Wuppertal is a city of roughly 350,000 people in northwestern Germany, not far from Düsseldorf and Cologne. It spreads out along the Wupper River and is surrounded by hills and countryside. Between the 18th and early 20th centuries it became one of Germany’s most important industrial centers, developing distinct working-class and bourgeois neighborhoods. Today the city is home to outstanding cultural attractions, great museums and plenty of parks.
Walk the city streets and admire buildings of various size and scale. Check out the Brill neighborhoods for a collection of 19th-century villas or wander through Ölberg to see historic working-class houses. Catch the iconic Schwebebahn suspended monorail to crisscross the city and pick out grand old churches and administrative buildings. The monorail began frequent services in 1901 and remains one of the city’s distinguishing features.
Visit the Von der Heydt Museum to see an excellent selection of paintings from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Be sure to drop by the Engels-Haus, a museum where you can learn about the life and work of social philosopher Friedrich Engels. Nearby you’ll find the Museum of Early Industrialization, focusing on the social and political context of the era and containing old tools and machines.
Take a break and relax in the Waldfrieden Sculpture Park, dotted with works by British artist Tony Cragg. Kids and animal lovers will want to head to the Wuppertal Zoo. The 59-acre (24-hectare) complex is home to gorillas, tigers, elephants and many other exotic species.
For a great night out, book tickets to a show in the magnificent Stadthalle Concert Hall. It was the town hall at the end of the 19th century but has recently been converted into one of the most elegant venues in the city. Dance fans should attend a production by the renowned Pina Bausch Company in the Opera House or Theater Foyer.
Wuppertal is a dynamic little city with fascinating architecture and a well-developed cultural scene. Stroll the streets or ride the monorail, take in the sights and soak up the history.