and metal, the museum is located in the Rheinauhafen just in front of the old town near the Cologne Cathedral. The world-wide unique museum presents the history and presence of cocoa and chocolate.

Romanic-Germanic-MuseumRomanic-Germanic museum in Cologne

The museum was completed in 1974 above the place where the Dionysos mosaic was found. The collection gives a lively picture of the Roman culture on the Rhine over three floors. It is possible to see everyday objects such as containers, coins and toys, a precious Roman glass collection and other findings from the early settlements in the Rhineland.

Cologne Exhibition Center KoelnmesseCologne exhibition center entry north

Every year, the Cologne Exhibition Center Koelnmesse conducts more than 80 trade fairs, exhibitions, guest events and special functions in Cologne. The current trade fair program presents leading global events for 25 different sectors. The Koelnmesse is the world’s fifth-largest trade fair and exhibition venue.

Lanxess Arena

Lanxess Arena in Cologne DeutzLanxess Arena is the largest, multi-purpose arena in Germany and the third most visited arena in the world. It is located in Cologne Deutz district. With seating for up to 20,000 and 83,700 square metres of floor space, different dining options, a modern stage, sound and lighting technology, it is suitable for many types of events such as sports, concerts, theatre, congresses or meetings.


Nightlife in Cologne in a club at Hohenzollernring Zülpicher Strasse CologneSMARTY Cologne City Center is located next to two of many party hot spots in Cologne. In the student district “Zülpicher Straße” are countless bars and restaurants where you can enjoy the evening in a relaxed atmosphere. A lot of clubs and fancy bars can be found along the “Ringe” that invite visitors from all over the world to party. To explore all the facets of Kölsch – beer, language and way of life a visit of the breweries in the Old Town is highly recommended.

Carnival in CologneGirls at Carnival parade in Cologne clinking glasses with champagne

On November 11th at 11:11 am begins the “fifth season of the year” as Carnival is called. But the party does not start before the so-called Weiberfastnacht (Shrove Thursday), the Thursday before Rosenmontag (Carnival Monday). The “crazy days” of Carnival are celebrated with parties on the streets, in public squares and in pubs. Hot spots are the Zülpicher Straße located in the student district as well as the Old Town of Cologne.